‘Ruling as Kings Already Are You?’

“Some are puffed up as though I were in fact not coming to you. But I will come to you shortly, if Jehovah wills, and I shall get to know, not the speech of those who are puffed up, but [their] power.  For the kingdom of God [lies] not in speech, but in power.  What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and mildness of spirit?” 1 Corinthians 4:18-21

Let no one say that there is not authority in the Christian congregation. Paul was coming, and he was not going to be so easy hoing. He couldn’t just be blown off as a meddling outsider. He had some authority behind him. What other conclusion can one reach? This was an early stage of his wrestling with the “superfine apostles,” (2 Corinthians 11:5) comfortable local figures, “puffed up” over their Greek wisdom, probably, Corinth being a center of the culture. They wanted the apostle’s office but not his his work.

“You men already have your fill, do you? You are rich already, are you? You have begun ruling as kings without us, have you? And I wish indeed that you had begun ruling as kings, that we also might rule with you as kings.  For it seems to me that God has put us the apostles last on exhibition as men appointed to death, because we have become a theatrical spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.  We are fools because of Christ, but you are discreet in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are in good repute, but we are in dishonor.  Down to this very hour we continue to hunger and also to thirst and to be scantily clothed and to be knocked about and to be homeless  and to toil, working with our own hands. When being reviled, we bless; when being persecuted, we bear up;  when being defamed, we entreat; we have become as the refuse of the world, the offscouring of all things, until now.”  4:8-13

They were comfortable. They were established. They wanted to keep it that way. They were ruling as kings now. They didn’t want to wait for any “appointed time.” Next thing you know there will be no appointed time. They wanted nothing to do with the showtime Paul was advancing—the one of trudging “through the dust” (the root meaning of the Greek word translated “minister.”) They didn’t want dishonor, hunger, thirst, mistreatment. They certainly didn’t want anyone to regard them as “the refuse of the world, the offscouring of all things.”

Next thing you know they would be arranging a paycheck for themselves. Since they were eloquent, maybe they could arrange for the “less wise” members to PAY for their preaching before the congregation and become pewsitters, and both of them thereby imagine that they are fulfilling an obligation to God. No, it is not hard to imagine oneself seeing the beginnings of a separate clergy class. 


Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

"We Are Wise and Learned Adults, Far Too Clever to Be Sold Adam and Eve. What's Next - Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck?

I like the way Paul deliberately dialed back on the ‘wisdom.’ Most of his contemporaries would have had to because they didn’t have it. Not so Paul, who was highly educated, and could have gone toe to toe with these characters. He deliberately chose not to. 

And so I, when I came to you brothers, did not come with an extravagance of speech or of wisdom declaring the sacred secret of God to you. For I decided not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ, and him impaled.  And I came to you in weakness and in fear and with much trembling; and my speech and what I preached were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a demonstration of spirit and power,  that your faith might be, not in men’s wisdom, but in God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:2-5)

The upshot is that you treat a highly educated person pretty much like anyone else, with only minor adjustments. They just as much as anyone else, have no clue as to why there is suffering, why people die, what happens when they do, why governments suck & so forth. The explanation for them too will lie in discerning what "Jesus Christ, and him impaled" means in practical terms. People do not understand this. Even religious people, as they say to you "Christ died for our sins" are almost always unable to explain just how and why that works.

Show the high-brow people something about Adam & Eve from Genesis, for example, and there is no reason that you can not present it as a metaphor, its underlying message to be deciphered. Let me tell you, there are many people who will be intrigued, rise to the challenge, and even be flattered that you count them smart enough to figure it out. Whereas if you said from the get-go that it was all literal to people conditioned to reject the idea, you know what the reaction would be: “We are wise and learned adults, far too clever to be sold Adam and Eve. What’s next? Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck?”

Focus on the meaning of the account itself (Genesis 3:1-5) without regard to whether it is literal or not. Sometimes when people see how much sense something makes, they reappraise their initial assumptions. 

For a concise explanation of the subject itself, without regard for whether it is metaphor or not - in fact, taking for granted that it is not - I don't think you can do much better than the short clip presented on the JW website:





Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'