We know from the Gospels that the year “2000 AD” has already come and gone.
The historical timing of the reign of Caesar Augustus and the differences between the Jewish lunar and Gregorian solar calendar tell us that the year 2000 happened somewhere between two and four years ago and, for theological purposes, the year 2000 as the Western world counts it, irrespective of whatever it may mean for computers, is a big nothing of no doctrinal significance whatsoever. We do know, however, that the we are closer to the return of Jesus and that, of course, it is the real new millennium we should be concerned about—the coming Millennial Reign of Jesus.
From the globalization of the world economy, to the re-confederation of the nations in the Roman Empire and Holy Roman Empire into an increasingly less and less democratic Federal Europe, to the rise of ecumenism, to a host of environmental factors; from increased seismic activity to thermal pollution, to the ethnic cleansing of “nation against nation”, to the quest for a false peace in the Middle East, to the seduction of the evangelical church, we certainly see ourselves drawing closer to His coming—and a church less and less prepared for it. In God's grace, however, we also see a faithful remnant being raised up and prepared by the Holy Spirit. These are those not enthusiastic about the year 2000, unlike the world, nor about the post-millennial seduction of hyper-charismatic Dominionists and hyper-Calvinist Reconstructionists, but rather who will CO-reign with Christ on earth in the real New Millennium. Yet an important aspect of God's preparation of the faithful is to prepare them for what must precede the return of Jesus.
One of the clearest and most important predictive prophecies we have in the New Testament about what will transpire before the Return of Jesus, however, is in chapter 4 of Paul the Apostle's first epistle to Timothy. As we point out on "The Future History of the Church", the 1st century Church in certain respects typologically prefigures the Church of the last century. It is, of course, entirely possible (some would say likely) that we have now entered that last century. It is against this background that Paul writes to Timothy and to us:
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.
In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.
Prescribe and teach these things. Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4)
This text, of course, contains Paul's apostolic instruction and exhortation by the Holy Spirit for Timothy to in turn disseminate these instructions and exhortations to others (1 Tim.4:6,11), which, via the cannon of the New Testament, includes all believers for all time, not only including us, but if we are in the "Latter Days", especially us since the context is eschatological—that is, speaking of the Last Days.
The first feature of what the Holy Spirit says explicitly concerns a falling way. The Greek word is “apostasontai” the future tense of the verbal form of the word “apostasia”, meaning “to depart out from" and is the same word used for the great falling away in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 associated with the Antichrist. (Moriel has often warned that the ecumenical movement, charismania, hyper-Pentecostalism, liberal theology, and Word-Faith deceptions are all preludes leading up to, and helping set the stage for, this mass backsliding). The same falling away Paul predicts in association with the Antichrist in 2 Thessalonians is dealt with from a more pastoral perspective in his epistle to Timothy. We might say that in 2 Thessalonians Paul deals with the apostasy itself, while in 1 Timothy he deals with the trends within the Church leading up to these events, and as a senior shepherd, urges a younger pastor to protectively alert the sheep (and via him in the providence of Scripture to alert us) as to what to expect.
The first danger here is the belief that Christians cannot fall away. (This is a complex subject in its own right dealt with in the sermon, "Once Saved, Always Saved?"). One cannot “depart” from what one was never actually in to begin with. The Bible warns clearly of a mass apostasy and the notion that only unsaved people can fall away from something they were never in to begin with is linguistically, theologically, and logically absurd.
The Epistle to the Hebrews was written to Jewish believers in danger of departing from the faith and going back under the law in the face of possible persecution. It is absurd to suggest that those who received a knowledge of the truth and a sacrifice for their sins and are now in danger were not believers to begin with in Hebrews 10:26, just the same as it is illogical to say someone could have tasted the powers of the age to come and been a partaker of the Holy Ghost who are in danger if they commit apostasy. The word for “apostasy” here is “parapipto” (related to “apostasia”) from the infinitive of the verb “to apostatize”. Once more, there is a double illogicality. How can one apostatize from that which one never believed? Secondly, to suggest a nonbeliever can be a partaker of the Holy Spirit is in itself ludicrous. This is the theology of liberal bishop Desmond Tutu who said Hindus can have the Holy Spirit, but it is not the theology of the Word of God.
Such warped reasoning is truly a reductio ad absurdum, where a hollow premise misleads one into making a hollow and logically incoherent deduction, thus reducing the conclusion of the matter to an absurdity. Instead of approaching a text objectively and allowing the text to interpret itself from the context, one redefines and thus reduces the stated meaning in order to accommodate one's presupposition, even though no one looking at the text in its own context without that presupposition would arrive at such a reduced meaning. It is a flawed premise with convoluted reasoning demanding exegetical acrobatics to sustain itself in order to defend a presupposition that is contradicted by the explicit assertion of the text. Simply stated, because a direct unprejudiced meaning of a text like Hebrews 6 or Hebrews 10 taken in context goes against their presupposed ideas, they must reduce its straightforward meaning in order to protect their presuppositions. This they achieve by a contorted exegesis that can only seem to make sense if one takes on board their presupposition to begin with. If however, one allows the text to speak for itself, their reduction of the meaning of the passage becomes self-evidently absurd from the context.
In fairness, we must acknowledge that when John Calvin formulated what became known as the “doctrine of perseverance” ("once saved, always saved"), he was trying to debunk the heretical exploitation of medieval Roman Catholicism which held people in continual bondage by telling them the lie that there is no assurance of salvation. This helped facilitate their corrupt sale of indulgences to finance their Renaissance building programs. The solution to error, however, is truth not another error. We are, of course, eternally secure in Christ, providing we use the free will restored at the cross and appropriated by the new birth to remain in Christ by cooperating with God's grace. In denying that the free will lost at the fall of man was restored at Calvary, Calvinism (akin to Roman Catholicism in a different way) denies the full power of the cross of Jesus. Ironically, one of the biggest threats to the eternal security of a believer is, in fact, this misplaced idea that believers cannot fall away. No one can snatch us out of the Father's hand, but we can misuse our restored free will to leave. This why verse 16 states that it is we who insure our salvation. This chapter tells us that it is rather those who are forewarned of these dangers and act accordingly who can be assured of their security, and not those who deny it can ever even happen (1 Timothy 4:16). In the Last Days, the Spirit explicitly says that it shall.
Doctrine of Demons
From here Paul tells us by the Holy Spirit the initial form the Last Days apostasy will take and he begins by pointing out it will be hypocritical liars in the Church propagating doctrines that are demonic in order to mislead Christians. The Holy Spirit does not inspire Paul to mince words in his description of these people, nor does he make any appeal for them. They are not sincere people in error but bad people of the kind Jeremiah, for instance, was told not to even pray for (Jer.14:11). Neither does Paul place the blame only on the demons. The doctrines come from demons but are proclaimed by evil leaders in the Church.
Specifically, the first of these doctrines is a soft form of legalism called “Nomianism”, here concerned with dietary regulation. It is not that these people abstain from certain foods for cultural or testimonial reasons as a matter of personal choice, but they doctrinally advocate it. This is Judaization (not a recognition of the Judaic origins of the Christian faith, but a return to religious bondage). It is no coincidence that Seventh-day Adventists, Mormons, hyper-Messianic extremists, (and concerning “Days of Abstinence”, even Catholics) engage in such demonic practice as placing people into bondage to dietary laws.
One danger is that with the emergence of Post-Millennialism and Dominion theology comes what is known as “over-realized eschatology”, better known as “Kingdom Now”. In its more extreme forms its advocates, who combine Reformed Reconstructionism (the Calvinistic idea of theonomy where the Church takes over the institutions of law and government and establishes the Divine Kingdom prior to the return of Jesus after the models of the police states of Calvin, Knox, Zwingli, and the Massachusetts Puritans) with Charismania, suggesingt a restoration of the earth to its Adamic state before the Fall. In Britain, during the Toronto Experience, one Anglican church in Sheffield (still to this day following the Kansas City Prophets) was exposed on national TV for its famous alternative service where people were topless and semi-naked in the church services, heralding back, of course, to the nakedness of Adam and Eve. As man was seemingly herbivores and not carnivores before the Fall, a Christian prohibition on meat would fit the same notion.
With the influx of New Age philosophy into evangelical circles via the Vineyard Movement and writers such as Clark Pinnock, William De Artega, Patrick Dixon and Yonggi Cho, saved Christians become predisposed to all manner of New Age influences. It is probably no coincidence that in certain quarters in the USA, ideas of holistic medicine and vegetarianism as a route to higher spirituality are already being repackaged in evangelical jargon for consumption by the naïve and doctrinally ignorant believers.
From here Paul moves on to mandatory celibacy, a doctrine of demons which for its clergy still remains a cardinal doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. Thus by denying the natural expression of marriage, we today at long last see exposed the ages old Roman Catholic plague of homosexual and pedophile clergy as well as an avalanche of conventional forms of adultery and fornication. From the convent whore houses of the Dark Ages and Renaissance (these were simply a continuation under the auspices of the papacy of what had previously been the religious bordellos of the vestal virgins of pagan Rome and the hieros gamos temple prostitution of ancient Greece) to the more contemporary scandals that literally helped bring down the Irish government a few years ago for covering up the sexual violation of small children by the Roman Catholic clergy, we see the results of such demonic doctrine. When the natural and moral is forbidden, the unnatural and immoral finds an outlet (1 Corinthians 7:9).
The origins of such demonic doctrine are found in Augustine of Hippo who brought the influences of Manichaeism, a dualistic Gnostic sect to which he had been a member before his conversion to Christianity under the tutelage of his doctrinally deranged mentor Ambrose of Milan. The Manicheans held the Gnostic view that all that was physical was wrong as it was the domain of the lesser god. Thus Augustine adopted this for Christendom by saying, "The only good thing about marriage is having children who will be celibate." While Augustine was right in his refutation of the heretic Pelagius who denied original sin, the violence perpetrated in the name of Christ over the centuries including the crusades and inquisitions stem initially from the seminal influence of Augustine who maintained that the Church could use violence to convert people. It was also Augustine who is largely responsible for the propagation of such erroneous doctrines as Post-Millennialism (the basis of Reconstructionism and Kingdom Now Theology) which departs from the Pre-Millennialism of the Apostolic and Pre-Nicean Church. It was also Augustine who essentially rewrote Christianity as a Platonic religion and developed the "Invisible/Visible Church" notions that furnished a bogus doctrinal basis for Constantine, who made Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire.
Tragically, as is covered on our "What the Reformers Forgot" teaching, while posing to reform the church, John Calvin, instead of going directly back to the Bible as the Anabaptists did, went back to Augustine. So, like Augustine, he likewise ended up with a mixture of truth and error in his doctrinal theology. It is ironic that both Roman Catholicism and Reformed Protestantism derive from Augustine, each stressing different aspects of the same man's doctrinal beliefs while sharing other aspects. Celibacy, however, was one aspect they did not share and the Reformers rightly opposed this demonic doctrine.
Yet the Holy Spirit says explicitly that this demonic doctrine will likewise feature prominently in the latter days. In America the “Church of Bible Understanding” cult, led by Stuart Trail which grew out of the Jesus Movement, but like the Children of God, turned into a demonic cult, is one noted supposedly evangelical group with a policy of virtual celibacy. Disturbing also is the anti-matrimonial bias of Bill Gothard and his youth seminars. The potential consequences of Gothard's bias can be devastating. He discourages marriage until the age of 30, the gynecological age where if a female has not already had a child she runs a higher clinical risk statistically of infertility, miscarriage, and a host of possible congenital birth defects for her baby. Gothard is neither medically nor theologically qualified. Not surprisingly, a sex scandal involving Gothard's brother and office staff rocked his Illinois-based organization. Still, many pastors will yet urge their youth groups to attend Gothard's seminars.
More distressing, however, is the accommodation of Roman Catholicism and its acceptance as Christian despite such demonic doctrines by theologians claiming to be evangelical, such as Norman Geisler (who actually adheres to the Aristotelian heresy of Thomas Aquinas and is associated with the Roman Catholic Loyola University) and the reformed Calvinist theologian J. I. Packer who joined Chuck Colson, Pat Robertson, and Bill Bright in signing the “Evangelical and Catholics Together” acceptance of Roman Catholicism and its included refusal to evangelize Roman Catholics. With a compromise with Rome comes not only a compromise with another gospel called “Sacramentalism” (making them accursed of God—Gal. 1:8), but also a compromise with Rome's doctrines, including its celibacy: a doctrine of demons.
Proper Nourishment, Not Fables
In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; (1 Timothy 4:6-7)
In verse 6, in a play on words in the Greek text, Paul contrasts the wrong doctrines forbidding food in the previous passage as “bad food” to right doctrine which is “good food” or “entraphomenos”, meaning “to be nourished”. He takes his comparison further by referring to false doctrines as fables (or in Greek “muthos”), where we get the word “myths”, which most English Bibles, in my opinion, inaccurately translate as "silly" fables that are old womanish. The actual Greek word is not “silly”, but “bebelous”, better translated as “something that profanes.” I am not sure if any commentators would agree with me, but I do not see Paul's description of them being "old womanish" as either misogynic or misogeriatric, but probably an allusion to Hellenistic female mystical sorceresses in the groove of the Delphic Oracle (called “pharmakos” in Revelation 21:8 & 22:15) who conjured up mythical revelations while in occult trances apparently induced with the help of hallucinogenic potions or plants.
Such mythical doctrines, which profane are indeed rife today within the realm of popular charismania as opposed to biblical charismatic, proliferate in the latter times. Thus, from such fables as Augustine's Manichaeism, a dualistic mythical belief that sex is inherently undesirable because it is a physical act and the physical is inherently bad (which the divine Logos becoming incarnate in John 1 goes directly against) emerges two things. The first is demonic doctrines (in this case required celibacy) and the second is those "liars" (as Paul calls them) who propagate such demonic doctrines. In verse 2 Paul calls these liars in Greek “pseudologon”, meaning a “false logos”, or more precisely a demonic counterfeit of the true incarnate Logos—the Lord Jesus who reveals Himself in the flesh, through the Holy Spirit and in the Living Word of Scripture. Remembering that the theme of both 2 Thessalonians 2 and 1 Timothy 4 is the same Last Days apostasy, in both we see the relationship between the coming Antichrist and this coming apostasy. In 2 Thessalonians he is the man of perdition, a false Christ (the Greek term literally meaning "in place of Christ") who features in the end times apostasy. In 1 Timothy 4 we have the term pseudologon; merely a different case ending in the Greek text for pseudologos or “false logos”, meaning "in place of the true Logos", once more featuring eschatologically in this same end times apostasy.
Therefore in 1 Timothy Chapter 4, instead of the true Logos revealed in the flesh, the false logos says the flesh is bad (also a key Antichrist characteristic in 1 John 4:1-3). Instead of the true Logos revealed through the Person of the Holy Spirit, the false logos is revealed through a demon. Instead of the true Logos revealed in A living Word, the false logos becomes revealed in a stupid superstitious fable (such as “gold fillings”). And instead of the true Logos being preached by faithful servants of the Lord such as Paul and Timothy were, the false logos is preached by backslidden liars—all of which results in profanity. This, as God's Word in this chapter forecasts, is exactly the kind of ridiculous mess we see having emerged and still emerging today, the end product of which can only be the complete and utter apostasy explicitly predicted here by the Holy Spirit Himself via St. Paul to Timothy and also to us.
The Savior of All Men
For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. Prescribe and teach these things. Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:8-12)
From here Paul continues with a list of personal exhortations and commendations to Timothy, including an encouragement akin to the Lord's exhortation to Jeremiah not to be made to feel to be inadequate due to being a youth. God measures age in how long we have known Him and in terms of spiritual maturity, not in the abject notions of maturity of the secular world nor on mere biological age alone. Much of this exhortation could just as well apply to many sincere believers today, but in verse 10 Paul reveals that "God…is the Savior of all men, especially of believers". This is both a Christological statement about Jesus and a soteriological statement about salvation, where the Holy Spirit is inspiring Paul to refute two significant doctrinal errors the Lord knew would emerge after the time of the Apostles. The first is the denial that the Savior (Jesus) is God and the second is the Calvinistic error that Jesus did not die for the sins of the world as the Bible teaches but only for the elect. Indeed, in this same epistle, the Holy Spirit declares through Paul that God desires all men to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4). As Peter writes, the Lord is wanting none to perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
God is in eternity and by definition therefore exists outside of time (which is why past, present, and future things are all concurrent in the book of Revelation). Therefore relative to eternity where time does not exist, the number saved is ordained from before the foundation of the world, but with the incarnation God entered time from eternity to bring salvation to all who would respond to His undeserved and unmerited grace. Thus relative to the sphere of time, the Lord declares He takes no delight in the plight of the wicked but prefers they would rather repent (Eze. 18:3). Hence, quoting Joel in his kerygma, Peter says, “whoever” calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved (Acts 2:21). The Holy Spirit knew that deceptions and false doctrines denying the wonderful truths of a just but loving God making His sovereign grace available to all would one day infiltrate His Church, and here He makes doctrinal provision for it.
Such reformed errors in understanding sovereignty and election have continually wreaked havoc throughout Church history. We must point out that not all Calvinists are so extreme or virtually heretical to effectively remove verse 10 from the cannon of Scripture as to say that “Jesus is not the Savior of all men, especially of believers”. Only the hyper-Calvinistic lunatic fringe holds to such contra-biblical particularism, saying that God created some people to burn in hell forever, when God's Word states He is wishing all to repent.
A glance at Calvin's commentary on Seneca's De Clementia shows the hermeneutic root of Reformed exegesis derives from humanism, not Scripture. A review of Calvinistic Post-Millennialism, Erastianism (a state church) and infant baptism reveals Calvinist ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church) derives from Roman Catholicism. A search of the Scriptures to find a single verse substantiating the Reformed “Covenant Theology” of the Calvinists, where God only made two covenants—one with Adam and one with Abraham (from where Replacement Theology arises), shows no such passage exists. But above all, the Calvinistic misunderstanding of predestination has a common philosophical root with the fatalistic determinism of the Inja Allah of Islam, and not biblical Christianity. 1 Timothy 4:10 disproves the hyper-Calvinistic error of “limited atonement” which restricts the sufficiency of Jesus' blood to save anyone. Indeed the Lord chooses those He knows from eternity who will respond to His drawing, and we cannot save ourselves nor even respond to His grace without His quickening of us. But God creates no one for hell—hell was created for Satan and his angels, not for men (Mt. 25:41). He is a loving God, willing and wanting to save all, although not all will receive Him and God foreknows those who shall and shall not. Jesus is God and the Savior of all men, especially believers. We can either believe Paul or Calvin.
The Divine Balance - Attention to the Word and Neglect Not the Gift
Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4:13-16)
In verse 13, Paul issues his admonishment that attention be given to the reading of Scripture, to exhortation and to teaching. John Wesley would one day lament that Methodism would decline because of these three priorities on the ministry of the Word, as will any other movement or denomination that ignores them. Today we witness the essential ruination of the United Reformed Church, Methodism, and most of Presbyterianism and, of course, the Church of England whose latest UK statistics indicate a further reduction by 36,000 in regular attendance since the last tabulation according to BBC News Night, (proving that things like Alpha Courses have made no overall difference to the downward spiral of the divided denomination that produce it); the growth has been among Eastern Religion, Neo-Paganism and Cults. Under the leadership of Bernard Green and Douglas MacBaine, there has similarly been a journey down the ecumenical road away from the Bible by the Baptist Union, while we have witnessed the phenomenal decline in the Assemblies of God with decreased conference attendance and churches pulling out. And the out and out moral scandals rocking Elim in the secular press in both Britain and New Zealand can all be attributed either directly or indirectly to the departure from Paul's emphasis on Scripture.
Fortunately, in relative terms, the Independent Evangelical Churches have not made major moves in the direction of departing from a biblical premise and should probably be regarded as the true Baptists. Likewise, Calvary Chapels, Light & Life Mission and other more conservative Pentecostals Movements are being raised up by the Lord to replace the declining Pentecostal churches of yesterday. While there are clear areas of hope, the overall picture is not a happy one, with even the caliber of Bible teaching among the Brethren not, for the most part, more than a shadow of what it was a generation ago.
It is noteworthy that Paul first contends for the reading of Scripture. In the First Century Church, there were few codices or scrolls and the congregation was reliant on having the Scriptures read to them. But today it is amazing how many people actually come to church without a Bible and simply listen to a sermon without reading the text for themselves. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God, but the stress here is on the reading. Today, instead of a text being read and expounded, so often a few verses are taken out of a passage (and not infrequently out of context altogether) as a mere launching pad for a make-believe preacher to hype people up with anecdotes, often centered on himself.
Once on the Gold Coast of Australia in an Assemblies of God Church, I sat through an hour and a half of a gentleman named Col Stringer doing just this. Taking two verses out of all reasonable context about the “joy of the Lord being our strength” and “the wise man controlling his spirit”, he proceeded with a series of colorful anecdotes about how among other things he laughed off a fire that destroyed his bungalow. A bungalow may even be insured and rebuilt, but the life of a child cannot be brought back! For the duration of his presentation he failed to mention the Name of Jesus even once, placing the stress on the “joy”, instead of on “the Lord”, as does the actual text in its context. This is pop psychobabble, "feel good" psychology masquerading as Christian doctrine. More seriously, this was a meeting supposedly designed to assist Christian men to be better spiritual leaders of their families. With such nonsensical rubbish that will never avail in a real crisis being taught to them, I can only wonder what would become of their poor families if, God forbid, real tragedy struck. This is why God warns, “Let few of us be teachers, for teachers will be judged more strictly than the rest” (James 3:1). It would not be fair, however, to single out Col Stringer. His approach is only typical of so much of the popular foolishness passed off today as Bible teaching. More distressingly, however, is the sad fact that in their ignorance, the hearers mindlessly accept it. Thus Paul asserts a text is to first be read. This alone establishes the correct context and CO-text.
Secondly, Paul commands that the text be used in exhortation. As Watchman Nee rightly stated, there is a difference between real knowledge and mere information. The Bible was never given to increase our knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but to change our lives. Paul uses the Greek word “paraklesio”, meaning to implore as in an exhortation with a view on comforting and is directly related to the Greek Word “parakletos”, a descriptive title of the Holy Spirit who gets next to us as our Comforter; but His chief means of doing this is through the revealed Word. “Spirit” and “truth” are mutually dependent, not mutually exclusive. The Holy Spirit only operates according to the Bible He inspired.
This brings us to Paul's third exhortation, “teaching”, where the Greek word is “didasklia”, whose New Testament usage is “to explain doctrine”. This word comes directly from the Greek word for “doctrine” which is “didaskein”. Biblically, while a false teacher like Paul Crouch openly denounces biblical doctrine on so-called Christian TV as “excrement”, biblically, the Holy Spirit calls it the teaching of Jesus. Scripturally, to reject the teachings of Jesus as “excrement” as Crouch urges is to reject Jesus Himself. In the context, the comforting role and exhortation of the Holy Spirit is based first and foremost on Scripture, but to exhort without right doctrine is not to exhort at all, but rather to mislead and deceive!
Only in first highlighting the primacy of Scripture and its doctrine does Paul move on to urge Timothy that the gift bestowed upon him through prophetic ministry not be neglected. The word for gift here is “charismatos”, a grace given through an individual through the Body to equip him for a ministry, which in this case is associated with a further charismata in the form of prophetic ministry. Unless a firm doctrinal basis is in place where such gifts are exercised in accordance with Scripture, the result will not be biblical charismata but unbiblical charismania. Such gifts, as well as the ministry gifts and the charismatic gifts, help equip us for fulfilling our calling (1 Cor. 12:4-5), and are compared by Jesus to talents by which we will be judged according to how we invested them on His behalf (Mt. 25:14-26).
This is one reason why the devil uses charismania to discredit the gifts so others will not want them and be under-armed for the battle (1 Cor. 14:23) as well as causing the unsaved to think we are mad. It is also why Satan uses men like Peter Glover to condemn the gifts and those who use them. Romans 11 deals with God's prophetic purposes for the Jews while Romans 12 opens with Paul teaching on a combination of both charismatic and ministry gifts. There is no chapter division in the original Greek text, so it for good reason Paul links God's election of Israel to charismatic gifts. In Romans 11:29 the word is again “charismata”, saying both "go forth without repentance". In other words it is a deception that draws a line between the early church and the present church. Among the Exclusive Brethren, following the errors of John Nelson Darby and Jim Taylor, this error is called “hyper-Dispensationalism” (which is a re-modification of the ancient heresy of “Marcionism”). While the Closed Brethren have a wrong doctrinal basis for claiming the gifts ceased, Reformed secessionists have no basis either.
The reason Paul links “gifts and calling” in Romans 11:29 is because the doctrinal error that God is finished with the gifts, and the doctrinal error that God is finished with the Jews, are merely two aspects of the same error. In 1 Corinthians 14:23, Paul actually calls those uninstructed in charismatic gifts “idiotai” from where we get the English word "idiots". In 1 Corinthians 13, the gifts last until the “perfect” comes, which in the context of the epistle is the “parousia”, or return, of Jesus, not the cannon of the New Testament. In opening the epistle in 1 Cor. 1:7-8, the “charismatai” (“charismatic gifts”) last until Jesus comes back. Looking at the text in its context and in light of its CO-text, it is “idiotic” to argue otherwise.
While claiming to be on opposite ends of the theological spectrum, the Peter Glovers and Col Stringers of the contemporary Church are really six of one, and half dozen of the other; both divorce text from context and CO-text. Both Charismania and Secessionism alike are beliefs that Paul in effect calls “idiocy”.
Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4:15-16)
Paul drives the point underscoring the importance of these truths by imploring Timothy to “take pains” to implement these teachings for the sake of "all" (both saved and unsaved), not only as a witness and testimony to the lost but as an example and vindication of his ministry to the Church (including those who looked down upon his youthfulness). Paul closes by again urging Timothy and, of course, us to pay due attention to both ourselves and to our teaching. It is not enough to have right doctrine if our conduct is otherwise.
Britain's premier Baptist preacher and a member of the Evangelical Alliance Executive, Roy Clements of Eden Baptist in Cambridge, was a good expounder of Scripture but was nationally exposed when he recently abandoned his church, wife and children for a homosexual lover as was reported in the press. Yet, until he came down on the fence on the Toronto issue, his doctrine had always been fine.
Conversely, there are those who suggest if someone's life appears right, we should ignore their doctrinal errors. God's Spirit, speaking through Paul, however, says otherwise. Wrong doctrine will inevitably result in wrong conduct. If our conduct and our doctrine are right, we need not fear this apostasy the Spirit explicitly warns of, but we will, as verse 16 states, insure salvation for ourselves and for those hearing us.