One of the things I learned from serving on a church board for 7 years is that Christians don’t lose the desire to be in control after entering into a personal relationship with Jesus. I remember being in a conference room until 2 in the morning on a school night as a few men tried to exercise a power grab. Not much has changed from the first century as human nature continues to raise its ugly head in the form of heated arguments and dissensions.
So when I arrive, I will call attention to what he is doing, his boiling over and casting malicious reflections upon us with insinuating language. And not satisfied with that, he refuses to receive and welcome the [missionary] brethren himself, and also interferes with and forbids those who would welcome them, and tries to expel (excommunicate) them from the church, 3 John 1:10.
If you read the Gospel of John and his epistles, love is a central theme. Yet, John has to break away from his normal tendencies to address what’s boiling over inside a first century church. Based upon 3 John, one man is behind this dissension, Diotrephes. Based upon John’s attempts to advise and counsel Diotrephes, he his taken control of this church and is using political pressure to remain in power, 3 John 1:10.
I appeal to you, brethren, to be on your guard concerning those who create dissensions and difficulties and cause divisions, in opposition to the doctrine (the teaching) which you have been taught. [I warn you to turn aside from them, to] avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites and base desires, and by ingratiating and flattering speech, they beguile the hearts of the unsuspecting and simpleminded [people], Romans 16:17-18.
Acts 2:42-47 serves as the blueprint for all first century churches. Based upon the words of Luke, poverty was eliminated as the wealthy freely gave to those in need. While this is the ideal scenario, it’s far from reality as impure motives spur on modern day leaders to turn churches into their own private club. Paul claims that the love of money is the root of all evil, 1 Timothy 6:10. What’s boiling over in today’s church is a pursuit for power leaving many sheep broken hearted and sometimes excommunicated by the body of Christ they tried to save from corruption.
by Jay Mankus