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Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:10-13 KJV

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Wisconsin Sect Ignores the Good Parts of J. P. Meyer's Ministers of Christ

"The type of minister to which we referred above as using entertainment in order to lure the people is employing panourgia, and is therefore guilty of committing secret things of disgrace. The Gospel is the word of Truth. To resort to ruses in proclaiming it, even though with the best of intentions, is heaping shame on the Truth. Not only are the truth and lures incompatible in their nature, but to use lures in connection with the Gospel ministry treats the Truth, the eternal Truth of God, as though it were inefficient, not attractive enough in itself."
John P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, A Commentary on the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1963, pp. 62. 2 Corinthians 4:2.

"Because such is Paul's ministry, he cannot, on the one hand, stoop to trickery or an adulteration of the Word, to practice the hidden things of shame; nor can he, on the other hand, ever grow weary of administering so wholesome and glorious an office."
John P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, 1963, p. 65. 2 Corinthians 4:2.

"What he has to announce is not designed to lead men to a deeper understanding of nature, it is not science; nor to train them in the rules of hygiene, to produce a more healthy population; nor to teach them to procure greater wealth, or to get more satisfaction and enjoyment out of life; it is not even to elevate them to more idealistic views and to morally cleaner habits. No, he addresses himself strictly to the troubled consciences, promising them relief and peace."
John P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, 1963, p. 65. 2 Corinthians 4:2.

"The very fact that we, being such cheap and fragile implements, continue in our service unbroken is proof of the excellency of God's power, and is an incentive to renewed cheerful efforts on our part."
John P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ,, 1963, p. 72. 2 Corinthians 4:7.

" speaking about methods of preaching the Gospel. He means to say that you can introduce methods into your Gospel work which on the surface do not appear as shameful, but which in reality disgrace the Gospel. He is harking back to 2:17, where he spoke about kapeleuein, about 'selling' the Gospel. To use a coarse illustration: Some ministers in their eagerness to bring the Gospel to the people, resort to entertainment to attract the crowds, in order to get an opportunity to preach to them. If you would tell such ministers that they are ashamed of the Gospel and that by their methods they disgrace it, because they manifest a lack of trust in its efficacy, they would resent the charge. Are they not doing all in order to promote the Gospel? The disgrace their methods bring upon it does not appear on the surface; that is why Paul speaks of secret things of shame."
John P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ,1963, pp. 62f. 2 Corinthians 4:1-6; 2:17.


Panourgia means craftiness, as Lenski explained:

Crafty conduct is paired with “adulterating the Word of God.” These two ever go together. He who is not honest with himself will not be overhonest with the Word. The reverse is also true—and the writer may be permitted to say that he has witnessed it too often—he who is not really honest with the Word cannot be trusted very far with his conduct. Δολόω = to catch with bait, to fix up something so as to deceive and to catch somebody. It is used with regard to adulterating wine. So here: “adulterating the Word of God,” not leaving it pure lest people reject it but falsifying it to catch the crowd. Of all the dastardly deeds done in the world this is the most dastardly. None is more criminal nor more challenging to God himself. Not adulterating the Word of God had its edge against the falsifiers who had come to Corinth, who also cast aspersions upon the genuineness of Paul’s teaching.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Paul's First and Second Epistle to the Corinthians. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1963, S. 955.

KJV 2 Corinthians 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness (panourgia), nor handling the word of God deceitfully (Δολόω); but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

KJV Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with
every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness (panourgia), whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Lenski again on craftiness:
ΙΙανουργία is the ability to do anything, and this word is used in the evil sense of stooping to use the basest means, any and all such means, to gain one’s evil ends—“craftiness.” The outstanding example is the serpent and his deception of Eve in the Garden of Eden; ἐκ in the verb intensifies: “completely deceived.” Jesus used the same example in John 8:44. It is so effective because it is the first deception that entered our world, and because its results were so terrible. All other deceptions are the repetitions of this original, most fatal one, are the outcome of this radical deception.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Paul's First and Second Epistle to the Corinthians. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1963, S. 1238.
KJV 2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty (craftiness, panourgia), so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Lenski on hucksters:
He certainly chose a telling word when he describes the many as (peddling the Word of God) καπηλεύοντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ. A κάπηλος is a huckster, which is suggestive in a number of directions. He peddles cheap wares, he haggles about the price, he is known to cheat because he does not expect to return, he is out for his own personal gain. The ancient hucksters, for instance, peddled wine and adulterated it so that the verb that is derived from this noun came to mean adulterating wine, food, and the like. Philosophers used it a few times in characterizing the sophists as spurious philosophers; Paul is thought to adopt this use here. “Huckstering” is too common for such a restriction; Paul is not speaking philosophically to philosophers. He is using a word which everybody understands, a homely figure.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Paul's First and Second Epistle to the Corinthians. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1963, S. 903.
KJV 2 Corinthians 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt (GJ - peddle) the Word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.