1Timothy 3

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Does African Methodist Episcopal Bishops live according to the Word of God as it is recorded in I Timothy 3 or does the AME Discipline dictate to Bihops their lifestyle.

This question apparently was posted by someone using an assumed email address to conceal their identity...Rev. John, sysop Here is a trustworthy saying, If anyone set his heart on being a Bishop he desires a noble task. Now the Bishop must be above reproach, the HUSBAND OF BUT ONE WIFE, THE WIFE OF BUT ONE HUSBAND,temperate, considerate, self- controlled, respectable, hospitable,able to teach, NOT GIVEN TO DRUNKENNESS, not violent but gentle,not quarrelsome, NOT A LOVER OF MONEY. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. He must not be a recent convert or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgement as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devils trap.

Does African Methodism stand and operate on the Word of God or do they have their own standards. If they do what is it and does that not qualify you as being a cult?

-- Anonymous, August 17, 2000



What is your REAL question?

-- Anonymous, August 18, 2000

I am confused. Is this an inquiry or an invective?

-- Anonymous, August 18, 2000

While TD's missive can be dismissed as invective and hyperbole the fundamental point he raises is how does the AME Church reconcile political elections of Bishops which appear in contradiction to Scriptural requirements? In fact earlier this year I raised a similar concern. The passage in I Timothy makes clear that the office of a Bishop is gender specific [men only]. This of course is a fundamentalist interpretation of Scripture. Of course the problem lies in appropriate exegesis. It appears that we as AMEs reject fundamentalism in selected scriptural passages [i.e. references to slavery, gender chauvinism, govt authority]. While skilled semanarians are comfortable with such selective examples of obedience, the vast majority of lay can only come away puzzled or in TD's case casting aspersions about the denomination's spiritual integrity. Do AME's believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God in much the same way as some of our other Protestant brethren? A definitive answer to this question can go a long way in refining our witness for Christ.

-- Anonymous, August 18, 2000

RE TD's comment, I don't believe Timothy said anything about a bishop's being "the wife of one husband". Which translation/version/perversion of the scriptures are you using?

-- Anonymous, August 18, 2000

It is very interesting that I Timothy was mentioned in terms of the conduct of our Bishops. I Timothy is often thought of as a manual for pastors AND church members. The idea that the epistle is written to church members also can be ascertained by reading some of the benedictions in the original greek in which the plural of you is used. Also when reading the book in it's entirety the main focal point is the problem of faith and the conduct of church members. The book address how these problems can be helped with the support of accredited leaders. The role of this book is to preserve the true faith of Jesus and to keep the life of the church from false prophets. At that time there were other groups proclaiming their way was the right way. Paul strives to keep the church membership's memory on Jesus Christ and his teachings. Now how does all of this tie into the initial question? When a church member or anyone else questions the integrety of the Bishop without searching the entire body of Christ, including their own moral conduct, or has higher expectations for Bishops than their own christian life, this separates from the true teachings of Jesus Christ and divides rather than encourage. We as church members must also do our part, for every Bishop that is judged there are at least 10 church members who can also be found guilty. We are living under Grace and not the law, for that is the gift that God gave us through Jesus, let us trust God, and love each other as God loves us. Let us practice forgiveness in all church matters and seek ways that we can strengthen our denomination. I Timothy is a short book and I suggest TD that you ask your pastor to do a Bible study on the book, it will lead to wonderful discussions, and also provide an opportunity for churches to do a self evaluation. May the peace of Christ fall on all of us. Rev. Denise Rogers

-- Anonymous, August 20, 2000

I must have missed that fundamental point that Bro. Dickens found in this "question." This seems to me to be a thinly veiled indictment on the character of AME bishops. TD asks "(Do)African Methodist Episcopal Bishops live according to the Word of God as it is recorded in I Timothy 3 or does the AME Discipline dictate to (Bishops) their lifestyle?" I don't see where TD makes an assessment of the Bishop election process (something I take great issue with, but will address later). Indeed, I honestly don't find a substantial question in this barb. I say this because it seems to me that if TD really wanted an answer to the question of which takes precedence- the Bible or the Discipline, he/she would not have included the verse from I Timothy, and he/she certainly would not have drawn attention to those particular phrases that he/she did.

On the surface, my comments may seem to be nothing more than semantics. However, I find it important to get directly to the root of a matter, and TD's "question" seems to be more accusatory than mere inquiry.

-- Anonymous, August 21, 2000

Could it be that we have forgotten a cardinal rule of Bible study, namely the fallacy of drawing conclusions from proof texting rather than from the Bible as a whole? Much of what I have read here would easily be cleared up if this rule were applied. It seems quite obvious to me that in I Timothy 3, Saint Paul is addressing a specific situation of the time in which he lived. There simply were no women in authority in the entire Church. Hence, he could comfortably use the masculine gender when referring to any of them. However, in Genesis 1:26-28 we read: And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Again in Genesis 5:1 & 2, it states: This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. My last check of English grammar would certainly suggest to me that them and they are plural pronouns and that people are definitely living things. Therefore we have it on the authority of God the Father and Creator that He has given both male and female--both of whom He called Adam--authority (dominion) over, among other things, other men (e.g. to say mankind, male and female--all living things). Finally, we can look at Saint Peter who by virtue of the fact that he was an Apostle, we are told, also made him a bishop (Acts1:20). History also records that he was the first Bishop of Rome. On the Day of Pentecost, Peter defends the fact that what occurred there was not drunken revelry by quoting from the Prophet Joel. A reading of this text as it was originally stated in Joel 2:28 (The Old Testament) and restated in Acts 2:17 (The New Testament) should finally put to rest any preconceived notions of dominance of age and gender. For it clearly states that the Spirit is given to, and the message would be spoken by young men and old, your sons and your daughters.

-- Anonymous, September 28, 2000

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