Power Corrupts.

“I  have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority.” (3 John 1:9)

power-corrupts

 

John was the last remaining disciple of Jesus who had physically walked with Jesus. He was writing to a church in or around Pergamum. As John opens his third letter to this particular group of believers, he commends Gaius for his hospitality to fellow missionaries. However, the interesting verse comes in 3 John 1:9.

John is calling out Diotrephes for his self-seeking ambitions. I began to research just how much modern Christians know about this man. Most of the research I found was outright cruel. This poor man was the topic of many hate sermons about manipulative pastors. Therefore, I began thinking what could turn this man of God into a self seeking oppressive tyrant?

POWER.

I always remember two quotes when it comes to the idea of “power.”

“Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”-John Acton

“There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those to weak to seek it”  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone   Professor Quirrel

It seems that this Diotrephes suffered from a hunger for power. As, I read through critical articles about him I found some interesting opinions about him. Such as in one article, “Diotrephes had taken a position of control over the church and did not receive these brothers or John’s ministry.  Apparently, he did not want anyone else having an influence over the church because he had taken control of the church and did not want interference.”         (http://www.eliezercall.com/the-heresy-of-diotrephes.html) He tasted power and authority. In this particular text, Diotrephes is rejecting John’s authority as the forefather of the current church. Also, in this time, one person did not have complete control in the dealings of the church. This complete power was not tolerated in the early church, and for this reason John seemed to be addressing this particular issue at this church because some corruption had crept into the body of believers. (Paraphrased http://www.eliezercall.com/the-heresy-of-diotrephes.html).

wolf

As I read through numerous articles, I came across this particular theme. The verse about the wolf in sheep clothes.

 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.- Matthew 7:15 (ESV).

Diotrephes was at least an elder in the church, but he had let the idea of his power grab a hold  him. He saw no need to take order from John who was trying to dictate the happenings of the church from a distance. I imagine Diotrephes did not like the idea of taking in John’s missionaries either. Overall, Diotrephes is synoptic with power hungry self-seekers. It is a shame that the only mention of this man in the New Testament is when the writer of John criticizes his personal ambition.  (http://www.zianet.com/maxey/reflx183.htm)

 

 

**Fun fact there are even websites proclaiming Diotrephes Syndrome.**

http://www.thefaithfulword.org/diotrephes.html

http://www.heart-talks.com/diosynd.html

These websites promote the idea that Diotrephes was only a manipulative evil man who sought to destroy the church. They intend to clump any “religious person” who has ambition into this self-seeker’s shadow.

We Will Judge The Angels.

While reading the letter to the church at Corinthians, I stumbled across this peculiar statement?

“Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!”- 1 Corinthians 6:2-3

Legion

(picture is pretty awesome)

Wait, the saints that Sir Paul is referring to in this letter are the people at the church in Corinth. So, regular people will judge the world. Ok, I mean we live here on Earth that kinda makes sense, but the second statement is astonishing. “Do you not know that we are to judge angels?” Hold up! “We,” as in you Sir Paul and the regular Joe’s at Corinth are going to not only judge mortals but angels. Angels like the heavenly beings? This rhetorical question style seems to be an aspect of Paul’s writing style to relay a point. How can this be Paul?

After researching this question, I found some interesting ideas about this statement. First, judgment will be passed. How can we pass judgment on heavenly beings? After all we are a little lower than the angels.

“What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him?
 You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor”- Hebrews 2:6-7

According to Stewart, “The judgment of angels is something that has been given to believers. Though humanity has been made a little lower than the angels in nature, those who have trusted the Lord will be given the responsibility of judging them in the age to come.”  He later states that this judgment does not really imply the people passing condemnation on these angels. No, Stewart believes the judgment refers to the issue of rulership of the coming age. He backs his argument that “The Bible teaches that believers will be rulers over different aspects of the kingdom of God.” with Scripture from Matthew 24:46-47.

“Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.”

This argument is interesting that we as believers have the authority to judge the angels in the coming age based on the rulership in Heaven. However, Stewart clearly states that we are not to condemn these heavenly beings (http://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_39.cfm).

This idea of mortal believer’s filling positions of authority  in heaven was continued in another article I found. In this article, the rebellion of Satan and the angels that followed him is mentioned primarily. “When Satan initiated his rebellion in heaven, it is evident that his treason focused on the more powerful and influential higher ranking angels…Thus, the positions of rank and authority formerly held by Satan’s minions are now vacant. “ (http://www.columbusbiblechurch.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49:1-corinthians-63&catid=37:articles&Itemid=59)

Because Satan was a bad angel and wanted to be God, he began trying to convince the most powerful angels to follow him. When they followed, their positions were made available for rulership. Likewise the Scripture Stewart used to argue that mortal believers will judge and have authority in Heaven proves to be an argument toward the vacant positions in Heaven.

Overall, this subject was rather confusing to research, but I found very intriguing. I mean we hold angels in such high esteem with the exception of Satan and his followers. I did not find a clear,concise answer on the matter; however, when researching the Bible does one ever? According the majority of scholars, yes there will a form of judgement passed in the coming age. Yes, we mere mortals will have the ability to rule and pass judgment over angels.

Please Admire This Heavenly Creature .

(I love X-Men)

x3-archangel-4-50k