1Ti 6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
1Ti 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
1Ti 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
I’ve seen two studies this week on the decline of the church, particularly in membership.
A major contributing factor is the Nones. Those who identify with no Religion.
Now we know in historic reformed circles that Religion is not Church and the Church is not a building or place, but a people. God’s people. And they are distinguish as the Visible and the Invisible. Simply those who profess faith, and we see in Church, and those who in their heart truly believe, but only God knows exactly who they are. Of course there is overlap, and Biblically, those in the Invisible Church should also be attending or meeting together in a Visible Church body of some form.
I guess it’s possible for some Nones to be part of the Invisible Church, but it appears not to be a Biblical model:
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
I am though curious about the underlined words in v5 above: supposing that gain is godliness:
In the Visible Church, I often hear it stated that some large mega-pastor who may be bringing in un-Biblical teaching can’t be a false teacher because they are so successful in bringing in people to their church. They have great fruit. Can it be that this is the “gain” that is referred too that they and others use to support their “godliness”?
I didn’t find a direct reference to this in Old John Gill’s commentary, though he does mention the selfish gain aspect that commonly comes along with worldly success in Church numbers.
BTW there is a final warning to stay away from them….
1 Timothy 6:5 – Gill
Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds,…. Who being corrupt in their principles, and corrupters of the word of God, dispute in a very froward and perverse way, rubbing and galling one another, and so provoke, to wrath and anger, and, every evil work:
and destitute of the truth of Christ, who is the truth, knowing nothing of him spiritually and savingly; and of the Gospel, the word of truth; and also of the truth of grace, being carnal, sensual, and having not the Spirit of God.
Supposing that gain is godliness; such were Simon Magus and his followers, and other false teachers, who made merchandise of men, looked everyone for his gain from his quarter, and acted as if there was nothing in religion but worldly profit and gain; these served themselves, their own bellies, and selfish interests, and not the Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore the apostle gives the following advice to Timothy, and through him to all ministers and churches,
from such withdraw thyself: do not come near them; have nothing to do with them; do not lay hands on them, or admit them into the ministry; do not suffer them to preach, or encourage them by hearing them: if in the church, cast them out; have communion with them, neither in a civil nor in a religious way; avoid all conversation with them. The Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions omit this clause; it is wanting in the Alexandrian copy, and in Beza’s Claromontane Exemplar, but is in other copies.