A special thanks to Blue Shepard for allowing me to publish his weekly e-newsletter here on Vigilant Wolf. The Blue Shepard is a friend and past guest of Ever Vigilant podcast (episode 43). I personally look forward to his weekly thoughts on Christianity, Manhood, and Brotherhood and I believe you will feel the same.
Required Reading: II Kings 1:1-17
"My child in The Way," said the weathered and steely man. "Yes, Father?" The sharp, young fellow eagerly replied. One aged beyond his years, the latter not yet aged at all it seemed; one cool and having had his fill of the fray, the other eager for a righteous cause: Both bent on the same objective. "There is a trouble brewing not far off. Our brothers have written to us telling us so." The older man's blank stare was as grey and sober as the woolen mane he maturely stroked. "I am afraid you will have to take a journey soon, and not a pleasant one at that. But I believe you are the man for this task," he told the younger. "You must be talking about Corinth," piped Barnabas. "Yes. I had hoped it would not come to this. I would have liked for us to remain together in Jerusalem a bit longer." With a mischievous grin Barnabas quipped, "Turning your Cretan hound out on the poor, stray sheep, Paul? How merciless of you!" Titus spoke up, with a slightly indignant zeal, "Mind you to be respectful of Paul. He is very concerned for our brothers in Greece." "Concerned indeed," said Paul, "and I do consider sending Titus as my emissary very merciful indeed: For should I arrive there myself to find them in such disarray as has been conveyed to me at the pen of first hand witnesses, I should think them very ashamed when I set them in order. That is why I am sending you, Titus, as my appellate mediator. Our brothers obviously do not realize the egregiousness of their errors and I believe you shall be most persuasive when you meet with them face to face." "Persuasive, I'll say," scoffed Barnabas, "Titus is part apostle, part barbarian". "And that is exactly what makes him qualified to rectify this dreadful misunderstanding. Titus, you have been many days in the company of Our Lord, and the Holy Spirit will give you wisdom as you address the divisions among our brethren", Paul said. "May God grant as much wisdom to our brethren at Corinth, that they may acknowledge the grief which they have caused their spiritual father," said Titus. "And that they may not prolong the impending wrath of Titus the Cretan" Barnabas jaunted.
Born to a wealthy pagan family on the Island of Crete, Titus was well educated in pagan philosophy and religion. At age 20, he heard a voice in a dream tell him to abandon the wisdom of the Greeks, and seek after the knowledge which would save his soul. Titus began a search about a year later which found him shocked by and pouring over Isaiah 47 of the Hebrew Scriptures. He found what seemed to be a striking mirror image of his own spiritual condition. News soon reached Crete of a great prophet and wonder worker in Israel, and the Astute Titus took leave of the tiny Island to go and see for himself. Titus became an apostle of the 70 followers of Christ, and is believed to have been present at both Christ's death and ascension. After that, on the day of Pentecost, Titus heard a sound which had become altogether uncommon to him, yet it was coming from the very lips of his fellow Apostles: The Cretan Language. He was soon thereafter baptized by none other than St. Paul himself.
Titus became a close friend and valuable fellow laborer with Paul. So valuable was his role that an entire epistle was written to him as a personal manual for his ministry from St. Paul. At first glance, mentions of St. Titus in cannon seem sparse. Upon closer examination, we see the relationship and trust between these two apostles. Paul fathered many believers - Titus performed the fierce role of elder brother.
Titus was a lion tamer; an enforcer; a corrector. A stern man, and acquainted with discipline from his youth, it was Titus whom reconciled the flippant Corinthian believers, lest they face the wrath of God by means of disrespecting Paul's Apostolic authority (see II Cor. 7:6-9). "Aww, Titus delivered good news to Paul that the Corinthians weren't angry at him any more". No: Titus delivered news to Paul that, at his (Titus') admonition, the Corinthians had repented of their rebellion and made good their works, sparing the wrath of God.
What a fierce man St. Titus must have been! For, being a Cretan himself, he was chosen to be sent to the rebellious congregations at Crete. We see so many great conundrums at the church in the book of Titus, and Paul writes with great confidence and clarity to Titus on how to establish these parameters. Titus had a hard row to hoe.
Admonition is a lost art in our culture. Feelings be hanged, someone has to be skillful in setting the record straight. We are given anecdotal commentaries on quotes from Christ like, "Bless and curse not". But when we examine the literal application of his own ministry, we see that our Lord obviously meant something dramatically different from what our effeminate babblers have perverted into some Gandhian fable of universality and humanistic heresy. Despite the few holdouts (more popular examples of holdouts could include the late Rev. Graham and his son), admonition is altogether perverted in meaning or simply left out. We have been told of our infinite value in the eyes of God, because he is lonely in heaven without us, so he sent Jesus to be our ultimate boyfriend; all the while left to these lies in blissful ignorance of the judgment that awaits our own wretched souls. Christ's perching was full of commandment and judgment, with some words of affirmation - but always pointing to our own undeserving state and God's benevolent grace and providence toward us. When the people do not fear judgment, God will judge them, but he will first judge the hirelings who have lead them into harm's way. We do not see this from Christ, the prophets, or his apostles. We see, rather, continual themes of contrition, humility, brokenness, gravity, sobriety, and fear of judgment. We see respect and total submission to Lordship. We see exhortations to submit to one another in the fear of the Lord. Those whose intention is to proudly and rebelliously slap the J man on the back and crack a cold one with him once they arrive in his presence are not the kind of folks whom he says will ever be in his presence.
Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.
Teach us to bless when we bless, and curse when we curse. Teach us to admonish, for by doing so, we spare men from harm. Remind us that we give account for their souls.
Spare someone from harm this week: put them in mind to show respect.
The Blue Shepard
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