The theme this year of the “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference at Emmaus Bible College is ‘Training for Godliness” and the plenary sessions will be focusing on I Timothy 4-6. My two workshop topics are: “Guarding and Discarding: The Keys to Sound Theology (1 Timothy 6:20-21)” and “Sanctified Hedonism: The Case for “Worldly Saints” (1 Timothy 4:1-5).”
These false teaches are into forbidding — They forbid people to marry (which the Creator blessed in Genesis and the Lord Jesus in the gospels) and they restrict what people can eat! These negative values actually express several ungodly attitudes:
(1) unthankfulness: Both marriage and culinary variety were created by God to be enjoyed!
(2) a denial of the goodness of creation: Everything God created is good. Nothing (that is not sinful) is to be rejected IF it is received with thanksgiving!
But the material world (marriage and food) needs to be consecrated! How does this happen? By “the word of God and prayer.” As we are into God’s Word (allowing Him to speak to us) and prayer (giving us the opportunity to speak to Him), these two disciplines cause us to receive His good gifts with thanksgiving.
In his article “The Problem of Pleasure,” Phillip Yancey quotes G.K. Chesterton as saying, “I felt in my bones, first that this world does not explain itself. . . . Second, I came to feel as if magic must have a meaning, and meaning must have some one to. mean it. There was something personal in the world, as in a work of art. . . . Third, I thought this purpose beautiful in its old design, in spite of its defects, such as dragons. Fourth, that the proper form of thanks to it is some form of humility and restraint: we should thank God for beer and Burgundy by not drinking too much of them. . . . And last, and strangest, there had come into my mind a vague and vast impression that in some way all good was a remnant to be stored and held sacred out of some primordial ruin. Man had saved his good as [Robinson] Crusoe saved his goods: he had saved them from a wreck. All this I felt and the age gave me no encouragement to feel it. And all this time I had not even thought of Christian theology.”
We know the God who gave us marriage and food and everything else! Thank Him for His good gifts today!