Monday, June 26, 2006

Clement to the Corinthians Part III

Continued from Part 2, this is a commentary on Clement's First Epistle to the Corinthians.

Chapter 4

Clement gives examples such as Cain & Abel to show how envy has been a source of great evil historically (this is the same sin he is accusing them of). So most of us may get the image "oh they're being covetous of their neighbors possessions" and that of course would be envy, but it doesn't stop there.

How did envy play a part in Cains sin? He wasnt envious of what Abel had but what he did and how he pleased God. I dont think its far fetched to assume that Cain probably accused Abel of being "holier than thou". And Abel didnt do anything wrong! This is such a common excuse even today for all kinds of evil and it has its roots near the beginning of the human race. Some people avoid going to church because church goers are perceived as "holier than thou".

How else is the sin of envy to this day manifesting itself in the Church? Look at homosexuals who want the rights & privileges which belong only to a legitimate marriage between a man and a woman as God instituted. (I'm a single man so I am not privy to those rights either). Look at women who want to be ordained as priests and corrupt the orthodoxy of the Church. This is nothing less than pure envy and it is precisely the behavior that Clement is scolding the church at Corinth for. Humans by nature are prone to this type of attitude in life so it should come as no surprise that it is happening now in the Church as it always has but in many Protestant churches it has passed from envious thoughts to corrupt deeds. (Corruption is the fruit of envy if not suppressed quickly as Clement is trying to do here).

Chapter 5

Catholics in particular love this chapter because Clement is so.... Catholic. Listen to what he says:
But not to dwell upon ancient examples, let us come to the most recent spiritual heroes. Let us take the noble examples furnished in our own generation. Through envy and jealousy, the greatest and most righteous pillars [of the Church] have been persecuted and put to death. Let us set before our eyes the illustrious apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labours, and when he had finally suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. Owing to envy, Paul also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned.

Here he calls Peter & Paul 'the greatest and most righteous pillars of the church' and mentions Peter first.

Chapter 6

He goes on to talk about various martyrs of the faith. This was a very short chapter and we basically just talked about the cost some of the 'heroes of the faith' had to pay in order to follow Christ. We too may one day have to pay such a cost. We should consider ourselves lucky (as the apostles did) if we are counted worthy to suffer for the cause of Christ.

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