Yes, it jumped unexpectedly off the page at me.
I was mentally checking on a Bible verse when I came across this part of a phrase: “It is true that some preach Christ out of … rivalry ….” (Philippians 1:15). It struck me that I have heard messages like that and have at times preached in a similar manner. There were times preaching when I would have ‘a bee in my bonnet’ over some lesser doctrine, but I worked hard to make it sound very, very important. Silly me.
Paul goes on in the text and acts as though he does not care much about inaccuracies from the pulpit, even when twisted with wrongful intent. In context it seems as though from a distance some preachers were in competition with Paul and his message, but as long as preachers were preaching Christ Paul showed no great concern.
He does get riled up when it gets personal, as in 2 Corinthians, but he evidently knew those preachers, their intentions and their audience … people he loved dearly. He had the medium of making a written letter to appeal to discerning minds, so he used it to defend himself before those with whom he was in a meaningful relationship.
I’ve heard preachers preach against other preachers. I’ve heard sermons against other sermons. I’ve heard teaching against other teachings. Correcting an error is one thing, but it is another thing is if the intention is selfish, to put oneself in a better light than others who may in fact be faithful to God. We must not seek to have our influence be more important to us than the truth. I’ve seen people spouting what they say to be truth while evidencing little or no fruit of the Spirit in the process. We need to affirm the truth where we see it and in whomever we see it. Let’s be complementary when we can be. Let’s exemplify loving even our enemies. Let us pray for those who persecute us.
“Lord, keep me from rivalry!”
Your co-worker, Dennis