Today @ Healingsprings fellowship
“They fashioned a tomb for thee, O holy and high one
The Cretans, always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies!
But thou art not dead: thou livest and abidest forever,
For in thee we live and move and have our being.” — Epimenides, Cretica, (6th-century BC philosopher)
Epimenides was not a Christian, in fact he wrote this piece centuries before the birth of Jesus. His writing will go on to inspire the writer of Acts (17:28) and Titus (one of the so-called Pastoral epistles which are regarded by a majority of scholars as pseudepigraphical). By way of definition, pseudepigraphal writings are literary works that were traditionally ascribed to an individual with a view to give it influence. For instance, Titus was traditionally ascribed to Paul, but in-depth study of the text has proved otherwise.
That aside, this and other pastoral letters give us insight into the doctrinal wrangling in the early church. This is pertinent because in recent weeks we have been exploring the impact of Book of Exodus on slavery and colonialism. Hence the admonition in Titus 3:8-9 as a safeguard with a view to consolidate the doctrinal position for the congregation.
Sadly, we do not yet have any scientific evidence (letters or archaeological artefacts) to assess the positions of rival factions in these disputes. But clearly they were also followers of the faith who had issues with particular practices or doctrines. By and large, we can deduce various scenarios through careful analysis of the contents of these letters in understanding the sort of challenges faced by the early church.
But perhaps most importantly, these writings gives us understanding of the source of the tradition of believing by ‘faith’, as to understanding through rational or critical thinking. When followers are expected to receive doctrines by ‘faith’ it leaves no room for questions or debate. Ofcourse, this is all done with a view to protect the congregation (babies in the faith) from the influence of ‘other’ ideas.
It also demonstrates why the faith has always been hostile to any form critical analysis. The effect of this worldview is highly pronounced in cultures where obedience, especially to those in authority is engraved in upbringing, case in point – Africa. As such we have masses who blindly follow faith leaders, even those who have had the privilege of the rigours of higher education.
This mindset permeates all aspect of life hindering self determination, technological advancement, human progress; and appreciation of our common humanity as we retreat to our various strongholds,
So we have people spending hours in church ‘waiting on the Lord’, looking to the sky for a miracle, or to a cult figure in the shape of a church leader; instead of seeking to understand who they are, their purpose, and harnessing their skills and talent in making this world a better place.
The writings of Epimenides also highlights early ideas of resurrection and understanding of the divine, hence they were seamlessly syncretised with Christianity.
Join us at 3pm today for the series: From Order to Chaos: a study on Exodus
St John the Evangelist Hall, Church Rd, Sidcup DA14 6BX
Healingsprings fellowship: Human Capital Development
Reachout | Revive | Recover