Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians
Leadership Under Scrutiny
2 Corinthians 11:7 - 15, 20
09 October 2016
Through gullibility and carelessness, the Corinthian church did not discern truth from error. They welcomed false teachers who lived in disregard of what they preached, instead of Paul, who lived by his doctrine. Genuine godly leadership strives for truth, not hypocrisy, and we can learn from this in the life of Paul.
Discerning godly leadership in the church (v. 7 - 11): godly leadership is not valued by external skills such as oratory power or persuasion, but in living conformed to the gospel. When the false teachers arrived at Corinth, they required money because of their outward professionalism. But in true godly leadership, humility is evident (v. 7 - 9), seeking the betterment of others first. Paul sarcastically asks if he sinned "because [he] preached the gospel of God to [the Corinthians] without charge," whilst the false teachers required money, but taught lies. In godly leadership, truth is practised (v. 10). For this reason, Paul could boast that the truth of Christ was in him, because he clearly lived according to it. Lastly, in godly leadership, love is a trademark. It was something Paul was known for, and we should be, too.
Trouble makers in the church expand (v. 12 - 15, 20): this happens because greed is a driving force (v. 12). The false teachers were the minority of the congregation, but desired Paul's ministry and power without its responsibility. Ultimately, godly leadership exists for the betterment of others, not self. Trouble makers are experts at deception (v. 13 - 15). But Paul says that this is no surprise, since "even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." We can know them because they exploit and abuse people for selfish gain (v. 20). Unfortunately, the Corinthians had become used to the abuse, and tolerated it. May we never become callous, and accept teachings that twist the gospel truth.
From Paul's letter to the Corinthians, we can learn to stand against people who would add to the gospel, however charismatic or professional they may be. We can learn to look at teachers' lives, and make sure they believe what they say, and to not make tolerance of evil a virtue. And lastly, we must remember to fight against these perversions in ourselves, and be faithful leaders also.