- Dr. Timothy X. Merritt
Scripture vs. False Teachings - Part 3
From Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to “turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge” (1 Tim 6:20) to Wesley’s quadrilateral that emphasized primacy of Scripture to continuing calls for more ethical leadership in every aspect of our modern lives, there is a recognized need for a solid foundation upon which ethical reasoning can be built. Despite competing worldviews, the Christian leader can choose to make the love of God through Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible the starting point for ethical reasoning. To do so means more than simply avoiding the chaos and fluctuations the leadership trend du jure, or of ensuring consistency of ethical decisions over time. In fact, recognizing the primacy of Scripture is actually the leader's own "good confession" homologeo or declaration the substance of the Bible to be true.
A declaration such as this has profound implications for ethical leadership. Once a leader genuinely accepts the Bible as truth, the messages of Scripture begin to transform the individual character of that leader; then he or she will be compelled to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (1 Tim 6:11). Yet they will never follow all Scriptural instructions perfectly, and they will never attain by their own righteousness perfection of ethical decision making, just as they can never earn their place in heaven through their acts on earth. Nevertheless, this vagueness and complexity are accounted for in Scripture, and the revealed truth of God through Scripture is sufficient to communicate the differences between good and bad leadership, and to guide the heart of the leader to the better choice.
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Badaracco, J. (1997). Defining moments: When managers must choose between right and right. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press.
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Carmy, S. (2010). Personal ethics, public virtue, and political legitimacy in biblical kings and American presidents. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 40(1). doi:10.1111/j.1741-5705.2009.03734
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Malan, F. S., & Van der Watt, J. G. (2006). Identity, Ethics, and Ethos in the New Testament. Berlin: De Gruyter.
McQuilkin R. (1984). Problems of Normativeness, in Hermeneutics, Inerrancy, and the Bible, ed. Earl D. Radmacher and Robert D. Preus. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
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Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership Theory and Practice. SAGE Publication Inc.
O'Donnell, T. (2017). The Rhetorical Strategy of 1 Timothy. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 79(3), 455-475.
Perry, A. (2016). Exemplary lives in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity: An analysis of 1 Timothy 3-4 for ethical leadership. Retrieved from http://eres.regent.edu:2048/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.regent.edu/docview/1757729770?accountid=13479
Porter, C. L. (1998). God's Justice and the Culture of the Law: Conflicting Traditions in Paul's Letter to the Romans. Encounter, 59(1-2), 135-155.
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