In bible study this morning we were looking at 3 John. These verses stuck out...
9 I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. 10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.
This guy, Diotrephes, doesn't accept John's teaching, unjustly accuses John of something, and forbids anyone from showing hospitality to John's ministry friends.
But John's use of the word forbid interests me.
Is the word 'forbid' ever used positively in the epistles. i.e., does a godly christian leader ever specifically 'forbid' christians from doing something?
There are 2 other verses in the epistles that use the word 'forbid'
- 1 Corinthians 14:39
Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues.
- 1 Timothy 4:3
men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.
Paul says we are not to forbid speaking in tongues and warns against people who forbid marriage. Paul certainly tells people how they ought to live, but he never 'forbids' something. Is this because freedom is such a feature of the christian life? In contrast to Paul and John, Diotrephes seems a bit controlling. Don't you think?
Am I drawing too long a bow to suggest that we should we be wary of Christian leaders who forbid their people doing things? Could forbidding things show a leader to have the kind of love for 'being first' that Diotrephes had?