When Paul instructs Timothy to charge his followers not to “give heed” to “endless genealogies” (I Tim. 1:4), he refers to the status symbol of the personality of his day.
Recently this writer was informed by a correspondent from an eastern state that it appeared that he might be related to a Revolutionary general named Stam — and, did we wish him to investigate further! We replied that we were far too excited about where we were going to care much about where we had come from!
While there are some in our day who are very proud of their ancestry and have coats of arms displayed in their homes, the average Christian probably, has never had his family tree traced back very far. But in Paul’s day genealogies were very important, even among believers. One’s family relationships meant a great deal. If you were a second cousin to Christ or even a third cousin to Peter you “had it made.” You might be crude, or stupid, or even wicked, but all this was overlooked: you were closely related to Christ Himself or to the Apostle Peter and all were ready to give you audience.
Actually, the personality cult is still with us in the Church today though it manifests itself in different ways. We live in a day of mass communications, when the faces of prominent men and women are seen again and again in newspapers and magazines and even their personalities come through to us over radio and television. Thus it is the prominent “Christian” politician, athlete, actor, beauty queen, or even former gangster who commands the attention today. Those who arrange evangelistic campaigns often seek to engage such personalities to attract crowds. Such prominent figures, though perhaps actually saved, may be very much “of the world,” dishonoring their Christian calling every day, but their presence draws crowds and their shallow testimonies are used to justify their public participation in the work of the Lord.
The new evangelicalism has borrowed many prominent personalities from the world to help swell its audiences, while the old prayer that the witness may be hid behind the cross is to all intents and purposes considered passe.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.