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Gentle Authority: Sam Storms on the Apostle Paul

This Thursday, March 10, Sam Storms will be speaking at the Dallas Boot Camp about the Church Planter's character. You can still register for Thursday only ($25) to hear him, Bruce Wesley, Matt Carter and Matt Chandler. 

Here's the outline of Sam Storms' article on the Apostle Paul's "Gentle Authority" in dealing with the Corinthian church as noted in 2 Corinthians 10:1-2:

I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!— I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh.

I. Introduction

  • It takes great strength and maturity not to respond in kind when one is slandered and maliciously maligned.

II. Story of Paul

  • Enemies of Paul had been spreading rumors
  • Accusations: a) Paul was bold in his writing, b) Paul was weak in person, c) Paul was living according to the flesh

III. Source of Rumors

  • "Bold when away": Paul took a firm and unyielding position regarding the man guilty of incest he insisted on corporate discipline, then mentioned it again in his next letter to them (vv 3-5)
  • "Weak in presence": Came as a result of his "painful visit" when he chose not to immediately discipline some who were guilty of immorality (v 1) 
  • "Living according to the flesh"  (v 2): Accused him of not being Spirit-led. 

IV. Paul's Reaction

  • Rather than take the bait of being “bold in writing” he writes using language that is deeply emotional and tender (v 10) 
  • He appeals to the meekness and gentleness of Christ (v 1): Prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 --Christ’s humility. Paul effectively says, “I will respond to you as Jesus responded to his accusers.”
  • Paul speaks of the flesh in three ways: 1. As a neutral reference to the body 2. As a pejorative reference to the fallen, sinful nature 3. As a reference to the standards of excellence as the world judges excellence a. Paul uses the third sense to respond to them b. He lives and serves at the lowly level of this world

V. Conclusion

  • "Paul was neither a bully nor would he be bullied. He took Jesus as his role model. Aggression was out of the question, but that didn't entail an abandonment of the rightful authority granted him by the risen Christ."

Read the full article here | More from Sam Storms on the character of Paul | More content from Sam Storms