Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

Carl Pollard

Today I walked in on someone purloining. I told them that I would think of some ways that they could recompense the situation, but the only way I could think to forgive them was if they were willing to give me some money as a propitiation. 

Did that sentence confuse you? Then you’re in luck because in this article we are going to be covering a very confusing word. The Bible is the most valuable possession we can have here on earth. So our goal should be to understand what it says. If I’m honest there have been times that I’ll read verses that use some confusing words, and instead of trying to understand what it means, I just skip over it and keep reading. 

There are some valuable insights that we can gain from looking more in depth at these words. 

Let’s define this biblical term “purloining” using scripture. Titus 2:10 says, “not purloining, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.” 

The Greek word “nosphivo” is only found 3 times in New Testament and only translated as purloining in one verse. It’s defined as, “to put aside for oneself, to keep back, to steal.” It was actually a term used as a description of what Roman soldiers would do when they were looting. They would be tempted to hold back treasure for themselves. And that’s exactly what this word means. 

Going back to this verse, what does it mean in context? Verse 10 is the launching point for the rest of Paul’s point in chapter one. When he says purloining, he’s referring to bondservants and their attitude towards their masters. Rather than pilfering and stealing, they should show faith in God to take care of them. 

In essence this verse is an appeal to live in accordance with the teachings of God in everything. 

Servants who were not Christians would steal and cheat their masters at any chance they could get. Paul’s appeal for these servants to keep from purloining is still relevant today. We can be tempted to slack off and do as little work as possible. This mentality is the same as stealing since our employers pay us to do a job. If we are lazy and avoid working, that is a form of stealing. As Christians we are to have a faith in God to provide for us, not stealing and being dishonest.

In summary, if you were to use this in everyday conversation, you could say…

“I have never purloined in my life,” “Purloining is wrong,” and “I’m going to teach my kids to be honest and not run around purloining.” 

P.S. Or you could just say “steal” or “withhold.” 

The Bible And The College Cheating Scandal

The Bible And The College Cheating Scandal

Neal Pollard

One of the nation’s biggest news stories last week involved a college admissions scam that included several high-profile people, including at least two Hollywood actresses. A California man, Rick Singer, spearheaded a scheme to bribe coaches and administrators at such colleges as Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, USC, and other prestigious universities. The bribes bought these privileged High School students extra time to take the SAT and ACT, make fake athletic profiles, and substitutes to take their entrance exams for them. This has proven embarrassing for both the colleges and those breaching this most basic of ethical codes (via Foxnews.com, Madeline Farber). 

Someone observed that there is a bit of irony and hypocrisy in all of this. We feel outraged at this glaring lack of honesty and ethics, but students who attend these (and other) universities have been taught for decades that there is no such thing as absolute truth and an objective standard of right and wrong. Are we surprised when people live out the consequences of such world views? Remove a measurable, immutable standard, and anything goes! It disgusts us to see such values in action, but people of influence in our society have been pushing such values for a long time. 

In addition to its answers to all of life’s crucial questions, the Bible lays down an ethical code that is universal and logical. Its rules are blind to nationality, economic status, gender, age, or any other category one falls into he or she might appeal to as an exception. In fact, those who have more have greater expectations made of them (see Luke 12:48).  The Judgment Day will be eminently impartial. No one will manipulate the results. No one can sidestep heaven’s requirements for salvation without an eternal consequence. Just because one is religious leader does not mean that they are above the law of Christ. Again, there are higher standards for those who are in positions of leadership (Jas. 3:1; Heb. 13:17; 1 Tim. 4:16; etc.). 

It’s not at all surprising that a society which rejects God’s guidelines finds itself sinking into a moral and ethical abyss (cf. Prov. 14:34). But, it does go to show that no one wants to reap the harvest from sowing the seeds of sin. However, there is no way to avoid it (Hos. 8:7; Gal. 6:7-8). Our challenge is to live lives of consistency, exemplifying the benefits of respecting and adhering to God’s standards. Jesus calls such modeling “salt” and “light”which highlights God’s existence and relevance in our world (Mat. 5:13-16). 

We cannot keep others from being cheaters and liars, but we can show them a powerful alternative!


Allergic To Church?

Allergic To Church?

Neal Pollard

A Christian lady asked her neighbor to attend a gospel meeting with her. The neighbor said neither “yes” nor “no.” He said that he and his wife could not attend church because of her allergies! Apparently, the perfumes of those attending so bothered her that she could not go to a house of worship. He conceded the awfulness of her situation, but he was confident God would overlook their lack of attendance.

This same sister, who knows and loves that couple, had bumped into her sneezy neighbor countless times in the grocery and department stores. The couple celebrated their 50th anniversary with a party they hosted in their home. Many guests attended, most of whom presumably “attended church” somewhere. The sister attended, too, and sorrowfully reported that almost every guest wore perfume. Fortunately, the neighbor survived the party.

Few excuses will outdo getting sick from church. Yet, some of the excuses we give are equally flimsy, if more trite. Truly, God will judge each individual for only He knows the heart and the circumstances (cf. Rom. 8:33-34; Heb. 4:12). As that is so, how often is He snubbed and insulted by Christians who willfully intend to miss the assemblies? What does He think of the chronic excuser, who attempts to justify “skipping church” with horribly poor rationale?

True Christians truly seek the Kingdom of God first (Mat. 6:33). Spiritually living Christians hunger for each opportunity to worship God and fellowship with other Christians (cf. Psa. 95:6; Mat. 5:6; Acts 12:12; etc.). Cross-centered saints do not look for “reasons” to miss worship and Bible study with other saints! It is incongruous to think of a spiritual-minded person (cf. 1 Pet. 2:5) battling with the decision (?) of whether or not to attend. May each of us develop the yearning of David and say, “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord” (Psa. 122:1).