Speaker: Jerry Cisar
Americans are familiar with smear campaigns in politics. Jeff Nilsson, in The Saturday Evening Post, wrote, “We had an intelligent, respectable election once, and the winner was George Washington. By the time the next election came around, the gloves were off and the tar buckets filled….” John Quincy Adams wrote about his own presidential campaign in 1824, “Every liar and calumniator was at work day and night to destroy my reputation.”
Paul evidently had a similar problem. In fact, there is a long history of smear campaigns against legitimate gospel ministry. This week’s text ends as Paul recounts the long history of opposition to the truth as it was climaxed in the crucifixion of Jesus the Lord, experienced in the Old Testament by the prophets, levied on Paul and Silas, and now even the Thessalonian church. Paul and Silas had left in a hurry, which may have given their opponents an angle for accusation against them.
In 1 Thessalonians 2:1-16, Paul reminds the Thessalonian believers of their experience when he and Silas first came preaching to them. First, Paul demonstrates “that he and his coworkers are not opportunistic hucksters masquerading as third-rate philosophers.”1 Then he expresses gratitude for how the Thessalonians had responded to their preaching.
What are some of the ways this attack on God’s Word is seen today? What does it look like to welcome the word into our lives?