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Beneath the Fundamentals. - Comments (1)

Printer Friendly Category: Articles,Doctrine
Author: John Malone
Date: 18th September, 2007 @ 01:13:46 PM

“Fundamentalism” has taken a serious beating by people to whom faith is not serious.

In fact, we hear about “fundamentalists” of every stripe – Jews, Moslems, Buddhists, Christians – as a pejorative, meaning, essentially, someone who is non-sensical, fanatical, and anti-social.

On the other hand, if we hear that a baseball coach, or a football coach is focused on “fundamentals” we consider him prudent, right-minded, and properly focused.

In the Bible, there are a collection of “fundamental truths” – predominately concerning the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ – that are sometomes singled out. It’s a risky business, to be sure, to single out certain truths as “fundamental” unless the Bible does it for us.

Interestingly, the Bible singles out two important matters as underlying the Christian faith. It may be surprising what they are. They center on a Greek compound word translated “form” and “pattern.” This word is a compund of the word for UNDER and TYPE.

First: Paul’s Life a Pattern.

The first instance of hupotuposis is found in 1st Timothy 1:16 . Paul is explaining to Timothy Paul’s specific calling and purpose in Christ. Pauls explains that, in a certain sense, he is the first (protos) among sinners. He does not mean by this that he is the FIRST SINNER. Adam (Eve) takes that position. He does not mean he is the WORST SINNER, although he claims quite a turnaround from being one who persecuted the church to one who is called out (chosen) to outline its construction.

He claims to be “first,” in the sense that God was doing a new thing after Jesus Christ died, arose and was glorified. That new thing was to conform a series – indeed, a “generation” – of new men, classed as neither Jew nor Gentile, to the person of Jesus Christ Himself. This process is: first, knowing Jesus Christ in detail; second, experiencing the power of His resurrection; and, third, being conformed to His image by the fellowship of His sufferings.

What Paul discloses to Timothy, near the end of his life, was that his purpose in Christ was to be the FIRST and a TYPE From these two words comes our English word “prototype.”

But Paul was not merely a “protoype,” or the first in a series which, after it is perfected, becomes useful as a mold. Paul was the “hupotuposis” itself; the mold or pattern after which all who follow would take shape.

Why, one might ask, would such a “form” or “pattern” be needed, when, after all, the object of the conforming process is not Paul, but Jesus Christ? This answer is simple: Jesus Christ could not be the example of the patient working of God to bring a SINNER to conform to the perfect Son of God! After all, Jesus Christ isn’t (and wasn’t) a sinner at all! God did not show “long-suffering” with Him, nor did He need to!

And so, Paul became the cut-out, or pattern, of God showing mercy and having great patience as a sinner becomes conformed to the image of Christ by the process of the “fellowship of His sufferings.” Paul had come to understand it late in life. The Lord told Ananias at the time of Paul’s conversion exactly this plan for Paul.

As the pattern – the hupotuposis – the life of Paul: his experiences, his attiude, his motivation, and his goals are all available in the God’s Word for every believer to adopt. In fact, one cannot live a successful Christian life except it conforms to the pattern of Paul’s life. Paul made this clear. That Paul’s life is the pattern of every successful Christian life is one thing that is under the fundamentals.

Second: The Outline of Sound Words.

The second instance of hupotuposis is found in 2nd Timothy 1:13 where Paul tells Timothy to “hold fast” the FORM of “sound words.” This “form” is hupotuposis.

Re-phrased, Paul tells Timothy to “retain the outline of wholesome words.” This outline was no doubt imparted to Timothy by Paul, or else he would not be exhorted to “hold it fast.” The outline is not exactly the Scriptures themselves, but the organization of them. When we combine this with Paul’s later exhortation to Timothy to pass along what he has learned to faithful able teachers, we can understand the necessity of the form.

When there is no form in which to place the Scriptures, they become misused and confused. In fact, that’s predominately what we have today, to such an extent the average believer is not confident he or she can even properly undertand the Scriptures. The lack of a proper outline being passed from a faithful men to others, and therefore the paucity of such men in pulpits, has greatly diminished the value of the wide publication of the Scriptures which has become climactic in our own day.

Ordinarily, one might think these faithful men would be doubly honored , and highly esteemed in love for the sake of their work, because of the admonitions of Scripture.

Nevertheless, when we look at our pattern servant of Christ, we discover that he was often despised and rejected, enjoying the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings , as God revealed his Son in him.

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