Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: July 2014

Sunday, July 13, 2014

THE SCORNER



        THE SCORNER

       The Word of God speaks often of the Scorner.  He is a despicable twit.  The Scorner will refuse to forgive the person he holds in contempt regardless of how much that person humbles himself before the Scorner or how diligently he seeks resolution with the Scorner.  The Scorner may give an outward show of resolution to the arbitrator, but will eventually find another issue to continue his diatribe against the person he holds in contempt.  This is a sure way of knowing you are dealing with a Scorner.
          This is a description of a carnal nature waging war (James 4:2-3).  It involves the age-old battle that began back in the Garden of Eden.  It is the battle for the Lordship of the will.  The Scorner fights for self-gratification in order to get his own way.  It is a battle for control and leadership.  It is just a giant ego trip to nowhere.  Even if he wins, he loses.  It is a no win situation.  The Scorner loses.  The person he attacks loses.  The local church loses, but most of all, the cause of Christ loses. 
          Humble spirituality is always more concerned about righteousness and reconciliation rather then faultfinding.  Carnality focuses on faultfinding.  In the extreme sense of faultfinding, this is a classic symptom of the Scorner. 

In James 3:18, godly wisdom in this area is shown by the motivational desire to make peace, not wage war. 

          It is important to understand the make-up of the local churchIs the local church made up ONLY of mature Christians who know how to resolve problems and handle conflict?  Hardly, it is made up of believers at all levels of spiritual growth.  There are essentially five basic levels of spiritual maturity in any local church.


  • 1. It is made up of BABBLING BABIES who need constant attention.  They need to be bottle fed and have their diapers changed (they make a lot of messes).
  • 2. It is made up of TEMPER TANTRUM THROWING TODDLERS who throw themselves down and throw a fit to try and get their way.  Do not let them get by with it.
  • 3. It is made up of ADULATING ADOLESCENTS who constantly struggle with the transitions between knowledge and application, between preaching and practice, who always seem to think they know more than they know and who think more highly of themselves than they ought.  It is at this level of spiritual growth that many Christians have major problems with their spiritual authorities (as pastors).
  • 4. It is made up of YOUNG ADULTS, just starting to grow strong in development of their own personal values and priorities and who are beginning to reproduce through personal evangelism.
  • 5. It is made up of MATURE CHRISTIANS, who, for the most part, are faithful in their service and discipleship ministry, but occasionally fall back into one of their childhood practices.

          These are the kinds of people that make up the local church.  Therefore, we should expect personal conflict in the local church and learn to resolve it Scripturally.  If we have a disagreement with a brother or sister in Christ, we should judge our own motives first by asking a few questions of ourselves.

1. Are we doing everything in our power to practically and tangibly show love to that person?
2. Are we working to help overcome a fault we perceive to be there or do we just condemn him/her for it?
3. Are we doing everything WE can to promote him/her in his/her cause for Christ and to help him/her succeed in his ministry for Christ or are we undermining that ministry and destroying his/her credibility?

          It is the Scorner (male or female) that we must watch out for.  The Scorner is an unforgiving person who holds another person in contempt and is often indignant towards people, frequently castigating someone because the Scorner has been offended for some reason.  The source of this contempt is either conviction of some sin that the Scorner is not willing to repent of or self-righteousness.  The Scorner’s spirit is closed to the truth of his sinful selfishness and to anyone that he thinks sees him for what he is (a scorner) and understands what his real spiritual condition is.
          Scorner’s are often self-righteous people who hold everyone to a higher standard of living than they have for themselves.  Contempt for those that do not meet their hypocritical evaluation criteria is the common way they manifest their self-righteousness and the way a scorner is exposed. 
          My wife noticed a woman in one of our churches who obviously held me in contempt.  She never laughed at my jokes and frequently showed her contempt for me by non-verbal communication (mannerisms such as folding her arms over her chest when she closed her heart to what I was saying or rolling her eyes in ridicule to what I said).  I shrugged my wife’s comments off not giving them much consideration.  However, not long after that, this person began to attack through Loaded Guns, doing much damage.  When I finally left the church many years later, I was told she celebrated my leaving as a victory for herself.
          The contempt and carnal indignation of the Scorner comes from his/her own unwillingness to forgive or look beyond a person’s faults to his potential in Christ and help that person grow in the grace of Christ.  The Scorner does not see people with compassion or with a heart to help them grow. 

The Scorner wants to be rid of the person held in contempt and will do about anything to get rid of him.

          The Scorner is a dangerous person in a local church.  Be sure, if you have one, he/she will eventually be the source of serious conflict to the Pastor or within the local church.  The reason this is true is due to the spiritual dynamic of preaching.  As the pastor preaches the Word of God, a spiritual dynamic is taking place.  The Spirit of God uses the truth being preached to confront the carnal Christian’s lifestyle.  If that believer is not willing to yield his will to the will of God as the Spirit of God brings conviction, the hardening to the will of God will bring about guilt.  The carnal Christian will then begin to rationalize about the area of his life he is not willing to yield to God’s will in order to justify himself.  In doing so, his rationalization will generate contempt for the message preached and, ultimately, contempt for the preacher that preaches it.  The conscience will become “seared” and the heart will become hardened and closed to any future confrontation resulting in running, covering, and hiding or attacking the Messenger.
          In my experience, when a Scorner reveals himself by contemptuous actions, this is usually the dynamic behind his contempt.  The Scorner’s contemptuous actions seek to rid himself of the person he holds in contempt rather than seeking a solution to this conflict that is going on in his own soul through confession, repentance, and yielding to God’s will.  The Scorner’s taking offense is often a mask of his own guilt about something he is not willing to yield to God. 

“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165).

          The problem here is simple.  The solution is equally simple.  The Scorner is under conviction about something the Spirit of God reveals about his life that is out of harmony with God’s Word.  The solution involves confronting the Scorner with the fact of his own self-deception regarding whatever it is he is unwilling to yield to the Lord.  Unless Christians understand this dynamic, the Scorner will frequently be successful in driving the person held in contempt out of the Church, often the Pastor.  God forbid that any church allows this to happen to their Pastor. 
          That is why God tells us to deal swiftly and harshly with the Scorner.  However, if the Pastor is the person being held in contempt and being attacked by the Scorner, the deacons of the church need to surround him and protect him from the Scorner.  The deacons should be the people dealing with the Scorner.  The Pastor (or any person being attacked by the Scorner) will not be able to resolve this.  The Scorner’s contempt will keep him/her from seeking resolution because the Scorner’s focus is on revenge and destruction (even though they will deny this).  This is also why God tells us that when we try to deal with the Scorner, we should expect retaliation and implosion.

“He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot” (Proverbs 9:7).

          According to this verse of Scripture, the Scorner will seek to bring “shame” upon the person who seeks to correct him and the Scorner will try to put a “blot” upon his character (the “wicked man” is synonymous with the Scorner).  Expect this kind of response from the Scorner.  The word “shame” in the above verse is from the Hebrew word qalown (kaw-lone’).  In the strictest sense, it means to expose a person’s nakedness (pudenda).  In other words, expect this person to do just about anything to destroy the character of the one held in contempt or to demean that person in the eyes of other people.  A Scorner will find something (even if he has to make something up or exaggerate some fault) to denigrate the person who seeks to reprove him.
          The following verses list other things you can expect from the “scorner.”  These things do not mean you should not do what you are supposed to do in reproving the Scorner, it is just that God wants us to be aware of what can be expected from the Scorner when the Word of God brings him/her under conviction and he/she is not willing to repent.  These responses are things that will make the Scorner evident to everyone.

“Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee” (Proverbs 9:8).

“A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke” (Proverbs 13:1).

“A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth” (Proverbs 14:6).

“A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise” (Proverbs 15:12).

          Because Scorners can be such a difficult people to deal with, they intimidate many people.  Scorners count on intimidation.  They have learned that intimidation is a very powerful tool in getting their way.  If the Scorner is allowed to play his little game of carnality in the church for very long, expect him to gather a following and expect war. 
          God tells us to deal swiftly and harshly with the Scorner.  There is too much at stake to play Patty-Cake with this type of person.  Deacons should especially learn to discern the characteristics of Scorners and be willing to deal with them before they can attack the Pastor and his family (and Satan will eventually lead them there by that ring of carnality he put in mankind’s nose at the fall). 
          God wants the Scorner dealt with swiftly and harshly to avoid the corruption of the “simple” in the church.  The word “simple” in the following verses is from the Hebrew word p@thiy (peth-ee’).  It refers to the person easily influenced by someone else or to the person easy enticed or seduced into error.  It refers to a na├»ve person who does not understand the spiritual dynamic of truth, conviction, guilt and a proper Biblical response to that dynamic.
          This is the type of person the Scorner USES.  The “simple” person needs to be protected from the Scorner.  Primarily, the Scorner needs to be publicly dealt with clearly and directly to avoid the spiritual corruption of the “simple.”

“Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge” (Proverbs 19:25). 

“When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge” (Proverbs 21:11).

          The source of the Scorner’s carnality is his pride and self-righteousness.  He becomes his own measuring stick for all other people of what is right or good.  If anyone does not bow down to the Scorner’s opinion, that person automatically becomes another target of the Scorner’s contempt. 

“Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath” (Proverbs 21:24)

          There is only one solution to the problem of the unrepentant Scorner. 

“Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease” (Proverbs 22:10).

“The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men” (Proverbs 24:9).

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.