Piety

“If there is one who is irreproachable, a husband of one wife, whose children have faith, not open to the accusation of reckless living or undisciplined behavior, for it is required that the overseer is irreproachable as God’s steward, not intractable, not short-tempered, not violent, not greedy, but hospitable, a lover of good, prudent, upright, pious, disciplined, being devoted to the faithful Word as taught, that he might be able to exhort people in doctrine that is sound and reprove those who deny it.”

(Titus 1:6-9)

What does it mean to be pious? Like “prudence,” this is a word that often contains negative connotations and thoughts of people who are self-righteous. Pope’s call themselves “pious;” what more needs to be said? In addition, the “Piety” movement has caused a great deal of damage to the church over the ages. This movement has emphasized one’s unity in Christ over doctrine and over time doctrine gets almost entirely abandoned. Yet, without firm doctrine, how does one know the difference between right and wrong, truth and error? History demonstrates that when groups fall into piety they ultimately drift into liberalism and do whatever is right in their own eyes.

So, what is piety in a Biblical sense? The Greek word in question is ὅσιος (hosios), which means “to be holy, devout, pious, dedicated to God based on God’s standards.” In other words, being pious is being committed to God and seeking to live out the standards and expectations that God would have you live — as Jesus said, “if you love me, obey my commandments” (John 14:15). That is a person who is pious.

I suppose that by this point, this is a notion which we have beaten to death. Leaders in the church must not be obedient to their own preferences or to their own agendas, but they must be obedient to Christ. The church does not do what it does on the basis of pragmatism or on the basis of practical business models. Such models may attract lots of people, but they are a form of rebellion against God for the christian church may only do and be what the scriptures dictate regarding the church. We must pursue the wisdom of God, not the wisdom of man.

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