Letters to Seven Churches (Part Nine): Philadelphia
Richard Ritenbaugh builds on the thesis that Christ's epistle to the Philadelphian congregation (Revelation 3:7-12) illustrates the optimistic and encouraging approach God's people should emulate in their communications with others, inside and outside of God's Church. As the letter opens, Christ reveals Himself as Holy, True, and the One having the Key of David. In the snapshot of time in which Christ wrote the epistle, the Philadelphian congregation had a sterling reputation. Some major deterioration took place in later decades, as the congregation yielded to aggressive and coercive Judaizing, obsessed over prophecy to the point of interpreting prophetic statements in ways that were completely unsupportable by Scripture, exhibited bizarre charismatic tendencies and flirted with legalism, asceticism, and Docetism. Mesmerized by their "new" understanding of God's word, these second-generation Philadelphians came to superciliously look down on other brethren who, they deemed, had not attained their level of Spiritual knowledge, going as far as to call them "animal-men." When Jesus warns us not to let anyone take our crown, He encourages us to endure over the long-haul and not bask in the glory of a brief, victorious accomplishment
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