A Rare Bird
The California Condor almost went extinct. In 1987, a team captured 27 remaining birds and put them into breeding programs. A few years later, the birds were reintroduced back into the wild, but their numbers are still tiny, and it’s rare for someone to see one, but not quite as rare as the Glaucous Macaw. There is some debate as to whether the bird is still around. Some hope there are still a few birds in the wild, but researchers haven’t been able to confirm any left. But these pale in comparison to two other rare creatures, the Weaker Brother and the Domineering Baptist. Like the Glaucous Macaw, there are rumors that such exist, but I’ve never heard anyone admit it. Everyone thinks they are strong in the faith, and everyone else is the weaker brother (Romans 14-15), and no one ever admitted to loving preeminence.
I’m sure Diotrephes had his reasons if you asked why he didn’t acknowledge the Apostle John (3 John 1-14). When he wouldn’t listen to John or when he told the church all the terrible things John was doing, the sins he committed, and charges of impropriety, he no doubt had some rationale behind it. I can only imagine (because I don’t know) it may have gone something like, “John has gotten old and soft. He doesn’t understand what’s going on here, and his ‘love, love, love’ message is harming the church.” Or, maybe he said something like, “I really hate to say this. I really do. John was such a faithful man, for such a long time. It’s really sad to see him go off like this. It pains me to do this, and I ONLY do this because I love the church, but we can’t receive John. We must remain pure.” Diotrephes, love preeminence? Ha! No way! Just the opposite. He loves the church. Or, that’s what he would say. But the fact is, according to the Word of God, Diotrephes was bringing malicious, unjustified charges against John. He was lying, bearing false witness, and turning brothers in Christ against him. And if anyone spoke against Diotrephes, he threw them out of the church!
These birds are rare, indeed. In my four decades among the Baptists, I’ve never heard anyone repent of loving preeminence. I’ve listened to many messages on the subject, with lots of Amens, and heads nodding in unison. You’d think they had seen this mysterious person once or twice, but, alas, like an ecclesiastical cryptid, he never materializes. I’ve heard a tale of a missionary who once encountered the spirit of Diotrephes in a far-off region, but that’s just a rumor. Despite church splits, wars, and rumors of wars among Baptists, this rare creature, if he exists at all, remains a mystery. What did Diotrephes say when he got wind of this letter? I guess he accused John of wanting the preeminence and then accused him of slander and bringing malicious, unjustified charges against him.