When reading through 2 Timothy with some folk a few weeks back, I got a number of questions about some of Paul’s instructions that seemed very strange to my fellow readers.
There are a number of people that Paul seems to not want Timothy to associate with. He lists some individuals but then at the start of chapter 3 describes a long list of character traits before saying ‘avoid such people’ in verse 5.
The question as people framed it was ‘why should we not associate with them, surely we want them to hear the gospel?’
I answered the question briefly, for the sake of time, explaining that you might go in thinking you’re going to pull other people out but actually you will be pulled in. For our own sakes we should be careful who we eat with (1 Corinthians 10).
I could have gone on to describe that in our day the most winning ‘strategy’ for the gospel is institutional subcultures… but I didn’t and I don’t want to write that post today either.