A Question I Was Asked:

What Does the New Testament Mean by, '...Having a Form of Godliness But Denying the Power Thereof...'?

My Response:
This comes from 2 Timothy 3:5, but we really need to pick up the context from verse one:

'1. But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3. without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4. treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - 5. having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.'
(2 Timothy 3:1-5, NIV).

Now there is, of course, a duality here. The decline in Jewish national character in the years following the Jewish religious authorities rejection of Jesus and of the Gospel has been remarked upon and this culminated in the Judgment brought upon them through the Romans in the often horrendous Jewish/Roman War of 66-73AD. However, I feel that the truest and fullest application of this Scripture may be found in the present day, as we move increasingly close to the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ - this time in spectacular and awe-inspiring power.

The increasing rejection of Christianity in lands which were once immersed in the Christian Gospel is already exacting a terrible toll in the decline in all standards of moral integrity right across our lands. Just look at Europe and America. The examples are so many and so obvious that it seems pointless to even point out any particular ones.

Today our peoples do indeed have 'a form of godliness' even while denying its power. To take a very basic example, if a man and his wife truly love each other and love their children, they are fulfilling what God would have them do, yet if the couple claim unbelief or atheism, they are denying the power of God - the very power from which all love, including family love derives. People sometimes say that it is 'very human' to love ones family, but they are wrong - family love is actually a small part of a truly divine love which our bounteous God gives as a gift to every single human family!

Somebody once said that 'atheists can be annoyingly nice people' - hmmm, I'm personally not too convinced of that! I will just say that they are exceptionally annoying people to deal with, especially when they claim to be anti-religious when they plainly are not - atheism has now become a new fundamentalist religion, with Darwin, of course, their chief prophet (even though he is now actually a fallen prophet, which they will not admit because he is all they have). Religion does not have to be God-accepting, as Buddhism has long demonstrated. I do tire of these people denying that black is black and white is white; Professor Dawkins seems to be typical of the newer highly argumentative religious atheist, interestingly, his most recent book demonstrates that he understands neither religion nor philosophy so it is probably not surprising that he does not know when he himself is being religious; but I won't get into that here since we cover that subject at depth in many other articles.
Robin A. Brace, June 2008.