70 myths of losing salvation (24): Demas loved the world and departed from the faith.

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Myth 24:  depart from laboring with or even fellowshipping a true man of God by choosing to love this present evil world, even after ministering with him. 2Ti 4:10

10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. The writer in the article “70 ways of falling away” suggests that Demas had “departed from laboring with or even fellowshipping a true man of God by choosing to love this present evil world, even after ministering with him.”  May I suggest that this is not so. His article is found here: 

http://smashingidols7.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/70-ways-a-believer-can-fall-away/ 

Demas must be the favorite son of those who preach “you can lose your salvation”. They claim that Demas has forsaken the faith because of his love of the world.  

Very little is known about this man. What however is important is that Paul did not say he deserted his faith, he deserted Paul. It’s different.

Those who preached that Demas lost his faith must however consider the notes stated here below.

Let us start with the detractors. There are those who said he defected from the faith. I am going to be fair here. I am not going to JUST give you a one-sided view. So here goes, here’s one for those who preached that Demas lost his salvation.

“Epiphanius (c. 310-403 A.D.), in his writings on the various heresies of the early church, lists Demas as being among the noted “apostates from the faith.”

There is also a view that he became a priest to idols in Thessalonica.

On the other hand, there are those who argue that Demas did not lose his faith. Here are 3 popular writers. Let’s start with the 1st.

“According to tradition, “he became a priest in a heathen temple in Thessalonica” (Dr. Paul Kretzmann, Popular Commentary of the Bible: The NT, vol. 2, p. 416). “The tradition, however, which relates that he became in after days an idol priest at Thessalonica is baseless” (Dr. Charles J. Ellicott, Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, vol. 8, p. 241).”

The 2nd suggests that Demas is in fact Demetrius. “William Barclay, the noted Scottish scholar and commentator, firmly believed (by linking Demas to the Demetrius of 3 John 12) that this former faithful co-worker with Paul eventually found his way back to a right relationship with the Lord.”

It is a common fact that Demas is a common name for a Gentile. It simply means a follow of Dementer, the Greek Goddess. As such it may not even be his real name. A careful search for the name Demas shows that Demas is a variation of Demetrius.

Demas has its origins in the Old Greek language. Demas is a variation ofDemetrius (English).

As such Barclay’s view is clearly a supported one and I must say a welcome one. It is pertinent to note that Paul has once claimed that Mark was not “worthy” to go with him and became the subject of an argument that separated him from Barnabas. Here Paul an old man sent for this man whom he thought was not worthy, John Mark. Mark recovered from his failures. It is not surprising to find Demas going through the same spiritual journey and trial.

Here’s the 3rd and I believe the most interesting view. I personally hold this view:

“Still other scholars feel it is unfair to suggest Demas was merely seeking material gain. Adam Clarke, for example, wrote, “It could not have been the love of secular gain which had induced Demas to abandon St. Paul; he must have counted this cost before he became a Christian” (Clarke’s Commentary, vol. 6, p. 638). Clarke even laments, “Demas has received little justice from interpreters and preachers in general. It is even fashionable to hunt him down” (ibid).

When Paul says, “Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica,” Adam Clarke, and a few other scholars as well, see this in a more positive light. They suggest the phrase “having loved this present world” simply means Demas had a love for the souls of the lost, specifically those of the Jews. Thus, he went to Thessalonica to preach to the Jews, which he considered of far greater importance than staying to comfort Paul.

Clarke writes, “It is not intimated that he had denied the faith, but simply that he had left the apostle and gone into Thessalonica; for which this reason is given, that he loved the present world. Now, if agapesas, ‘having loved,’ can be applied to a desire to save the souls of the Jews, and that he went into Thessalonica, where they abounded, for this very purpose, then we shall find all three — Demas, Crescens, and Titus … one at Thessalonica, another at Galatia, and the third at Dalmatia — doing the work of evangelists, visiting churches, and converting both Jews and Gentiles. This interpretation I leave to the charitable reader, and must own that, with all the presumptive evidences against it, it has some fair show of probability” (Clarke’s Commentary, vol. 6, p. 638).

The reason I believe in this view is simple. Titus Paul’s faithful servant is mentioned in the same breath. Did Titus leave Paul for the love of the material world? I think not. If I am wrong, then may it be so. But if I am right, Demas is probably the most famous misunderstood brother we know!

There is a principle in interpretation called EJUSDEM GENERIS which means “Of the same kind.”

Here is how it works. 

“In the construction of laws, wills and other instruments, when certain things are enumerated, and then a phrase is used which might be construed to include other things, it is generally confined to things.”

This would mean, not only Demas had deserted Paul for reason of “loving the world”,  Crescens and Titus as well then. Hence Clarke may be right to interpret “loving the world” loving the souls of the lost holds water. I am sure Titus did not leave the faith!

Another principle of law I would apply would be “the similar fact” evidence. In the law of evidence, similar fact evidence (or the similar fact principle) establishes the conditions under which factual evidence of past misconduct of accused can be admitted at trial for the purpose of inferring that the accused committed the misconduct at issue.”

Let’s look at his track record as a disciple:

Colossians 4:14

14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.

 Philemon 1:24

24 And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.

It is pertinent to note that in law, judges would decide the character of person by the consistency of a person’s behavior. It is rather obvious Demas was a good disciple. Hence all accounts point to the fact that Clarke may be correct in his commentary that Demas left to minister to the lost souls in Thessalonica. The principal of similar fact evidence clearly shows Demas never departed from his faith. It is no wonder John called him, a man of nobility.  

3 John 1:12

12 Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone —and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.

Also you can follow the refutes of  70 ways of losing your salvation by just click to this link:https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/tag/70-ways-to-lose-your-salvation/)

3 Comments

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  2. That’s an awesome one. I wish to read what the 1st century Christians called the world. I will search your blog to see if I can find any helpful information.

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