How to Become Infamous

“What shall I do in order to become famous?” said an ambitious youth to an ancient sophist. “Kill a man who is famous already, and then your name will be always mentioned along with his,” was the sophist’s reply. On some such principle those men seem to act, who charge the Confession of Faith with intolerance, as if that were the ready way to procure renown. But the sophist neglected to draw the distinction between fame and infamy; and it may ultimately appear that those who seek celebrity by attempting to kill the reputation of the Westminster divines, have committed a similar mistake [from the introductory Essay by WM. M. Hetherington, in An Exposition Of The Westminster Confession Of Faith by Rogbert Shaw, found at:
http://www.reformed.org/documents/shaw/].

Here in Moscow we have at least one young man who seems to think that defaming another more qualified and famous man’s reputation will give him higher reputation, respect, and fame. What he doesn’t realize is that the best he can accomplish in doing this is to be infamous in the eyes of everyone around him and the worst is to be marginalized and thought a dunderhead.

Fame, in the Christian church, comes by living a godly life over a long period of time. A godly life shows itself by loving God and by submitting to his decrees. Among these decrees is the command to obey and submit yourself to those appointed over you, whether governing authorities or church authorities (Cf. Rom. 13:1ff.; Heb. 13:17). If a young man wants to be famous and well thought of, his first duty is to submit himself to God’s authority and then to his civil and church authorities. This does not include “bad mouthing” them, creating a blog to do so, or joining in the internet’s other fat heads in their pursuit of infamy.

There is another “rule of life” that emerges here that is worth keeping in mind for the young dunderhead who is also a father. “What goes around, comes around.” The example you are setting for your children today is the fruit you will reap in your children tomorrow. Whatever you are today, your children are becoming and will be tomorrow. If you don’t respect God’s authorities in your life today, your children will not respect your authority (for God has placed you over them).

An important thing to note in all of this is that historically the sons are usually far more than their parents. In other words if you are a godly man, your children are most likely to be far more godly than you are. If you are a dunderhead and are teaching your children to gain infamy by blaspheming those over you, your children will far exceed your example when they grow up.

So there are two warnings here: First, God commands you to submit to him. He is God and you are not. Second, God has made the world in such a way that whatever you teach your children, by example, is what they will become. If you are a disrespectful, immature punk today, your children will be disrespectful, immature punks on steroids tomorrow.

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