Could you tell me the meaning of BEG OFF in this context?
A good doctor dosn not withhold the lance to spare the patient pain. Nor can good physicians of the human soul BEG OFF examining the disease and discord now festering in 40 percent of the people in their own church. It is spiritual malpractice!
(Not a teacher)
"To beg off" is a phrasal verb meaning "to be unable to appear or participate," often in something that was previously planned. It is frequently heard in this form:
"I must beg off on the basketball game tomorrow night, something important has come up."
Or it can be used when one first hears an invitation:
"I'll have to beg off this time."
No doubt this phrase is often used as an excuse to avoid participating in or to escape doing something. In your example, the spiritual leaders are avoiding a difficult task by ignoring it. Thus, they are "begging off" on what others see as their responsibility.
Last edited by Greg Forbes; 16-Nov-2008 at 18:13. Reason: quotation mark