Saturday, 30 June 2018
Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, Titus 3:10
The Greek word for “divisive” here is hairetikos. It is found only here in Scripture, and it is the basis for our word for “heretic.” However, the word doesn’t necessarily refer to what we would think of as a heretic in the modern sense. It signifies “a factious person, specializing in half-truths and misimpressions ‘to win others over’ to their personal opinion (misguided zeal) – while creating harmful divisions” (HELPS Word Studies).
In other words, this is the person on social media today who jumps into every post he sees, and argues his point without any true knowledge of what he is speaking about, or who purposefully misrepresents an issue or point in order to simply divide. One might use the word “contrarian” to describe him. Whatever you say, he will take an opposing view and beat it to death.
It is a truth that, unlike any other discipline or field on the planet, every Christian seems to be a specialist in theology, no matter how little of the Bible they know. The reason for this often comes down to trust. A pastor, preacher, scholar, or teacher is in a position of trust. Therefore, when someone hears or reads a comment by such a position, regardless as to whether their analysis is sound or not, that person will forever cling to what they were taught about that particular issue.
It does not matter one iota if the church has replaced Israel or not, if someone has been told by another who seems trustworthy that the church has replaced them, they will argue that point to death from that point on. The same is true with any biblical doctrine as well. If someone is told that Jesus was a created being by a person in a position of trust, they will argue that point until they are blue in the face, denying that He is God. Very few will willingly set aside all presuppositions and honestly evaluate a matter after they have been taught it.
This is why there are so many cults and aberrant doctrines found within churches. “I heard; I believed. I will hold fast to the end. I was told that the KJV is the only acceptable translation of the Bible and all others are of the devil and it must be true.” The list of such things is almost unlimited. The sad part of this type of thinking is that often people will spend more time trying to prove what is false than they would otherwise spend if they simply put forth the effort to learn the truth.
But not all people are divisive about such things. Some simply believe and refuse to consider other options. Some, however, believe and then push their incorrect ideas upon others again and again and again (and again!). This is the type of person Paul is speaking of in this verse.
His words here are not simply a suggestion. Rather, they are prescriptive words for the entire church age. Such a person is to be shown what is correct. If he refuses to heed, and continues to be divisive, he is to be admonished a second time concerning his wrong stand and belligerent attitude concerning it. After that, he is to be rejected. He should not be responded to or given any credence in the discussion any longer.
Why would Paul say this? The reason is obvious. If someone is so dull that they have believed such a lie, or is so treacherous that he would purposefully teach such a lie, then others are obviously susceptible to this doctrine. This is why people really drank cyanide-laced Kool-Aid at Jonestown. It is why Heaven’s Gate members committed mass suicide believing that they would be transported to a spacecraft following the Hale-Bopp comet.
If one thinks that adherents to the Jehovah’s Witnesses are simply a bunch of people with screws loose, they have missed the greater point. People’s screws may be loose, but they may also be willing to go further than reaching for the nut in the coconut tree. Allowing crazy ideas to circulate can cause real harm. Allowing them within Christian doctrine can lead to the loss of souls.
Life application: James 3:1 says, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” James goes on to explain why this is. Little errors can turn into major problems. As Paul says elsewhere, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9). Allowing a foot in the door by divisive, uneducated, or simply crazy people can lead to a world of harm.
Lord God, Your word tells us to reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition. You have told us this for a reason. It is not a suggestion, but a command. Help us to be fixed and firm in our doctrine to the point that we can stand up against such people. And surely, the only way to be sound in doctrine is to read, know, and apply Your word to our lives. And so help us in this, O God. Amen.