Pastor Steve Ellison
First Timothy 1:3-7, As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. Second Timothy 2:23 But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. First Titus 3:9-11, “But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.” NASU
I hope you noted the common theme in those three passages. That theme is the source of almost all church problems. That theme is “problem people”, not people who solve problems but people who cause them. Every church has them: people who look for something to argue about. Some churches even have those who don’t really like to be involved in the argument itself. Instead, they just like to create arguments between others and sit back and admire the strife they have caused. First Timothy, Second Timothy, and Titus are inspired books that teach church leaders how to lead churches. I hope you noted the list of actions done by these “problem people” given in the passages above: teaching strange doctrines, foolish controversies, arguing over genealogies, fruitless discussion, ignorant speculations, disputes about the Law. In short, they simply like to argue over things of no spiritual value.
First Titus 3:10-11 quoted above, tell us how to get a good start on taking care of the problem, which is really dealing with the “problem people”. The NASU states, “reject a factious man”. The NKJV, NIV, and HCSB refer the problem as a “divisive” person. The ESV says “one who stirs up divisions”. The KJV uses the original Greek word “heretic”. We often worry about someone who teaches something that does not match our understanding. We call that person a heretic and perhaps he is. However, Titus 3:10 calls a person who stirs up trouble a heretic. One who stirs up trouble is just as much a heretic as one who teaches incorrect doctrine and I find a lot more of the former than the latter.
As always, when the Bible highlights a problem, it also gives the solution. Titus 3:10 gives very similar advice to what Jesus gave in Matthew 18:15-17,"If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”NASU Going to the person in private will often remedy the situation. This approach forces the accuser to get his facts straight. It affords the other person a chance to straighten out misunderstandings or repent. The admonition is clear. If after two or three warnings, the trouble-making continues, the heretic is to be rejected. He has condemned himself by his own troublemaking. ……..…..firstname.lastname@example.org