Posted by: Mark | July 17, 2011

Am I “an heretick”

A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself. Titus 3.10-11 (KJV)

As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.Titus 3.10-11 (ESV)

This morning in church I had a little bit of an eye opener. A glimpse into the seriousness of divisiveness in the church. A look into God’s view of vain arguments and separatist people.

My apple computer defines heretic as “a person believing in or practicing religious heresy. A person holding an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted”. This is tracks with our common understanding of this word as someone who is wrong in their beliefs of major doctrine.

However, Paul, when writing here in Titus, points out the danger of division in general. The greek word used in this passage is hairetikos (αἱρετικός) and is defined as, among other things, schismatic, factious, a follower of a false doctrine,heretic.* This seems to put a much more rounded biblical definition on this word as anyone who seeks to divide God’s church. And Paul has very strong advice here to have nothing to do with these sinful warped individuals.

How do I shape up in this category? Have my actions ever been self serving and divisive? I pray to God that I am never the cause of division and if I am may it be only for the defence of major truth and the glory of God.

Also, how do we deal with these people in our churches that argue and debate over non important things that only result in division? Do we tolerate them without rebuke letting them pollute the church like a flatulent dog, or do we follow Paul’s advice, and have nothing to do with them after lovingly trying to rebuke them two times. I love this mix of mercy, grace and action.

One decision to make here is what is an unimportant argument or debate and what is a true matter of doctrine? Or put it another way what is worth arguing about? I would be the first to admit that this is not always easy to determine but there are many instances that are. Is dress, absence or presence of pews, style of praise or a church organ really something important to argue and divide over? Or is a persons desire for personal power something that a church should tolerate at the expense of the church itself? I have a feeling that in our churches there are many low lying fruit in this area that we could be dealing with before even hiking the somewhat difficult trail of deciding what is a core and important doctrine.

*I am not a greek speaker and this information comes from an online resource I use – http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G141&t=ESV

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Responses

  1. You have no idea how timely this is for me to read right now.
    Bryant just resigned the pastorate of the church this past Sunday.
    Pray for us?


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