10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. (ESV)
They Must Be Silenced (Titus 1-2, Part 3)
In Titus 1:10-16, Paul lays out in black and white who the false teachers are, what they do, and what to do about them. The false teachers are defiant, speaking empty and deceitful words; they are detestable, disobedient, and dysfunctional and give nothing more than lip service. They go around declaring that they know God, yet their lives prove the exact opposite. The defiled minds of these counterfeits result in defiled lives. I think C.H. Spurgeon echoed Paul’s bluntness and urgency when he said “whatever ‘call’ a man may pretend to have, if he has not been called to holiness, he certainly has not been called to the ministry.” (Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students).
In our day and age, false teachers are not just behind pulpits. They are writing books and producing top-chart albums; they can be bloggers and YouTuber’s, scholars, artists and politicians. They use words like “grace,” “faith,” “believe,” and “hope,” and throw in a few Bible verses in an attempt to appear pious and credible. There is no better word to describe them than “false!” Their actions give them away. Verse 16 says, “they deny him by their works,” and Jesus himself said, “You will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16)
So, Paul, what are we to do? Silence them! Pull the plug on these false teachers. Turn off the TV and radio. Give up the playlists and the podcasts. Stop giving the false teachers a platform. They are counting on you to tune in and watch. You will be tempted to be “relevant” by following along, even if just at a distance, but you must hold your ground. Paul instructs us not to participate in anything that denies Christ. This movement also calls for rebuking the false teachers. Call them out lovingly and biblically so that the believers they have misled will have their eyes opened and pray that God might grant these false-teachers repentance (2 Timothy 2:25).
(This was originally posted on the Biblearc blog by Josh Reyna on May 14, 2015.)