Thursday 17 June, 2021
10 For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” 13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.
I must admit that, on first reading, this seemed like a strange passage of scripture that must be read in context to understand it’s meaning.
The Apostle Paul is writing to his co-worker Titus regarding the church that they established together in Crete. Paul has left Titus behind to look after this new church, and clearly, they are a challenging bunch that he is trying to lead. Paul is giving instructions to Titus on how to deal, in particular, with a rebellious, deceiving group of people within the church.
To our modern ears, these may sound like some pretty harsh pronouncements on the people of Crete, but Paul is trying to protect the church from being deceived and disrupted by lies and false teachings, and he obviously takes this very seriously. Paul instructs Titus to not let the deceivers have a voice because of the devastation it will cause within the church.
In our current culture that actively promotes inclusiveness of all types and ideas, it’s interesting to me to note how strong, and somewhat strange Paul’s admonitions may sound to us. His strong words are a good reminder of the serious importance of guarding the church (and our minds) against deceptive teachings.
May God give each one of us, and particularly our church leaders, wisdom and discernment to know how to deal with deception and false teachings, and the courage to say no to those voices when required.
Written by Shelley Witt
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