How Tolerant? – Titus 1:10-11

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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A believer new to an assembly had a clear testimony of salvation, embraced the grace message, and was regular in attendance. The elders didn’t give it much thought when he set up a table promoting tapes and literature from other teachers. After a year, the elders realized he had been promoting several devisive errors contrary to sound doctrine and the church constitution. Moreover, he had won several converts within the assembly. When the elders kindly asked him to discontinue promoting these doctrines, he defiantly refused in a publicly, argumentative way. What should the elders have done next?

Paul’s instruction in the pastoral epistles is abundantly clear that when bad doctrine is being promoted, it must not be tolerated. Titus was instructed to “rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:13). Why? Because even those who know Christ sometimes deceive others with empty, incorrect doctrines that often “subvert whole houses,” leading entire families into error (Titus 1:10-11). Bad doctrine is like a cancer. It grows, spreads, and overtakes its victims. Paul tells Titus he must not be tolerant of error in major doctrines. Instead, it is appropriate to give “sharp” rebuke when those in error refuse to listen to sound doctrine or follow the leadership God has placed within the church. God will hold the elders of each church accountable at the Bema Seat to assure their church is always “the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Timothy 3:15; Revelation 2:14-15, 20). Every assembly should be a safe haven of grace for everyone, where only truth is promoted. When error is introduced into the assembly, elders are to reason from the Scriptures with the one in error (Titus 1:9). Should the errant one defiantly continue to promote bad doctrine, Paul says, “a man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject” (Titus 3:10). To “reject” means “to put out, or not have alongside.” Romans 16:17 says it clearly: “…mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” Everyone is to obey this command.

It isn’t wiser to tolerate bad doctrine to maintain numbers in a local church. It isn’t loving to continue to befriend one in error. Both are disobedience that bolsters their defiance. If your church leaders deem it necessary to take strong action against error, come down on the right side of the issue, God’s side, by standing with those who stand against error.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."