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« on: May 21, 2011, 11:42:56 PM »

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From A Voice In The Wilderness

Titus the Preacher

Heresy (Titus 3:9-11)

"But avoid foolish questionings, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the Law; for they are unprofitable and vain. Shun a man of heresy after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is corrupt and sinning, being self-condemned." (vs 9-11)

This installment will be real short. It -should- be necessary only to quote these verses. Are they not self-explanatory. Trouble is, for the ones to whom this refers, they don't "get" it. Those who wrangle about "foolish questions" and contentions" are also those who will contend about the meaning of these words. As ch1 ended, they are "reprobate with regard to every good work" (1:16)  And to 'excuse' their behavior they must wrangle with the Scriptures to "twist to their own destruction" (2 Pt 3:16) what they otherwise -know- refutes their desired behavior.

"...who show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts meanwhile accusing or else excusing themselves" (Ro 2:15)

Paul also says to Timothy...

"O Timothy, guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and empty babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge; by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith" (1 Ti 6:20-21)

What are the sorts of things people will contend about? Both theoretical as well as practical. Not only will people of the world seek to contend with the Believer, this passage is speaking more directly to those -within- the congregation. Often the 'pretend' Christians; the wolves in "sheep's clothing". (Mt 7:15)

At the theoretical level many will contradict, for instance, that God created the universe in six (6) 'literal' 24-hour days; as Genesis ch1 says, "The evening the the morning". They do this because, either they don't believe it, or they want to "fit in" with the world's intelligentsia that believes in Evolution, that will ostracize or deny promotions or tenure to a Christian who holds to a "Biblical world view" and Biblical Creation. They lust after the world's accolades (and the good salary) rather than God's "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Mt 25:21,23)

The other primary category deals with conscience. A person desires "open" sexual relationships, so will distort some Scriptural passage to explain away why their desires are "supported" (or support-ABLE) by Scripture. Or this, or that, or the other thing. A person can teach pretty much anything they wish from the Bible, even as satan mis-contextualized Scripture to Jesus...

"If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. FOR IT IS WRITTEN: He shall give His angels charge concerning you, and, in their hands they shall bear you up, that you may not dash your foot against a stone. Jesus said to him, IT IS WRITTEN AGAIN, You shall not tempt the Lord your God." (Mt 4:6-7)

Just one example from my college days back in the 70s should suffice. And remember: Doctrine is about what? Behavior.

After a couple years of Bible school I transferred to a state university, and having been told that IVCF was a more "sound" group of the college ministries, I looked up the local chapter and started attending the weekly Bible studies. But their Bible studies were different than anything I had ever been in prior to that. They did not have anybody functioning as a "teacher", as I was used to. In years since, I have learned the term "facilitator", for the round-the-circle 'discussions' and "sharing" and the one 'leading' the discussions. The dialectic, leading to consensus. It was being developed politically, socially and scholastically; and that which called itself "Christian" also adopted it unto themselves.

Our Bibles were opened, a passage having been pre-selected; but what followed did not really follow the text of the passage. Everybody -shared- what the passage "means to me". The sharing consisted of the 'open-minded' philosophies of the hippy generation of the day, rather than something claiming to be "Christian". So, when I had my turn to speak, being the Bible lover that I was, I would bring the group back around to what the passage -SAYS-. And in the spirit of "what it means to me", I carried the intent of the text further to (what we are learning in Titus) "good works", and further: What -defines- good works in the collegiate culture in which we were situated...which meant adhering to morality, shunning worldly practices, care to Godly fashions and dress. Such things as that. I spoke these things in -generalities-, not 'aiming' them at anybody in the group; since, at the time, I didn't yet know anybody. Just... this is what God's Word -SAYS-, therefore this is how we should -LIVE-.

Immediately there were hostile reactions (plural) to my comments, that I was being "judgmental".

I didn't continue attending very much longer, but did attend the Urbana '70 conference that winter. Perhaps a year later I was meandering around one of the dorms, looking to meet up with somebody, and along the way what should I see, but a couple of these IVCF people sleeping together out on the front lawn of the building; a single-wide sleeping bag, with two people in it, male and female.

So...-I- was the "judgmental" one, eh? The hippy generation of the day was promoting "free love", do anything, if it feels good do it, etc. And I had spoken some 'generic' words about the morality of the day, the way the hippies and the -rest- of the world behaved; but -we-, as "Christians", do NOT do like the world does. And here, those who were claiming to be "Christian" were doing what the world does... out in the open, not even trying to hide it. Obviously, the -Bible- 'judged' -them-. I spoke -Doctrine- (behavior) in the Bible study, but they rejected Doctrine because they knew they were in disobedience to the Word.

The person of "heresy", going contrary to Doctrine, found out to be "corrupt and sinning...BEING SELF-CONDEMNED" (vs11) and unrepentant. (They didn't even appear to be embarrassed when I walked past them)

"Were they ashamed when they had committed abominations? No, they were not at all ashamed, nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; in the time of their punishment they shall be cast down, says Jehovah." (Jer 6:15,8:12)

And to Israel, furthermore God said...

"Will you...commit adultery, and swear falsely... and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, [and go to Bible studies] and say, We are delivered [It's OK] to do all those abominations?" (Jer 7:9-10)

There is really only -one- reason a person claiming to be a "Christian" will read God's -direct- Word and find reasons to twist it to mean something other than what it says: When a person understands that their own life is full of sin, but they don't wish to repent and conform to God's holy standard of morality and righteousness... when they know they are 'guilty as charged', but wish to excuse their way out of condemnation.

Are we supposed to "agree to disagree" with such people? This is addressing but one particular sin. There are many others. But regarding this one, something similar was going on in Corinth, and Paul exhorts them to...

"deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus....

"I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore put away from among yourselves the evil person." (1 Co 5:5,9-13)

Even before I found out what was going on, in my spirit I knew things were not right, and I stopped attending their meetings.

And whatever other topics about which divisions contrary to Doctrine may arise...

"Now I exhort you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and snares, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and TURN AWAY FROM THEM. For those who are such DO NOT SERVE OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple." (Rom 16:17-18 )

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