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The apostle Paul, in writing to Titus, a leader who he wants to give instruction to, writes,

  • “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking . . . For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers . . . whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not . . . Therefore rebuke them . . .” (Titus 1:1-3)

It has been said that we who make up the Christian church need to stop being controversial and therefore set aside our differences, whatever they may be, for the sake of unity, for the sake of peace in the church, for the sake of the world.

You see, it is said that if we are to have an impact on the world, then our controversies with one another need to be put aside, all professing believers joining together in mutual agreement, no matter the differences that exist between us. Such a call to the church directly challenges the matter of controversy.

Do we, who profess Christ as Lord and Savior, find any fellowship in such a call? Do we {though so many say we shouldn’t) embrace controversy?

It seems Paul, in writing to Titus, did not ask his “son in our common faith” (1:4) to avoid controversy. No! Instead, he told him to deal with the “many insubordinate” people that were in the ranks of the church. Paul identifies these as “idle talkers and deceivers” and he put it straight to Titus that their “mouths must be stopped.”

Why? “They were teaching things that they ought not.” And that, though it was surely confrontational, needed to have a stop put to it . . . and without hesitation. Oh my . . . controversy!

Controversy has always been a factor in the church because there are always going to be those who attempt to “subvert” the truth, which can have a devastating effect on the gospel of God.

John Piper writes that “Evangelism and world missions must feed on the sold food of well-grounded, unambiguous, rich gospel truth in order to sustain courage and confidence in the face of afflictions and false religions. And corporate worship will be diluted with cultural substitutes where the deep, clear, biblical contours of God’s glory are not seen and guarded against ever-encroaching error.”

Controversy dots the New Testament from one end to the other. The church is actually built upon it! The Scriptures teach us of it.

There is a “massive pragmatic pressure of our time to minimize doctrine.” We who profess Christ as Lord and Savior, who embrace Scriptural truth, cannot cave to this “pressure.” We cannot “minimize doctrine,” no matter who seeks to have us do so. Instead, we are to step up to the task at hand to “hold fast the pattern of sound words” that have been entrusted to us . . . to “keep” them at all costs. (Cf. II Timothy 1:13-14)

Does that bring controversies? Yes, it does! Do we embrace controversy? Yes, we do!

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