Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Factious Man

I was reading the other day in Titus and came across this: "Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned" (Titus 3:10-11). Now, I have a pretty good vocabulary, so I was pretty sure I knew what "factious" meant, but better to check and be sure than to assume and be wrong.

Interestingly, the original (transliterated) word is "hairetikos". I'm pretty sure you can tell what word we get from that. In fact, the King James (and others) translates it "Reject an heretic ...". Okay, okay, we all know what a heretic is ... or, at least, we think we do. But what does the Greek word mean? " The origin is actually in the word that means "to choose" and references choices that are made. In context, it is the choice to be schismatic or to be presenting schismatic choices. In English, as far as Christianity goes, "heretic" references one who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by the Church. It would stand to reason, from that, that the translation, "Reject a factious man ..." would make sense, since someone maintaining positions contrary to the Church would be causing division.

Now, I'm not, in this entry, willing to analyze "heresy". I'm not going to debate "doctrines accepted by the Church" either individually or as a concept. Here's what I'm wondering. Do we do this? Are we supposed to warn people, "You're being factious; you're causing division; you're being disruptive" and, after a couple of warnings, reject them? If so, what does that rejection look like? (Yes, if you haven't figured it out yet, this is another my question posts.)

8 comments:

Jim Jordan said...

If so, what does that rejection look like?

Oh, I think I know this one. A week or so ago, a brouhaha started in my church where a deacon-to-be came out and said he was gay. His mother nominated him as she wanted him to be able to serve her communion (warning: I am getting this second-hand). Now, the man had been approved but then returned to the pastor to make it clear that he was gay. The result of this was that he could not be a deacon. His mother had a fit and the whole family left the church.

Even if there is more nuance to this story, they came off as looking "factious", or appearing to force a heretical opinion on the Church.

The more interesting thing to me is that there exists this silent "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. I'm not sure what to think of that.

Stan said...

Jim Jordan: "The result of this was that he could not be a deacon."

I would guess that this would be the "Reject a factious man" and the result would be ... well, typical. (There are not a lot of people who take rejection well.)

Dan said...

Jim's study seems two fold.

1. I reject that anyone is "gay".

2. I agree on the other hand that every person is a sinner.

To reject a person who struggles with an attraction for the same sex would be a sin for the congregation. If this same treatment were extended to all believers there would simply be no church.

On the other hand, for one to roll the sin into the person as indistinguishable from that person and somehow a special sin that deserves special treatment is a sin of the sinner. Demands made that God be distorted so that man can embrace his special sin is an abyss into which such thinking will pull the church should it not be rejected.

I have a besetting sin. What am I suppose to think? That it's ok because God made me that way?. Sounds silly but get the modern culture on your ban wagon with proper sneers over there, and proper lauding over here, a cadre of movies victimizing those with my affliction at the hands of unloving "Christians" and the next thing you know, I'm in. No repentance needed, except possibly by God himself.

One of the problems I think that the modern Church suffers, and it is suffering, is not abiding in Scriptures like this and allowing all kinds of false teaching and heresy through the front door under the guise of unity. Once in however, unity is the last thing on the minds of the false teachers other than that everyone be unified in their man centered journey to Hell.

Stan said...

Dan, I didn't get where Jim suggested that he rejected that anyone was gay. It looked like things went as they ought. Someone claimed to embrace the sin of homosexual behavior and the church asked this person not to serve as a deacon. That they left in a huff (I didn't even know anyone made that kind of car anymore ... sorry ... bad humor) was their problem, not a failure of the church. That's what I read from Jim's comment. What did you see different?

(By the way, absolutely good point that rejecting people because they sin doesn't make any sense. Nor does it make sense to suggest "I was born that way." Not working at all.)

Dan said...

One of the down sides of comment mod. is that I can't reread it later with a fresh approach. As I read this I realized that it was poorly put. To understand it correctly just take out the first sentence. There should have been a paragraph in there that explained what I meant, but since I explain it later, the first sentence is not even really needed.

Is that you only thoughts?

David said...

The problem the American church has with actuating this command, and many of the other similar ones in regards to church discipline, is that we are not a family. There are small groups within a church that may be close, but for the most part, people come and people go. They may feel an affinity for a particular church, but if they are rejected, or disciplined by some means, all they have to do is find another church and everyone would be none the wiser. Nobody is held accountable because no one is really attached to any one church. Aside from brothers' and sisters' in a small group that actually care about each other and listen to each other, this won't really work in our "free" society.

Jim Jordan said...

I have a personal story to relate. In one organization I belong to, I was asked to join in the leadership 5 years ago. I said sure, but wait, I was divorced once when I was young and stupid [if it ever happens again, it's because I'm old and stupid]. My youthful indiscretion meant that I could not serve in one capacity but in another, that of teaching the children.
Now, many acrimonious responses popped into my head. 1) I learned more from the divorce than most perfectly married people know and 2) Wouldn't you shield the kids from me - the poor marriage leper - instead of the adults?

Result was that I took the children's leader position, and have loved it ever since. It's truly changed my life for the better. There's nothing to compare it to.

That's why I'm sure [and the church agrees] the gay deacon erred; he was asked to serve God, and he replied, "Only on my own terms." That's foolish, and sad. It's not gay.

Bro said...

Unity at the expense of scriptural integrity is insanity.