A profound theme among the pastoral epistles, is the call to sound doctrine. Over and over, Paul instructs Timothy and Titus to preserve, teach, and entrust sound doctrine. Because, as 1 Timothy 1 makes clear, that wrong teaching does not lead to sound faith. “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” – 1 Timothy 1:5
In this letter to Titus, Paul had sent him to set things in order in the office of overseer. The overseers/pastors/elders (same office with differing descriptions of the role) are the primary teachers among the church family. Therefore, so goes the teaching of the leadership so goes the church. If the pastors teach sound doctrine then the church will likely believe and practice sound doctrine that aims to love God and others from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
However, as you may be fully aware, the teaching of sound doctrine doesn’t always happen. Indeed, the churches Paul had sent Titus to were already experiencing problems with the teaching. “For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.” – Titus 1:10 This comes on the heels of the qualifications for the office of overseer who is expected to teach and maintain sound doctrine and correct that which is in error.
He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.– Titus 1:9
So, one of the roles of the pastors is to instruct in sound doctrine but also to rebuke (reprove and expose) that which contradicts sound doctrine. What’s the result of unsound doctrine? In verse 10, it says these people deceive and their talk is empty and worthless. They upset whole families. The things these deceivers focus on leads to being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.
In other words, worthless teaching leads to a worthless life…worthless impact in the community and the world. I think I see a lot of that these days. What is the remedy? It’s simple. Pastors that hold to sound doctrine and are able to expose the errors among them. So, to neglect the role of reproving is to allow worthless teaching to take root and result in churches that are dying or will die. Their light has gone out. In some cases, the lampstand has already been removed even while they still meet.
It is unloving not to reprove. It is unloving not to reprove. It is unloving not to reprove.
Not to correct is to care nothing about the health of the church.
Not to correct is to lie about who God is. And if our mission is to make disciples of Jesus and false doctrine is allowed to remain then are you really reaching people with the true Jesus and the true gospel? And if you reach them with this false Jesus and false gospel where will they end up in eternity?
Teaching and maintaining sound doctrine have eternal consequences. If you love the Lord and if you love the church and if you love and want to reach your neighbors, then be cautious about the doctrine taught in the church. It has eternal consequences.
And there is a right and wrong way to do this. Here is the right way:
24 And the Lord’s servant must *not be quarrelsome but *kind to everyone, *able to teach, *patiently enduring evil,
25 *correcting his opponents *with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,
26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. – 2 Timothy 2:24-26