Since I commented the other day about defending the gospel, it stood out to me today that Paul refers to that theme again with Titus.
“He (an overseer) must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” (Titus 1:9)
These verses also stood out to me: “Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in faith.” (1:13) and “Encourage and rebuke with all authority.” (2:15)
What a fine line to walk when rebuking, but “to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.” (3:2) How is one to walk that line? I think a lot of Christians decide to skip the “rebuking” and go solely with the “peaceable and considerate”. You might even hear a Christian say, “Let’s just agree to disagree” so that peace can be kept between two who hold different view points. Yet, Paul uses the terms refute or rebuke three times!
I read this the other day,
“The cliché, “agree to disagree” is much abused in our post-modern society. Frequently it is used as a surrogate to express the belief that there is no such thing as truth, or that truth is what any individual makes it.” According to Paul, Christians should heartily reject this compromise. There is an absolute truth, sound doctrine, that Christians should defend, and rebuke those who are twisting it.
So about that “rebuke” word that we all have a phobia toward…..the word is from the Greek elegcho, which implies a sense of challenging, shaming, correcting, and exposing. The meaning is similar to "scold," but with an emphasis on teaching more than punishing.
So when Paul is saying, “rebuke them sharply”, it can be read, “teach them emphatically”; expose where they are wrong in their doctrine; and above all don’t let unsound doctrine rest by saying, “Well, let’s just agree to disagree”