Remember in the 2000s when we emphasized “guard the good deposit” and “pass on sound doctrine”?

It’s obvious now that, while that emphasis is biblical and good, we forgot to emphasize its counterpart - found in the same letters! - regarding divisiveness:
“…remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.” 1 Tim. 1:3–4
“Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.” 1 Tim. 1:6–7
Overseers must be “above reproach…not quarrelsome.” 1 Tim. 3:4

Deacons must be “blameless…not double-tongued.” Deacons’s wives must likewise be “not slanderers.” 1 Tim. 3:8, 11.

“Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths.” 1 Tim. 4:7.
This one is a doozy: “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. …
…He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.” 1 Tim. 6:3–5
(Notice that an overly divisive spirit **is** false teaching!)
“O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.” 1 Tim. 6:20–21
“ Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.” 2 Tim. 2:14
“But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene.” 2 Tim. 2:16–17
“Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.” 2 Tim. 2:23–25
“For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” 2 Tim. 3:6–7
“For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.” Titus 1:10–11
“Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.”
Titus 1:13–14
“But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.” Titus 3:9
AND FINALLY: “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, Knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” Titus 3:10–11
Here’s the point - “false teachers” aren’t only those who teach contrary to orthodoxy. They are also, according to Paul in these texts, those who **stir up division where there should be none.**

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More from @M_Y_Emerson

15 Mar
Today is a good day to check out @BaptistRenewal
The NT warnings are clear - there are dangers in both directions related to the charges to “pass on sound doctrine” & “guard the good deposit.”

On the one hand, we can widen the tent too much, to the extent that we become or tolerate false teachers who tickle itching ears.
On the other hand, we can, in the interest of doctrinal fidelity, shrink the boundaries so much that we become divisive, obsessed with silly myths, endless genealogies, & pointless controversies.
Read 5 tweets
18 Feb
Make Hermeneutics 101 Great Again™️
Seriously, how many of these Twitter debates would be put to bed if we all - including many of the loudest voices - shared a grasp on basic hermeneutical concepts?
Honestly, I suspect that this, along with other online “controversies,” are more about catechesis (or the lack thereof) in our local churches than they are about whatever is purported to be the source of conflict.
Read 9 tweets
16 Feb
I get that Christians are (rightly) wary of elitism. Christian scholars are not any closer to or more in tune with God than a fellow believer in the pew.
And, for Baptists in particular, the local congregation is the locus of authority, not any pope, ecclesial or academic, making pronouncements from afar.
At the same time, there are academic discussions related to hermeneutics, theology, ethics, and the like that use technical terminology and difficult concepts and that therefore require familiarity and precision.
Read 10 tweets

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