Article: Heretic or Divisive? Titus 3:10 by Will Kinney

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Titus 3:10 Heretic or A Divisive Person?

The idea for this article comes from brother Teno Groppi, who is a strong King James Bible believer and has a wonderful ministry teaching about creation versus evolution.

A heretic (modern spelling) is defined in Webster's 1999 dictionary as 1. a professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church. 2. anyone who does not conform to an established view, doctrine, or principle.

Heresy is defined as 1. religious opinion at variance with opinion or doctrine. 2. any belief or theory that is at variance with established beliefs, customs, etc.

Look up the word heretic in any English dictionary. For example, Webster’s New World College dictionary, 4th edition.

her·etic - noun - a person who professes a heresy; esp., a church member who holds beliefs opposed to church dogma

Etymology: ME heretike LL(Ec) haereticus, of heresy, heretic < Greek hairetikos.

Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary

Heretic (Page: 688)

Her"e*tic n. [L. haereticus, Greek. able to choose, heretical, fr. to take, choose: cf. F. hérétique. See Heresy.]

1. One who holds to a heresy; one who believes some doctrine contrary to the established faith or prevailing religion.

A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject. Titus iii. 10.

2. (R. C. Ch.) One who having made a profession of Christian belief, deliberately and pertinaciously refuses to believe one or more of the articles of faith determined by the authority of the universal church." A heretic is one whose errors are doctrinal, and usually of a malignant character, tending to subvert the true faith.

Here is an online Greek dictionary anybody can use. On the left side type in the word airetikos to find out what the Greek word means. You will see that it means: heretic, unorthodox. Type in heretic on the right hand side to learn how to say heretic. It comes up with this exact same word: airetikos.

The Authorized King James Holy Bible says in Titus 3:10 "A man that is an HERETIC after the first and second admonition reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself."

The Greek word found here in all texts is haireticos, and it is used only one time in the New Testament. Not only does the KJB correctly translate the word as HERETIC, but so also do the Latin Bibles of 425 A.D., Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Geneva Bible 1557 to 1602, the 1582 Douay-Rheims, the English Revised Version of 1881, Green's Modern KJV, the Spanish Las Sagradas Escrituras 1589, the Spanish Reina Valera 1909 (hombre hereje), the 2004 Spanish Reina Valera Gomez Bible - "Al hombre HEREJE, después de una y otra amonestación, deséchalo", the Italian Diodati 1649 (uomo eretico), the French Martin 1744 and the French Ostervald 1996 both read exactly like the KJB with - “Rejette l'homme hérétique”, Daniel Mace N.T. 1729, Wesley's N.T. 1755 translation, Lamsa's 1933 translation of the Syriac Peshitta, Darby 1890, Webster's 1833 translation, Green's Modern KJV 1998, the 21st Century KJV 1994, the Third Millenium Bible 1998, and even the New English Bible of 1970.

There is another directly related Greek word - hairesis - which means a "sect" or a "heresy". Examples of the use of this word are Acts 24:14 where the apostle Paul is defending his new belief in Christ before the court and his accusers. He says: "But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call HERESY, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets."

Another use is found in 1 Corinthians 11:19. The Corinthian church had lots of problems and some were even denying there was a resurrection (1 Cor. 15:12). Paul writes: "For there must be also HERESIES among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you."

In Galatians 5:20 one of the works of the flesh is listed as "heresies".

Finally in 2 Peter 2:1 this word is used in a very significant way. There the apostle Peter tells us: "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable HERESIES, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction."

According to such Greek lexicons as Liddell & Scott, Bauer, Arndt & Gingrich, and Kittle, the words hairetikos and hairesis mean one who is a member of a sect or who promotes heresy. Somebody is changing the Liddell and Scott Lexicon and it is not they who are doing it. They are both long dead. I have two copies of Liddell and Scott's lexicon. One done in 1887, the 17th edition, and one done in 1968. The 1887 edition clearly says under the word airetikos on page 21 HERETICAL. However the 1968 edition has dropped "heretical" and now says "factious", "sectarian". Likewise the 1887 edition on page 451 defines the Greek word monokeros as a UNICORN; but somebody has now changed the 1968 version to read "a wild ox", and it obviously was not Misters Liddell and Scott!

Thayer's Greek- English Lexicon, 19th printing 1978 on page 16 says the meaning of the Greek word hairetikos in Titus 3:10 means "a follower of false doctrine" and he specifically mentions Titus 3:10.

The Modern Greek Dictionary, which has nothing to do with the Bible, tells us that hairetikos means "heretical, a heretic." This is the only definition listed.

Kittle's Theological Dictionary of the N.T. says of the word haipetikos (Titus 3:10) in Volumn 1 on page 184: "In Christianity it seems to have been used technically from the very first, and denotes the "adherent of heresy."

John Calvin translates Titus 3:10: "HERETICUM hominem post unam et secundam correptionem devita "

He then comments: "We must now see what he means by the word heretic. There is a common and well-known distinction between a heretic and a schismatic. But here, in my opinion, Paul disregards that distinction: for, by the term "heretic" he describes not only those who cherish and defend an erroneous or perverse doctrine, but in general all who do not yield assent to the sound doctrine which he laid down a little before. "

John Gill says: "A man that is an heretic… "An heretic, according to the notation of the word, is either one that makes choice of an opinion upon his own judgment, contrary to the generally received sense of the churches of Christ, and prefers it to theirs, and obstinately persists in it; separates from them, forms a party, and sets himself at the head of them, whom he has drawn into the same way of thinking with himself: or he is one that removes and takes away a fundamental doctrine of Christianity, which affects particularly the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity, and personality of Father, Son, and Spirit, and especially the doctrines relating to the person, office, and grace of Christ; one that brings in, or receives damnable doctrines; speaks or professes perverse things, and draws away disciples after him;... he makes a rent in the doctrine of Christ, and makes parties and divisions in his church; and such are not always to be contended and disputed with, but to be avoided and rejected."

Adam Clarke comments: " A man that is a heretic "Generally defined, one that is obstinately attached to an opinion contrary to the peace and comfort of society, and will neither submit to Scripture nor reason. Here it means a person who maintains Judaism in opposition to Christianity, or who insists on the necessity of circumcision, meaning of the word heretic in the only place in which it occurs in the sacred writings."

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown say: " heretic--Greek "heresy," originally meant a division resulting from individual self-will; the individual doing and teaching what he chose, independent of the teaching and practice of the Church. In course of time it came to mean definitely "heresy" in the modern sense; and in the later Epistles it has almost assumed this meaning."

Though many of the modern versions like the NKJV, NASB, NIV, ESV, Holman Standard have all drastically changed the meaning of Titus 3:10, it is to be noted that the NKJV has correctly translated the Greek word as "heresies" in 1 Cor. 11:19, Galatians 5:20 and 2 Peter 2:1.

So too do the NASB, NIV, ESV and Holman Standard all translate the word as "heresies" in 2 Peter 2:1.

Brother Teno Groppi relates this parable regarding the change from "heretic" to "a divisive person".

A certain church was visited by some "Heaven's Gate Jim Jones Grape Kool-Aid" cultists. The pastor, trying to be a good shepherd to his flock, warned them about the visitors. He told them that these people were cultists and heretics and that his people should reject them after admonishing them to receive Christ and get right with God.

Of course this caused no small stir among the Kool-Aid cultists, who accused the pastor of not showing Christian love or tolerance, and being divisive.

The pastor stood his ground. His congregation appreciated his steadfastness and protection, and they killed a fatted calf and celebrated as most Baptists are wont to do. Amen.

Now let's look at how many modern versions render this verse. Some of the versions try to make the "archaic" King James English "easier to understand" by using "factious", but that's a synonym for "divisive".

NIV - Titus 3:10 Warn a DIVISIVE person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.

NASB -Titus 3:10 Reject a FACTIOUS man after a first and second warning,

NLT- Titus 3:10 If anyone is causing DIVISIONS among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with that person.

RSV- Titus 3:10 As for a man who is FACTIOUS, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him,

ESV- Titus 3:10 As for a person who STIRS UP DIVISION, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him.

NKJ -Titus 3:10 Reject a DIVISIVE man after the first and second admonition.

A really bad one is the New International Reader’s Version 1998, put out by the IBS who also bring us the NIV, says: “Warn ANYONE WHO TRIES TO GET BELIEVERS TO TAKE SIDES AND SEPARATE INTO THEIR OWN LITTLE GROUPS."

These modern versions would have you reject the pastor for causing division and being factious and intolerant, instead of avoiding the heretics!

But wait, it gets worse.

Mat 25:31-32 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd DIVIDETH his sheep from the goats:

Luke 12:51 Suppose ye that I (Jesus) am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather DIVISION:

John 7:43 So there was a DIVISION among the people because of him (Jesus).

John 9:16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a DIVISION among them.

John 10:19 There was a DIVISION therefore again among the Jews for these sayings (of Jesus).

Jesus was and continues to be a divisive man, but He was not a heretic. The King James Bible tells us to avoid heretics. The modern versions, including the NKJV, tell us to avoid and have nothing to do with a divisive man, and, if we follow the logic of simple words, this would include Jesus!

Let's apply the difference in meaning between a heretic and a divisive person to the supremely important issue of the inerrancy of the Holy Bible.

Very recently a new poll came out that tells us that the majority of modern Christian leaders do not believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. At a discussion Forum I belong to a brother posted the following poll results:

I was listening to my radio today, and happened to catch Pastor Michael Youseff's Message on His "Leading The Way" program. The title of todays message was "The Bible, The World's Most Relevant Book. In his message he gave statistics of a poll that was conducted.

Here is what the poll revealed:

85% of students at America's largest Evangelical Seminary don't believe in the inerrancy of Scripture.

74% of the Clergy in America no longer believe in the inerrancy of Scripture.

If the above stats are even close to being accurate, then the church of America is in sad shape today.

At a certain Bible Forum on the internet I participate in from time to time there are over a thousand Christian members. I started a discussion called Do you Really Believe The Bible is the Inerrant word of God?. The vast majority of all the Christian members of this club admit that they do not believe any Bible or any Hebrew or Greek text is the inerrant word of God. They tell us that No Bible is perfect and all have errors in them.

When I defended the King James Bible as being the providentially preserved, inerrant and inspired words of God, one of the moderators of this Forum (who himself does not believe in an inerrant Bible) actually called me "an apostate, an idolater, like Satan..causing confusion and divisiveness, making a mockery of God's word, following a myth, and a master of deception."

Apparently he thinks it is "heresy" to believe in an inerrant Holy Bible, but it is "orthodox" to believe that there is no such thing. So in his view, I am being "a divisive person" by upholding the Authorized King James Bible as being the pure and perfect word of God.

I have also found several big websites on the internet that now list King James Bible Onlyism under their section titled "Heresies". In today's messed up and apostate world the every day Bible believing Christian is labeled DIVISIVE simply because he or she insists that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way of salvation from sin, death and hell, and will not go along with the rest of the group that tells us there are many ways to God, be it New Age, Hinduism, Buddhism, the Islam religion or whatever. Funny how things get turned upside down, isn't it?

By changing the meaning of a single word, these new versions allow for an interpretation that is the exact opposite of what the Holy Ghost intended. Hey, but no essential doctrines are changed, right? Think about it.

Will Kinney

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