Titus planted churches on the island of Crete and in the process encountered all kinds of teachers presenting their ideas. Most scholars believe Paul spent time on the island after his first Roman imprisonment so he would have known firsthand the challenges faced by Titus. Within his charge to confront these false teachers, we find four dangers if these false teachers were allowed to continue.
- Whole households confused (v. 11) – Just as godly leaders can influence an entire family, so to can confuse family members. We know the impact one dissenter can have within a family. The issue producing the dissension eventually becomes avoided in conversation just to maintain decorum and unity. Doing so leaves a hole in the family since that subject is now missing from the conversation. The other extreme can also happen with that topic becoming the only thing discussed. Not only were families being led to accept falsehood, but they were also becoming imbalanced in what they could discuss.
- A side-tracked focus (v. 14) – Those listening to the false teachers began to focus on what Paul called “Jewish fables.” Remember, Paul came out of a strict Jewish background and would have been very familiar with these teachings or “fables.” He knew the danger of giving these stories emphasis. The focus was no longer on Christ. We can fall into that same trap when we treat the heroes of the faith (Moses, David, Peter, Paul, just to name a few) as equals to Christ. We may not be blatant about it, but do so more functionally by the way we talk about them and the way we treat their writings.
- Will eventually accept anything (v. 15) – The way we know a counterfeit is by knowing the real thing very well. The more we focus on the truth, the more we recognize falsehood. The more we focus on falsehood, the less we recognize the truth eventually to the point of where we accept all claims as truth. In effect, we lose our truth filters since they become clogged with falsehood.
- Becoming Christians in name only (v. 16) – This may be the most dangerous result of listening to false teachers. This group knows about God but they do not KNOW God and there is a big difference. The false teachers themselves lead the way, being detestable, disobedient, and worthless in God’s service. The followers like what they hear and believe themselves to be in good standing with God all the while being detestable, disobedient, and worthless. They don’t even know their true position, accepting a lie and living their life based on it.
What are some other dangers you see of false teachers who are followed today?