Paul has left Titus in Crete to appoint elders. He is concerned because of the dangerous spiritual climate there: “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). Elders are needed to silence those among the group who are teaching false things and promoting wrong attitudes (like insubordination).
In passing, Paul makes an intriguing comment about Cretan culture. “One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true. 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 1:12-14). Paul is certainly exaggerating—not all Cretans are liars, evil, and lazy—yet he is making an important statement about the culture where Titus is working. Cultures have an impact on our faith. Paul is concerned that the Cretans will be tempted to continue in old patterns of living rather than being “sound in the faith.” We should be concerned about the same thing as Christians in modern America.
If culture has an impact on faith, honesty demands that we ask some tough questions. What would Paul say about American culture? What would he tell ministers among us to “rebuke sharply”? Is it possible that we are blind to the impact materialism, sexualization, consumerism, and selfishness are having on our faith? Are we as loyal to Jesus as we are to our culture?
------------- One Thing to Think About: What parts of my culture have rubbed off on me—and how do they affect my faith?
One Thing to Pray For: Discernment and wisdom to see what God approves and disapproves in our broader culture
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