During my last perusal of Paul’s letter to Titus – quite a short letter – I noticed there is a whole lot of rebuking going on. Or, rather, a whole lot of encouragement to rebuke those who are teaching falsehood:
Titus 1:9 He [a prospective pastor] must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
Titus 1:11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.
Titus 1:13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,
Titus 2:15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
Titus 3:8,10 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people…As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him,…”
Part of a pastor’s job is to rebuke people that are leading others astray. This idea is counter cultural, and therefore needs to be mentioned all the more. Some might see this as unloving. What isn’t loving is letting people go astray to their hurt and the hurt of others. The goal of rebuking is “that they may be sound in the faith (1:13).” It goes without saying that if you are thinking “finally I get to go off on that guy” you might want to pray that God gives you a love for him before speaking.
By the way, before you start rebuking, remember the prerequisite – “he must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught (1:9).” Don’t rebuke people when they don’t agree with your made up version of Christianity; rebuke people when they are leading people away from historically accepted, orthodox Christianity.