“False prophets appeared in the past among the people, and in the same way false teachers will appear among you. They will bring in destructive, untrue doctrines, and will deny the Master who redeemed them, and so they will bring upon themselves sudden destruction.” (2nd Peter 1v2 GNB). I start this article with a scripture I relish because of its prophetic insight-relating the past to the present and it serves as the anchor on which this topic stands. The questions that readily come to mind, then, are: Who are the seductive apostates? How are they identified? How do they convince (or seduce) people into their ecclesiastical anomalies?
These apostates are referred to as “false teachers” (2nd Peter 2v1), elsewhere, they are regarded as“…some godless people [who] have slipped in unnoticed among us…” (Judev4). In the book of 1st John, they are called “Enemies of Christ” who “really did not belong to our fellowship and that is why they left us; if they had belonged to our fellowship, they would have stayed with us. But they left so that it might be clear that none of them really belonged to us.” (1st John 2v18-19). How do we know them? It’s simple. They “…distort the message about the grace of our God in order to excuse their immoral ways, and who reject Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord…” (Jude4)
It is important to state at this point that such miserable individuals whose condemnation has been preserved long ago don’t always appear as enemies of Christ hence their seductive nature. So, what is their strategy? “Even so, many will follow their immoral ways; and because of what they do, others will speak evil of the Way of truth. In their greed these false teachers will make a profit out of telling you made-up stories. For a long time now their Judge has been ready, and their Destroyer has been wide awake!” (2nd Peter2v2-3) These “made-up stories” which take a number of Christians away from the true path of light are consolidated with “signs, miracles and wonders” These people twist the Holy Scriptures and make destructive(but often seductive) inferences from it in order to manipulate people in Church. Unfortunately and as the bible rightly predicts many will follow their immoral [damnable] ways.
Herein is the admonition: What validates a pastor, a teacher or any leader in Church is not how well he quotes the scriptures or how ‘anointed’ he appears or how many signs and wonders he is able to perform but the appropriate application of the word of God both in his words and in his deeds. That’s all. Christ buttresses this point in the book of Matthew7v22-23: “When the Judgment Day comes, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! In your name we spoke God’s message, by your name we drove out many demons and performed many miracles!’Then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you wicked people!’ ” The onus is therefore on the believer to make Christ and His infallible word the standard through which he can compare whatever he receives in Church in order to guide his actions and thus live rightly in the sight of God.
To be continued