A few months ago a leading pastor disappeared from sight. Then the truth came out that for years he had kept a “sex slave” in his house, and had enticed his flock with a mixture of convoluted Scripture and Eastern mysticism to keep them intrigued and off balance. And, he was getting rich off of them. Recently a pastor shared with me the abusive style of leadership endemic throughout his denomination, and how he in kind has practiced it upon his flock.
In my recent study of 2 Peter 2:1-22, I discovered the following characteristics of false teachers:
- They arise from among the believers. (Vs. 1) (Act. 20:30; Rom.16:17,18;Gal. 1:8,9;I Tim. 1:3; Jude 4)
- They are popular, attracting many followers. (Vs. 2) (I Jn. 4:5)
- They bring discredit upon true Christianity. (Vs. 2) (Rom. 2:23, 24; 1 Tim. 6:1)
- They exploit people financially. (Vs. 3, 14) (2 Cor. 2:17; I Thes. 2:5;1 Tim. 6:3-5)
- They ensnare young converts by promising them sexual “freedom”. (Vs. 8, 19) (Jn. 8:34,36; I Pet.2:16)
- They are audacious and arrogant, despising all authority. (Vs. 10) (Jer.10:21;Lk 19:14; Act 7:27,39; Jud. 8)
- They blasphemously enter spiritual realms in which they are ignorant. (Vs. 10,12) (Jude 8-10)
- They revel in lustful pleasures, seducing the unstable. (Vs. 10, 13, 14)(Rom. 13:13;2 Tim. 3:5-7)
- They are under God’s judgment. (Vs. 1,4-13, 20-22) (Jer. 23:9-40; Ezek. 34:1-10; James 3:1)
How can we protect ourselves from these spiritual shysters?
- Know the Word of God and compare it with their teaching. (Acts 17:11;2 Tim.4:2-4; 2Pet.3:16,17)
- Realize that if they are super popular, they probably are not from God.(Mt.24:23,24;Lk.16:15;Jn.15:18-20)
- Don’t be easily impressed by “signs”, “miracles”, etc. (Mt. 24:5,24-26;Mk.13:22;2Thes.2:9-12;1Jn.4:1-3)
- Be wary of spiritual leaders who are abusively authoritarian, and lack compassion. (I Pet.5:3; Mat.9:12-13)
- Understand that false teachers twist the Scriptures, often attacking the Deity of Christ; usually pushing salvation by their definition of good works. (2 Cor. 4:2; 2 John 7; Col. 2:16-23)
My prayer is that you are having a great week!