Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What Is A Heresy?

False Teachers and Their Destruction
2 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

Again today the subject of "false teachers" comes up. Peter equates the "false prophets" of the Old Testament with the "false teachers" in the New Testament. The common denominator is that they presume to speak for God, but they introduce heresies. A heresy is a distortion of the truth, that often looks a lot like the truth. Notice it says they will secretly introduce these heresies. One has to be aware of anything purporting to be secret teaching. Any doctrine that is biblically based can be brought out into the light and examined.

Notice too that along with false teaching comes bad behavior. Peter says, "many will follow their depraved conduct". One of the motives of false teachers is it gives people what they want instead of what they need. Recently one of the heresies introduced in the church was the so called, "health and wealth" gospel. It basically said if you follow Jesus you will have good health and be financially successful. There is one problem with this line of thinking. It doesn't come from scripture. Jesus never promised his disciples health or wealth, he often told them the opposite might be true.

But why are false teachers so seductive? In the above case, who wouldn't want to be healthy and wealthy by following Jesus? But we also see there are dire consequences for those who are false teachers. While they may profit for a while, their destruction is imminent. We see the consistent warning to watch out for false teachers who introduce heresies. Some of them are old ones re-invented in a new way. For instance the "new age" movement was a variation of a heresy in the 1st century, which was called "Gnosticism".

This teaching today points to why it is so important for each of us to read the bible, study it, and know what we believe and why. God's Word is given to us to keep us on the right path, the path of our Savior, Jesus Christ. All the scriptures point to him, and reveal that He is God's only Son. And only through Jesus, the sinless Son of God, can we find eternal life. For there is no other name in heaven or on earth by which we can be saved.

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