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I had a late start to my morning due to circumstances beyond my immediate control. My son decided he didn't want to sleep until 11 p.m. Then, while praying before sleeping, as I always do, my attention was drawn to how quickly the world is changing, and not for the good. In the end, I may have slept 4 hours.
I can remember the days when a politician who was caught up in a scandal would resign out of a sense of decency and for the greater good of his constituents and the country as a whole.
I remember a time when there was no Internet and we led productive and playful lives rather than being confined to a chair and desk, living a digital live replete with carpal tunnel syndrome and diminished vison.
I remember when universities allowed for critical discussions and sensible challenges to essential teachings by one's professor without any pushback or reductions in grades.
But times have changed drastically, and I find myself daily challenging the global narratives that are pushed as freedoms but are in all reality are inhibitions and bondages rather than freedom.
We live in a world that promotes a new kind of freedom, one where everything is permissible but questioning authority, especially when religious beliefs conflict with various worldviews. This is the norm that results when otherwise decent people refuse to stand up and fight for what is right. They are trampled underfoot by the mobs that proclaim freedom for their views but deny it for others.
Nowadays countries engage in wars for profit as opposed to prosecuting a war do what is right and just. Greed and usury are what makes the world go round these days.
Then there is the rampant influx of propaganda, cancel culture and false teaching in the churches. One has to pick a cause to fight for, because in a war for truth one cannot successfully fight on too many fronts. I don't wage too much of a battle on globalism or politics, but I do wage war on false teachings perpetrated by various religions, cults and even false prophets within the Christian church. I have to do so based on God's word.
Doctrine is another word for an essential teaching. False teachers and so called prophets have an affinity for twisting the core doctrines of Christianity. The image below reveals some of the ways false teachers infiltrate the church.
In the old days, false teachers and prophets were stoned to death; today they are tolerated by lukewarm churches. This is because many church leaders do not possess the backbone or the wherewithal to combat heresy. Instead, they preach a soft, social gospel or a health and wealth gospel that tickles the ears of their congregants, and lead many to their eternal destruction.
Titus says false teachers are “...teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach” (Titus 1:11).
As believers and disciples of Christ Jesus, we are commanded to fight against false teachings in the church. It's not a pleasant nor popular thing to do, but do it we must.
Peter warned against false teachers who had entered the early church. He wrote in Koine Greek which was spoken over most of the known world of his day.
In 2 Peter he castigates false teachers. It was a style we know as hellfire and brimstone, and which has greatly been diminished in contemporary times.
When writing, Peter acknowledged his fellow Apostle, Paul, when he writes: "He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction" (2 Peter 3:16, NIV).
Note that Peter saw Paul's writing as Scripture! Scripture is God-breathed, and is inspired by the Father through the Holy Spirit.
False teachers then (and today) mocked the church by saying Jesus was not coming again. Some denied who Christ was - fully God and fully man. Some denied the resurrection, others denied the impact or cost of sin, and as a consequence lived sinful lives rife with debauchery.
Peter writes: "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep” (2 Peter 2:1–3, ESV).
Jude doesn't let us down. He was the brother of Jesus. He spoke boldly against false teachers, even borrowing some points from Peter. Plagiarism was non-existent back in the first century.
When writing, Jude spoke about false teachers thus: "These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead" (Jude 12, NIV).
Harsh words? It is much harsher in the Greek! Jude meant for us to fight tooth and nail against false teachers. They were, and are today, leading people astray. But they have stored up for themselves eternal destruction in the eternal lake of fire.
In verse 19 Jude lays it down quite plainly as far as false teachers are concerned: "These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit" (Jude 19, NIV).
What is "do not have the Spirit?" He means these false teachers are not true Christians! Timothy weighs in about these false teachers and unbelievers as: "...having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people" (2 Timothy 3:5, NIV).
One of the global worldviews is that all religions lead to God. This is a lie from the very pit of hell itself. It is a monumental mistake initiated by Satan. Religion is one thing, whereas Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus.
To those of you who are among God'select (1 Peter 1:1), it is our responsibility to distance ourselves from false teachers and call them out. Jude calls on us to "...contend for the faith (v. 3). He means to fight vigorously. There is no apt word to translate this word contend from the Greek to English.
We can recognize some of the false teachers now present in the church. They are those who preach the health and wealth gospel, who preach the law over faith and grace, who blindside their flock with additional sacraments for salvation not found in God's word, and who deny who Jesus is.
Again, we can only fight so many battles against global worldviews, but the one fight we must contend for is the "faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).