“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)
When it comes to false teaching, we tend to be very dismissive. We think of it as no big deal. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, after all. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. And we certainly don’t have to agree with him.
This causes us to be very tolerant of teaching that contradicts the Word of God. It causes us to remain silent when we encounter it. We say and do nothing when we encounter it in society. And, worse yet, we say and do nothing when we encounter it in the church.
However, false teaching is a very big deal. It’s a big deal because many are led astray by it. We are told, in the above passage, that many will follow the sensuality of these false teachers. We’re told that, because of them, the way of truth will be blasphemed.
Because of these false teachers, people will be led away from a saving faith in Christ and they will embrace their sinful desires. Because of these false teachers, the way of truth will be vilified and regarded as evil. Because of their desire to lure people from the gospel to themselves, they will manipulate others with their false message.
We also see, very clearly, that it’s a big deal to God. He does not sit idly by and tolerate it. These false teachers stand condemned by God, and their destruction will soon come.
Knowing this, we must not tolerate false teaching. We see in Revelation 2 that the church at Thyatira was reprimanded by Jesus for doing so. We must ensure that only the pure gospel is proclaimed.
We are limited in what we can do in society. We live in a nation where the freedom of religion is guaranteed. It’s guaranteed to Christian and non-Christian alike. And, for this reason, all faiths are able to share their message. We can only expose the false teaching being proclaimed and share the truth.
In the church, however, we can do much more. We must insist that only the truth is proclaimed. We can refrain from giving false teachers a pulpit and an audience. And we can remove from our congregation those seeking to lead others astray.