Monday, July 9, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Beware of false teachers

2 Peter 2:1-7

"Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping." (2 Peter 2:3)
As a college mathematics educator, it is my responsibility to ensure that the lessons I prepare are accurate and presented in a way that leads to a more complete understanding of the subject. It would be silly, irresponsible, and unethical of me to teach incorrect mathematical concepts to my students. Improper and incorrect teaching lead to detrimental effects for further student learning down the road; in other words, significant roadblocks in the advancement of a student learner arise that can stunt the intellectual growth of the learner because of the unpreparedness or maliciousness of an unsound teacher.
Consider how much more seriously God treats false teachers of the gospel! Whereas I may get fired for poor or improper teaching of mathematics (which, in and of itself, is not good), the scripture outlines specific, dire consequences for those who dare to pervert the Word of God. The apostle Paul tells the Galatians that if anyone preaches the gospel differently than it is supposed to be taught, that person will "be eternally condemned!" (Galatians 1:8) Paul also describes to Timothy how false teachers spread their teaching "like gangrene" and "destroy the faith" of those who are in various stages of their walks with God (II Timothy 2:16-18). God does not tolerate this.
Moreover, Peter, who himself was one of the "eyewitnesses of [Jesus'] majesty" (II Peter 1:16), does not mince words about false teachers who "secretly introduce destructive heresies," "bring the way of truth into disrepute," and "exploit you with stories they have made up" (II Peter 2:1-3). Their primary goal is to promote controversies and divisions in the church and the body of Christ instead of promoting God's work (I Timothy 1:4). By doing this, however, they deviate new and growing believers from the paths of light and righteousness to the paths of darkness and deception. The Word of God is to be a "lamp to [our] feet and a light for [our paths]" (Psalm 119:105)these false teachers, through their selfish motives, shed no light from their "teaching," confounding what true teachers are trying to edify.
Peter outlines in II Peter 2:12-22 the fate of these false teachers. We, the "students" of Christianity, must remain vigilant and follow Peter's advice found in II Peter 3:17: "Be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position." Our "secure position" is found in the safe arms of God, with the belt of truth and shield of faith defending us from the wiles of the evil one.
Dear Father in heaven, we ask for hearts of discernment and vigilance to defend ourselves from those who would try to mislead us from Your paths and truths. Strengthen our minds with Your wisdom so that we be not swept away by false teachings. Jesus, You are the Way - in You alone we trust. AMEN!
A false teacher does more damage than a false disciple.

Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church