Saturday, 25 January 2020
And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 2 Peter 2:2
There is a dispute between manuscripts in this verse. Some say the plural of the same word used in verse 2:1 (destructive). Others use a different word signifying licentiousness. Either way, the intent is that the false teachers will lead those they teach astray, the number being “many.”
This has been true throughout the church age. False teachers leading aberrant sects and cults have taken many down unsound paths of unrighteousness, sexual sin, perversion, bad doctrine, and on and on. This isn’t just limited to those who branch off from the mainstream church, but it is also found in a great way among the church itself. Within large mainstream denominations, there is an underlying culture of sexual sin and the covering up of it when it catches public attention.
At times, however, what is shameful becomes an open part of the ways of such people, such as Joseph Smith of the Mormons. Today, that has become a reality in many “mainstream” denominations where such destructive and licentious ways are openly acknowledged and applauded. Several branches of the Presbyterians, the Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church, the Methodists, and many more all applaud sexual perversion, abortion, and other unholy lifestyle choices. In fact, it seems that it has almost become a requirement for the selection and ordination of candidates to hold completely unholy values.
Even the most conservative denominations in the church today are showing signs of cracking and giving way to such avenues. The magnitude of the term “many will follow” probably could not have even been imagined by Peter as he sat and wrote out the words of his epistle. It is because of following such people, and their perverse agendas, that many will be led astray, Peter notes concerning them that “the way of truth will be blasphemed.”
There are at least two ways that this is true. The first is that people would actually believe that this is what the gospel teaches. It is taking something pure and glorious, and turning it into something vile, perverse, and unholy. The second is that people would then accuse the gospel of actually being responsible for what the people did. The first thought leads directly to the next. When it is believed that the gospel is the source of such unholy conduct, then it is also such a distortion of the gospel that will lead people to follow that same path of unholiness.
Consider, for example, that homosexuals are gladly ordained as pastors and priests in such denominations. Then they are eventually elevated to the positions of bishop, it is no wonder that the outside world sees this conduct, believes that it is something acceptable within Christianity, and turns from any desire to participate in the faith at all. The greatest heathen in society is often on a better moral standing than the highest officials within the church. When this is so, woe to those who lead and participate in such halls of unrighteousness.
Life application: Such people are set on their own appetites and how they can manipulate others for their own benefit and glory. Unfortunately, in order to be a false teacher with followers, there must be those who follow.
History is replete with such groups and sects. In the 1800s, there was a huge turning away from the truth, and many heretics flourished in the freedom provided by the US Constitution. The Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and some Adventist groups grew rapidly in numbers. All of this occurred because people followed a charismatic leader rather than paying heed to the Bible – which admonishes us to follow the Lord, to think on the Lord, and to fix our eyes on the Lord.
Cults continue to spring up in our times, but something much less obvious has arisen in the 20th and early 21st century. Heretics have infiltrated mainstream denominations – both in the seminaries and in the pulpits. Bad doctrine abounds, and there has been a grand shift from reliance on the word of God to the traditions and teachings of these heretical leaders.
What the Bible clearly forbids is heralded as “tolerant,” and they say God is “doing a new thing.” But God is unchanging, and His standards never fluctuate. Sadly, the congregants who sit in these denominations are accountable for their failure to investigate what they are taught, but the majority will fail to do so. As you attend church, please compare what is taught with what the Bible says. If the two contradict each other, the problem rests with the church or the pastor, not with God and His loving intent for you. The problem might also rest with you if you do not leave the congregation.
What He speaks is for the good of His creatures; the Bible is for our well-being and to dismiss it will only bring sadness. Be filled with the joy of the Lord; read, learn, and love His word – the Holy Bible.
Heavenly Father, You are a great and loving God. We know that Your word is meant to lead us down paths of righteousness and safety, and we divert from it at our own peril. Please continue to give us the desire, time, and ability to study and discern Your word and intent for us. All glory to You. Amen.