“Peter anticipates an age-long heretical infiltration in churches designed to satisfy man’s sensuality and greed. What is most striking about Peter’s prophecy is that what is normative in the world will find entrance into the church (2 Cor. 12:21). Why?”
The 17th century minister and Scotsman, Alexander Nisbet said, “the most dangerous heretics have many followers; every error they introduce turns out to be a friend to some lust in the heart of man.”
Case in point: Several years ago, a friend of mine discovered his pastor had committed adultery with a woman in their church. In this fiercely independent church, which had no ecclesial oversight except the three men who ran things, the pastor did not step down. Instead, he developed a very elaborate doctrine of discretion and gossip enforced by his devoted henchmen.
If anyone wished to talk about his adultery, they were shut down with chapter and verse from the Bible about gossip. The pastor convinced most in the church it was a sin to speak of the issue. He convinced my friend.
Voilà! A new teaching is found that befriends a man’s lust to power and paycheck, not to mention his lust for illicit relations.
What was going on this situation? Probably a lot more than we can say or fully understand. One thing going on for sure, however, was an evil innovation in Christian teaching in order to avoid accountability for sin.
Sexual sins, of course, are not unforgivable sins (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Our Lord Jesus Christ has gathered into His kingdom by his blood many sinners who were soiled by such sins. They have been effectually called through the needle hole of repentance, forgiven, cleansed and transformed. In many cases, the Lord has blessed them with years of domestic peace and renewed fidelity.
Yet there are many more who never leave the wide way of destruction (Matt. 7:13). Tragically, often walking right there beside them, even leading them, are so-called ministers and teachers who assure them they can keep their sin and have salvation too.
The apostle Peter warned of such “wide way” teachers. In Peter’s second letter, he said they would secretly sow their ideas, philosophies and new doctrines into the churches of Jesus Christ.
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 exploit you with false words. (2 Peter 2:1-3a)
Peter anticipates an age-long heretical infiltration in churches designed to satisfy man’s sensuality and greed. What is most striking about Peter’s prophecy is that what is normative in the world will find entrance into the church (2 Cor. 12:21). Why?
Why do such false teachers even bother with the church? Why not just go around the church and get right to the immorality they desire, uninhibited, undiluted and without delay?