In 2 John it is denial of Jesus Christ's incarnation, in 3 John he is challenging Diotrephes and his spreading of malicious nonsense, in Jude it is those who pervert the grace of God into a licence fro immorality and deny Jesus Christ.
What is so interesting is that these false teachers have slipped into the church. And it is not the woolly liberal churches which they have slipped into, but gospel centred, apostolic foundation churches which have been contending for the faith.
Just in studying these a number of things have struck me.
- Subtlety of false teaching. Good people have accepted these false teachers, they have slipped in, not confronted over powered and dragged the church away. In other places in the New Testament the warning is that such people will arise from among your own number.
- Importance of being alert. What is continually stressed is the need to be on your guard, particularly for the churches leaders but also for its members. To be alert and aware, to know and love the truths of God and our saviour that alarm bells are ringing in our heads when something false is taught.
- Not being people pleasers. What is striking in letters written to confront false teaching is that they were not easy letters to pen. They were written because of the love of the authors for the recipients, but they were letters that had to be written because the potential consequences were so huge. Love means confronting false teaching.
- Teaching God's truth. The antidote to false teaching is teaching the truth God reveals in scripture, not my ideas or my take on scripture. I am to empty and remove my framework and instead construct a biblical framework around which I build my life and living.
I think we tend to be quite good at spotting the big national scale theological controversies but what about in our small localised settings.