Slideshow image

Hopefully you listened to Pastor Philip's sermon from last Sunday on 2 Peter 2:1-3 about False Teachers. It was really good and got me thinking about what ACTUAL heresies Peter was addressing. Remember, he's writing to a specific group of people at a specific point in time. 

There are three heresies mentioned in the Bible that would have been known to Peter in that day. 

1. Judaizers - These are mentioned in multiple places and basically taught that in order to follow Jesus, you had to follow all of the Torah. You could not be a follower of Jesus if you ate pork, for instance. 

2. Nicolaitans - This is mentioned in Revelation 2. These people taught that you could basically do whatever you wanted with your body because salvation was really only for your spirit. A version of this that Paul mentions in Galatians was that engaging in physical sin was good because you would receive more grace.

3. Gnosticism - This one is mentioned in 1 Timothy 6:20-21. It hung on for quite a while historically. There's a lot to it, but their beliefs can be summed up in this way:

     a. Although Christ appeared to be human, his humanity was merely an illusion.

     b. Christ appeared to die, but did not really die.

     c. Christ was not truly God, the second Person of the Trinity. He was merely a created being who was the lowest of the aeons, a group of semi-divine beings between God and man. Each lower aeon was given power by a higher aeon. Christ, the aeon furthest removed from God, created the world because God was too pure to dirty himself with matter.

     d. Matter is evil, so one can do anything one wants with one’s body, including killing it to release the soul from its imprisonment.

     e. The God of the Old Testament is evil, as evidenced by the fact that he created the material universe. He is not the same as the God of the New Testament, who is the God of Love, as Jesus and his apostles taught (1 Jn 4:8, 16).

     f. People are saved by acquiring secret knowledge (gnosis), which is imparted only to the initiated.

These are the historical heresies (false teaching) that Peter is addressing. Here's what's interesting. You see all three of these today. Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, The New Age movement, and various other cults are just modern-day versions of Gnosticism. Nicolaitans are found in many groups that are embracing sexual sin and saying that it is completely okay. There are multiple "churches" and denominations that have embraced this. Judaizers have found a resurgence in modern times with various groups that say that you really aren't following Jesus unless you follow the entire Torah.

But here's what is particularly troubling: There are those in churches that follow historical orthodoxy who teach these heresies. Pastor Philip mentioned this. When someone claims to have secret knowledge that the Holy Spirit revealed to them, that's Gnosticism. When people tell you that what happens physically doesn't matter because only your spirit matters, that's Gnosticism. When someone says that you can do whatever you want because God loves you and will forgive you, that's Nicolaitanism. When someone starts making up rules about belonging to a church, that's being a Judaizer. 

I have heard all of these things and many more from many church people. As Saint Peter says and Pastor Philip preached, we need to know the truth so well that lies become obvious!


Glorious Day

At Your Name


Run to the Father