Destructive Doctrines

by Mike Ratliff

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. (2 Peter 2:1 ESV)

False professors and false prophets have one thing in common. They are convinced that the ‘religious paradigm’ they love, cherish, follow, and proclaim is true. Of course, they come to this conclusion through what some of them refer to as their ‘thinkology.’ In other words, what makes it true in their hearts is their own acceptance of it. The deciding or defining standard, which is used by these people, is their own value system. They oppose clear Biblical truth because “they just don’t believe it” while they embrace humanistic forms of Christianity simply because their ‘thinkology ‘ gives them a green light.

I am not discounting God working in His people to increase their knowledge of Him, teaching them the truth, so that they will believe, repent, and be saved. No, God does that and uses the truth in our salvation and spiritual growth. No, I am not arguing against that, but notice the difference between the two approaches to knowing what is true and what is not. Those who love their own version of the truth more than God’s truth are using their ‘thinkology’ which is corrupt because it has as its foundation nothing more than humanistic philosophy. On the other hand, those whom God has drawn into His light by His grace are led to believe the truth from a completely different foundation. This foundation is not humanistic philosophy, but instead is God’s Word.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)

The Word of God, when used correctly, powerfully works in the heart through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It destroys idols. It shatters pride. It teaches the believer the truth and confirms it in the heart as his or her faith believes and trusts God’s Word as the truth. This is why it is imperative for believers to know God’s Word, to immerse themselves in it always seeking to know God as He is through His revelation of Himself to us, which is His Word. When believers know God’s truth they can very clearly see the evil of destructive doctrines which so many in our time have fallen for and are now in the grasp of our enemy’s darkness. They are ensnared by lies, which hide the truth from them.

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 will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3 ESV)

In this age, prior to the age to come, false teachers continually beset the Church. These heretics secretly bring in destructive heresies. They will ‘secretly bring in’ their teachings. This is one Greek word, παρεισάγω or pareisagō. It means, “to lead in aside, that is, introduce surreptitiously.” Think of a pastor or other Christian leader who has been in ministry for quite a while, but over time he writes, preaches, or teaches things that are not biblical, but he mixes these things with a certain amount of truth so that the false is very difficult to see for what it is. These false teachers, of course, will eventually reveal enough of their false and destructive doctrines so that discerning Christians will be awakened to it by the moving of the Holy Spirit in them to compare what is taught with what the Word of God says. Then as God awakens these things to those He has assigned to be guardians of the truth, the Church is made aware.

When Peter said that these heresies are so bad that these people ‘even deny the Master who bought them’ he is not speaking of genuine believers losing their salvation nor is he saying that Christ’s atoning work on the Cross bought even those bound for Hell. No, what he is referring to here is made clear in v17-22.

These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:17-22 ESV)

These false teachers are not genuine believers, but are apostates. They were never regenerate Christians. I had a Pastor in Oklahoma several years ago who shared with us one Sunday the sad story of a friend he had in college who went to seminary and became a pastor. However, he lost track of his friend over time because of his own ministry. Then, by chance, they did meet in their old hometown one day. My pastor’s friend had totally abandoned the faith. Not only was he no longer in the ministry, but also was living a reprobate lifestyle pursuing every vice imaginable. My pastor asked him about his former profession of faith and his testimonies, et cetera. The response was, “I was just faking it.” 

That should be quite sobering for us my brethren. Now think of the so-called Christian leaders out there who hang in there continuing to ‘minister’ even though they are not regenerate and, therefore, have not the Holy Spirit nor are they anchored in God’s Word or our Lord Jesus Christ as the foundation of their ministries. They go after whatever it takes to please people. They invent their false doctrines based on their own necessities of keeping their ministries going. They fall into the trap of the secularization of their churches in order to fill the pews with the unsaved. They never preach the real gospel because that would drive these folks out. They devalue it anyway because it is ‘so’ offensive.

Since the Gospel is not at the center of their ministries neither is its purpose, which is to redeem a people out of the world into the Kingdom of God. Eternal issues are ignored so the focus of these ministries become temporal. The Christian liberal’s focus is on making this a better world according to latest mantra such as ‘Being Green.’

These false teachers may indeed have large ministries and a great number of followers. Several months ago, I wrote a few pieces on Rob Bell. His defenders swooped down upon this blog attempting to shut me up. I was amazed at their diversity. Several of them were into ‘other religions’ that spoke of Jesus as being just another Avatar. In any case, we must never hesitate to speak or write the truth when it comes to destructive doctrines that attack God’s truth. We must tell the truth and reveal to the Church those who are proving themselves to be among those for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 

Soli Deo Gloria!

23 thoughts on “Destructive Doctrines

  1. Pingback: Destructive Doctrines - Reformata

  2. Praise the Lord Mike,

    God’s words cut like a surgeon’s scalpel…Sharp as a razor blade.. But we didn’t put those coals in our mouths, God put them there. God’s words make these people very anger and they should be searching their own hearts and asking why am I so anger about what this man said. Hopefully they will seek the True Jesus who is the Only Way to Truth. But man listens to man and doesn’t what to know God’s ways because they are spiritually blinded. I thank the Lord that we can still share His words with each other, for we know the day is coming very shortly that we probably will not and I pray that God will not allow this, but I know His Will will be done.

    In Christ,
    David

    PS
    I thank the Lord you are back, safe and sound. May He continue to hold you in His pinion and keep you and your family safe from the wiles of the devil in the Name of Christ Jesus I pray.

  3. “after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome”

    At least “problematic” since only only the regenerate can come into that kind of knowledge of Christ, such as deliver them from the defilements of the world. The same word “knowledge” is used in Eph.1:17 and 4:13 among other places.

    Not wanting an argument, Mike, just suggesting at least a “problem”.

  4. You are right. That is the reason we need to study the scriptures; so that we can discern when something we hear or read is truely God’s Word or someone’s phylosophy. I heard someone say not long ago that when we are deceived we are the last to know because we are deceived.

  5. Rick,

    The Greek word used in these passages translated as “knowledge” simply refers to a paradigm that is the basis of a deeply religious life. It can refer to the genuine regenerate Christian life based on the knowledge born from the working of the gospel in the heart OR the heretical or apostate life based on simply superficial knowledge of the truth, but not applied to a regenerate heart therefore producing very religious professing Christians who are not known by God.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  6. Very good post. I was talking about this very same thing to some friends of mine this week. It’s this destructive doctrine that’s dividing the church and leading us right into a final apostasy. I pray that those of us grounded in the Word of God can pull together for one last revival.

  7. Amen Mike! These false teachers appear to be true because they hold to a form of godliness although they have denied its power. They have been reformed but not transformed just as you quoted in 2 Peter 2:17-22. This is also what the Lord was talking about in Matthew 12:43-45. So how do we know if the man has been genuinely transformed with his house occupied by the Holy Spirit or if he has only been self-reformed with his house unoccupied? Do we judge by appearance and say that he must be transformed because he has a popular and large ministry? No! We examine everything he teaches carefully against God’s Word and then we will know whether he is from God or if he is a false teacher.

  8. Amen Mike. Our Lord said He will send them the delusion to believe the lie. They actually believe it. They are so sure they are right, there is no convincing them otherwise. Lets you know just how powerful our Saviour is. The reason He did it is because they love not the truth. They are sure going to be suprised when they have to stand before Him.

  9. One more thing…….. :) We watched the debate on dvd of James White and that guy from Calvary Baptist on the monergistic vs free will. Was it ever good. James White used nothing but scripture and the other guy…well he could only say ‘Calvin said’ and he never refered to scripture. It was 2 hours long and worth every minute of watching it. White blew the guy right out of the water with scriptural proof.

  10. Excellent!! My favorite part: “The Word of God, when used correctly, powerfully works in the heart through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It destroys idols. It shatters pride. It teaches the believer the truth and confirms it in the heart as his or her faith believes and trusts God’s Word as the truth. This is why it is imperative for believers to know God’s Word, to immerse themselves in it always seeking to know God as He is through His revelation of Himself to us, which is His Word. When believers know God’s truth they can very clearly see the evil of destructive doctrines which so many in our time have fallen for and are now in the grasp of our enemy’s darkness. They are ensnared by lies, which hide the truth from them.”

    It is indeed all about the WORD!!!
    To mature we must walk by faith. And to walk by faith we must know the Word…so we CAN walk in it by faith. Until we value the Word…we will NOT walk by faith. And until we walk by faith…we will not mature!

    Just my two cents anyway!

    (Isa 42:3 “A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.)

  11. Here’s one of my concerns with “conditional life” versus “eternal life”: Our omniscient Father created time and space. Long before He set this universe into motion, He already knew that I would accept His incomparable gift of grace — that is, the shed blood of Jesus Christ for the payment of my sin debt. For that reason, I am, and always have been, among the elect — a predestined and adopted child of the King (praise be to God).

    When I accepted the gift of God’s grace (through the faith that He alone provides), I entered into my eternal position in Christ and was sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption. He who began a good work in me WILL carry it through to completion.

    Is it your position, Mike, that our God was unaware of my future sins when He adopted me into His family? Or, perhaps, He knew of my future sins as a believer (each one deserving of death), therefore I was never (or could ever be) truly saved? Am I the one lost sheep that Jesus doesn’t leave the rest of His flock to find and restore to Himself?

  12. Theophilus,

    The atonement through Christ on the Cross was the imputation of all of the sins of the Elect to the account of the Lord Jesus. He redeemed them all. He paid the price for all of the sins, past, present, and future of the elect. The redeemed still sin in this life, but those sins are already forgiven according to the Father. However, in the temporal where we exist we must still confess and repent daily because this is part of our sanctification. This is not license to sin. As we mature as Christians we become more and more Christlike in our hatred of the flesh and the sins it loves. We learn to deny it and live holy lives before our Lord. This is our call. Those who remain faithful to the end prove they are genuine Christians.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  13. Thank you, Mike, for your prompt and wholly scriptural response. I confess that my first visit to this site was this evening. There appeared to be some postings which embraced (or, at least, leaned toward) a more Arminian view — that is, salvation is conditional upon a certain fervency of faith.

    My apologies to you for a less than loving tone.

    Your brother,
    Theophilus

  14. Amen Mike,
    Anyone can claim Christ as Savior, but those who are truly saved will bear visible fruit. Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. The work He started, He promises to finish.
    I like where David says in Psalms “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” (Psalm 51:12) If you are true believer and are practicing sin, there should be no true joy in your life and there should be repentance. There are TOO many churches practicing Easy-believism and Pastors leading folks down the path of destruction.

    Cristina

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