Destructive Heresies and Doctrines

by Mike Ratliff

1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.(2 Peter 2:1 NASB)

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.

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

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.

1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.  (2 Peter 2:1-3 NASB)

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.

17 These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. 18 For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, 19 promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. 22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:17-22 NASB)

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. A few years 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!

8 thoughts on “Destructive Heresies and Doctrines

  1. Amen Mike!

    We who are born again -truly our foundation is the Word of God. Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” -John 8:31-32.

    And it’s quite interesting that we have MANY who were preaching God’s word but now they are not holding to the word of God and they are secretly introducing destructive heresies. It’s interesting when you talked about “secretly” -Secretly can mean over a long period of time subtly and without notice.

    I think of John Piper. I don’t know his heart but I do know that he has secretly over time introduced some destructive heresies=”Christian Hedonism”?


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  3. Linda, I have never understood the framework of “Christian Hedonism,” but then again, I have not really spent much time trying to understand it either. Yes, your quote of John 8:31-32 says it doesn’t it?


  4. Mike,
    The WORD of God never changes. There is nothing new under the sun.

    Zechariah 10:2 The idols speak deceit, diviners see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd.

    Jeremiah 23:1-40 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. 2 Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the LORD. 3 “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4 I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD. 5 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up to David {5 Or up from David’s line} a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness. 7 “So then, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ 8 but they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land.” 9 Concerning the prophets: My heart is broken within me; all my bones tremble. I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome by wine, because of the LORD and his holy words. 10 The land is full of adulterers; because of the curse {10 Or because of these things} the land lies parched {10 Or land mourns} and the pastures in the desert are withered. The prophets follow an evil course and use their power unjustly. 11 “Both prophet and priest are godless; even in my temple I find their wickedness,” declares the LORD. 12 “Therefore their path will become slippery; they will be banished to darkness and there they will fall. I will bring disaster on them in the year they are punished,” declares the LORD. 13 “Among the prophets of Samaria I saw this repulsive thing: They prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray. 14 And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me; the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah.” 15 Therefore, this is what the LORD Almighty says concerning the prophets: “I will make them eat bitter food and drink poisoned water, because from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has spread throughout the land.” 16 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. 17 They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The LORD says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’ 18 But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word? 19 See, the storm of the LORD will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked. 20 The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly. 21 I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds. 23 “Am I only a God nearby,” declares the LORD, “and not a God far away? 24 Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the LORD. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD. 25 “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ 26 How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? 27 They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their fathers forgot my name through Baal worship. 28 Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the LORD. 29 “Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? 30 “Therefore,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. 31 Yes,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The LORD declares.’ 32 Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the LORD. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the LORD. 33 “When these people, or a prophet or a priest, ask you, ‘What is the oracle {33 Or burden (see Septuagint and Vulgate)} of the LORD?’ say to them, ‘What oracle? {33 Hebrew; Septuagint and Vulgate ‘You are the burden. (The Hebrew for oracle and burden is the same.)} I will forsake you, declares the LORD.’ 34 If a prophet or a priest or anyone else claims, ‘This is the oracle of the LORD,’ I will punish that man and his household. 35 This is what each of you keeps on saying to his friend or relative: ‘What is the LORD’s answer?’ or ‘What has the LORD spoken?’ 36 But you must not mention ‘the oracle of the LORD’ again, because every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the LORD Almighty, our God. 37 This is what you keep saying to a prophet: ‘What is the LORD’s answer to you?’ or ‘What has the LORD spoken?’ 38 Although you claim, ‘This is the oracle of the LORD,’ this is what the LORD says: You used the words, ‘This is the oracle of the LORD,’ even though I told you that you must not claim, ‘This is the oracle of the LORD.’ 39 Therefore, I will surely forget you and cast you out of my presence along with the city I gave to you and your fathers. 40 I will bring upon you everlasting disgrace– everlasting shame that will not be forgotten.”
    Jeremiah 29:8-9 8 Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the LORD.


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