But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 Peter 2:1 (KJV)
Even in the early church, when the apostles were still alive, there were false teachers. How much more today, when there is so much disagreement and confusion in the Body of Christ!
How do you recognize a false teacher? This chapter of 2 Peter gives us some tips. It is interesting that you don't hear all that many sermons on TV taken from 2 Peter. You don't hear it preached at all in certain churches. That doesn't PROVE that the people who don't preach it ARE false teachers, but some of them might well be. What it does show is that some Bible teachers simply are not teaching the whole counsel of God. They therefore cannot say, with Paul:
May God help us on this site to be able to say that we have taught the whole counsel of God, to the best of our ability. I don't want to be guilty of the blood of people who came to this site and could not find anything to warn them against the kind of teachers which, if followed, would certainly lead them to perdition, to hell.
Characteristics of False Teachers
One of the chief characteristics of false teachers is that they DENY THE LORD WHO BOUGHT THEM. See verse 1. They are denying the Lord the right to BE LORD in their life, and they are teaching others to do so.
There are people out there who teach that you can truly know Jesus as Savior, and fully expect to go to heaven, yet DENY Him as Lord. In other words, you can save life for yourself here and now and not lose your soul eternally. Or, another way of putting it, you can safely say 'No' to Jesus Christ.
Hang on a moment. The Scripture here says, "even denying the Lord who bought them". That word "even" implies that this is a pretty extreme false teaching. Like, does it get THAT BAD? Yes, I'm afraid it does, and you can go to your favorite Christian bookshop and buy books by popular church leaders who say that you do not have to repent in order to be justified before God. One example is Joseph Prince, from Singapore. He is a highly honored false teacher in the Christian world today, pastoring as he does a large megachurch there. Those in Australia and abroad who invite him to preach either agree with him, making them partakers in what he is doing, or simply do not care about the truth of the gospel. In either case, be careful. If you don't believe what I am saying, just listen to him on Youtube, as I have done.
Joseph Prince is by no means the only teacher of the doctrine that the practicers of lawlessness may enter the Kingdom of Heaven, in contrast to what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23. Huge parts of the Southern Baptist movement, while not charismatic in doctrine, have this idea that you can serve yourself, deny the LORD as LORD, and go to heaven because of the grace of God and the blood of Jesus. And multitudes of other preachers today will tell you the same thing. Be very careful. Have a read of the New Testament from start to finish, and I doubt you will be able to hold this opinion for very long. It only works if you explain away verses and keep repeating false interpretations of certain verses like Ephesians 2:8,9, Acts 13:38,39 and so on. If you want to know what the apostle Paul REALLY taught, consider the whole of his preaching and teaching. Consider verses like:
Act 17:30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,
Rom 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.
Rom 15:18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient—
Rom 1:5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name,
Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,
Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,
Gal 5:21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
1Co 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
1Co 6:10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
I could go on and on, but I doubt if you can derive the Antinomian doctrine from all these teachings and statements of Paul.
Peter, the writer of the main verse in discussion, warned of false teachers who would take the writings of Paul and twist them to make them say something Paul never intended. The destiny of such people according to Peter? DESTRUCTION.
2Pe 3:14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;
2Pe 3:15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
2Pe 3:16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
2Pe 3:17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;
Beloved, it is good for us to FEAR GOD and keep His commandments, as the Scripture also says. The Bible says that THERE WILL BE FALSE TEACHERS among us. I hope you can see one clear mark of these people. Others will follow in future studies.