(2Tim.4:14-15; 1Tim.1:20)One of the saddest days of your Christian walk was the day you saw with your own eyes that Satan’s worst damage to the church was done from within. From that day forth you understood Paul’s warnings against “savage wolves coming in from among you” (Acts 20:29), and “by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve people” (Rom.16:18). A man Paul calls ‘Alexander the metalworker’ did the church a lot of harm (2Tim.4:14-15). He warned Timothy to be careful of his destructive ways. Paul is in no doubt that everyone should consider this man to be under the judgement of God. And rightly so, “If anyone destroys God’s temple [the church], God will destroy him” (1Cor.3:17). This is probably the same man who, along with Hymenaeus, was disfellowshipped by Paul in 1 Timothy 1:20. Men, who by rejecting faith and good conscience, shipwrecked their faith. Whatever the nature of their personal beliefs was, Paul considered them blasphemous.Men like this think nothing of re-entering the church (sometimes years later), as if they have put all their issues behind them. The best is hoped for them by those who remember them, and a new generation is naturally unsuspecting. With Paul in prison in Rome and Timothy still preaching in Ephesus, Paul wants to assure Timothy that Alexander is out and about and dangerous still. “Be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message” is Paul’s solemn warning (2Tim.4:15). The Lord’s church has always tolerated differing thoughts. And matters of opinion should be tolerated in the spirit of mutual love. But many personal thoughts, and worse, personal grievances, are tolerated to the detriment of the Kingdom of Christ. For these ideas, unchecked, will undergo an unholy three stage process: Firstly, they arrive as ‘personal opinions;’ secondly, they become part of a congregation’s ‘preferred interpretations;’ and finally, they are ‘established doctrine.’ Lookout!