We have all heard the heartbreaking stories of spouses waking up to find that their significant other has given away all their savings to scammers. When confronted with proof that they were being scammed, many refused to believe that the person they were sending money to was anything but the kindest and most generous person they knew.
If bitten, it is not unusual for congregations to be ever on high-alert for false teachers. In fact, these churches will raise up and attract False Teacher Hunters who spend all their time seeking them out. Of course, a church whose sole purpose is to root out false teachers becomes a very unattractive place and eventually implodes.
However, the apostle Paul, insists that churches must be ever vigilant to keep false teachers at bay. These are men who divide the church into two groups: One that sees them for what they are, and the other who innocently buys into their deceptive teachings.
We make a mistake when we assume that everyone who follows a false teacher knows what they are getting into. Often the flattery used to trick them is a calculated play on their good nature. They are often good souls who believe that they should give everyone the benefit of the doubt. These naïve souls must be snatched from the fire before they become like their captors.
Paul tells you and me how our churches must deal with such things:
“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil” (Romans 16:17-19).