People are often dismissive of the need to do anything with a false teacher. When someone who teaches clearly against biblical doctrine is brought up in conversation, a common response would be something like “chew the meat an spit out the bones”. Referring of course to discerning what is true and what is false in their teaching. This would be a simple answer, if everyone had a strong grasp on doctrine, but that isn’t always the case and more often than not people are easily led astray by those who teach dangerously.
The Apostle John in his second letter makes this comment regarding receiving false teachers; “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your home or give him any greeting”. (2 John 10) This seems like a harsh admonishment from John, and one would wonder why it would be so important that he mention this to those in the church.
The issue stems from the early tradition of teachers travelling from city to city staying at the homes of believers while they were there. John’s warning to them has weight in that housing a false teacher reflects on the host, and that the hosts should be theologically sound enough to recognize false teaching and avoid them. John didn’t say “you can let them into your home, just ignore the bad stuff they teach”, he said don’t even greet them, don’t be cordial to them. Their false teaching bears witness on you and your home and reflects poorly on you and the truth that has been shared with you.
This is the same response that one might receive today if they are proud supporters of Joel Osteen or have a library full of Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling/Jesus Always book series. The Apostle John wouldn’t have told his church that it was ok to read through the writings of these false teachers as long as the reader “knew well enough”, he would have told them to get rid of the books and have nothing to do with them.
Discernment is a lost gift in the church today, often times through conversation I find people have no idea the dangers or harm that bad doctrine and false teaching does to them and how disrespectful it is to God. Which is why I will always campaign against books like The Shack or Heaven is for Real as they carefully twist what the scriptures say for a purpose or agenda that is not biblical.