One thing that many Christians refuse to acknowledge is the fact that dangerous Christians really do exist. Many well meaning brothers and sisters incorrectly reason that if someone is truly a Christian then there is no way they can be dangerous. I wish this were true but sadly it is not.
The popular thinking is as long as someone is a Christian, and as long as they are not engaging in gross unrepentant sin such as sexual immorality (see 1Cor 5:11-13), then they must be safe to be around by default. Not so. The proof of this can be found in a the following verses
3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2Tim 4: 3-4
Does this sound like people that you should be influenced by and be hanging out with in close fellowship? Unfortunately this describes the great apostasy that is upon us. The vast majority of professing Christians today fall into this category.
14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: Eph 4: 14-15
Here we see that is it our responsibly not to be tossed to and fro by false doctrines. We are not to be carried away by the clever deceivers who teach such things. How shall we accomplish this? By sitting and listening to these people teach their lies? Are we not also commanded to make straight paths for our feet and give no place to the devil? It is virtually impossible to know and properly speak the truth in love while remaining within such a cult-like environment.
17Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. Rom 16: 17-18
This verse tells us flat out to avoid these people. They serve themselves not Jesus. This means that the churches they form are churches of man not churches of Christ regardless of what the signs on their buildings say. Many Christians think this verse only applies to a few stray unruly individuals within a given assembly. Not so. There is a much bigger picture here as well. There are very few believers who are willing to properly obey this verse. Most incorrectly quote this Scripture against good Christians who are trying to help them but almost no one obeys this verse in context as it applies to staying away from dangerous Christians.
14And if any man obeys not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 2Thess 3:14-15
This is one of the most important verses on the subject of dangerous Christians in the Bible. This verse reveals some critical things that many brothers and sisters completely miss. This verse shows us that something more than salvation alone is needed for a Christian to function properly as a Christian and as part of the church here on earth.
We certainly know that salvation alone is sufficient to gain restoration with the Father, eternal life and entrance into heaven, but this verse reveals that more is needed for Christians to live healthy lives and properly operate as the
Jesus Christ in this life. Otherwise the Bible would have stopped with the doctrines of salvation and no further instructions would have been given beyond the Gospel itself. But we know that many further commands have been given. These commands do not save us and are not necessary for salvation but they are obviously necessary for us to properly live as Christians and behave as the church that Jesus intends us to be.
So we have a dilemma: Christians who are truly Christians but yet do not obey the rest of what the Bible teaches that is needed to function as a healthy Christian. And, we have exact instructions on what we are supposed to do about this dilemma. We are to stay away from these people. They do more harm than good and cause a lot of trouble in the Body of Christ. They hinder the Lord’s work and are stumbling block to others.
The fact that Paul tells us to have nothing to do with these people is a major revelation as to how we are to deal with apostasy today.
Sadly, few Christians will heed this warning and obey this and similar verses. Most argue that avoiding other Christians is “not loving”. Apparently these people think that they know more about love than the Apostle Paul who gave us this command from God. Or worse, they redefine what love is or think they know more about love than God Himself who is love and who wrote the Bible through faithful men.
Profound love will always do what the Bible says. Human “love”, which is no love at all, will try to justify ways around being obedient to the Scriptures. Profound love will take the hits and put up with being hated in order to try to help people who are deceived. Selfish human “love” is fearful and keeps its mouth shut, failing to speak the truth because it doesn’t want to offend or lose any friends.
See my article: The "In Non-Essentials Liberty" Error for the continuation of this subject.