RHYTHM: False Teachers – 2 Peter 2:4-21

psalm 17 2 peter 2Tuesday before the Second Sunday in Lent: 2 Peter 2:4-21

Reading: 2 Peter 2:4-21

False Teachers

Did you read all of that? What a mess, right?

To give a little context, Peter was just talking in chapter 1 about how they (the apostles) hadn’t presented “cleverly designed myths” (1:16) when teaching about Jesus, and emphasized that they had been eyewitnesses to the life of Christ. But in chapter 2 he turns an odd corner, railing on about how false prophets had/would also come, and then slides sideways into a description of all that will befall such persons. And, while he’s at it, what had happened to previous false prophets. Oh, and some of the angels.

To be perfectly blunt, I don’t agree with Peter’s assessment of the action of God in these circumstances. I do believe that false prophets or teachers can cause great spiritual harm. I can’t, however, bring myself to size up other human beings as, “irrational animals, mere creatures of instinct, born to be caught and killed.” If that is the case, it’s not my place to assess it. And while the impact of false teaching is great, I don’t think the response of love is to lash out. I think the kind of justice love works in raises up the oppressed and isn’t preoccupied with cutting down those opposed to it. As we see in the person of Christ, love is willing to die at the hands of those opposed.

It’s a complicated and difficult reading, to be sure. The greater truth found in the mess Peter describes is that we must be aware of the mess—and be certain that we don’t unintentionally participate in it.

For reflection:

As youthworkers, we often stand in the position of teacher. Many of us are unsupported and, sometimes worse, unsupervised in our teaching. How do you protect yourself from unintentionally misguiding your youth in your teaching?

When preparing for any group time, what practices do you have for theologically checking the content to be presented? Songs sung?

What voices do you trust in your own time of study?


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