IDENTIFYING A CHRISTIAN LEADER
There will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Peter 2:1
What comes to mind when you hear the terms false prophets and false teachers? Many people tend to thing of Eastern mystics and gurus, the spokespersons for no biblical religions or dynamic cult leaders - people who are recognizably outside the boundaries of the Christian church. But the apostle Peter devoted an entire chapter in one of his letters (2 Peter 2) to false prophets and teachers who operate within the church. False teachers may operate in our churches disguised as workers of righteousness.
Notice that the lure of false teachers is not primarily their doctrine: "And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned" (verse 2). What does Peter mean by 'follow their sensuality'? He is talking about Christians who evaluate a ministry based on the outward appearance and charm of its leaders. We say, "He's such a nice guy"; "She's a very charismatic person"; "He's a real dynamic speaker"; "She's so sweet and sounds so sincere". But is physical attractiveness or a syrupy personality a biblical criterion for validating a ministry or a teacher? Of course not! The issue is always truth and righteousness. A Christian leader should be identified by his commitment to the truth, his righteous life and his servant's heart.
Dear God, keep me from playing to the grandstand. I want only to live for You. Keep me accountable as a person of truth, righteousness, and love, ever fearful of discrediting Your name.