2 Peter: False Teachers

II PETER/ JUDE

 

Scripture verse (II Peter 2:1): “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.”

 

Objectives:

  1. Students should be aware of the risk of false teachers and how to protect themselves.
  2. Students should know the gist of the major cults and heresies of today and how to defend the faith against them.

 

Background on the books:

            II Peter was written about 3 years after Peter’s first letter, probably AD 63-67.  He writes to some of the same believers but also uses his Jewish name, Simon. As he wrote this letter, he was in Rome facing certain death under Nero (Do you remember how Peter was killed?).

            The book of Jude was written by Jude, brother of James and son of Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. Why was Jude (or Judas) a popular name among Jews in the first century? (Judas Maccabaeus, leader of the revolt against the Macedonian king Antiochus immortalized in the festival of Hanukkah)  Jude also did not become a Christian until after the resurrection of Jesus.  He wrote his letter, like that of his brother, to Jewish Christians. Jude was written about 18 years after the book of James and 27 years before the letters of John, probably AD 60-80.

            These 2 books are grouped together because of similar themes, although written to different audiences.  Their authorship has been well-recognized throughout Church history and the books speak of incidents involving the authors personally, but some modern scholars seem to think they may have been by the same author. How can we explain the similarity of theme without doubting their authorship?

 

Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.

 

  1. Scripture lesson: II Peter 1:16-2:3, Jude 4,8, II Timothy 4:2-4, Galatians 1:9, John 16:13, Psalm 48:14, Ephesians 4:17-18, I John 1:6, Acts 17:22-23

 

  1. Review the background of the 2 epistles – what is one common theme?

 

  1. Review the major cults and heresies the students may face in today’s society:

 

                Cult                                                  

          Unorthodox belief(s)

Moonies (Sun Myung Moon)

Moon is the 2nd Coming of Christ

Wicken

Witchcraft is still witchcraft!

Astrology

Ancient pagan beliefs

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Only God the Father

Mormons

The Book of Mormon, not the Bible

New Age/Unitarians/Bahai

Gnosticism with the supernatural

“Christian” Science

Mary Baker Eddy vs. Church Fathers

 

How do people get sucked in by these cults? Do members of the cults wear a big sign saying they are heretics? Often they claim to be Christians? How can we separate the heresy from orthodoxy? What does “orthodox” mean? Heterodox? By what criteria should we judge a “new” church? How do people in a bank learn to identify counterfeit money – by studying the counterfeits or by being very familiar with the real thing? Correlation? Those who are intimately acquainted with the truth can easily spot that which is false. There is truly nothing new under the sun. What were some of the early heresies? (Arianism, Nestorians, Monophysites, Gnostics) What did they believe? (Arius – Jesus was not truly God, Nestor – Jesus was 2 beings, Monophysites – Jesus is only God, Gnostics – Jesus is one of many perfectly good gods) What are some yardsticks we can use to measure a stated set of beliefs? Brainstorm here: Creed, Councils, Bible (Careful here, many heretics also can quote Scripture in their own “private interpretation” – do they have their own book or do they use the canon of Scripture established by the Church?)

Now we begin to tread on more difficult ground: What about Roman Catholics and Protestants? Do they also accept the Bible and the Creed? Are they heretics or cults? Are they orthodox? Do they have the fullness of truth, or part of the truth? How should we relate to them – as to believers or unbelievers?

 

  1. Close with prayer.