2 John, 3 John

Read 2 & 3 John.

In the early 2000s, the “emergent church” was a big topic of conversation in Christian circles. A few young pastors had rapidly built ministries and reputations for being able to reach younger people who had a post-modern mindset.

Today, nobody talks about the emergent church. It fragmented and died almost as quickly as it began. Some of the more prominent men who led that movement are no longer in the ministry. Before leaving the ministry, however, at least two of them turned in their credentials as Bible-believing evangelicals. They did this by publicly embracing universalism–the idea that God will save everyone, not just those who trust in Christ.

John never heard of the emergent church during his life on this earth but he prophesied about its leaders (and plenty of others) in verse 9: “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” There is a long pattern of teachers who start out embracing the doctrines of our faith which John calls “the teaching of Christ” in this verse. Eventually, though, some get bored with the Bible or grow skeptical about some of our doctrines. They “run ahead” and do “not continue in the teachings of Christ.” They abandon the precious doctrines of our faith and get out of line with Christ, our leader.

Verse 10 tells us what to do with these teachers: “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them.” This is how you should treat anyone who once taught the truth but departs from it. Cut them off, and stop listening to their words or supporting their work.

Are you careful about the inputs that come into your heart and your spiritual life? Do you compare the teachings and claims of men with God’s word? Are you ready to run from anyone who once was a biblical teacher but moves on to other more innovative ideas that contradict scripture? Many Christians get too attached to a person and look the other way when that person departs from the truth. Don’t be that guy! It will damage your spiritual life and hurt the church.