Church History is a fascinating subject to me - specifically the restoration movement era here in America. One day I hope to take a college class on it. If you are interested, there is a video up at thebible.net that you can watch. I plan to watch it one day, probably soon. For today's post, let's look at scriptures which discuss deviations from God's word even before the apostles died. This subject could fill a whole book, but for today let's just look at a few.
1. Apollos was teaching the baptism of John (Acts 18:25). In this case, there wasn't really a departure from what the apostles taught. Apollos simply hadn't been taught about Jesus. After bringing him aside, Aquila and Priscilla taught him 'more perfectly'. I mention this one because Apollos had the right attitude. He, evidently, listened to their teaching with an open mind and accepted it. So many people aren't willing to be open to learning something new. They are so set on teaching what they think they know. We better be sure we are teaching what God wants us to teach and not simply what we think is right.
2. Some were using charming words to deceive. "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For 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." (Romans 16:17-18) Some were being swayed by every 'wind of doctrine' (Ephesians 4:14). We should be rooted in the solid ground of the Word where it is difficult to be deceived.
3. Divisions by name. In Corinth they were dividing themselves into groups. Some were thinking themselves better than others since they were taught by Paul or Peter. Here's what Paul has to say about using different names: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" (1 Corinthians 1:12-13) It was prophesied that we would be called a new name (Isaiah 62:2) and we were given the name Christian at Antioch (Acts 11:26). Why would we wear another name when Christ bought us with His own blood (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10)?
4. Some taught that Christ didn't actually come to earth. I was fortunate to do an in-depth study of 1 John for a Bible bowl. The first chapter is packed with wonderful tidbits of information. John is directly teaching against Gnostics. There were many things that Gnostics were teaching - claiming that they had 'extra revelations' from God. They were very disorganized. What one group taught in one town directly contradicted what another group taught nearby. What John was teaching against here is the teaching that Christ didn't really come to earth in the flesh. John says not only that they had heard Jesus and saw Him, but that they even touched Him. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;" (1 John 1:1)
We must remember that even though these people were taught by apostles, some of them left the faith (1 Timothy 1:20). We need to study diligently to build our strong foundation and fortify our walls that we know the truth and cannot be swayed by any 'wind of doctrine' other than God's.