June 3, 2023

Whatever happened to that living church ministries videos — the one that Jesus founded and Paul helped promulgate throughout the known world of the first century? It changed. Slowly and surely, it changed.

Warnings of Departure from the Faith

Yes, they warned us. Both Peter and Paul said it would happen. And it did.

Paul in his first letter to Timothy: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” (1 Timothy 4:1-3 NKJV)

And in his second letter to Timothy, Paul repeats his dire warning: “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)

Again Paul, in his farewell address to the elders of the church at Ephesus: “I know that when I am gone, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise who will distort the truth in order to get disciples to break away and follow them.” (Acts 20:29-30 REB)

The apostle Peter adds this warning: “. . . there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.” (2 Peter 2:1-2)

Early Church Rumblings

During Paul’s lifetime, we find divisions in the Corinthian church. Paul pleaded with them: “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, ‘I follow Paul’; another, ‘I follow Apollos’; another, ‘I follow Cephas’; still another, ‘I follow Christ.’

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