“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 NIV).
The Greek word for false teacher found in 2 Peter 2:1 is pseudodidaskalos. The prefix pseudo means false, fradulent, misleading, or pretending to be something you’re not. A pseudo is a counterfeit of that which is authentic.
Speaking of counterfeits, one of the two $20 bills pictured here is real and the other is a counterfeit. Can you tell which?
I used to work in retail and we trained our cashiers to watch out for counterfeit money, especially $20 bills (the most often counterfeited bill). How did we train them? We had them examine a real $20 bill closely, to become familiar with its look and feel. The best way to identify a counterfeit is to be intimately acquainted with the real thing.
In Peter’s second letter he warns us to wake up to the pseudo Christian teachers that infiltrate the church. At first glance they look like the real thing, but upon closer examination, they turn out to be counterfeits. Peter says that these pseudo Christians “bring the way of truth into disrepute.” In other words, pseudo Christianity causes the gospel to lose attraction in the culture.
I see a lot of pseudo Christianity in our country, especially in the so-called “Bible-belt.” But what we need is a people who will live out the real thing. We need authentic Christians. How? By getting to know the true Word of God and living according to the power of the living Word, Jesus.
And then, we’ll know the difference between that which is pseudo and that which is real (By the way, the top $20 is real).