But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 2 Timothy 2:16-18
Paul really has a way with words. Today we find him comparing irreverent babbling as having the same effect on the church as gangrene has on our bodies. The problem with gangrene is that once it starts there is only one way to stop its spread, amputation of the affected part of the body. I think that by anyone’s standard that is a very drastic cure. In fact cure is probably not a good term as nothing was cured as in healed all that was accomplished was the removal of part of the body in order to save the rest.
So what is Paul writing about? I don’t think it was people making lunch plans while the service was going on or clicking away on their phones texting a friend or even forgetting to turn the ringer off. No, as we keep reading we see that at least two people have swerved from the truth. They are telling others of a false gospel. When this goes on in a church it is upsetting. New believers are not sure what to believe. Older believers can question what they have been taught or let their anger over the false teachings cause conflict in the body.
God tells us how to handle false teaching. First one or two need to go to the offender and correct them, as always, this should be done in love and in a non confrontational manner. If they respond to the correction then all is well. However if this does not work then the offense needs to be brought to the church, once again in love. If they still refuse to change their teachings then Paul tells us that they need to be cut off from the body least they infect others with their heretical views.
Bad teaching can spread through a church slowly bringing them away from the Gospel. And sooner or later that church will be Christian in name only. For doctors amputation is a last resort when all other treatments have failed. So too, in the church casting out false teachers can be painful and should be a last resort once all else has been done to bring the offender back to the truth.
As to the heresy Paul is writing about in today’s verses, we see that Hymenaeus and Philetus were saying that the resurrection had already occurred. This is not Christ’s resurrection but the general resurrection. As Paul tells us in Thessalonians the general resurrection would occurs when Christ comes back. If the resurrection had already happened then what Paul was teaching was false and those in the church would question why they were still here. Of course false teachings of the second coming and the resurrection still continue to plague the church. As believers we must always be on guard to weed out false teachings and proclaim the true Gospel of Christ to the entire world.
Have a blessed day,