XXXVIII. THE TEST OF MANY DECEIVERS,
AS ANTICHRISTS, GOING OUT INTO THE WORLD,
NOT CONFESSING JESUS CHRIST COMING
IN THE FLESH BUT GOING BEYOND
THE TEACHING OF CHRIST—
2 JOHN 7, 9-11
This is the case involving the greatest heresy. The Apostle John charged the believers not to receive the heretical antichrists into their houses and even not to say to the heretics, "Rejoice!" (v. 10). To say "Rejoice" to someone is to greet him. He who says to these heretics, "Rejoice," shares in their heretical, evil works (v. 11). This is a strong quarantine exercised over the heretics who do not confess the incarnation of Christ, who came in the flesh. Here there is the need of our boldness and frankness to keep the divine truth concerning Christ’s divine person in His divinity and humanity. Any compromise in dealing with heresies concerning Christ’s person should be abandoned.
XXXIX. THE TEST OF DIOTREPHES,
WHO LOVED TO BE FIRST IN THE CHURCH
IN WHICH GAIUS WAS—3 JOHN 9, 1
Diotrephes did not receive the apostles and babbled against them with evil words; neither did he receive the brothers, and those intending to do so he forbade and cast them out of the church. If the Apostle John would have come to the church, he would have brought Diotrephes’ works to the remembrance of the believers (v. 10). We need to be careful in dealing with such a case. Diotrephes’ actions surely constituted a great sin. However, the apostle did not indicate that Diotrephes’ sin was intolerable to the extent that he needed to be quarantined. John did not tell us to quarantine such a person. Even sinful acts such as this in the church life should be dealt with through much consideration, with the expectation that the sinful acts could be corrected after a certain amount of loving rebuking and punishment.
XL. THE TEST OF THOSE WHO
HAVE GONE IN THE WAY OF CAIN,
POURED THEMSELVES OUT IN THE ERROR
OF BALAAM FOR REWARD, AND
PERISHED IN THE REBELLION OF KORAH,
GOING ON ACCORDING TO THEIR LUSTS, ADMIRING
PERSONS FOR THE SAKE OF ADVANTAGE—
JUDE 11, 16
These apostates were hidden reefs in the believers’ love feasts, shepherds who fed themselves, waterless clouds, autumn trees without fruit, wild waves of the sea, and wandering stars (vv. 12-13). Jude exhorted the believers to remember the words spoken by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said that in the last time there will be mockers going on according to their own ungodly lusts, making separations, soulish, not having spirit (vv. 17-19). Jude exhorted the believers also to build up themselves in their most holy faith, pray in the Holy Spirit, and keep themselves in the love of God, awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life (v. 20). This shows that in such a situation of apostasy, the best way for us is to exhort the believers in the positive way that Jude did.
(Elders' Training, Book 10: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (2), Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)