Chameleon-like, false teachers are able to adapt their colours to reflect the prevailing attitudes of their own day.
What particular types can be found in our churches today?
- The heretic. This is the person who blatantly contradicts one or more essential truths of the gospel. See 2 Pet 2:1.
- The charlatan. This is the person who exploits the gospel for personal gain. See Acts 9:9-24; 1 Tim 6:3-5.
- The false prophet. This is the person who claims to have a fresh and authoritative revelation from God. See 1 Jn 4:1; Rev 22:18f.
- The abuser. This is the person who uses his position in the church to exploit – often sexually – others. See 2 Pet 2:2; Jude 4.
- The divider. This is the person who uses false doctrine, or some minor aspect of orthodox doctrine, to divide God’s people. See Jude 18-21; Gal 5:22; Eph 4:3.
- The tickler. This is the person who distorts or dilutes the gospel by teaching only what people want to hear. See 2 Tim 4:3f; Jer 6:14.
- The speculator. This is the person who is obsessed with novelty. He finds the ‘old paths’ wearisome and is always looking to ‘re-imagine’ the doctrine of God, of Scripture, of Christ, of the atonement, of the Second Coming, and so on. See Heb 13:9; 1 Tim 1:4. (This type of heresy can commonly found in the academy, where the pursuit of higher degrees forces scholars into the ‘discovery’ of something new.)
(Based on this by Tim Challies)