Dr. Couch, does 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 have anything to do with the heresy now invading our churches? I really appreciate what you did concerning apostasy and the issue of the emerging church philosophy that seems to be destroying us.
ANSWER: Yes, this passage is about the deception taking place among the churches of Paul's day. This deception continues today in our congregations. Paul speaks of those who are "false apostles" and "deceitful workers," who are "disguising themselves as apostles of Christ" (v. 13). In translating these verses I find some very interesting thoughts put forth by Paul.
In getting his point across Paul has created a word: pseudapostolos. Two Greek words run together: falseapostles! Or, lying apostles. In our church leadership we have gross liars who have found the people in the pews naïve and gullible. They swallow any piece of false doctrine fed to them.
Paul adds that these deceivers are "workers." They are actually serving the church but they are into deception. The word "deceitful" is from a family of words that comes from dolios. This can be translated as: "guile, crafty, to ensnare, to corrupt." It is used of a fishing lure, of bait, that fools the fish and ensnares them. The apostle uses the word in 4:2. He makes it certain to the Corinthians that he is not "walking in craftiness" not adulterating "the word of God." Or, not mixing error with doctrine, "but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God."
There are TV personalities who are mixing, with evil intention, error with truth, thus fooling the sheep. They have oratory talent but they are giving forth lies. Most of the sheep cannot discern the difference between error and what is right because theology is being taken out of our churches. Pastors are giving "feel good" messages that tickle the ear and entertain the people rather than feed them vitamin rich spiritual food.
Back in 11:13 the apostle points out that these people are disguising themselves as apostles (apostolos) of Christ. That is, they present themselves as those who are "sent with a message," apostles, who make people think that they have genuine authority. They do not! These false apostles follow their leader who is Satan. For "even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light" (v. 14). Satan appears as a light bearer but instead of bringing enlightenment he brings spiritual darkness!
Paul creates another Greek word to get across his idea: metaschamatizo. This is two Greek words: "with scheematizo." Or, with schematics! Webster says of the word schematics: "Pertaining to or of the nature of a scheme, a drawing, a diagram." Satan works with a plan to subvert the truth. He knows what he is doing in fooling churches!
Satan's servants follow after their leader (v. 15). They also disguise themselves "as servants of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works."
Many pastors are reading this article but because they have not prepared themselves with good, solid theological and language courses, they can be fooled and led astray, and thus, lead their people off course. We are into the generation that is repudiating hard discipline in wanting to learn the Word of God. More and more, leaders will be drifting from doctrine and sound teaching. Confusion will grow by which hundreds of churches will be destroyed. The sheep do not understand what is happening. They are influenced by emotion, "bigness," and entertainment. We are on the edge of falling into the pit of error!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch