“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.” (II John 7)
The Apostle John didn’t mess around with niceties. Those who denied orthodox teaching (“what you heard from the beginning”) were not just people who held a “different opinion” that might have been as valid as his own; no, they were “deceivers”; they were “antichrist.” This business of false teaching was a very serious matter to John — and should be to us as well. Note what he shared concerning these false teachers in this verse:
— First, he said that “MANY deceivers have gone out into the world.” It is not that there are just “a few” every so often, but “many”. We need to be constantly on watch for them.
— He also wrote something of their error: “who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.” This was the denial of a central, orthodox, doctrine concerning Christ, that He came as fully man. Breaching other orthodox doctrines would be of similar concern: Christ’s Deity, His perfection, His substitutionary death on the cross, His resurrection, and His bodily return to the earth among them. Believers and church leaders are not to treat the denial of central Christian doctrines as a minor thing, but as a matter of the utmost importance.
— And then there was his condemnation of the false teachers: “this is the deceiver and the antichrist.” These were not “brothers with whom we disagree”; they were “deceivers”; they were “antichrist.” The failure of modern pastors and teachers to similarly condemn false prophets and teachers is not a sign of “progress”, but of failure to take the word of God, and the eternal destiny of those affected by it, as seriously as John did.