A gracEmail subscriber from Florida asks, “Am I violating Scripture when I invite cultic door-to-door evangelists into my home to discuss the Bible, hoping I can teach them about Christ? Second John 10 says we are not to receive into our house anyone who comes bringing a non-Christian message.”
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The Apostle John reminds his readers of the original Christian message which centers on Jesus himself (2 John 6). Then as now, some who claimed to represent Jesus denied fundamental elements of the apostolic testimony. John focuses here on some whom scholars refer to as “Gnostics,” who denied that Jesus was truly human (2 John 7). John urges his readers not to fall for their tantalizing line (2 John 8). Jesus connects us to God, John warns, and to forsake the truth about Jesus as proclaimed by the Apostles means forfeiting relationship with God the Father as well (2 John 9). In all this, John repeats what he has said throughout his Gospel and First Epistle (John 1:18; 7:16; 8:31; 14:6-7; 1 John 1:1-3; 5:10-12).
The first century saw travelling “missionaries” of many philosophies and religions, who often relied for lodging and meals on the hospitality of those who accepted their message. Jesus accepted such hospitality, as did his disciples, and he pronounced a blessing on those who gave it (Lk. 10:38; Matt. 10:11-14; John 13:20; Acts 16:15). John himself urges his readers to support itinerant Christian evangelists by offering such hospitality (3 John 5-8; see Gal. 4:14; Heb. 13:2). However, If anyone comes along with a message which denies the truth that Jesus embodied true deity in a genuine man, Christian believers are not to support them with hospitality any more than they would support them with money.
That is not the same as inviting someone inside to discuss spiritual matters, if God so leads, with the intent of sharing the Christian message with them. Nor does 2 John 9-10 have anything to do with differences among those who accept the apostolic message about Jesus (“the doctrine of Christ”) but who reach different conclusions about how best to please the Lord they trust and serve. The issue here is Jesus himself. He is the focus of faith, the content of gospel, the standard of doctrine, the foundation of unity, the model for Christian life and the object of anticipation and of Christian hope.