There were also false prophets . . . as there will be false teachers . . . who will secretly bring in destructive heresies . . . many will follow their destructive ways, because . . . the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words... (2 Peter 2:1-3)
The key to this warning is the word “secretly”. The maligning of God’s Word, heretical teachings, destructive ways, and the blasphemy of these “church leaders” will not be blatant, but subtle. It is the frog in the kettle phenomenon. You know the story: put a frog in a kettle of cool water, slowly raise the temperature and the frog will stay in the kettle until it boils to death. The deceiver of the brethren in his diabolical plan begins by placing prideful, arrogant leaders (pastors) and teachers in his caldron of deception. Unfortunately, many sheep follow. These destructive heresies and rebellious ways may take years before they come to a boil; when they do it is too late. Therefore, we must learn to be aware of these vessels of deception. When you begin to get discerningly uncomfortable, check the temperature of the waters with the thermometer of the Word and the sensing of the Spirit. It may be time to get out of the kettle.