But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. (2 Timothy 2:16-18)
False doctrine is not merely a different opinion or conflicting viewpoint; it is a cancerous disease that will kill the body of a child of God. The word Paul uses in his letter to Timothy describing a cancer is the word canker or gangrene. A canker is not as familiar as cancer, but it has the same result as something that begins small and, like cancer, spreads to the healthy parts of the body, destroying cells and inflicting death. Gangrene is the pervasive decay or corruption of the cells due to loss of blood supply. Satan has brought his doctrine of cancer to the soul of man from the beginning. His corrupt doctrines destroyed the world in a flood and brought down the nation of Israel. The early church began with great power but soon, the influences of a corrupt doctrine began to spring up. Some taught circumcision as a means of salvation. It became a cancer that needed to be cut out. Through the surgical wisdom of the Holy Spirit working through the apostles, elders of Jerusalem, and devoted brethren, the error of circumcision for salvation was nullified.
Satan did not stop his infectious pursuit of the souls of saints. Paul named two men who fell victim to the wiles of the devil. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul mentions Hymenaeus, who, along with Alexander, shipwrecked their faith. The storms of apostasy and false doctrine overwhelmed Hymenaeus. In Paul’s second letter, an unknown disciple named Philetus was included in the company of the one who had strayed concerning the faith. Whether through shipwreck or spiritual cancer, Hymenaeus and Philetus would be remembered as faithless disciples. There was an Athenian attitude toward scriptures that brought about false doctrine. Luke says the people of Athens and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but telling or hearing some new thing. This produced a cancer that would take men away from the inspired word of God to the doctrines and philosophies of men.
Profane and idle babblings are nothing more than godless and foolish discussions creating controversy and doctrines tending only to produce strife. The end result is more ungodliness as men leave the word of God to appeal to the nature of the carnal spirit. The root of the denominational world of division is that everyone can believe what they want to believe and teach whatever they desire. Their motto is “attend the church of your choice.” This doctrine is false and strays from the truth. Hymenaeus and Philetus taught the resurrection had passed. Whatever form of doctrine this was destroyed the faith of some of God’s people, like cancer. Satan does not attack with massive armies overwhelming the soul of men. He begins as a small and innocuous cell of false doctrine left untreated with replication to the rest of the body, where death follows.
False doctrine is an insidious and odious cancer that has destroyed millions of souls. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation through the only Lord, Jesus Christ. God is the only living God, and there are no others. The Bible is the only book that expresses the mind of God. There is only one church as Jesus taught His disciples and the early disciples believed. Spiritual cancer is when men take the word of God and change it to fit their golden calves. Believing in a god of this world is folly. Accepting a book other than the Bible is an exercise in useless philosophy. Following man-made churches is allowing the cancer of false doctrine to destroy the soul. Hymenaeus and Philetus strayed concerning the truth, teaching what God had not approved. Their teachings were a cancer. Preventing spiritual cancer is abiding in the word of God. The Good Physician seeks those who desire the cure.