After Paul described the characteristics of leadership by positive example, he turns to show leadership lessons by those who present us with a bad example. He refers to these bad examples as “false teachers.” They are the ones who illustrate by their example that they are not reliable witnesses of the Christian faith by their conduct as well as their teachings. In Philippians Paul refers to them as “dangerous dogs.” This is an interesting term because the Psalmist uses the image of wild dogs to represent the enemies of God’s people. Psalm 59:6 talks about how God’s enemies are regular: “Each evening they come back, howling like dogs and prowling about the city.” They are always part of the landscape and must be dealt with. It’s the same today.

The Jews always thought of themselves as God’s people and everyone else as dogs; goyim! But Paul reverses the image and insists that those who proclaim the Jewish traditions, such as circumcision, as the basis of one’s security in their relationship with God with the real dangerous dogs. He said that the ritualists of his day, that is, the Jews who were preaching salvation by ceremonies, were only “dogs”, while believers in Jesus were the children of God. The dangerous dogs are to be avoided at all costs according to Paul’s instruction to the Philippians.

These ritualists are so dangerous because they are always successful in some degree. There are always those who will get caught up in the false teaching and try to convert others to their opinion. If you’re reading this today, it means that the Rapture did not happen on October 21st as Harold Camping predicted again. Yet there were still those who sold their homes and believed this false teacher and tried to convince others of the lie. Every cult leader is dangerous and that’s why Paul prayed specifically for the Philippians when he talked to them about the dangerous dogs. In effect his prayer (according to one commentator) went something like this: “I pray that you will be continually controlled by the life-transforming knowledge of God’s will, which the Holy Spirit imparts as you prayerfully study and meditate on God’s Word.” You see the Scriptures give us all we need to live a godly life. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to do so. Many false teachers try to add to or take away from God’s Word. They divert our attention from the simplicity of devotion to Christ as His disciples. Paul warns Titus and instructs him to find leaders who are discerning enough not to fall for the false philosophies, psychologies, or a myriad of other hopeless alternatives. Christ is all we need! The Scriptures reveal Him as Savior and Lord. We must not be deterred from following Him.

“So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.” James 1:16