When anyone preaches a different Jesus - that is, a Jesus other than the One we find in the Gospels, or a different spirit, which has to do with the spirit of revelation, or a different gospel - a gospel other than salvation by grace received through faith in the work of Christ - it is false theology. It is false apostleship that needs to be called for what it really is.

The title of this week's lessons, "Speaking the Truth Lovingly," actually comes from Ephesians 4:15, where Paul writes about speaking the truth in love as part of building up the church. And yet, it is an appropriate title for 2 Corinthians 11:1-15 because here we have an example of Paul actually doing it himself. We think that speaking the truth in love means telling it as it is, hitting the person between the eyes.

The final principle, the fifth one, comes at the very end of this chapter as Paul says, "But, ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord’ " (2 Cor. 10:17). He does not say so, but he must have had his critics at Corinth in view as he said that, because they were boasting. They were boasting of their authority. They were boasting of their accomplishments. And they were boasting, above all, that they were more impressive and more eloquent than Paul. Well, more impressive perhaps, more eloquent perhaps, but not more effective in the service of God. On the contrary, they were tearing down the very thing that God, through Paul, was building up.

How do you attack arguments if you are a Christian? How do you attack and overcome pretensions? You do it by the Word of God, by the logic of the Word of God that is found there. You try to make that Word as clear as you possibly can. Paul is saying that whatever the battle or criticism, he was not going to reply on a human level, using their arguments against them. Rather than using carnal weapons, Paul would war with spiritual weapons. Paul, as he does in this letter, uses the Word of God.

The Greeks had a certain standard of eloquence that came from a tradition of oratory going way back to the Greek golden age. Then along had come the public lecturers and the politicians who won their way by having the right word and the dramatic flair. Paul's critics were assessing him by those high Greek standards. They said Paul was a weak figure, and that even though he came across strong in his letters, in person he was not of leadership caliber. It was in the face of all this that Paul goes on to demonstrate how to handle criticism.