Throughout history, deadly epidemics have ravaged mankind. In the fourteenth century, the infamous Black Death (an outbreak of bubonic plague) killed millions in Europe. Cholera, diphtheria, malaria, and other sicknesses have ravaged towns and cities. Our generation has witnessed the rapid spread of the fatal disease Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). More deadly than any of those diseases, however, is the plague of false teaching that has afflicted the church throughout its history. While illness may kill the body, false teaching damns the soul.
Like AIDS and the plague, false teaching has a definite, observable pathology—the elements of abnormality that characterize a disease. Scientists study the pathology of a disease to better equip themselves to recognize it and to combat it.