2 Corinthians 11:16–21 (NKJV)
16 I say again, let no one think me a fool. If otherwise, at least receive me as a fool, that I also may boast a little. 17 What I speak, I speak not according to the Lord, but as it were, foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. 18 Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast. 19 For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise! 20 For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face. 21 To our shame I say that we were too weak for that! But in whatever anyone is bold—I speak foolishly—I am bold also.2 Corinthians 11:16-21
Paul goes back to his discussion thread of the fool. He speaks of foolish things, of which he was accused by some. He reminds them that this accusation is false and instructs them not to think of him as a fool. However, if they must be so gullible, then they should think of him as a fool, because they have entertained and heard the boasting of other fools that has led them into error. Therefore, Paul asks for the right to boast a bit (rather sarcastically) in his own validity. He notes their willingness to put up with fools, and is mocking their naivety. The Corinthians think they are wise, but actually are susceptible to false teachers and arrogant people. He cites the ungodly ways the fools they have entertained have treated them: bondage, devouring, stealing, pride, and humiliation. Paul addresses their boldness and declares his boldness in defending the Corinthians and in defending his own status as their spiritual father. In an embryonic church, false doctrine can rise up quickly, without an established leader to oppose such doctrine. Paul is addressing the false doctrine from a distance, and scolding the church for allowing such things to be taught, and for allowing his leadership to be questioned. Again, Paul stands up for himself and his church, and leads them to a stronger position in the faith.
Today, there are many strange and false, even unbiblical doctrines and practices floating around the arena of Christendom. Strong leaders must stand up for Biblical truth and theology and keep false doctrine from taking root in the church. Christians everywhere should follow right doctrine. The problem comes from the fact that false doctrine can be attractive. A professor of mine once said that “all heresy contains some truth, and therefore can seem attractive to the unlearned.” Someone needs to help young Christians, or older untrained Christians, to discern Biblical truth from unbiblical doctrine. Be the one who cries out, “Don’t be fooled!” You may save a life.