The word “heretics” is scary. It brings up mental pictures of burning witches and dungeonesque inquisitions. Christians have done a lot of stupid things in defense of the truth.
But, for the most part, the postmodern church’s overreation to the mishandling of orthodoxy is not much of a problem today. What is? The church’s indifference and lack of reaction whatsoever.
How does the apostle Peter refer to the false teachers of his day? 2 Peter chapter 2 has some cryptic descriptions and predictions about them:
“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies.”
“…these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.”
“These men are springs wihtout water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.”
“They promise them freedom while they themselves are slaves of depravity….”
Heretics are those who distort the plain and clear truths of God’s Word with a self-serving agenda. They, like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, ask questions like, “Did God really say ____________?” With malicious intent they create doubt about what God has plainly spoken.
If you stop for a minute and take a long look around you it is clear that the heretics are alive and well today. You probably heard one on the radio, watched one on the television or read the words of one on the internet in the past month (does “blog” stand for “bellowing lots of garbage”? Personally I think blogworld has a tendency to be a harbinger for heretics.)
How do you deal with these hairy tics who suck the life blood out of the truth and infect it’s host with the poison of humanistic and/or demonic philosophies? You confront them head on in love (2 Timothy 2:23-26) and, if they refuse to repent, you avoid them completely (2 John 1:9-11.)
There are so many verses that warn us about the dangers of false teaching in our midst it is mind-boggling. In almost every epistle there are clear and precise warnings about those who preach a message that undermines the clear truths of God’s Word. It’s almost as though as soon as Jesus ascended into heaven a dark fog of heresy crept out from the depths of hell to cloud and confuse the early believers.
The fog is still thick today. And, under the cover of fog, it’s easy for the hairy tics to dig in and the snakes to slither undercover of darkness.
What do these life sucking, disease inducing heretics look like? They are those who undermine the holy and benevolent nature of God (not either/or but both/and), the deity and humanity of Jesus, the reality of the Trinity, the doctrine of salvation through faith alone in Christ alone and the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures. I’m talking about the basic orthodoxy delivered to us by Jesus, his disciples and 2,000 years of prayerful study by godly men and women. I’m talking the core creed that unites us as true believers in Jesus Christ. We may differ on the subpoints but it’s these basic truths “once and for all entrusted to us by the saints” (Jude 3) that bind us together in Jesus’ tapestry of truth.
Like snakes in the garden heretics question, confuse and console with the sole goal of getting believers to buy off on a half-eaten apple lie that leaves us spiritually enemic.
DON’T buy the lie. DON’T eat the apple. DON’T listen to the whisper. DON’T get lost in the fog of false doctrine. DON’T allow the tics to dig in and suck away your joy in Christ.
But DO lovingly, joyfully savor, share and live out the truth!