Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Heresy’

8 Ways To Become A Heretic

by Eric Ayala

Very few people set out to intentionally become heretics. In fact, many heretics not only of today but also of the past started with the best of intentions but slid into heretical doctrines. Some heresy is blatant, bold and unmistakable for its error, but most of the time is it far more subtle than that. It can be surprisingly easy to become a heretic. Heresy often takes good concepts, good terms, or good ideas and changes them ever so slightly. This makes them hard to detect, and it also makes them incredibly dangerous. So while most of you don’t want to slip into heresy, listed below are 8 sure fire ways to become a heretic for those who do:

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Five Myths About the Ancient Heresy of Gnosticism

by Michael J. Kruger

In the world of biblical studies, at least among some critical scholars, Gnosticism has been the darling for sometime now. Especially since the discovery of the so-called “Gnostic Gospels” at Nag Hammadi in 1945, scholars have sung the praises of this alternative version of Christianity.

Gnosticism was a heretical version of Christianity that burst on the scene primarily in the second century and gave the orthodox Christians a run for their money. And it seems that some scholars look back and wish that the Gnostics had prevailed.

After all, it is argued, traditional Christianity was narrow, dogmatic, intolerant, elitist, and mean-spirited, whereas Gnosticism was open-minded, all-welcoming, tolerant and loving. Given this choice, which would you choose?

While this narrative about free-spirited Gnosticism being sorely oppressed by those mean and uptight orthodox Christians might sound rhetorically compelling, it simply isn’t borne out by the facts. So, here are five claims often made about Gnosticism that prove to be more myth than reality:

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Sabellianism

by Charmley, Gervase N.

Introduction

In addressing what are called ‘the Great Heresies,’ it is important for us to recall that heresies usually represent what Alister McGrath has called ‘a failed attempt at orthodoxy,’ (Heresy [London, SPCK, 2009] p. 13) an attempt to make sense of the Bible that fails to take into account the full richness of the Biblical revelation; rather than being outright repudiation of the Bible. The result is that a part of the truth is treated as the whole of the truth, and thus becomes an untruth. The reason for this is not that the Bible itself is unclear, but that ‘untaught and unstable men’ twist it to fit their own worldly thinking.

To speak of the development of the doctrine of the Trinity is practically to invite misunderstanding, suggesting as the very phrase does that the Trinity is an invention of theologians. On the contrary, it must be emphasised that the New Testament is a fully Trinitarian document; as Leon Morris has put it, ‘the deity of Christ was held from a very early date. It is not to be regarded as the culmination of a process of slow growth and reflection’ (The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians [Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1959] p. 111). Despite the common accusation that the doctrine of the Trinity is the result of imposing an alien philosophy on the Bible, the reverse is the case; it is non-Trinitarian teachings that are the result of imposing alien philosophies on the text of Scripture. Orthodoxy came first, since it is the Scriptural teaching; heresy, the result most often of attempts to explain what cannot be explained, comes later, working on the Biblical revelation and distorting it. Orthodox theologians were then forced to go back and explain what the Bible actually says so as to refute false and distorted claims about the Bible’s teachings.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Where Are All the Heretical Bishops in the Second Century?

April 5, 2016 1 comment

A number of my recent posts (e.g., see here) have been dealing with Walter Bauer’s 1934 book Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity which insists that Christianity was wildly diverse in the earliest centuries and that the heretics outnumbered the orthodox. It was not until the 3rd and 4th centuries, it is argued, that the orthodox began to turn the tide.

But let’s test this theory by asking a simple question: who were the bishops in second-century Christianity? If heresy was as widespread as orthodoxy, we should expect to find a number of bishops that are openly Marcionite, Ebionite, Gnostic, and beyond.

The problem for Bauer’s thesis is that this is precisely what we don’t find.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Gnosticism

by Charmley, Gervase N.

Introduction

When Jude writes in his Epistle, ‘Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints’ (Jude 3), he expresses a need that has arisen over and again in the history of the Church. False teachers arise seeking to draw away disciples after themselves, and to subvert that faith. The history of Christian thought and teaching is mirrored by the sinister history of heresy. This is because ‘the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned’ (1 Corinthians 2:14). Heresies come fundamentally from man, and reflect the way that the natural man would like God to be, rather than the way God actually is. This is both the source of heresy and the reason for its appeal.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Was the Divinity of Jesus a Late Invention of the Council of Nicea? Probing Into What the Earliest Christians Really Believed

February 18, 2016 3 comments

By Michael J. Kruger

One of the most common objections to Christianity is that the divinity of Jesus was “created” by later Christians long after the first century. No one in primitive Christianity believed Jesus was divine, we are told. He was just a man and it was later believers, at the council of Nicea, that declared him to be a God.

A classic example of this in popular literature can be found in the book The Da Vinci Code:

“My dear,” Teabing declared, “until that moment in history [council of Nicea], Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet… a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal.” “Not the Son of God?” “Right,” Teabing said. “Jesus’ establishment as ‘the Son of God” was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea.” “Hold on. You’re saying Jesus’ divinity was the result of a vote?” “A relatively close vote at that,” Teabing added.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

The Prosperity Gospel Has Gone Viral

By Erik Raymond

What do you think of when you read the words “Prosperity Gospel”? Odds are your stomach turns a bit as you think about the preachers on television that speak to very large crowds and appeal to even more in their books. More than likely you look at it as “out there” rather than “in here”. In one sense this is good. The shenanigans that some of those religious hucksters engage in should never be replicated in our churches. In another sense however, it’s naive. One does not have to cruising around in a private jet or be dressed ostentatiously to qualify as a promoter of the prosperity gospel. It is more subtle. And it is more pervasive.

In its unabashed nakedness, the prosperity gospel is a damning heresy that is not a gospel at all. It is a Ponzi scheme concocted by those at the top to prey upon the weak and vulnerable. Preachers of this false gospel use God as a genie who is dispatched to give us stuff, as a result, the gospel gets reduced to getting more stuff. This message is primarily physical rather than spiritual and is about this (best) life now rather than the one to come. And most damning of all, it is about us rather than God. The cross of Christ is reduced to a stage prop to support the large tent meetings they hold. It is like they use Jesus’ band-with to hack in and launch spiritual viruses in the world.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Calvinism declares that ‘God is our rock and salvation,” all other views are heresies

Spurgeon 11. The first thing is, THE GREAT DOCTRINE. — that God “only is our rock and our salvation.” If any one should ask us what we would choose for our motto, as preachers of the gospel we think we should reply, “God only is our salvation.” The late lamented Mr. Denham has put at the foot of his portrait, a most admirable text, “Salvation is of the Lord.” Now, that is just an epitome of Calvinism, it is the sum and the substance of it. If any one should ask you what you mean by a Calvinist, you may reply, “He is one who says, salvation is of the Lord.” I cannot find in Scripture any other doctrine than this. It is the essence of the Bible. He only is my rock and my salvation.” Tell me anything that departs from this and it will be a heresy, tell me a heresy, and I shall find its essence here, that it has departed from this great, this fundamental, this rocky truth, “God is my rock and my salvation.” What is the heresy of Rome, but the addition of something to the perfect merits of Jesus Christ — the bringing in of the works of the flesh, to assist in our justification? and what is that heresy of Arminianism but the secret addition of something to the complete work of the Redeemer? You will find that every heresy, if brought to the touchstone, will discover itself here, it departs from this “He only is my rock and my salvation.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856

Other Anti Trinitarian heresies refuted

January 28, 2015 3 comments

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Other Anti Trinitarians refuted. No good objection that Christ is called the Son of God, since he is also called God. Impious absurdities of some heretics.

23. This pool has bred another monster not unlike the former. For certain restless spirits, unwilling to share the disgrace and obloquy of the impiety of Servetus, have confessed that there were indeed three Persons, but added, as a reason, that the Father, who alone is truly and properly God, transfused his Divinity into the Son and Spirit when he formed them. Nor do they refrain from expressing themselves in such shocking terms as these: that the Father is essentially distinguished from the Son and Spirit by this; that he is the only essentiator. Their first pretext for this is, that Christ is uniformly called the Son of God. From this they infer, that there is no proper God but the Father. But they forget, that although the name of God is common also to the Son, yet it is sometimes, by way of excellence, ascribed to the Father, as being the source and principle of Divinity; and this is done in order to mark the simple unity of essence. They object, that if the Son is truly God, he must be deemed the Son of a person: which is absurd. I answer, that both are true; namely, that he is the Son of God, because he is the Word, begotten of the Father before all ages; (for we are not now speaking of the Person of the Mediator,) and yet, that for the purpose of explanation, regard must be had to the Person, so that the name God may not be understood in its absolute sense, but as equivalent to Father. For if we hold that there is no other God than the Fathers this rank is clearly denied to the Son.

In every case where the Godhead is mentioned, we are by no means to admit that there is an antithesis between the Father and the Son, as if to the former only the name of God could competently be applied. For assuredly, the God who appeared to Isaiah was the one true God, and yet John declares that he was Christ, (Isaiah 6; John 12:41.) He who declared, by the mouth of Isaiah, that he was to be “for a stone of stumbling” to the Jews, was the one God; and yet Paul declares that he was Christ, (Isaiah 8:14; Romans 9:33.) He who proclaims by Isaiah, “Unto me every knee shall bow,” is the one God; yet Paul again explains that he is Christ, (Isaiah 45:23; Romans 14:11.) To this we may add the passages quoted by an Apostle, “Thou, Lord, hast laid the foundations of the earth;” “Let all the angels of God worship him,” (Hebrews 1:10; 10:6; Psalm 102:26; 97:7.) All these apply to the one God; and yet the Apostle contends that they are the proper attributes of Christ. There is nothing in the cavil, that what proper]y applies to God is transferred to Christ, because he is the brightness of his glory. Since the name of Jehovah is everywhere applied to Christ, it follows that, in regard to Deity, he is of himself. For if he is Jehovah, it is impossible to deny that he is the same God who elsewhere proclaims by Isaiah, “I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God,” (Isaiah 44:6.) We would also do well to ponder the words of Jeremiah, “The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens,” (Jeremiah 10:11;) whence it follows conversely, that He whose divinity Isaiah repeatedly proves from the creation of the world, is none other than the Son of God. And how is it possible that the Creator, who gives to all should not be of himself, but should borrow his essence from another? Whosoever says that the Son was essentiated by the Father, denies his self existence. Against this, however, the Holy Spirit protests, when he calls him Jehovah. On the supposition, then, that the whole essence is in the Father only, the essence becomes divisible, or is denied to the Son, who, being thus robbed of his essences will be only a titular God. If we are to believe these triflers, divine essence belongs to the Father only, on the ground that he is sole God, and essentiator of the Son. In this way, the divinity of the Son will be something abstracted from the essence of God, or the derivation of a part from the whole. On the same principle it must also be conceded, that the Spirit belongs to the Father only. For if the derivation is from the primary essence which is proper to none but the Father, the Spirit cannot justly be deemed the Spirit of the Son. This view, however, is refuted by the testimony of Paul, when he makes the Spirit common both to Christ and the Father. Moreover, if the Person of the Father is expunged from the Trinity, in what will he differ from the Son and Spirit, except in being the only God? They confess that Christ is God, and that he differs from the Father. If he differs, there must be some mark of distinction between them. Those who place it in the essence, manifestly reduce the true divinity of Christ to nothing, since divinity cannot exist without essence, and indeed without entire essence. The Father certainly cannot differ from the Son, unless he have something peculiar to himself, and not common to him with the Son. What, then, do these men show as the mark of distinction? If it is in the essence, let them tell whether or not he communicated essence to the Son. This he could not do in part merely, for it were impious to think of a divided God. And besides, on this supposition, there would be a rending of the Divine essence. The whole entire essence must therefore be common to the Father and the Son; and if so, in respect of essence there is no distinction between them. If they reply that the Father, while essentiating, still remains the only God, being the possessor of the essence, then Christ will be a figurative God, one in name or semblance only, and not in reality, because no property can be more peculiar to God than essence, according to the words, “I AM has sent me unto you,” (Ex. 3:4.)

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 13-Henry Beveridge Translation

Refutation of Anti Trinitarian hereseies

January 14, 2015 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Refutation of Arian, Macedonian, and Anti Trinitarian heresies. Caution to be observed.

21. But since Satan, in order to pluck up our faith by the roots, has always provoked fierce disputes, partly concerning the divine essence of the Son and Spirit, and partly concerning the distinction of persons; since in almost every age he has stirred up impious spirits to vex the orthodox doctors on this head, and is attempting in the present day to kindle a new flame out of the old embers, it will be proper here to dispose of some of these perverse dreams. Hitherto our chief object has been to stretch out our hand for the guidance of such as are disposed to learn, not to war with the stubborn and contentious; but now the truth which was calmly demonstrated must be vindicated from the calumnies of the ungodly. Still, however it will be our principal study to provide a sure footing for those whose ears are open to the word of God. Here, if any where, in considering the hidden mysteries of Scripture, we should speculate soberly and with great moderation, cautiously guarding against allowing either our mind or our tongue to go a step beyond the confines of God’s word. For how can the human minds which has not yet been able to ascertain of what the body of the sun consists, though it is daily presented to the eye, bring down the boundless essence of God to its little measure? Nay, how can it, under its own guidance, penetrate to a knowledge of the substance of God while unable to understand its own? Wherefore, let us willingly leave to God the knowledge of himself. In the words of Hilary, (De Trinity. lib. 1,) “He alone is a fit witness to himself who is known only by himself.” This knowledge, then, if we would leave to God, we must conceive of him as he has made himself known, and in our inquiries make application to no other quarter than his word. On this subject we have five homilies of Chrysostom against the Anomoei, (De Incomprehensit. Dei Natura,) in which he endeavored, but in vain, to check the presumption of the sophists, and curb their garrulity. They showed no more modesty here than they are wont to do in everything else. The very unhappy results of their temerity should be a warning to us to bring more docility than acumen to the discussion of this question, never to attempt to search after God anywhere but in his sacred word, and never to speak or think of him farther than we have it for our guide. But if the distinction of Father, Son, and Spirit, subsisting in the one Godhead, (certainly a subject of great difficulty,) gives more trouble and annoyance to some intellects than is meet, let us remember that the human mind enters a labyrinth whenever it indulges its curiosity, and thus submit to be guided by the divine oracles, how much soever the mystery may be beyond our reach.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 13-Henry Beveridge Translation