My detractors over the last several years have accused me of heresy, of being a heretic. I have denied the claim and repeatedly have confessed Christ to them. This week, a friend that I haven’t seen for well over a year came to town and we spent a short time together. It was good to talk to him and catch up a bit on what has happened since we last saw each other. I talked vaguely about things that have taken place over the last few years in church and how my theology has changed. I did not get into specifics but I mentioned the heresy accusation. I told him I didn’t understand it, but I wasn’t upset about it. I believe these people throwing around this term do not know the meaning of “heresy” nor of the term “error.” So, I thought I would post the meaning of them that you, the reader, may correct any misunderstanding you may have and use the terms appropriately.
Error means belief in something untrue; the holding of mistaken or erroneous opinions through no fault of one’s own. In other words, it has nothing to do with a willful intent to believe unbiblical doctrines. It is a mistake through a lapse or gap in knowledge (say, ignorance, though the person does not realize his own ignorance)
Heresy means the formal denial or doubt of a core doctrine of the Christian faith as defined by one or more of the Christian churches. It is an act of the will.
So, when you call someone a heretic, you had better be sure it is an act of the will, of willful disobedience to known truth, It is not an ignorant opinion, lacking knowledge of the truth. And as such, you had better either know the person’s heart of whom you are calling a heretic or they admit they are willfully turning from truth and embracing falsehood for their own gain. So, if someone you call a heretic, willingly confesses Christ and seeks to love Him and know Him and desires to do the will of God, yet you still believe he is in error, call his beliefs erroneous or full of error but don’t call him a heretic.
I know most of the people who question my sanity, my Christianity, my salvation, will probably not read this, but, some will. To them that read this, thank you for correcting your attitude and I truly hope we can dialog about the truths of God, all for His glory. Since I need sleep, I must cut this off here and leave it for you to let you ruminate upon the merits (or lack thereof) of this post and look forward to your added comments. May God’s light shine upon you this day and always!
“God is love, and if you don’t believe it He will burn you in Hell for all eternity.”
I read this on a Facebook page I subscribe to, and it was written by John Smith. I pose this to you, my readers: Is this the God you worship and, if so, defend this belief with all you got. A friendly challenge for you. If your theology says my theology is wrong, then you MUST defend this statement because in my previous belief system (reformed theology, in the Baptist tradition) this had to be true. Let us learn together to understand the God we worship as brothers and sisters in the Lord and help one another to serve Him best. Blessings to you, especially those who write in with their defense of the statement above!
In Christ’s love!
P.S. If you would like the link to this Facebook page, simply comment back requesting the link. Thanks!
Some of the blogs I read each week have been talking about Calvinism or original sin / total depravity and the explanation of sin from either a Calvinist view point or an Arminian viewpoint. It is interesting and informative to listen to the discussions and see the justification for their views. I want to take a few lines to explain my view and where I came from, which unfortunately for some of you, precludes an Arminian view at this time. I most recently had considered myself a Baptist who believed in reformed theology. That means that I believed in the TULIP, of which the first tenet is total depravity. Now, I am not totally decided against total depravity in one sense, but I am against it the way most reformed people believe it today. Most believe it today to mean that any human born after Adam is totally depraved, meaning they cannot do anything that pleases God and all their thoughts and intents are sinful in one way or another. That is not a direct quote from any reformed theologian but merely my synopsis of their beliefs. If I am wrong in that, I am sure someone will tell me!
This seems very untenable to many (especially Arminians!) because they look around and see that not everyone is out murdering or torturing their neighbors and others! What I believe is that both groups are talking past each other for the most part. Calvinists say that everyone is not as bad as they can be at all times, but they are capable of being as bad as they can be at any time. Others believe people are good and fall into sin sometimes, but are in no way TOTALLY DEPRAVED. I believe that all people born after Adam have the stain and capability of sin and, given enough time in this life, will sin. This means, for me, that people are capable of being good and doing good because, although stained with sin, they bear the express image of God by virtue of being created by Him. But, because they also have this sinful bent inherited from Adam, that we can sin, we will sin, and we will need a way to deal with that sin that pleases God, satisfies His requirement for justice, and exerts His loving influence always. I realize that the reformed will throw into the equation that none can please God, none seek Him, none do good except they be the elect saved ones. But, I think there is or can be some common ground and that we need to move in that direction. Can only the elect do good?
Is that really true? Think about it. Jesus tells us to love God with our whole being and to love our neighbor as ourselves. When the lost, the unsaved, love people, are they not also pleasing God by following His commands, even though they don’t realize they are doing so? Does God ONLY look upon the love the elect have for others as good and not the love the unsaved have as good also? Come on! Be real and think about it. If God really hated the unsaved as much as many Calvinists say He does, why does He / would He send the rain on the unjust as well? I guess, according to Calvinists, I don’t believe in total depravity, but I haven’t thrown away original sin, nor the fact that sin needs to be dealt with in God’s way, and that God is still more loving than we can ever imagine. What kind of God do you serve? What do you believe about original sin? What else do I need to take into account? Let me know what you think!
In Christ’s endless love!