The Difference Between Error and Heresy

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!

Loving Christ,

Craig

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Difference Between Error and Heresy

  1. Dirk

    “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me [Jesus Christ]. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” But I guess “the best way to deal with slander is to pray about it: God will either remove it, or remove the sting from it. Our own attempts at clearing ourselves are usually failures; we are like the boy who wished to remove the blot from his copy, and by his bungling made it ten times worse.” Nevertheless, people should think carefully before judging others! “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.” Press on brother Craig 🙂

    • Hey Dirk, thanks for posting your comment. This is nothing new, nor is it anything that is ongoing. But, for me, now, it is more a matter of curiosity (why do people speak about things they don’t know about) than it is about feeling persecuted (though I do feel persecuted sometimes). I understand what you are saying and thank you for putting these things in biblical verse form. Every week I immerse myself in the love of God and His Greater Hope, and because of it I feel more love for more people than I have before. And, the more I want to have fellowship with many I had alienated before because of my faulty theology. Thanks for the encouragement to press on. I will, and you, too! Press on!

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