Pride In Heresy?


This is a real Facebook post from a “pastor” of an evangelical church.  He apparently thinks being called a heretic is a good thing.  This is my response to him:

I have a cardinal rule, which is that I don’t discuss biblical exegesis with sola scriptura believers, because we cannot agree on the ground rules for how scripture is to be understood. I will really only respond to this briefly, because (1) your assertion illustrates the classic danger typical of proof text interpretations (2) your assertion demonstrates how completely disconnected with the Church of the Apostles modern evangelicalism is, and (3) claiming heresy with pride is dangerous to the souls of anyone foolish enough to accept such an assertion.

The verse you cite is translated in that manner by only one translation that I could find. Every other translation renders the word “heresies” as “sect”. Paul’s reference to the accusations against him, are not to accusations of heresy in the Christian faith. They are accusations of the Jews that he represents a sect of Judaism. So yes, Christians would take pride in being considered heretics as to Judaism. That does not hold in being accused of asserting doctrines that are heretical to Christianity. Surely you know and understand that. I hope so since you purport to be a pastor.

When used in relation to Christian doctrine, heretical teaching is roundly condemned in scripture. This is an example of why proof texting (especially from one off translations) fails to consider the larger teaching of scripture. The Canon of Scripture is holistic, and it never praises heresy amongst Christians. Heresy is a mark of the deceiver, not a badge of honor. Paul clearly explains (and explicitly refuses to praise) the dangers of heresies among Christians in 1 Cor. 11:19. Peter is even more clear in 2 Peter 2:1, describing heretics as false teachers and heresies as damnable. You take pride in that? God forbid!

In the early church the worst thing that could be said about someone was to accuse them of being a heretic. In the 2nd century, St. Ireneaus of Lyon dedicated an entire work “Against Heresies” to fighting heretical “christian” teachers. This work was of such significance it has been preserved to the present day. He was far from alone. The Apostolic Canons required that any clergyman who so much as shared services with heretics be deposed. (“Let any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, that merely joins in prayer with heretics, be suspended, but if he has permitted them to perform any service as Clergymen, let him be deposed.”) So please, consider carefully that badge you wish to wear with “pride”. It puts you squarely outside the understanding of Christianity from scripture, from the apostles and from the earliest days of the Church.

The disconnection between modern evangelicalism and the faith of the apostles is shocking.  Tread very carefully in dealing with them.

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