New Testing Phase

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Introduction: A look at False Teaching & Heresy

False teachers have been a plague on the church. They have been around since the days of the apostles, indeed, the writers of the New Testament mentions at least one by name. In 3 John verse 9, John writes: I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. Verse 10 goes on to describe how this false teacher slanders the apostles, and excommunicates anyone who disagrees with him. This description of a false teacher, is only one of many thousands who would come up against the church. In this post, and in further posts, I hope to show some common false teachings and heresies as well as draw up profiles of some historical as well as current false teachers and heretics. I will be naming some names which will not appeal to everyone, but considering what scripture has to say on the subject, I consider this very necessary.

But before we go on any further, there is a few things that need to be said. The first is that: naming names gives me no pleasure and my desire in doing so is twofold – 1. to warn people who may be deceived by false teachers, and 2. to, if possible, call these men and women to repentance, we love them and don’t want them harming the church any more, and in some cases, going to hell themselves.

The second thing that needs to be said is that in order to prevent myself from sinning or being snarky at such people, I will limit my descriptions of them to three terms, two biblical and one theological.

These terms are:

Mat 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

1. False teacher/ prophet – this phrase is used a large number of times in the bible, including by Jesus

2. Wolf. Bit of a strange term in today’s thinking but as any shepherd from most generations in the past will tell you (if you could talk to one) that wolves were not the “semi-friendly practically-a-dog” that we think of them as today. They were the sheep’s primary enemy, and thus the shepherd’s primary enemy. The wolf hunted the sheep to kill and consume it. This, is what Jesus is saying about the false prophets in our verse (Mat 7:15), as well as several others. Jesus would often use the analogy of Christians being sheep, and the wolves were out to get the sheep. Paul also makes use of this phrase in Acts 20:29.

Those are the two biblical terms, and I need to separate them from the theological term because the former is not the same as the latter.

3. Heretic. Heresy is a doctrine that, if believed, will demonstrate that you are not a believer in the true Christ, and thus can’t be saved, until the heresy is repented of. Heresy is different to false teaching in that (some) false teachers are still true believers, brothers and sisters in Christ, whereas no formal heretic is. I will illustrate the difference in the next post

That’s enough for now, in the next few posts I will expand on the concepts, bring in more scripture then begin building profiles on some false teachers and heretics.

God bless

No comments:

Are You A Good Person

Are you a good person?