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The Persecuted Church


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What is heresy?

Heresy can be defined as any departure from Christian orthodoxy, the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). It is a teaching, doctrine or practice that goes beyond the apostles’ teachings, (what is written) or introduces something totally new or contrary to the Scripture. Biblical heresy is often a denial of one or more of the core beliefs held by the Church that are found in the Bible. Such as the Tri-unity of God, the deity of Christ, the Bible being the inspired infallible word of God,  or salvation by grace alone through faith in Christ alone.

Heresy can also be an overemphasis of a neglected truth (majoring on minor points of doctrine), or a truth emphasized to an extreme where it no longer can be recognized as Biblical. To not be orthodox in ones teaching means one is teaching heresy. If one knowingly opposes orthodoxy it makes them a heretic. Paul instructs us to “Reject a divisive (heretic) man after the first and second admonition” (Titus 3:10). The Greek word for divisive is hairetikos, it means a schismatic: someone that is a promoter or follower of a false doctrine. Heresy is descriptive of groups or individuals that reject core Christian doctrines and often separate themselves from the Church that hold to them. However, those who promote these false teachings do not always leave the church to start their own but stay inside to convince others. In Galatians 5 Paul mentions among the many works of the flesh, heresies, and those who practice them will not inherit the kingdom of God.

When a teaching or practice affects the core doctrines or goes beyond what is written we should not keep silent. If one stays silent with a known heresy being taught that makes them a compromiser and complicit to it. But many do not want to speak out and “make waves.” A true shepherd’s first concern is to protect the sheep - then he can minister to the individual who needs the correction.

We have all heard the statement “eat the meat and spit out the bones,” but only the mature can discern good from evil. What parent would feed a new child a fish with bones and expect it to know what to do. This is not a good answer for the newborn, weak or immature in faith. Young lambs, like a young child, do not understand the differences, and will be destroyed if not protected. In identifying the certain people who are expounding heresies, we prevent the lambs from immediate harm. what parents do for their children and this is what a true shepherd does for the sheep, his children he is to oversee.

Today heresy is introduced into the Church mostly through new “revelation” or “prophesy,” which are often the most dangerous source of all. It should be obvious that a divisive teaching or practice from inside the Church is more destructive to our genuine faith than one from the outside and should not be allowed to continue to be spoken from the pulpit.

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