We should be able to maintain diversity in our midst without including heresy as part of the diversity. What hinders Christ in his person and work hinders the Church.My husband and I once invited a man in the church we attended to teach a Bible study in our home. That was many years ago when we were in the denomination my husband was raised in, the Assemblies of God. I don’t remember the reason we invited him, but I do remember the reason we confronted him about his teaching, the reason he left.
He kept us in the same text, Psalm 1, for weeks and finally, one study night, allowed us into his special knowledge. According to his peculiar theology there are two levels of Christians, children of God and sons of God. The sons, according to this false teacher, are on a higher spiritual level.
He may still teach, somewhere, but never again in our home. The children of God are the sons and daughters of God, the ones who bear the righteousness of Christ alone. Salvation isn’t tendered out in different categories of superiority. Grace is free though costly. Heresy, as I stated in my last posting, always attacks the person and work of Jesus Christ. The view that there are two levels of Christianity is definitely an attack on the sacrificial work of Christ.
We had gathered ten friends and neighbors to the study. What if we had not confronted the teacher? A few that night did not understand how false the teaching was. Even one person deceived would be a great loss. The church, and individual believers, must acknowledge what they see and hear. Paul gave very stern warnings to the Christians at Galatia:
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed. (Gal. 1:8-9)There are at least three prevailing problems in the Church. One has to do with unrepentant immorality, antinomianism. One has to do with the coldness of our hearts toward the Lord of the Church. And one has to do with heresy. The problem of heresy too often grows because of the other two. In our careless and cold attitude toward the Lord, or because some false teaching excuses our own sinfulness we ignore the error.
Beyond all else the church in contending with heresy must draw close to the Lord through prayer, through Scripture and through the disciplines of Christian discipleship. Jude puts it this way: “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.” (20-21)
There is after this a turning to ministry—having mercy, snatching some from danger, fearfully rescuing those who are polluted while hating the pollution. None of this ministry allows for silence but instead implies that one will love the Lord above all else and speak truth.
“As we deal with truth, so we do with God himself; he that despiseth that, despiseth him. He that abandons the truth of God, renounceth the God of truth.” William Gurnall The Christian in Complete Armour
Picture by Ethan McHenry