error vs heresy

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by menageriekeeper, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. menageriekeeper

    menageriekeeper
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    What's the difference? Where does error end and heresy begin?

    For instance, when the Early Church had to decide whether Gentiles must follow Jewish ceremonial Law, were the Jews in "error" or were they "heretics"?

    I keep seeing the word heresy bandied about, but honestly there is very little we discuss that amounts to true heresy as *I* understand the word.

    So lets define the word down a little shall we?
     
  2. JesusFan

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    Think that from the biblical prespective..

    Error would be when a doctrine /practice is being taught that is NOT considered to be part of the "Essentials of the faith", and is wrong...
    example would be with pentacostalists teach that Tongues are THE sign of one being filled with Holy Spirit... Wrongly held belief, does not affect being saved though...

    heresy would be held doctrones/beliefs that DO violate cardinal truths of the faith...

    Example would be when JW say they do have Jesus as Lord , but their jesus is NOT trhe one in Bible, is actually a created being, archangel Micheal!
     
    #2 JesusFan, Apr 12, 2011
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  3. sag38

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    Heresy, as I understand it, will send a person to hell in that it adds or takes away from the gospel. I may be in error about some interpretations of the Bible but I'm still saved because of my faith in Christ Jesus' death on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection from the dead. I'm saved by grace in that there is nothing I can do to earn or to keep my salvation. It is completely in the finished work of Christ. Heresy preaches works as a means to salvation. Heresy preaches a different Jesus. Heresy overextends grace to ultimately include everyone or excludes grace in that salvation becomes based in merit or on performance.
     
  4. JesusFan

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    yes, heresy refers to doctrines that go against essentials of the Christian faith. while mistakes would those doctrines held that are misinterpretations that do not violate cardinal truths...
     
  5. nodak

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    Does all this mean I am not a heretic after all?

    I was publicly called one, from an SBC pulpit once many years ago, for stating that IF a person disagreed with actions funded by the CP they COULD route their mission money another way.

    Didn't say folks should disagree with how CP dollars were spent. Just said IF they disagreed but still wanted to fund missions there were options.
     
  6. John of Japan

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    The etymology of the word "heresy" is the Greek word . Here is the Anlex (by the Fribergs) definition:

    It occurs 9 times in the NT, 4 times just meaning a sect like the Pharisees. In our meaning of the word it occurs in Acts 24:5, 24:14, 1 Cor. 11:9, Gal. 5:20, 2 Pet. 2:1. Based on these passages, I believe a heresy is a false doctrine causing division among God's people.

    A related word is "heretic", occurring only in Titus 3:10, where we are told to reject heretics. The context to me shows clearly that my above definition is right.

    A related passage is Rom. 16:17-18--
    Practically speaking then, in my definition you are a heretic if you come in my church, teach false doctrine and try to split the church and lead away the weak. As soon as I see someone is trying to do this, "You are outta here!"
     
  7. ituttut

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    error vs heresy.
    Error = you are wrong.
    Heresy =l I am right.
     
  8. freeatlast

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    Here is a dictionary definition of heresy;
    a. An opinion or a doctrine at variance with established religious beliefs, especially dissension from or denial of Roman Catholic dogma by a professed believer or baptized church member.
    b. Adherence to such dissenting opinion or doctrine.

    So all error is heresy, but all heresy is not error. Notice the definition does not say that all heresy is incorrect. Only that it differs from established religious doctrine. Established religious doctrine can be wrong so that means that the reformation could be referred to as heresy and the claim would be accurate. The sane is with what many here are claiming about what they believe. It just depends on which side of the fence one is on, not if the belief is incorrect. A person could hold a correct belief and still be spreading heresy using this definition.

    If you use the definition that John gives from a Greek then it would change the meaning. Which meaning are you referring to?
     
    #8 freeatlast, Apr 13, 2011
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  9. menageriekeeper

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    FaL, its a hard choice! :D

    If we go with JoJ's definition then we have to quit calling one another heretics here on the BB because the BB isn't a church and dissention is part of why we come here, LOL!

    If we go with your definition then we are all heretics in the eyes of one or more BB members cause there will always be some view that someone else is staunchly against!

    Mabe we should define error? :laugh:
     
  10. freeatlast

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    That's a good one! :laugh:
     
  11. J.D.

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    This seems to me to be saying that it's the motive that makes a heretic - not just an error, but a desire to divide. Or is it heresy if it results in division regardless of the motive? Teach me.
     
  12. menageriekeeper

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    :eek: Now there's an idea! :eek: Sorta scary when you think about it!
     
  13. Skandelon

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    I would agree with the comment regarding heresy being that which, if believed, would NOT lead to salvation. Buddhism, for example, is clearly heresy because those believing it will not be saved.

    On the other hand, disagreement among Baptists on a point of eschatology would fall under the "false teaching" category, IMO. However, it should be noted that every heresy is a false teaching, I just wouldn't call every "false teaching" a "heresy."
     
  14. John of Japan

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    Rather than motive, I would say action. If someone comes in my church believing what is wrong doctrine, in my definition they are not yet a heretic. I may be able to help them learn correct doctrine. However, when by their actions in teaching (whether formally or informally) their wrong doctrine to my flock, they endanger the wellness of the church of Jesus Christ, at that point they become a heretic. At that point I will institute church discipline.

    Such a person may have a perfectly good motive, thinking to fix what he believes is our wrong doctrine, from his point of view. Nevertheless, he is messing with the church of Jesus Christ, causing division. No one can split the church of Jesus Christ and expect praise. It is not just a gathering of believers. It is the bride of Christ, and it exists for His glory (Eph. 3:21, ch. 5).

    I think my view is consistent with that of the early church in the Bible. Consider the Judaizers as per the book of Galatians. Paul strongly condemned their false Gospel, and urged the church at Galatia to stand against it. Consider John defending against Gnosticism in his epistles, commanding not even to greet those who come with the wrong doctrine of Christ.

    I think my view is also consistent with that of the early church in church history. Consider Tertullian against Montanism, and the church councils against Arianism and the like. All were designed to determine correct doctrine and stop the controversies in the churches.

    Only one time on the Baptist forums of the BB have I seen someone I would call a heretic. This was a young man who bragged about how he became interim pastor of a little church and taught them a doctrine contrary to their traditional beliefs. He ended up splitting the little church, which then died. Never mind what the doctrine was, his actions killed a local church of Jesus Christ. And he bragged about it! Very sad.
     
  15. John of Japan

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    I disagree that Buddhism is heresy. It is false religion, but not heresy per se. I once had a Buddhist priest come to my services. If he were a heretic by virtue of being a Buddhist, I should have immediately asked him to leave. Instead, we gave him a NT and talked to him about Christ for an hour after the service.

    Once again I differ. If one is a preterist and brings that doctrine into my premillenial church, teaching it in a Sunday School class or even a home Bible study, he is a heretic and I will take disciplinary action against him and his teaching, and the sooner the better.
     
  16. michael-acts17:11

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    J of J, does your definition extend to churches or just to individuals within churches? Would a church or group of churches who separate themselves from other churches be heretical by your definition? Do baptist churches which preach condemnation against other baptist churches for differences in nonessential doctrines practicing heresy also? If so, then what does that say about the churches position in Christ? If they are right in the essentials, are they still heretical? The Biblically exegeted definition refers to the doctrine of the Pharisees. How does this fact effect your definition?
     
    #16 michael-acts17:11, Apr 13, 2011
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  17. John of Japan

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    I don't see anywhere in the Bible that teaches that churches with wrong doctrine are heretics. I believe that a church can be apostate when it leaves its faith and embraces doctrine that is no longer orthodox/fundamental. In that case their "lampstand" (right to be called a true church of Jesus), as with the church of the Laodiceans in Rev. 3, may be removed by Christ. But I believe that Rev. 2-3 teaches us that each church is responsible directly to the Head, Jesus Christ, not to other churches. So no, I don't consider Baptist churches who preach against other Baptist churches, or Baptist churches who separate from others to be heretical. I just don't find that usage in the Bible. If one must oppose such churches, I think there is ample room in Rev. 2-3 for such opposition without calling it heresy.

    As for the meaning of the Greek word, please know that when it is used for the Pharisees it is not talking about their doctrine per se but their status within Judaism as a sect. The range of meaning of the word includes a divisive person or faction within a church (heresy in the English), a sect within a larger religion (the Pharisees and Sadducees), and even a new group coming from an established group (Paul's Christianity in Acts 28:22). So I don't know of any translation that renders "heresy" for when the word is used for the Pharisees, Sadducees and Paul's "sect." If we must render the word as "heresy" in those cases, than Paul called himself a heretic as a Pharisee in Acts 26:5, and as a Jew he was not a heretic.

    Now, having said all of that, what are we to say about cults like the JWs and Mormons? Are they heretics according to my definition? Yes they are. Why? They not only preach terribly false doctrine about Christ, they are lead by false teachers and they seek believers from other churches to lead astray. So they divide and split local churches.
     
  18. freeatlast

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    I would really question the idea that many actually seek to divide with error at least in a knowing way. I know that some seek to teach and in doing so teach error in their ignorance and in so doing divide but to knowingly seek to divide with error that has to be rare if at all.

    I don't think one has to know they are teaching error for it to be heresy. Nor do I think it has to divide to be heresy. Even if no one listened to them their error would be no less heresy. The only difference would be no one is effected.

    So I believe we can be sincere and hold to heresy and if we influence another with it then we stand guilty. Perhaps this is the reason for the warning of scripture.
    James 3:1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
     
  19. J.D.

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    Yes, it's obvious now - what was I thinking? Thank you for that.

    However, I think I differ with your equating splitting a local church with heresy. Many churches split over doctrinal disputes in which both side are well withing the orthodox teachings of the Church. In fact, if splitting a church consititutes heresy, much of the independent fundamentalist movement is heretical, since many SBC churches were split by independents.

    To be a hereitc, one would have to be outside of the general community of orthodoxy. Agree?
     
  20. J.D.

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    Thank you, that clarified some things for me.
     

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