Heresy in the Church - a Series

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by doulous, May 15, 2006.

  1. doulous

    doulous
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    Heresy in the Church – Part I

    What actually is a heresy? The term has become so familiar that it no longer seems to hold the same weight as it once did. Have we dumbed-down the meaning of the word? One of the best ways in which to define heresy is to explain what it is not. Orthodoxy is the opposite of heresy. Let me provide you with the definitions of both:

    Orthodoxy

    Heresy

    How did the church view heresy in the first five centuries following our Lord’s resurrection? For starters let’s look at the Arian Hersey:

    The Arian Heresy

    This heresy taught that Jesus was not one in substance with the Father. To refute this heresy the council of Nicea was held. The following statement was made by the council to refute this insidious heresy:

    I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God. Born of the Father before all ages. God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God. Begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father.

    In addition there was an anathema associated with this creed. The word anathema means to be accursed or eternally lost. The anathema reads:

    But those who say: "There was a time when he was not"; and "He was not before he was made"; and "He was made out of nothing", or "He is of another substance" or "essence", or "The Son of God is created", or "changeable", or "alterable" — they are condemned by the holy Catholic and apostolic Church.

    The term “holy Catholic and apostolic Church” does not refer to the Roman Catholic Church. The word “catholic” means universal. In context the writers of the Nicene creed were applying this creed to all believers.


    Heresy is not by-word. It is a word to be used with great and careful thought. It can be argued that individuals should use extreme caution in what they label as heresy. Heresies have been determined to be so by the church. Almost all heresies that have been encountered have taken place in the first five centuries following the resurrection of our Lord. Modern heresies are just a rehash of old ones. For example, the DaVinci Code is based on gnosticism. Jehovahs Witnesses morphed from Arianism.

    End of Part I
     
  2. npetreley

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    This is a tough one. I would argue that semi-pelagianism, which is rampant today, is heresy. However, I would not go so far as to say that people who are semi-pelagian in their views are necessarily unsaved.

    This doesn't fit into your definitions. So does that mean I'm wrong and semi-pelagianism really isn't heresy? Does that mean semi-pelagians are lost? Or does it mean your definitions need clarification?
     
  3. doulous

    doulous
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    Why don't you wait until I touch on that teaching? Have patience. All will be revealed in time.
     
  4. Humblesmith

    Humblesmith
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    This is correct. Heresy (vs. orthodoxy) involves doctrines that violate the essential doctrines of the faith. There are such things as non-essential doctrines....see Romans 14. So the hard part is discerning between the essentials and the non-essentials, so that we correctly judge between the people who have denied a central tenet of the faith, vs. those who are wrong about a minor point. Of course, there are areas that are not easy to discern, but God is not always easy.

    So I guess if you're looking for definitions, I've always understood heresy to be about doctrines, and blasphemy to be about the nature of God. Blasphemy would then be a subset of heresy. (as I understand it.......)
     
  5. doulous

    doulous
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    Heresy in the Church - Part II

    Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism

    Pelagianism

    Pelagius was a monk in the 5th century. He was a contemporary of Augustine of Hippo. Pelagius taught that man was not born with original sin. Babies were born with a clean slate and could live a sinless life without the help of God. Pelagius' disciple was Celustius. Historians believe that Celustius did more to spread Pelagianism than Pelagius. Pelagianism was denounced as heresy at the Synod of Carthage (416 and 418 A.D.) and at the Council of Ephesus (432 A.D.) Pelagianism was anathematized at both councils (synods).

    Semi-Pelagianism

    Pelagianism never really went away, it simply changed into a more palatable form. While full fledged Pelagianism is rare, semi-Pelagianism is alive and well today. What is often labeled "Arminianism" actually is more semi-Pelagian.

    Semi-Pelagianism was founded in the mid-5th century in Gaul (France). Whereas Pelagianism taught that man can achieve righteousness on his own apart from God; semi-Pelagianism taught that God and man cooperate, to a certain degree, in the salvation process. Man could make the first step towards God and then God would "bridge the gap" that man could not cover on his own. Semi-Pelagianism also allowed for the belief in original sin. Semi-Pelagianism was condemned as heresy at the Council of Orange in 529 A.D.

    Semi-Pelgianism, along with its close cousin Armianism (which will be covered later) fall into the synergestic views of salvation. Man works with God in accomplishing salvation.
     
  6. Humblesmith

    Humblesmith
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    A deep breath, and.........

    **sigh**

    :rolleyes:
     
  7. doulous

    doulous
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    Hey, it is what it is.
     
  8. epistemaniac

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    these may be of help as well....

    from Act 24:14 esv But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets,"
    where the word "sect" is translated in the KJV as "heresy"...

    G139
    αἵρεσις
    hairesis
    Thayer Definition:
    1) act of taking, capture: e.g. storming a city
    2) choosing, choice
    3) that which is chosen
    4) a body of men following their own tenets (sect or party)
    4a) of the Sadducees
    4b) of the Pharisees
    4c) of the Christians
    5) dissensions arising from diversity of opinions and aims
    Part of Speech: noun feminine
    A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G138
    Citing in TDNT: 1:180, 27


    see also the ISBE at http://www.studylight.org/enc/isb/view.cgi?number=T4292

    "Heresy—a teaching contrary to the truth
    A. Characteristics of:
    Damnable 2 Pet. 2:1
    Contagious 2 Pet. 2:2
    Subversive Gal. 1:7
    B. Attitude toward:
    Recognize purpose 1 John 2:18, 19
    Withdraw 1 Tim. 6:4, 5, 11
    Do not receive 2 John 9–11"
    (Nelson's topical Bible)

    "HERESY. The Gk. word hairesis properly denotes ‘choice’, and this is the meaning which it always bears in the lxx; in classical authors, however, it can refer to a philosophical school which the individual chooses to follow. Similarly, the NT uses the word to denote a ‘party’, with the suggestion of self-will or sectarian spirit; but it must be noted that none of the parties thus described is in a state of schism from its parent body. The Sadducees (Acts 5:17) and the Pharisees (Acts 15:5; 26:5) form sects within the fold of Judaism; and the same word is used to describe Christianity as seen from outside (Acts 24:5, 14; 28:22). Josephus, however, uses the same term to describe the Essenes as well, who were in schism (Ant. 13. 171; 18. 18-22). When parties appear within the church they are called ‘heresies’ (1 Cor. 11:19, where Paul seems to imply that, though bad, they have the good result of making it clear who are the true Christians). Such divisions are regarded as a work of the flesh (Gal. 5:20), and primarily as a breach of mutual charity, so that the heretic, i.e. the man who stubbornly chooses to form or follow his own group, is to be rejected after two admonitions (Tit. 3:10).
    The only NT use of ‘heresy’ in the sense of opinion or doctrinal error occurs in 2 Pet. 2:1, where it includes a denial of the Redeemer. Among incipient heresies mentioned in the NT, the most prominent are: Gnosticism of a Jewish type (Col. 2:8-23) and Docetism (1 Jn. 4:2-3; 2 Jn. 7).
    Bibliography. G. Forkman, The Limits of the Religious Community, 1972; W. Elert, Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries, E.T. 1966; H. Schlier, TDNT 1, pp. 180-184. g.s.m.w. r.t.b." (New Bible Dictionary)

    blessings,
    Ken
     
  9. doulous

    doulous
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    Ken,

    Thank you. For the sake of brevity I will stay the definition I have used. This definition is in keeping with the consensus that followed each church council on various false teachings.

    Thanks for your input.
     
  10. epistemaniac

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    fair enough... [​IMG]

    blessings
     

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