Is the Apostle John a Heretic?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Thinkingstuff, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. Thinkingstuff

    Thinkingstuff
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    I bring up this topic not because I think John is a Heretic but because of my studies of Early Church History and the discussions of this board. There are members who believe that "bible believing churches" have always been in existance since the founding of them by the apostles. These same people believe that certain early church fathers were heretical and that early in Christian History there has been a malignant conspiracy by the Catholic (possibly Orthodox) church to lead people astray. Now most of these people who believe this also hold that the Evil empire Church was instated by Constantine who just took ancient Mystery religions and call them Christian then forced (by pain of death) everyone in the empire to become Christian or Catholic based in Rome. Anyway that is their contention.

    The problem of course is that there was not a clear cut canon of the New Testament from the begining or from Apostolic time. Their contention will be that the 2 Peter 3:15-16 shows some knowledge of Pauline letters or the Gospel of John indicates the existance of the synoptic gospels. However, it is clear by the study of the New Testament that there was no clear plan to "distribute apostolic compositions". What is clear is that each of the writings were done by a cause or occasion for their need. Rather than an entire completed New Testiment given to each church. What we see is that Apostolic letters and writings were valued and sought out and Christian communities would "trade" these writings as they could to develope a better Library of works. It was many years before most churches had the majority of works now in the New Testament. Subsequently, there were other writings made and also valued (thus the ECF). The very Earliest chruches were composed of believers who received the Gospel orally from the Apostles who suplimented their teachings with Hebrew books of Scripture what we are now familiar with as the OT. However, we see use of Apocryphal books in such writings as Hebrews and Jude. Not that they were considered as authoritative as what the apostles themselves taught orally. However, by the time of 200 AD not all the churches agreed which writings were authoritative or inspired. Clement of Alexandria was the first to use the word Testament. Marcion was instramental in the development of the idea of canonization because he wanted his cookie cutter religion and excluded writings he did not like. Strangely enough he only wanted Paul's writings. The earliest list of an ordered New Testiment is by Athenasius in 367 AD. However, it wasn't a settled development for all the churches at that time. The Churches were already calling themselves Catholic which we see referenced to by the end of the 1st century. Most scholars speculate that the earliest acceptance of the New Testament as we know it now was at the council of Hippo in 393 but definately at the 3rd synod of Carhtage in 397. Which is after the edict of Milan. This is what history actually alludes to not the first premise.

    Here is where my thought is going. History to me seems clear on the establishment of the New Testiment and the entirel bible as we know know it. There are those who believe that some of the ECF who helped establish what we know now as the NT are heretics and that there was no tradition passed on in the Early church. However, these traditions are related to by the earliest christian compositions outside the New Testament. Such as 1 Clement, Polycarp, Ignatius, Papias, Ireaneaus, Justin Martyr, whoever wrote the Sheperd of Hermas, etc... There are those here that have called many of these as holding heretical beliefs. As I read their writings I notice one other thing. They all (including Polycarp) claim to have recieved these tradition teachings from John in some fashion whether he gave it himself or by someone who knew him (like Polycarp or Papias). So this being the case did John lead everyone astray? Is he the conspirator that created the Catholic Church? Should we trust his gospel? If not then what evidence does anyone have to support the first premise mentioned?
     
  2. billwald

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    The side that wins the war writes the history. An honest reading of the Gospels and Acts indicates that neither Jesus nor the Jerusalem Council intended to start a new religion but to reform rabbinical Judaism from the inside i.e. get back to basics. In 70 AD the Jerusalem Council was destroyed and Paul's heretics got control of Christianity.
     
  3. rbell

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    Well, thanks for confirming my suspicions regarding your view of Jesus, your view of Scripture, your grasp of the New Testament, and your basic understanding of Christianity.
     
  4. Thinkingstuff

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    Wow, I mean wow... umm...What? 70 ad Jerusalem was destroyed not the council. By that time Christians had fled primarily because of the persecution. The next prominant place for Christianity was Antioch (where Ignatius was bishop). So are you saying their are two forms of Heretical Christianity? Pauls and Johns? My supposition was that most refer back to John from the ECF rather than Paul. So was it his traditions (John) that led the church astray rather than Paul? I think you need to brush up on your church history a bit. From one extreme (the trail of blood) to the other extreme (whatever billwald is selling).
     
  5. DHK

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    Since both John's work and Paul's work were inspired by the Holy Spirit and given to them of God, then by extension you realize that you are calling God a heretic, don't you?
     
  6. Matt Black

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    Good OP. :thumbs:

    You can't separate the ECFs from the Apostles/writers of the NT; the ECFs such as Papias, Polycarp and Ignatius were personally discipled by the Apostles. Now, either the ECFs and their mentors the Apostles got it wrong - in which case the NT is suspect since it was written by the same guys (the Apostles) - or they were right, in which case there's some serious thinking to be done by some here.
     
  7. Matt Black

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    No, it seems that Billwald was doing that.
     
  8. bound

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    What Tradition do you think was pasted on? What did the ECF actually agree on? Give us some examples so that we understand what you are positing?
     
  9. Matt Black

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    Not Thinkingstuff but an example which immediately springs to mind is the Real Presence in the Eucharist.
     
  10. bound

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    My personal concern with the Real Presence is that it already is saying too much.

    "As this broken bread was scattered upon the mountains and was gathered together and became one, so let thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into thy Kingdom." ~ Eucharistic prayer from The Didache.

    The bread, once scattered over the hills in the form of wheat and now gathered into one loaf, symbolizes our oneness in Christ: "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread."

    My conscience would be troubled if we wrangled over the matter of the Lord's Supper, for it would be to take something which the Lord wants to show forth our unity, and to make it a cause of division.
     
  11. OldRegular

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    Many years ago I taught a Sunday School Class using what was supposedly an advanced material supplied by the Sunday School Board. I soon found that the only advance was to raise inane question such as raised in the OP.

    Frankly the Bible is either the plenary verbal Word of God or it is not. If the former then we have the promise of eternal life for true believers. If the latter then we are as the Apostle Paul said of all men most miserable and either still in our sins or the product of chance with the grave our destiny.

    I do not understand why such a thread is either posted or allowed on this Forum. What purpose does it serve? It edifies neither Jesus Christ, the Church, or the Saints. It simply serves as a vehicle for esoteric arguments or heretical statements like those of bildwald.
     
  12. Melanie

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    Amen. amen Old Regular.
     
  13. Matt Black

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    Hardly an inane question, rather a germane one.

    Yes, but I don't think the OP is questioning the premise that the Bible is the Word of God.

    It's about the provenance of the ECFs.
     
  14. steaver

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    Is it possible, for one to have the Spirit of regeneration, and to believe in their spirit that Paul was a heretic and his writings are not inspired by God but rather are contrary to God's word?
     
  15. Thinkingstuff

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    You obviously didn't read the OP. I don't believe that John or Paul is a heretic. I believe that some on this board have developed a poor understanding of Church history and I'm showing why.
     
  16. Thinkingstuff

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    I believe the bible is the word of God. My hope is in Jesus Christ just like yours. But I believe in looking at history as accurately and clearly as possible. These same ECF who compiled the library of Books which we now call the NT. The NT as a singular document was not passed down entire from the Apostles to every church established. Rather it was many years later that they were entirely compiled. So I think it is significant to understand what these same ECF said regarding these compiled writings of the apostles and others (such as the book of Hebrews). Also Its important to understand how they viewed Christianity. It's actually a review of Historical perspective gendered on this board that baptist were the established churches by the apostles and were persecuted by the false churches throughout history. My contention is that if this gendered view of Christianity is true then John must be a heretic. Because the ECF that are made to be heretics recieved their teaching from the apostles particuarily John. And they seem consistant on that point. As for bound question with regard to what traditions we would have to view Liturgical worship which historical view seems consistant with. Thats at least on example.
     
  17. DHK

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    Your premise is flawed right from the beginning. Instead of assuming that the Bible is inspired, and its writers are telling the truth about God, you have assumed the opposite. You assume that the writings of the ECF are accurate simply because their writings are close to the writings of John. That is incorrect.

    Let me give you an example.
    Bob Jones University is a fine institution with many Godly graduates that are now pastoring in churches all over this world, including missionaries and others in full time ministry.
    However one of its graduates is Peter Ruckman, the founder of KJVOism. If you check his beliefs you will find many other strange beliefs other than KJVOism. One could accurately say that those who follow him are the followers of a cult. Does that make BJU apostate because Peter Ruckman graduated from there?
    Here are some of Ruckman's beliefs from one of his own books
    http://www.cephas-library.com/evangeliists_peter_ruckman.html

    If you are a follower of him you are a follower of a cult, not of the basic beliefs and standards of BJU.

    Most of the beliefs of the ECF were at variance with each other. They had strange doctrinal beliefs which contradicted the writings of John. One of them believed that Jesus lived to the age of 80. At least one of them believed in baptismal regeneration. As Matt already pointed out one of them believed in the heresy of transubstantiation. Many of them were caught up in Mariolotry.
    And the list goes on. All of these were heretical beliefs to John.
    Your premise is flawed.
    This is not what John believed, though these men believed this way.

    This is the primary reason true Bible-believing Christians throughout the ages have always believed in sola scriptura. They have always gone back to the Word of God as their authority.
     
  18. Thinkingstuff

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    You've misrepresented my premise so your entire post is inconsequential.
     
  19. DHK

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    Here is what you stated:
    If you note in my post above that is exactly what happened. Many of the ECF did believe in various heresies. Thus what conclusion does one draw? That, as you say, John was a heretic, and then God was a heretic. Right?
     
  20. Thinkingstuff

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    You're not following the line of reasoning. My post shows that there is a commonly held view of history that is not substantiated but many here with regard to the early church (just see the history of baptist thread). Then there is historical data that is supported and they are in conflict with each other. The development of the NT is clear. I was contrasting the held view which has no substantive support and actual history with regard to the NT.

    If you hold on to one line of reasoning you must conclude that John is a heretic (the initial one I pointed out which many here at the BB believe) based on historical analysis. Or You must give up that line of belief and hold to what actually happened.
     

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