Line Between Heresy and Difference of Opinion

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by saturneptune, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. saturneptune

    saturneptune
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    It is a priviledge, not a right, to post on this board. That is a given. There are established rules to follow. That means that members follow them and that they are fairly enforced by moderators and administrators.

    The reason that the line between heresy and a difference of opinion be clearly defined, and understood by everyone, is that crossing that line, once or however many times is determined to be justified, can and does result in banishment. It seems to be that line is quite undefined, in fact, the line itself is defined by a difference of opinion, that changes from situation to situation like the waves of the sea.

    So where does one draw the line between difference of opinion of heresy?
     
    #1 saturneptune, Jan 10, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2013
  2. Gregory Perry Sr.

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    An Understatement...

    To coin the "king's english"....me thinkest that thou hath openeth up a major can of worms.....!:smilewinkgrin:

    Bro.Greg:laugh:
     
  3. saturneptune

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    LOL, they will get over it. The Calvinism free will 24/7 threads especially throw the term around like a adjective for any situation. Heresy is quite a serious term. My guess is that most have no idea what the line is. I am suprised most stuck in those threads find time for a bathroom break.
     
  4. th1bill

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    Having been teaching on the Internet since '98 I have fallen victim to this problem on a couple of forums but the truth of the matter is that we must trust our faith and believe there is no limit to the sovereignty of God. There are no authorities of anything without God having placed them there for His Holy reasons.

    So it is with the moderators of any forum and yes, I do mean any forum... even one that reains, forever, unnamed here that I moderate. Am I right, are you right, no, to both questions. God is right and He, in His grace, has left us with the Bible and we must use that for our final Court of Arbitration until He returns and straightens us all out. On this forum I've noticed that the Mods appear to depend, heavily, on the Word of God and exactly what it says.

    In my opinion, we can ask no more of anyone. On a couple of forums, where I post no longer, the Administration moved away from the absolute authority of the scriptures and when they did that I was promptted by God to move away from there. Two of these forums died a slow and miserable death and one other is headed that way as of this time. (Againj, I'll do my best to honor my host and refrain from advertising other web sites.)

    It has been my experience as both a mod and just a member that there is a general refusal in the Church Membership to accept the complete sovereignty of God and because of this open refusal of God, opinions are considered to rule over the Absoluteness of the Word and the Sovereignty of God in worldly matters, as well as what the Bible teaches.

    As mentioned, this can be an ugly can of worms that will never honor and will never glorify God. We must remember the lesson of the New Testament on Submission to authority and seek not to grumble. It can be very hard to submit but it is a requirement. There lays the ground work for why, even when I disagree with a moderator on a board where I am just a member, I do not bow up my back but choose to, just, accept their authority.

    God bless and perhaps a mod will ring in here.
     
  5. Bob Alkire

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    I agree!!! I recall when the difference was taught in SS, College and seminary with total respect for the other sides. I went to a Calvinistic seminary and if I heard it once I heard it thousands of times, we will find out who is correct and who isn't when we get to heaven. We all might be surprised. There was no dislike for the other sides or less it was a cult like JW, LDS and so on.
    I recall tent meetings in town that had all or most of the preachers there, backing the getting of the message out and praying lost souls would come to Christ. I recall people like John R. Rice having Calvinist to Pentecostal and so forth backing his meeting. Look at D. James Kennedy he had many non Calvinist backing him and speaking with him. The list goes on and on.
    I'm don't hold to Calvinism now but I believe Dr. Alan Cairns is correct in his view that many Calvinist lack the showing of love, they think they are right on doctrine and can't be wrong. A friend of mind a strict Calvinist preacher agrees but adds always ready for a fight and if a fight isn't going on will start one. He brings up some of the fights in seminary between Calvinist who differ and we being in a Presbyterian seminary didn't believe Baptist could be real Calvinist.
    For the most part I stay out of that fight, it takes more than one to have a fight.
     
  6. Bronconagurski

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    I can't define heresy, but I know it when I see it. :)
     
  7. preachinjesus

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    I'm a pretty strict definer of heresy. Too many times we encounter accusations and definitions of heresy that don't fit a proper understanding of it.

    Heresy is a clear violation of foundational theological belief(s.)

    An example of some heresies:
    - denial of Jesus' humanity and divinity
    - denial of the Trinitarian nature of the Godhead
    - denial of resurrection of Jesus

    Some things that aren't heresy (but are commonly cited as such around here)
    - differences over Calvinist or Arminian (this is a debate that usually lacks nuance anyways)
    - use of progressive methodology for worship or church polity
    - women pastors/elders/deacons
    - not singing all the verses of Just As I Am
    - not being Republican
    - viewing the King James as the only inspired version of the Bible
    - a view of the atonement of Jesus as anything but penal substitutionary

    Heresy has always been concerned with grievous actions and beliefs. When we wield its use too freely, we are stepping towards dangerous territory.
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    heresy

    her·e·sy
    [her-uh-see] Show IPA
    noun, plural her·e·sies.
    1.
    opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine, especially of a church or religious system.
    2.
    the maintaining of such an opinion or doctrine.
    3.
    Roman Catholic Church . the willful and persistent rejection of any article of faith by a baptized member of the church.
    4.
    any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs, customs, etc.
    Origin:
    1175–1225; Middle English heresie < Old French eresie < Latin haeresis school of thought, sect < Greek haíresis, literally, act of choosing, derivative of haireîn to choose


    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/heresy?s=t
     
  9. Van

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    Heresy is in the eye of the beholder. Those in power within an organization seek to suppress alternate views by branding them heretical. Thus an Arminian organization would say Calvinism is heretical, and those in a Calvinist organization would brand alternate views as heretical. And both of these opponents would agree that many RCC views are heretical. Thus the term is without merit. What counts is whether a view is biblical or not. No matter how orthodox a view may be, if it lacks actual support in scripture, it is without merit.

    Whether or not a historical group believed something was true has no validity, its like saying the majority view is always correct. Jesus held views that were unorthodox, and considered heretical by those in power within the orthodox belief system.

    Anytime you see political power, rather than persuasion based on careful study of God's world, used to silence alternate views, you are seeing those willing to suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

    The Baptist view is that those wielding political power, i.e. the power of government which compels adherence to its view with force of arms, should not dictate doctrine. Thus those shouting heresy are advocating heresy according to the orthodox Baptist view. :)
     
  10. Van

    Van
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    Heresy and the Exclusion Principle

    A principle of logic is that something cannot be “A” and be “B”, it must either be “A” or “B” and not both. For example a piece of fruit could be an Apple (A) or a Banana (B) but could not be both an Apple and a Banana at the same time. Seems logical but lets turn it around. Can an Apple be and Apple (A) and a fruit (F) at the same time? Yes.
    So while the exclusion principle is valid, it can be applied incorrectly because some things are not mutually exclusive. Lets say my name is Al Baker. I am Al (A) and I am Baker (B) at the same time. To say that I cannot be Al and Baker is a false premise, an application of the exclusion principle where the things being considered are not mutually exclusive.

    Now lets turn to Bible Study. The Bible says Jesus is a man. If the Bible is true and cannot be broken, then Jesus is a man. The Bible says Jesus is God. If the Bible is true and cannot be broken, Jesus is God. But if I misapply the exclusion principle, I could say that Jesus cannot be man and God. For if this application were valid, I would have to nullify with ham handed interpretations all the verses that say or indicate that Jesus is God.

    Lets look at another example. Say a passage in the Old Testament seems to be discussing some historical event or some near term event concerning individuals alive at the time. Using the exclusion principle, I could say that since the prophesy was fulfilled, or at least partially fulfilled in Old Testament scripture, the passage could not also be applied to some aspect of Jesus Christ by a New Testament author. But is this necessarily so? Could I tell a story, or relate an event that on the surface seems to be about superficial things, but when you consider the story, lets call it a parable, could it also be about things not so superficial? The answer of course is yes. I can tell a story about finding a treasure but is really about finding the truth.

    Now lets consider a final example. The Bible is full of references to Satan, also called the Devil, that refer to anyone or anything that oppose the will of God. So, since Satan is a name that can be applied to anyone who opposes God, does that mean that the Satan, a fallen Angel, could not also exist? No, because the characteristics are not mutually exclusive. If I relate views concerning the King of Babylon, the passage could also contain metaphorical information concerning a fallen angel. Whether the passage does also apply to the Satan is debatable, but the exclusion principle should not be applied to preclude the possibility just because the King of Babylon was a man.

    Bottom line, be careful when evaluating interpretations of scripture that rely upon the exclusion principle, because when they require nullifying apparently contradictory scripture, there is a strong possibility that the principle is being misapplied to advocate heresy - an unbiblical view supported by the faulty logic of men.
     
  11. 12strings

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    What the Church has believed for 2,000 years DOES have validity, it simply doesn't have FINAL authority, rather it is a derivative authority of consensus that must always recognize it's submission to the ultimate authority, Scripture.

    For example, if someone came to your church and announced in a S.S. Class that he has done careful study and determined that Jesus was not, in fact God, You would (hopefully) have several people in that class who might respond in the following manner: "I can't think of a scripture to prove it, but I know that's wrong, the church has always believed that Jesus is God." Is that person wrong in their assertion? Should they keep their mouth shut untill they can find a bible verse to back up what they say? Or does the "Presumptive authority of Doctrinal consensus" serve as a valid starting point for asserting that a state position is at odds with church doctrine?

    In other words, Church Doctrine is wisdom from the past that has been handed down to us, and has value, we may tweak it, and sharpen it, but woe to us if ignore it or reject it altogether.
     
  12. Bronconagurski

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    The line between heresy and opinion starts with our presuppositions. I have found that a lot of people have varied presuppositions, thus the broad brush of heresy is painted time after time. A better approach to get a discussion going might be: To me, that sounds like heresy, and here is why. Can you elaborate more on your assertion?

    It all boils down to this with me. If a person says they believe in the gap theory, of which I do not, then I will not call that view heretical. But if a person does not believe in the virgin birth, I would call that view heretical. Theories that do not contradict proved bible doctrine can not be heretical, neither should they be dogmatically asserted as truth.
     
  13. kyredneck

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    "I've been researching it some and I'm of the opinion that the topic of heresy is rife with opinion. 'Heresy or Apostasy' may well have been the more pertinent OP title, because, in my opinion, the distinction between the two needs to be made. According to this article, from the standpoint of Christianity, 'heresy' is the addition of foreign doctrine to the truth, while 'apostasy' is the rejection of truth once embraced. 'Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men' (Mt 15:9) would be heresy. 'First must he suffer many things and be rejected of this generation' (Lu 17:25) would be the ultimate apostasy."
    http://www.baptistboard.com/showthread.php?p=1882001#post1882001
     
  14. DHK

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    Van, your view of heresy relies on a great deal of subjectivity, and thus comes down to what is your opinion. This is wrong and unacceptable.

    Let's use some examples.
    I don't agree with Calvinism, but I won't call my brethren who do heretics.
    I may disagree with the doctrine, but I know they are brothers in Christ.

    If you read Dave Hunt's book, "What Love is This," he may consider Calvinism as total heresy. But I don't think he would go as far as to say that all those that believe in it are heretics. There is the difference. In his book he refutes every point of TULIP.

    I am not an "Arminiam." But neither am I a Calvinist. I trust that those on here will not label me a heretic, though I disagree with the tenets of Calvinism. Some of my favorite commentaries were written by Presbyterians. My wife comes from a Bible Presbyterian background (though she is Baptist now).

    In the past it seems that you have adhered to Open Theism, which many consider a well known heresy. Are you therefore considered a heretic? I hope not.

    All of us take great zeal in defending our positions. We need to be careful in attacking the position and not the person. Just because a person holds to an opposing position to you does not mean he is a heretic. As another poster pointed out perhaps the OP should have read "apostasy" instead of "heresy."
     
  15. Van

    Van
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    Pitchback

    1) I love it when folks tell me the church has believed this or that for 2000 years. The Jews have believed Jesus was not the Christ for 2000 years, but that view has no validity.

    2) Yes the priesthood of believers requires that the consensus view, prayerfully considered, should be given weight as the leading of the Holy Spirit, provided the view is consistent with the will of God as provided in scripture. But this is not how the doctrines of Calvinism and Arminianism came into existence.

    3) There is no presumptive authority of widely held beliefs not supported by scripture. Scripture Alone, not scripture as understood in the past by say Augustine or the Pope.

    4) I agree that the leaders (Pastors/Elders/Teachers) should defend the doctrines of our local church. But we should do so by a direct appeal to scripture, not the views of men.
     
  16. Van

    Van
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    Pitchback

    1)There is nothing subjective about an unbiblical view supported by the faulty logic of men.

    2) Claiming my view is subjective while implying your view is objective is without merit.

    3) I am not and never have been a Open Theist, and have posted at least 6 times my analysis of that view. For you to repeat the fiction that I am demonstrates you character beyond words. I do not believe the future is fixed, and therefore the opportunity to believe and be saved exists for everyone. If you are not an exhaustive determinist, you share my views.
     
  17. DHK

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    I didn't state a specific doctrine. Nor did I state faulty logic. You are making unsubstantiated allegations.
    What view of mine did I imply is objective? I stated one doctrine of yours that many here consider heretical. I never referred to any of my beliefs personally, except to say that I am not a Calvinist. I believe that you are not one either, am I correct?
    I only know that you have been accused of that belief. I have not read your rebuttals. If you are not, my apologies. I share your views up to a point, I believe. Did you say at one point, that God does not know what decision the person will make but purposely withholds his knowledge so that man has total free will to choose? Excuse me, if I can't recall the exact words in which you worded your belief.

    You stated this:
    3) There is no presumptive authority of widely held beliefs not supported by scripture. Scripture Alone, not scripture as understood in the past by say Augustine or the Pope.

    Most of us agree that Augustine and the Pope are not our authorities but the Scriptures are. If the Scriptures are our authority (sola scriptura), then why do we differ?

    I post more in the Other Christian Denom. Forum more than in any other.
    I have come across some Catholic apologists. At one time I debated a student of Scott Hawn. Using "Scripture alone" he can defend every doctrine of the RCC. Of course we should be able to refute him. But it is not as easy as one would think. BTW, if any are in favor of the allegorical interpretation of Scripture, look no further than the RCC.

    Using "Scripture alone" we look at it through our own "rose-colored" glasses and see what we want to see. Very few study it with any degree of objectivity. We are grounded in our biases. Using Scripture alone, someone once posted that "Christ was the first Calvinist." Was his logic faulty. This time it probably was.

    The fact remains that there are many good debaters, who can post very good and logical posts, and yet hold opposing views to yours. They use Scripture, and defend their positions well though you may not agree with them. You cannot call it faulty solely on the basis of disagreement.
     
  18. 12strings

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    There is no denying that there ARE certain doctrines that Roman Catholics, Orthadox, presbys, Baptists, lutherans, ALL agree on, Doctrines that have been largely unchanged for nearly 2,000 years. (Diety of Jesus, His resurection, the reality of Hell, The authority of scripture). One who arrives at a different conclusion through "personal Bible study" should think very hard before stating he has arrived a totally different view...and he should be honest in claiming that he is saying he is now seeing something that the church for 2000 years has missed.

    I wasn't talking about Calvinism & Arminianism...but I agree with your first sentence here.

    Christians have always formulated the truth of scripture in their own words, and while the creeds/statements of the past do not carry the authority of scripture, they are a good starting point, and as I said before, one should think carefully before he/she declares that the cumulative wisdom of the church for 2000 years was wrong.

    True, but showing the history of the early fights over the diety/humanity of Christ, for example, and how once settled were unchallenged until the rise of modern liberalism...is helpful to show that our view of Jesus' diety is both biblical and historical.
     
  19. OldRegular

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    Heresy is that which is a clear violation of Biblical Teachings

    An example of some heresies:
    1. Denial of the Three Persons of the Godhead.
    2. Denial of the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ.
    3. Denial of the human nature or the divine nature in the person of Jesus Christ.
    4. Denial of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ.
    5. Denial of bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.
    6. Denial of Scripture regarding the Omniscience of God, otherwise called Open Theism.
    7. Salvation by Grace plus anything else.

    There are a number of beliefs of the Roman Catholic Communion that I consider heretical. Among these are the pope as the vicar of Jesus Christ on earth; the infallibility of the pope when speaking ex cathedra; the supremacy of the Teaching Magisterium and the pope over Scripture; the Eucharist, the re-sacrifice of Jesus Christ; essentially all the teachings regarding the Mary the mother of Jesus Christ; prayer to the dead, etc, etc.
     
  20. Van

    Van
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    1) I believe in Scripture alone as the basis of doctrine.

    2) The claim that differing views can be supported scripturally and logically is fiction. What happens is that ambiguous verses are said to say something beyond what they say. Unwarranted extrapolation is the mother of false doctrine. No one seeks God becomes no one seeks God at any time. Not what it says. But it might be saying it. Thus Calvinism claims it does. This is faulty logic.

    3) Total Omniscience is the only view of divine knowledge allowed to be advocated on this forum. This governmental compulsion dictate of doctrine represents the same thinking that gave us the dark ages and the Baptist distinctive which advocates those that govern should not dictate doctrine.

    4) Yes, if the cumulative history of the church taught a consistent doctrine, then yes it should not be rejected out of hand. However, doctrines that are brought forth in the 1500's do not represent consistent views, but inconsistent views. Thus the weight of evidence makes obvious that man-made doctrines are suspect.

    5) The key is not to make a list of what are mistaken views, but to make a list of what are the views that we believe the bible teaches, such as the Trinity, Jesus is God Almighty, Jesus was born of a virgin, Jesus died on the cross, and arose on the third day.
     
    #20 Van, Jan 11, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2013

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