Monday, January 11, 2010

why oh why

Martin Downes asks and answers, "Why do heresies persist?"

Church history tells the story of the battle between truth and error. Heresies arise, gain a following, are opposed and refuted from Scripture, and then the Church moves on and advances in the truth. Because of this we have great statements like the Nicene Creed and the Definition of Chalcedon.

But if these errors have been dealt with in the past why do they come back again and again? Why do people today believe old heresies? There are three reasons.

1. The devil still deceives people into believing heresies by using human instruments to promote attractive and plausible teaching. He will continue to do this until Christ returns in glory.
2. The warnings and lessons from history are ignored or unknown. If we are ignorant of the past we will fail to see that heresies that today appear new, innovative and interesting are as old as dirt. Many of the errors finding a home in evangelicalism today were tried and found wanting by our great-great-grandfathers in the faith at the bar of Scripture.
3. Throughout history those who deny the truth and choose a different gospel are limited in the options available to them.
In his study of heresies Harold Brown concluded that “over and over again, in widely separated cultures, in different centuries, the same basic misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the person and work of Christ and his message reappear. The persistence of the same stimulus, so to speak, repeatedly produces the same or similar reactions.”

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dle said...

1. New heresies are couched in new terms, which makes them seem different from the old ones, though only the words have changed.

2. Heresies are revised. They mutate. This makes them appear like new, good ideas. But a flu virus is a flu virus, no matter how it mutates.

3. There is nothing new under the sun. Stuff is going to get rehashed.

4. Most Christians on the cusp of "new ideas" are by nature oblivious to the old ideas. Most Christians today can't remember back 10 years, much less 500+.

5. On the other hand, overzealous heresy hunters err too, calling legitimate ideas heresies. They fall prey to many of the same mistakes heretics do.

rick said...

And I'll add as a wrong response to ungodly practices of those proclaiming orthodoxy. A response is needed but too many confuse the behavior they are responding to with the doctrine and rebel against good doctrine.