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  2. What Constitutes “Heresy” and “Orthodoxy”?
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But are these problems of heresy? That, though their respective movements have officially existed for about 30 years. Some say the Internet has democratized knowledge. Clearly, it has also democratized theologizing. Anyone with a computer and Wifi access can publish their thoughts and declarations onto a level pixelated playing field. Some blogs and Twitter accounts exist solely to cry foul whenever a well-known preacher makes a controversial statement. Given our volatile online atmosphere, Christians in general and evangelicals in particular need a clearer definition of heresy.

We need to know how to spot the difference between essential truths of the Christian faith and doctrines over which we can disagree and still remain faithful to Christian teaching. Even with a good definition, doctrinal assessment requires wisdom and discernment. It often involves two different ends: first, avoiding overuse of the heresy charge, which strips the word of its usefulness; and second, correcting Christians with beliefs that are false and that can undermine the integrity of the church.

We may be tempted to think that since theology so easily divides, we are better off simply agreeing to disagree. After all, Jesus said that if we love God and others, we are fulfilling the law. It is certainly true that loving God and others is at the heart of the gospel. But Jesus calls us to love God with our heart, soul, strength, and mind.

Loving God involves thinking rightly about him, just as loving a friend or significant other involves rightly knowing their interests, beliefs, habits, and history. When the Israelites taught their children about God, they recalled all he had done for them and their forebears. And they used specific phrases to describe him and what he had done. These specific phrases distinguished the God of the Israelites from the gods of their pagan neighbors.

Orthodox statements about the Trinity and Jesus Christ function similarly. They identify the God we worship and describe his saving relationship to us. Therefore, in order to love God aright, and to be assured of the salvation he offers, we must know who God is and what he has done for us in and through Jesus Christ. The Bible reserves strong language for false teachers who promote beliefs that undermine or contradict the gospel.

The church held services and used prayers that worshiped Jesus.

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If so, did that mean they were practicing idolatry by worshiping a mere man? Or was Jesus in some way divine? Was he divine but only looked human? Or was he human but became divine, for instance, at his baptism? Such were the earliest doctrinal issues to be ironed out, and for very practical reasons: They affected how the church worshiped God and understood salvation.

What Constitutes “Heresy” and “Orthodoxy”?

There were also pastoral concerns, to ensure believers living in a pagan world understood what they confessed together as one body. Doctrinal issues may require abstract language to explain, but they are not primarily academic. They have serious implications for how we live and talk about our faith. What is heresy? To be sure, some whom the church called heretics have turned out to be heroes; think of how the Catholic Church responded to Galileo when he asserted that the Earth revolves around the sun.

Traditionally a heretic is someone who has compromised an essential doctrine, usually by oversimplification, and has thus lost sight of who God truly is or what he has done for us. Their answers were the problem, as was their unwillingness to accept clear and detailed correction.

In many cases, the heretics went too far, trying to mold the faith into the shape of unbiblical ideas they found appealing, especially those of pagan Greek philosophy.

Controversies in Education

Or they began to emphasize certain ideas in Scripture to the exclusion of others. In order to use heresy properly, we must understand that not all theological errors are equal or carry the same ramifications.

Our own tradition, Protestantism, has outlined three kinds of doctrinal error: 1 an error that directly contradicts a fundamental belief heresy proper, like Arianism—keep reading ; 2 an error that indirectly contradicts a fundamental belief e. More simply, many Christian theologians distinguish heresy from heterodoxy. For example, according to Protestants, the Catholic teaching that Mary was born without original sin and remained a virgin for life is heterodox.

However, Oneness Pentecostalism is an example of heresy, because it rejects historic orthodox Trinitarian theology. The line between heterodoxy and heresy can be blurry, so we need wisdom, discernment, and humility before labeling a person a heretic. Additionally, we must remember that the sum of what Christians should believe is not identical to the essentials we must believe for salvation. We need to leave room for believers to grow in their understanding of the faith. We believe in justification by faith in Christ, not justification by accuracy of doctrine.

No one comes into the family of God ready to pen a book on systematic theology. We are saved by grace, not by intellectual precision. It is informed, resting on a firm understanding of the Good News. Genuine trust requires a reasonable knowledge of what—and more important, who —is being trusted. And growing in knowledge of biblical truth is a vital component of the Christian life.

The apostles were not afraid to denounce heresy. Yet heresy charges were not lobbed casually. Nor were they aimed at mere theological imprecision. Rather, we see them lovingly correcting a theological error.

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  • They wanted him to know the truth and the joy that accompanied it, not to condemn him or stir division. The early church combated heresy by reinforcing biblical doctrine with creeds. Arguably, the earliest creeds appear in the Bible.

    خرید آنلاین فایل Controversies in Education: Orthodoxy and Heresy in Policy and Practice |اِکس تی

    Thus, heresies forced Christians to think more precisely and definitively about the truth of the gospel. Marcion was the son of the bishop of Sinope, Pontus in modern-day Turkey. Around , he traveled to Rome, where he was welcomed by the church, but by , his views had gotten him into trouble, and he was excommunicated.

    Among other troubling beliefs, Marcion taught that the God of the Old Testament was legalistic and wrathful, a fundamentally different being from the gracious and loving God of the New. He rejected the authority of the Old Testament, and also attempted to liberate the church from all law.

    He believed the only way to do this was to rid Christianity of all traces of Judaism. Marcion ended up creating his own Bible, which included only a shorter and earlier version of the Gospel of Luke and ten epistles of Paul. Marcion also edited these books. Second-century theologian and bishop Irenaeus spoke forcefully against Marcion.

    Are they newer gods who had just been revealed? Are they less divine than the Father? A third-century priest named Sabellius concluded that Father , Son , and Holy Spirit were labels for the three different ways God had revealed himself. His views became known as Sabellianism, better known today as Modalism.

    This heresy teaches that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not distinct persons but simply different modes or forms of God. Sabellians maintained that any Scripture passage suggesting that God is more than one person must be interpreted metaphorically. But an African theologian named Tertullian argued that a metaphorical interpretation twisted the terms Father and Son , which were revealed to us to convey something real about God.