Heroes and Heretics

Heroes & HereticsI did a series of studies a couple of years ago with the Got Doctrine guys back in Michigan. One of them asked a question about who we should trust from the history of the Church. A ministry that he liked had, at that time, recently printed a retraction for quoting a Christian from past centuries. This made him question; who were the good guys and who were the bad guys? The important doctrines of the Church have always been there. However, sometimes people show up on the scene who challenge orthodox belief with some brand of novel corruption. It has been that way since the Church began. 1 John, 1 & 2 Peter and Jude all refute some brand of false teaching that had already crept into the Church before the closing of the New Testament Canon.

Acts 20:28-31 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.  29  For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.  30  Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.  31  Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

However, these false teachers provided opportunities for those who understood the Scriptures to stand against them and expound the Truth in articulate ways that continue to benefit the Church to this day. All of the questions that people ask today have already been studied out in great detail and brought to the touchstone of Scripture where the truth has been clearly displayed. Is Jesus God? It the Trinity biblical? What did Constantine have to do with the Canon of the New Testament? Where there Christians in the Dark Ages while Rome suppressed the Gospel? When did images begin to be used in the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Churches, Who was really the first Pope? History is clear on all of this.

Using resources from Covenant Seminary’s Worldwide Classroom and Reformed Seminary’s iTunes U as well as many original source documents from The Christian Classics Ethereal Library we sat and discussed this for eleven weeks with a group of Christian guys so that we could be informed about some of the most important teaching of the Christian Church. I encourage to check it out and follow up on some of those resources. Then, whether you have your own questions, questions from other Christians or from the cult member who comes to your door, you can answer them with the authority of the Bible and the strong Christian Believers who have gone before us.

Check it out by clicking on the link below where you will see the list of subjects and time periods that we have examined.

Heroes and Heretics – Developing Doctrine by Refuting Heresy

In Christ!

Kevin

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2 Responses to Heroes and Heretics

  1. Chris says:

    Interesting questions. I go with the recorded words of Jesus and his Apostles, and consider them authoritative. Other so-called “church fathers” I glean from, but do not consider authoritative. Even in Paul’s day, there were false teachers. He wrote about false teachers and those who stirred up trouble, so in my mind one cannot fully trust even “church fathers” who were contemporaneous with the Apostles. Therefore I think it’s important to go as close to the source (Jesus and those who were his eyewitnesses) as possible. All others must line up with what they taught. And even the Apostles themselves were in a learning process, as God was tutoring them in salvation by faith and not in circumcision; this was something many of them struggled with. Paul was an eyewitness in a sense because Jesus appeared to him. Mark received his info from Peter, and Luke was sort of an investigative reporter. James was an eyewitness, and even his understanding of faith was being challenged as he wrote, since one of his statements is technically incorrect: He stated that Abraham was justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar, and cites the Old Testament statement “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” as the fulfillment of Abraham’s works. Yet the Old Testament makes this statement in the context of an event that occurred years before God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” was a statement made concerning a promise that God made to Abraham, which had absolutely nothing to do with Abraham’s works. Abraham was justified by believing God’s promise, not by his work of sacrificing Isaac. But James also has a valid point, that true faith will produce works, and faith that does not effect a change in our lives is dead. But it is obvious from comparing the writings of Paul and James, that the Apostles were still in the process of coming to an understanding of God’s justification by faith, and what that meant. James even held on to the idea for awhile that circumcision and Jewish customs were still necessary to observe, as evidienced when “certain from James” caused Peter to stop eating with gentiles, resulting in Paul’s public rebuke. If therefore we are cognizant of the struggle that the Apostles and eyewitnesses of Jesus went through in fully embracing the doctrine that Jesus was revealing to them, then how can we treat a Christian theologian 200 years later as an authority on Christian doctrine? If the Apostles themselves wrestled with the truth they were presenting to the world, how much more those who were not eyewitnesses?

  2. On the contrary Chris, what is happening here is the defining of major doctrines according to the Scriptures as a result of people with distorted views trying to put them forth and create a following. The Scriptures are the basis for all of the answers to the false teachers. The men are not intended to be put forth in place of the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit, only as defenders of God’s truth when the heretics arose. This is what we are commanded to do in the New Testament; Titus 1:7-11 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. 10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.

    This is simply the exercise of the responsibility given to the Lord’s under-shepherds. It is important to see because it demonstrates the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture in the history following the time of the Apostles. Their authority comes from the words of Scripture they are defending.

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