Overstating the obvious?

I have done alot, alot of thinking about doctine lately.  In the general, right/wrong sort of sense (and of course there is a right and a wrong – even if we can not always determine what that is – God’s truth may not always be obvious to us, but it is none the less true, and real….)

Anways, Heather (I know you’re here – and I miss you!!) will probably read this and say “Um, yah.  I thought you knew that.”  But here goes….

I have been looking at the whole thing backwards.  I have been wondering how much one can get wrong, and still be saved.  Can you mess up the doctrine of the Trinity, and still know God?  Or, can you believe salvation comes any way but through Christ, and still be saved?  But these are the wrong questions.

Being a heretic does not make you blind – the truth is, people are heretics Because they are blind.  It is not the fact that someone has got their gospel wrong that impacts their salvation – the truth is, sometimes they cannot see the truth Because they are blind to see it. 

I have been wrestling with “Can a heretic be saved?”  Wrong question.  We are known by our fruits – and if the fruits do not point to the God of the Bible – then at the root, there is spiritual deadness and darkness.

I am not sure I am explaining myself well – feel free to comment – I would love to clarify – my overall point being that it is not the wrong beliefs that lead to a lack of salvation, but a lack of salvation that produces wrong beliefs.  Make any more sense?  Probably not.  And, I am not talking non-salvific issues (drinking a glass of wine with your supper, arminianism/calvinism) – there is plenty of those sorts of things we do not agree on.  I am referring more to the core beliefs that Christians are typically united on, but which some (more and more) are distorting…..  Your thoughts? 


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jeromy
    Jan 08, 2008 @ 10:57:26

    Who decides who is a heretic or not?


  2. Nicole
    Jan 08, 2008 @ 11:35:33

    I think the Bible is fairly clear on heresy/false teaching/wolves etc….


  3. raquelamisto
    Jan 08, 2008 @ 15:30:20

    I just happened to be reading 1 Corinthians lately and so I just now went to the Greek and Hebrew translations to compare “judge” from two passages.

    In Matthew 7:1-6, the word “judge” is translated from krinō which means “to separate”

    So then I checked out the 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 usage of “judge” and it was the same thing! Krinō!

    So why then did Jesus tell us not to judge and then Paul exhort the Corinthians for not being able to judge those within their own community?? Weird, right? Or even John 7:24, Jesus Himself exhorts those at the temple courts and calls them to “make a right judgment.” (krinō again)

    So I went back to Matthew and read the whole passage. It appears as if He is exhorting those who attempt to judge when they are more blinded than those whom they are passing judgment on. Jesus goes on to say that FIRST we have to attentive to our own sin before we can hold others accountable for their own.

    So my answer to Jeromy’s question (the roundabout way) is that only God knows for sure who has the ability to judge RIGHTLY.


  4. Jeromy
    Jan 08, 2008 @ 17:16:14

    By the way Nicole, my new post (http://mendingshift.wordpress.com/2008/01/08/jesus-was-a-heretic/)is not at all in reaction to this post. I have been thinking about this idea and post for a while and was planning on posting it today before I read yours. Just an FYI.


  5. Nicole
    Jan 09, 2008 @ 12:03:18

    Do you think there still are false teachers? Do you think we are to look out for them?


  6. raquelamisto
    Jan 09, 2008 @ 13:06:34

    I think that yes, there are wolves out there. They’ll use money, politics, persuasion, and/or the name of Jesus to get their personal agenda across. Actions speak louder than words and I think that it is important to watch before we listen.


  7. Laurel Esser
    Jan 09, 2008 @ 16:06:58

    I think there is a big difference between judging someone and questioning their teachings. I know a lot of people really get upset when you use the word heretic, but a heretic according to Webster’s is someone who dissents from an accepted belief or doctrine.

    So if we agree that the accepted belief or doctrine would be the doctrine of Christ based on the Word of God (the Bible, which I suppose we could go in more detail to) then anytime anyone says anything about God that is not based on Scripture or contradictory to the Bible, then I have no problem calling them a heretic. And I don’t think that questioning what someone is teaching to be judging them, I believe that questioning someone’s teachings is necessary and is very scriptural.

    So what I think Nikk’s original thought was, how far can someone stray from scripture and from what the scripture says and still be saved. And I agree with Nikk that it’s not the right question. Anyone who is blind to the truth is just that and the Holy Spirit is the one who takes the blindness away, and although there can be obvious indications in another persons life; there is no way that we could ever really judge that. You can open a whole host of questions, (I started writing some examples but they started to get a little silly so I just deleted them). Anyways…

    The book of James says to ask God for wisdom, because He gives it all men freely, and that’s what we need to do. Ask for wisdom in our own lives and ask that the eyes of others will be open to His glory in all things.


  8. Nicole
    Jan 09, 2008 @ 16:12:48

    wow – you have a wonderful ability to say what I meant to say….


  9. Jeromy
    Jan 09, 2008 @ 21:32:43

    Just now checking back in.

    OK then, let me rephrase my original question. Who decides what the Bible says about who is a heretic or not?

    Baptists? Episcopalians? Catholics? Calvinists? Orthodox? Evangelicals? Mennonites? Dutch Reformed? Lutherans? Methodists? Assemblies of God? Presbyterians?


  10. Nicole
    Jan 10, 2008 @ 07:36:39



  11. Laurel Esser
    Jan 10, 2008 @ 09:50:12

    Well Catholics let the pope say what God is telling him and the Bible is secondary so they don’t count.

    For the rest, if someone says something and has scripture to back it up, we can read the full chapter, reference other verses where appropriate etc. But when someone says something about God, or life or sin or heaven or hell and there are absolutely no scripture to back it up, then we have a starting point for heresy. Who decides if something is in the Bible? Well mostly the Bible. We have so many reference books and concordances and things. There are books that list every single time a word is mentioned, so if you want help finding scripture on a topic, there is a ton of help out there.

    (Now there are times when someone doesn’t have scripture to back up a claim simply because they don’t really know a whole lot about the Bible and need to do a little more research, but I think you can see where I’m going with that.)


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