Thursday, March 1, 2007

An evengelical definition of heresy

Albert Mohler (head of the SBC) has an interesting 3 tier position on heresy:

1) The first tier for him are those truths which are essential, for example the divinity of Jesus. That is orthodoxy.
2) The second tier for him are those truths which are not essentially but are divisive in practice that is they require denominations. For examople (infant vs adult baptism)
3) The third tier for him are those truths that while they may be important don't require different churches. For example differing views on eschatology

He defines theological liberalism as treating groups 1 and 2 as if they were in the 3rd group and fundamentalism as treating the 3rd group as if it were the first. I think that's an excellent description. Well done Albert!

BTW I rephrased slightly in response to Heretic (first poster below). Thanks for the comment!


Heretic said...

Is this worded correctly? It's a little confusing to me. Especially #3.

Heretic said...

Who are you?

What is your background?

Are you Christian/Mormon/Muslim?

CD-Host said...

I hope the changes above cleared that up.

Heretic said...

That's a little better. I like the comments about liberal and conservative.

In my case, I'm being threatened with excommunication for #3.

CD-Host said...

I assume because of your blog you are trying to defend the correctness of your belief (which is almost always a mistake if the goal if the goal is to make the problem go away). We can handle your defense here, or on your blog (and I'll link to it). I'd recommend the "How to Survive Discipline -- Decide on a goal (part 2)". Assuming your goal is to

1) Defend your belief
2) Not be found a heretic
(which again is a bad strategy tactically)

What you are going to need are church fathers who agreed with you. I'd look for some of the early church father's arguing that Christians have the right to break immoral laws (like not sacrificing to idols). Church fathers from the reformation arguing that a state that is fundamentally evil should be overthrown. You could also use teachings from the civil rights era on the right to disobey laws which are violations of divine mandates (which will give you contemporary examples in America).

I'd stop trying to argue the case directly from the bible yourself. Its much easier to say some kid is misreading the bible than some What conservative protestants really believe is that:

1) The bible is perspicuous
2) My beliefs are X
3) I am a Christian
C) --Therefore the bible clearly teaches X.

I can see the frustration in your blog.

Calling you a heretic is easy. But:
Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. i, 5) "that which is not just seems to be no law at all"
Aquinas, "wherefore the force of a law depends on the extent of its justice. Now in human affairs a thing is said to be just, from being right, according to the rule of reason. But the first rule of reason is the law of nature, as is clear from what has been stated above (91, 2, ad 2). Consequently every human law has just so much of the nature of law, as it is derived from the law of nature. But if in any point it deflects from the law of nature, it is no longer a law but a perversion of law."

Its much harder to call them heretics.

Heretic said...

My goal is to determine what is truth. The main purpose of my blog is to sort out what's in my head.

God has spoken very clearly that I am not to defend myself. Nothing on my blog has dealt with my defense, as I have not dealt directly with the issue of the confrontation.

I believe strongly in church discipline, and that if handled correctly will benefit all.

But I also firmly believe that the church has clearly defined spheres of jurisdiction, and that if we are going to discipline someone within the (local) body it should not be for a mere difference of opinion.

I am being threatened with excommunication for a decision that I mad over 2 years ago. A decision that I would love to put in my past and move on. The church has determined that I need to pay penance for that decision, because they "believe" that I am in error.

My position is that we, as the church, do not understand the purpose of the authority that we have been given.

I am not trying to justify myself nor my actions before men, because I don't feel the need. I am trying to address what appears to me to be a grave error within the body. The misunderstanding of power and authority that leads to spiritual abuse.

In the end whether I am personally exonerated or not before men doesn't matter. Because God's not after my glory. He's after His. I stand justified by faith in Christ, and my hope is in Him alone.