Monday, April 23, 2007

Am I a Heretic? Are you?

It is always shocking to find out that you are a heretic.

As you all may know by now, Jerry Falwell recently pronounced that limited atonement is a heresy.

I knew that I disagreed with some other Christians on this doctrine, but I had no idea that I was a heretic. Based upon my study of scripture, I thought I was correct on this issue (see Mark 10:45), but I tried not to pronounce the "Ανάθεμα" (anathema) on others who hold to a general atonement. I guess if Dr. Falwell is correct that means that other men such as John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, William Carey, John Piper, and R. C. Sproul are also heretics.

Seriously, does holding to limited atonement make me a heretic?

What about other issues? I believe all of the following. Do these make me a heretic? If you believe any of the following, are you a heretic?

-Not only limited atonement, but all of the doctrines of grace (TULIP)

-God's will always occurs.

-God does not "allow" but rather "causes" suffering.

-Jesus Christ not only did not sin, but could not have sinned.

-A Historical Pre-millenialist view of eschatology, including a post-tribulation rapture

-TaNaK ordering of the books of the O.T.

-Byzantine Priority of the Biblical Greek Text

-Matthean Priority of the gospels

-Paul preached the content of the book of Hebrews, and Luke wrote it down.

-Age-integration is the Biblical model for the church.

-A multiplicity of pastor/elder/overseers is the Biblical model for the church.

-A strong connection between the Lord's Supper and Church Discipline

-Altar calls can't be found in the Bible, and are not the model for the church to follow.

-The common practice of the "ordination council" is out of place if even some of people who make up the council do not know the candidate well.

-The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 is a much weaker document than the Abstract of Principles (1858).

It may be that you agree with me on all of the above issues (this is doubtful). However, even if you disagree with me on all of these issues (also doubtful, I hope), I won't refer to you as a heretic, or say that you hold to heretical beliefs.

It seems that those who agree on the basics of the gospel message should not be referred to as heretics. For those who would hold to a common creed, such as the Nicene Creed, we can all agree that we serve the same Christ, love the Lord, and will all be together in heaven with our triune God one day.

Let's all learn from this to be careful with the language we use. We certainly should speak up for the truth of the gospel. We should witness to others about not only the love of Jesus, but also the exclusivity of Jesus. Let's not fall into the trap of our pluralistic society. However, let us all be very careful of the language we use, especially when we are talking about our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29


Anonymous said...

I was wondering while reading this. Would you then consider yourself a Calvanist? If so , why do you believe that God would only elect to save a few and create people for the sole purpose of dying and going straight to hell without any chance?

Eric said...


Thank you for your question. I would prefer to answer to a name rather than to "Anonymous," but I will go ahead anyway.

Yes, I do consider myself to be a Calvinist. I prefer the term "Doctrines of Grace," but I will take Calvinist, too.

God has created all humanity for His glory. He has given us all the responsibility of serving Him only. We have all seen enough in this world to know that there is one, holy God (Ps. 19, Rom. 1). However, none of us serves Him. In fact, we are all (prior to salvation) God-haters, and followers of the devil (Rom. 1, Eph. 2). Thus, we all deserve Hell.

However, God is gracious, and has chosen to elect some people to salvation. He does this out of His own wisdom and good pleasure (Rom. 9-11). Nothing we do deserves salvation; rather, God chooses based on His grace alone.

God is, therefore, glorified by the elect going to heaven, and the lost going to Hell. Both His love and His holiness are exemplified in this. God's desire may be for all to be saved (II Peter 3:9), but His will is for some to go to Hell (Rom. 9-11).

God saves completely out of His grace.

Anonymous (I feel silly referring to you that way), I would like to ask you a question. Do you believe that man has free-will to choose God? If so, can you please show me where the Bible says that? All men are corrupt (Rom. 3), so how can we have free will?