Thursday, October 10, 2013

“Hunting for Heresy” by Garris Elkins

Some Christians throw the word “heresy” around with reckless abandon. It appears in heated conversations over coffee.  The word is used each time a revival takes place that confronts and shakes the existing religious establishment. It is used in the script of social media and it most dangerously lingers undefined in the back of people’s minds. What makes the use of this word so reckless is when we use it to define preferences and experiences outside our current understanding or comfort boundaries.

I have limited my definition of heresy to the statement made by Jesus in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” Over the years, I have found it has become too easy for me, and others, to widen the heresy net beyond the words of Jesus to entrap fellow believers with whom I disagree on lesser issues of preference and style.

Recently, I overheard a conversation where the word heresy was used in reference to someone who is a healing evangelist. They didn’t like this person’s style and felt he was a “heretic”. Later in the day I went on the evangelist’s website and found out he also believes Jesus is the only way to the Father – just like Jesus said in John 14.  In fact, the rest of his statement of faith was very similar to the one used by my own church affiliation.

A few years ago one of my articles was posted on a prophetic website. Shortly thereafter I was put on a “watch list” of potential heretics.  Reading down their list of 100’s of other “heretics”, I found names listed like Billy Graham, Jack Hayford and Rick Warren.  I was honored to be named among such an esteemed crowd, but left that website scratching my head.

Be careful with anything you read that takes the liberty to call anyone a heretic.  Be very careful what you actually define as heresy.  Keep it simple and you won’t get confused. I had to come to the place where John 14:6 has become my personal test for heresy.  Anything beyond that definition is too bound up in my own opinion and preference to be trusted.

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