Category Archives: Heresy
In retrospect a friend asked me to share a few lessons I saw in the Rob Bell, Love Wins debate so I typed them up and figured I would share them here. I was mainly just an observer, and I compiled this list as I watched the debate unfold. Here are 16 lessons that come to mind:
01: The gospel is eternal, but vulnerable, never to be assumed, and never to be left unguarded (1 Tim 6:20, 2 Tim 1:14).
02: Bloggers have emerged as the church’s frontline defense against popular-level theological error.
03: Academic-bloggers, pastor-bloggers, publisher-bloggers, and blogger-bloggers offer key strengths. We need them all.
04: Social media enables bloggers to piggyback and collaborate, resulting in a rapid response to error.
05: Bloggers can quickly and accurately apply revered theological writings (like those by J.I. Packer and D. A. Carson) to rapidly developing debates.
06: Yet there remain a number of online influencers who ‘enable’ bad doctrine. They may not believe it, but they keep it on the table.
07: Slower moving institutions (like SBTS) play the role of confirming blog findings, providing a platform for a follow-up discussion, and ensuring those findings are scattered broadly.
08: It is entirely appropriate to subject brief promotional videos to theological inspection.
09: Justin Taylor is quick, discerning, and gutsy.
10: In serious and timely theological discussions 92.6% of blog comments fail to advance the discussion.
11: Some will declare a 3-word Tweet definitively ungodly but cannot do the same after reading an entire unorthodox book.
12: Identifying false teachers is no good way to “win friends and influence people.” It forces the question: are we addicted to the approval of man?
13: Bogus theology follows a trajectory, meaning that careful discernment requires past experience with a particular teacher. Less experience can lead to unnecessary caution.
14: Discerning pastors, who are short on time, should be regular readers of a few key blogs, especially Justin and Kevin DeYoung.
15: When serious theological debate happens, the national media will be watching, so speak as a bold defender and a humble evangelist.
16: The theological errors of universalism and inclusivism have been around for a long time and will outlive us all.
What did I miss?
From Alister McGrath’s latest, Heresy: A History of Defending the Truth (HarperOne, 2009), page 31:
“A heresy is a doctrine that ultimately destroys, destabilizes, or distorts a mystery rather than preserving it. Sometimes a doctrine that was once thought to defend a mystery actually turns out to subvert it. A heresy is a failed attempt at orthodoxy, whose fault lies not in its willingness to explore possibilities or press conceptual boundaries, but in its unwillingness to accept that it has in fact failed.”
From Religio Medici written by Sir Thomas Browne (Boston, MA: Ticknor and Fields, 1862), pages 15-16:
“…for indeed heresies perish not with their authors, but like the river Arethusa, though they lose their currents in one place, they rise up again in another. One general council is not able to extirpate one single heresy: it may be cancelled for the present; but revolution of time and the like aspects from heaven, will restore it, when it will flourish till it be condemned again. For as though there was metempsychosis, and the soul of one man passed into another, opinions do find, after certain revolutions, men and minds like those that first begat them.”