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Belief vs Heresy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Montgomery   

 

True Belief: a belief that is so strong in the finished work of Jesus Christ that it motivates the believer to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

True Heresy: any idea pushed to such an extreme that it causes the adherent to depart from the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

In both cases, the Lordship of Jesus Christ is what is the primary issue. The true believer makes himself conformable to his Lord and strives to emulate Him by living a godly life, full of charity and brotherly kindness. It is not just that he believes in the Lord but that he wants to be like his Lord. His belief is held so strongly and fervently that it delivers him from being just another believer to being one who wants to be a disciple of the Lord. To me, true belief is gospel salvation. It is a salvation in this time world. It is not regeneration, it doesn't give you spiritual life, but it is life changing. Regeneration must happen first, we all know that, but true belief is more than the intrinsic faith that one gets in regeneration. I know that the inner man always believes but true belief is when the mind assents to the fact that Christ Jesus died for your sins and paid all of the debt to save your body, soul, and spirit from an eternal hell. To me, true belief is what the Apostle Paul meant by the phrase, justification by faith.

On the other hand, the heretic adheres to a belief in such an extreme manner that it becomes an idol to him and thus separates him from the Lordship of Christ. A heretic can be one who holds to an erroneous doctrine or practice but it is not the erroneous doctrine or practice that makes him a heretic. It is when he takes a position on anything, sound or unsound, and carries it to such an extreme so that he becomes unbalanced in it. If you knew what I really though on every single point of doctrine or practice, you would find something to disagree with me on and maybe some things that you would be terribly upset about. We all, if we are truly honest about it, know this is true about everyone of us, yet what separates you (and I hope me) from the heretic is that you do not push that particular idea to the point that it causes divisions in the Church.

A heretic is a fanatic who demands that everyone conforms to his point of view.  This is so unlike how Christ and the Apostles fought in their day against paganism and apostate Judaism. They were humble where the heretic is proud. They were longsuffering where the heretic is hasty. They were kind and charitable where the heretic is hard and unforgiving. They sought the peace of Zion and their labors brought joy where the heretic brings war and leaves destruction.

As you can see, the dividing line between true belief and true heresy can seem to be a fine one. Balance in our views and in our walk is the key. It is one thing to say Christ sweated blood, which is something that I do not believe the scriptures to teach. But it is another thing to say that He sweated redeeming blood in the Garden and to inflict it upon the dear sheep and lambs of God when it is obvious that it disturbs them. This is what I call true heresy. Men who push such abhorrent ideas should be labored with but if they continue to push it, they should be dealt with swiftly and surely in accordance with the scriptures by the heretic's home church. If that church does nothing, then it is up to the rest of us to avoid the heretic and abstain from using him in the pulpit (if he is a minister) and certainly do not bid him God's speed.

Mike Montgomery

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.