From time to time I read a blog or hear someone call another person a “heretic.” Recently a blogfriend asked me how I would define “heretic” or “heresy.” I’ve been asked this about two people, and I won’t use names but it wouldn’t be hard to figure out about whom it was asked. Yes, the term “heretic” can both be defined and describes a reality, though some would like to think the term is now obsolete (like Model-T sales strategies).
How do you define “heretic”?
Justin Holcomb teaches Gordon-Conwell and Reformed Theological Seminary and he has written two books on Know the Heretics and Know the Creeds and Councils (Zondervan, 2014). Here is my interview with him about the books:
Justin, you’re an episcopal priest who is obviously interested in the church’s preservation of its orthodox faith. As an Episcopalian, um, well, how is that working out for you?
Human beings have an infinite capacity to convince themselves they are seeing or experiencing or learning something, when in fact they are fooling themselves. My point in this particular post has to do with virtual knowledge, the kind you often find for free on the internet. The kind that can get you in a heap of trouble and make you a bad witness to what the Bible actually says and teaches.
We do not judge a Christian teacher only by his age or experience, to be sure. But the new progressives have an authority problem. Whether their own family members or martyred apostles, they show no hesitation in correcting those who would—and should—teach them. They do so, furthermore, with precious little confessional and congregational accountability. Ecclesial accountability—though no fail-safe—is given us for our good. Beware Greeks bearing bonds, you might say, and bloggers without churches.
“What I see among Millennials are African Americans, and Asians Americans, and Latinos who are vibrantly growing in faith and leading the future of what the church will become,” says Gray.
About a third of young (18-29 year old) Americans — and more than half of younger Christians — are people of color, according to data from the Public Religion Research Institute. White Christians, on the other hand, make up only a quarter of younger Americans. In fact there are more Nones — those with no religion — than white Christians in this age group.
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