I want to start off with a warning. This article is deeply personal and involves a situation I feel very strongly about. Throughout church history there has been no shortage of heresies that have been dealt with. What is heresy an why is it so destructive? To address this we must first define what heresy is. The oxford dictionary defines heresy as a”Belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious (especially Christian) doctrine.”
This is where the personal part of the article comes in. I was with my family in church last week. The regular pastor was out so we had a guest speaker in his place which has been a fairly common practice. He said he was going to speak on forgiveness and, in all fairness, he did start that way. However what came next was a total shock to me. He started giving quotations from Buddha, spoke of karma, the law of attraction, and how the death of Christ was not enough to atone for sin.
I sat in the pew in utter shock. I looked around and there were a couple others with the same looks I had. I hope that just by reading this you see many red flags that should not be in Christian churches. First of all Buddha spoke much about forgiveness, but should his teaching be preached in a Christian context? Not at all. Christ spoke much about forgiveness and gave us a great example of it when he forgave those who were in the process of executing him in Luke 23:34. This particular preacher also spoke a great deal about Karma. Many of us think that karma is simply reaping what we sow. For a better definition we look again to the oxford dictionary which states “the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.” At the very base of karma is the idea of reincarnation. This is the idea that we pay for our wronging in a previous life until we get it right. This idea is simply incompatible with Christianity.
As if this were not bad enough this “preacher” blasphemed the crucifixion by saying that the death of Christ was not enough to atone for our sin. This is completely foreign to scripture as many verses speak of Christ being the all sufficient sacrifice for our sin and I will list three of them. The first is Isaiah 53:4-6 which states, “Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” The next verse is 2 Corinthians 5:21 which states, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” The third verse is 1 Peter 2:24 which states, “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” There are many more verse, but these will suffice. Christ was our perfect substitute. He took on the penalty for our sin, and when we put our faith in him we are covered in his robe of righteousness. Thee is nothing else to be done and his atonement is complete. The requirement we have is faith…nothing else.
This dribble went on for around twenty minutes and I knew I had to do something. However I did not want to act harshly so I slept on it. In the morning I emailed the powers that be in the church, and after three days I heard nothing. I emailed again and again nothing. Heresy is destructive. How many in the congregation that day heard this and thought it was valid Christian teaching? How many souls were put into harms way because of this? That is my fear and why I must speak out and make people aware of it. To not speak up would mean I was complicit to what was being spoken, and that is not the case. I have dedicated my life to teaching Christ and him crucified and will not stand on the sidelines while unsuspecting people are subjecting to these destructive heresies. The church Father Basil the Great put it very well when he said, “Keep striving until the fire of heresy is put out, before it consumes the Church.”