W cannot say we were not warned.
For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. (2 John 1: 7-8)
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. (Matthew 7:15)
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. (2 Peter 2:1)
You get the idea.
So all you Christians out there need to stop bemoaning the appearance of preachers and churches who claim Christ but hold doctrines that the Carpenter never held. We were told this would happen. In other words, Christ was right—again and always. Why complain about that?
We call a heresy any practice or teaching that pretends Christianity but denies its Founder and His doctrines. Aquinas defines it as
a species of infidelity in men who, having professed the faith of Christ, corrupt its dogmas…There are, therefore, two ways of deviating from Christianity: the one by refusing to believe in Christ Himself…the other by restricting belief to certain points of Christ’s doctrine selected and fashioned at pleasure…
In fact, the appearance of Christian heresies is as old as Christ. There have been dozens and dozens of them. Some of them have hideously confusing names. Get out your theological dictionary and get to work on: Monophysitism, Aryanism, Donatism, Gnosticism, Montanism, Docetism, Manichaeism, Nestorianism, Monotheletism, Waldensianism—and so on.
Some of these heresies are extremely clever. Some are simply stupid—like Catharism.
Cathars saw matter as intrinsically evil, they denied that Jesus could become incarnate and still be the son of God. Cathars vehemently repudiated the significance of the Crucifixion and the Cross.
Alas, we have modern heresies that are just as idiotic. Here are a few examples among many. They have appeared in the West Hill United Church and the United Church of Canada. These places actually are infected with a number of heresies, like men whose blood has been corrupted with millions of malaria parasites. Their relation to Christianity goes no further than the name.
Some gems from the preachers of these false faiths:
The central story of Christianity will fade away. The story about Jesus as the symbol of everything that Christianity is will fade away.
A Christianity without Christ.
Ms. Vosper does not believe in the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, the miracles and the sacrament of baptism. Nor does she believe in the creeds, the presence of Christ in communion or that Jesus was the Son of God.
Anything left of Christianity?
And my absolute favorite is this description of Jesus as a “Middle Eastern peasant with a few charismatic gifts and a great posthumous marketing team.”
Enough of that Hellish babble.
The purveyors of such nonsense are damned unless they repent. But how many others has their teaching drawn toward the gates of Hell? It would been better for the world had such teachers never been born.
Behind every heresy is one mind, a mind belonging to the Prince of the World. He desires nothing less than to dethrone Christ. Part of his work is to so diminish His teachings so as to render them harmless, ineffectual, innocuous, tame—or even ridiculous. In this the worldly prince has largely succeeded. Faiths such as the ones described above present absolutely no threat to him. They demand nothing of a believer save for gauzy and foamy thoughts of humanity and self.
Christianity however is a muscular faith. It demands everything—your life even. The job of a Christian is not to moan and wring his hands but to join Christ upon the Cross, to be a soldier for Christ.
This is not optional.