You’re a heretic. That’s a powerful claim. One with the ability to destroy. And like all weapons of mass destruction, it should be used with extreme caution.
That’s the message of a piece Justin Holcomb wrote last week on the nature of heresy and why we need to be more careful with our labels in online discussions.
There has been a lot of talk about heresy thrown around on the Internet lately.
The frequency and volume of the accusations suggest that some Christians may have lost a sense of the gravity of the charge of heresy. The time has come to call for a strong dose of humility, restraint, and a clear and informed definition of orthodoxy and heresy.
He goes on to argue that “heresy” is a loaded word that should be used with great caution, but that it’s a word we shouldn’t just eliminate entirely. And he offers some good thoughts for defining heresy.
Go read the whole article. And if you’re looking for more information on “heresy,” check out my series on What Is “Heresy” and Who Is a Heretic? In that series, I explored a number of different ways people try to define heresy:
- The Conciliar Answer: Heresy is whatever one of the seven ecumenical councils said it was.
- The Power Struggle: Heresy is just the position of the “loser” in the debate.
- The “Other” Answer: Heresy is an exclusionary process used to establish the identity of some group.
- Sugar in My Coffee: Heresy is whatever corrupts the essence of Christianity.
- Just Shut Up!: Heresy is rejecting church authority.
- Final Answer: Heresy is any form of Christianity that undermines the gospel.