Ignoring or Avoiding The Discussion of Heresy, Doesn’t Make It Go Away.

I hadn’t meant to bring it up in a Facebook discussion, What is emerging?, but I did—heresy. I greatly fear for a people who won’t stand for what they say they believe (especially foundational things), as I equally fear for a people who automatically attack people with whom they disagree.

The funny thing is that the day after I wrote my latest response in that discussion (and hopefully my last post in that discussion), C. Michael Patton wrote a small post on his blog discussing that exact issue.


  1. Ian,

    What is it you mean by “won’t stand for what they say they believe”?

    I think you must be aware in this the difference between those who don’t know what they believe (a great many people, I fear), those who don’t truly believe it, and those who are humble about their ability to be correct.

    I’d class myself in the latter. I know there are a great many ways to interpret scripture, and I don’t claim that I am infallible in interpretation. Hence, I hesitate to make absolute statements about it.

    I look to tradition (not just my own, but the wider protestant, Catholic and Orthodox traditions, as well as the early church) to measure myself against, but I certainly wouldn’t ‘stand for what I say I believe’ in that I wouldn’t make an ‘i’m right, you’re wrong’ stance. I can argue my beliefs, and I’ll live by them, but I wouldn’t condemn others according to my beliefs, because chances are one of the other interpretations is right and I’m wrong.

    I look at it as humility.

    Anyway, thanks for writing – I enjoy your blog!

  2. Damian:

    I am not talking about telling everyone where I disagree with them theologically (that would be too many, sometimes even myself as I wrestle with things). This is one of those, “I know it when I see things,” which is a situation I try not to put myself into, but often do.

    My primary concern is that the “mainline” churches (especially, but I’m starting to see it in my own denomination) are trying so hard to be “tolerant” and “open”, that the foundational beliefs (such the traditions you noted) are being ignored or avoided, which often leads to bad or wrong theology.

    I am not talking about true humility or even fear of confrontation, but flat-out it doesn’t matter to them anymore (if it ever did), while at the same time saying it does. My concern in regards to humility is that it often leads to inaction, which can be as dangerous as overreaction.

    Prayer and discernment are the keystones to all of this.

    Does that help clarify what I meant?


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