53. DOCTRINE and HERESY
Question and answer: “How do I know if something is heresy?”
If a person or an organisation teaches contrary to the doctrines as found in the Bible, then this is heresy and false teaching! These teachers may be ignorant of biblical truths, Acts 8:8-24, 18:24-26. Some deliberately distort, Galatians 1:6-7, 3:1, 2 Peter 3:16-17, take away, or add to biblical truth, Deuteronomy 4:2, Galatians 1:8-9, Revelation 22:18-19. These teachers appeal for financial gain, (2 Corinthians 12:17-18), 1 Timothy 6:3-10, Jude 11. Some are under demonic influences and seek its desires, 1 Timothy 4:1, James 3:14-15, Jude 16-19.
1 John 2:22 ‘Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son’
2 Peter 2:1 ‘…there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction’
The Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is totally trustworthy and is our supreme authority in all matters of faith, conduct and doctrine, Romans 15:4, 2 Timothy 3:15-17, Hebrews 4:12, 2 Peter 1:19-21. ‘Test all things…’ 1 Thessalonians 5:21.
There are many cults in the world. They often call themselves ‘Christian’ to be accepted by society.
A ‘Christian’ cult is a group of people who have changed very important biblical doctrines and who deny such truths as: the Trinity, the deity of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. They often preach salvation by works, instead of by God’s grace, Romans 5:15-19, Galatians 5:4-10, Ephesians 2:8-9. Some say that the grace of God gives you liberty to sin, Jude 4. Some have 'new holy books or gospels' Deuteronomy 4:2, Galatians 1:8-9, Revelation 22:18-19. All cults teach much error that is contrary to biblical truth.
Wisdom: Believers should have a good working knowledge of the Bible, Acts 17:11, 2 Timothy 3:14-16. If something is taught as ‘truth’ then it must line up with what Scripture says, Acts 17:2, 18:28. God does not speak or reveal anything that is contrary to His word, 1 Corinthians 15:2-4. Fellow believers who teach truth are known ‘by their fruits’ Matthew 7:15-23.
Some of the major cults are the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons, Christian Science and the Christadelphians.
We are called to love and witness to all people, including members of the cults and other religions. Don’t argue with them; politely ask them to give you their testimony. They won’t have one because the cults have never met the living God. Speak in love and sow doubt into their mind.
Never accept their accursed pamphlets, their society’s ‘bible’ (with its false translations) or any other so-called ‘divine or holy books’.
Evangelical Christians are united by their belief in the central teachings of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, and Ephesians 4:4-6. We should all believe the entire Bible and try to understand the whole counsel of God by revelation of the Holy Spirit, who came to guide us into all truth, John 16:13.
Fact: Man is universally sinful; He is guilty of sin and subject to God’s wrath and condemnation, Romans 3:19, 6:23. Jesus the incarnate Son of God gave His life as a substitute for sinful man, John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:5-6. Jesus can redeem anyone from the power of sin and its consequences. Man can be justified solely by the grace of God, through repentance and faith in Christ’s death and resurrection from the dead, Romans 3:21-26, Ephesians 2:8-9.
Jesus is God: He received and accepted worship, Matthew 2:2, Luke 22:70-71, John 20:28. He forgave sins, Matthew 9:2. He existed from the beginning, Micah 5:2, John 1:1-2, 14. He is sinless, John 8:46, Hebrews 4:15. He is the Creator, John 1:3, 5:17-19, 7:28-29, 9:33-38, 10:30,33, 17:5,11, Col. 1:16. Jesus is One with the Father, John 17:21.
The Holy Spirit is God: A building cannot be grieved, as it has no feeling, but we can grieve the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 4:30, as He is a person, John 14:16, 16:8, 12-14, Romans 8:26. He has a will, Acts 16:6-7 and a mind, John 3:8, Romans 8:27. He is the Creator, Genesis 1:2 and Eternal, Hebrews 9:14. He is called God, 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 2 Corinthians 3:17, Acts 5:3-4. He gives life, John 6:63. He convicts of sin, John 16:8. He intercedes for us, Romans 8:26-27.
The Trinity: “Let us make man in our image” Genesis 1:26. Jesus’ Baptism, the Father’s voice, the Spirit’s infilling Matthew 3:16-17. Baptise believers in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28:19. Unity of the Godhead, John 15:26. The Apostolic blessings, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Revelation 1:4-5.
Doctrine is very important and it must be kept pure, John 7:16-18, Acts 2:42, Ephesians 4:14, 1 Timothy 4:13-16. Everything must be judged by Scripture. The body of Christ needs to be protected from false teachers. Matthew 7:15-23, Acts 20:29-31, (1 Timothy 1:19-20, 2 Timothy 2:17-18), 2 Peter 2:1-3, 10-22. Excommunication from a church is always the final option, Hosea 9:15, Rev 1:20-2:1-5, and chapters 2 and 3. A little leaven will spread, Matthew 16:5-12, 18:15-17, 1 Corinthians 5:5-7.
Think: Do I know how to witness to cult members if the need arises?
More Info: Isaiah 48:16, Zechariah 2:9,11, Matthew 24:23-26, John 7:16-17, 15:26, Acts 2:42, Romans 16:17, 1 Timothy 4:1, 6:3-4, 2 Timothy 4:3-4, Titus 1:9-16, 2:1, Hebrews 3:7-11, 6:1-2, 2 Peter 2 (all), 3:1-3, 1 John 2:22-24, 4:6-8, 2 John 9-10.
Visit the interactive version of this course online. www.byfaith.co.uk © 2003 ByFaith Media.