Are You a Heretic?
"A man that is an heretic after the first and second-admonition reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself" - Titus 3:10, 11.
"For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you" - 1 Corinthians 5:19.
The word "heretic" has come to mean, in modern religious vocabulary, one who holds or advocates views which are condemned by human religious authorities. However, in the Bible the word means "a choosing, choice...then, that which is chosen, and hence, an opinion, especially a self-willed opinion, which is substituted for submission to the power of truth, and leads to division and the formation of sects." - W. E. Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
One becomes a heretic when he chooses to exalt his views or opinions, sometimes making a test of fellowship over them, and always seeking to convert others to his views. It is truly a work of the flesh - Galatians 5:20.
There are various kinds of heretics and heresies. There are heresies which consist of doctrinal views which are directly opposed to the teaching of the Bible. Various denominational doctrines which reference their Creeds rather than the Bible are rather outstanding examples of this type of heresy. Ironically, in many such circles, failure to subscribe to the Creeds is itself marked as "heresy."
There are heretics among the churches who choose to make tests of fellowship over matters of judgment. This is admittedly a difficult area, as opinions differ widely as to what constitutes a "matter of judgment." Great care needs to be exercised here. For when brethren pull into opposing groups over what is a matter of judgment, one or both groups can, by definition, become guilty of heresy!
Then there are heretics in local congregations who qualify as such by choosing to dislike the elders, preacher or other members. They seem to make it their career to dig up all the dirt they can, pounce on every new member and unload the entire heap on them. They seem to work day and night to establish their views in the minds of others, thus building a "party" around them. Many a division has been caused by this type of heretic. The tragic thing about these brethren is that they seldom realize that they are, by Bible definition, a heretic.
Consider, neighbor, are you a heretic? Do you hold some religious view not found in the word of God to which you are trying to win others? If so, you are guilty of heresy!
How about it, brother. are your disagreements with your brethren over matters of judgment a constant sore spot with you? Are you ever seeking to turn the enmity of others against them? Does your personal dislike of some member become the topic of your every conversation with other members? If so, then, friend, you are a heretic and the doors of Heaven are forever closed for you until you repent (Galatians 5:21).