I have my own belief as to what was the primary sources of heresies in the early church and how they shaped the institutional church of today. I would like to hear the ideas of others before I express my own.
I think the root cause to hersy is found in our own immature carnal mind, as Paul addresses to the Corinthians. There he addresses divisions.
Heresy today is usually used to refer to someone who believes something different than you. That makes them a so-called “heretic”.
But the Scriptural use of the word meant schism or division. So a person was a heretic if they caused an ekklesia to be divided. Therefore, one could be a heretic while claiming the truth.
So in the first century “heresy” didn’t mean bad doctrine. It meant division or sect. Technically, denominations are heresies. Not because they believe something different, but because they are divided from each other over it.
“We war not against flesh and blood…”
(Too simple, I know - but maybe it is just this simple.)
The early gatherings were Jews who believed in Jesus, then Gentiles were added. The literacy rate was very low during that time. So Paul wrote letters to be read by the literate ones to everyone else. The literate people were normally trained in Philosophy and the art of logic and rhetoric.
These Doctors of Philosophy to display their skills they would postulate a concept on a subject and build arguments around it. Others to prove they were better would offer counter arguments. The points and counterpoints had very little to do with the subject, it was just an excuse show their skills
As I said the early believers were mostly Illiterate, so that those who could read got to be considered more spiritual and were promoted to Bishops, Elders within the church.
So many of the Bishops were experts in following the laws of rhetoric, not the Spirit of God.
The early believers gathered as a community, that does not mean that they agreed about everything, but as in any family the rule is you can disagree but in the end you are still family.
Arianism is a prime example, it started out by Arius expounding on the nature of the relationship of The Father, Son and Spirit. It was not a spiritual discussion to help build up or equip the saints, it was to show his skill in Philosophy and Rhetoric.
I am not against knowledge but when it is used a wedge to divide the Body of Christ I have no use for it. This type of knowledge is ignorance in a costume.
Sometimes we give satan too much credit, to excuse ourselves
True - sometimes. I believe it is one of Satan’s best strategies to have us not see him as the source of most issues, and then use the spiritual authority and resources we have available to know and walk in the truth. But there are many who are beating themselves up, or beating up on one another, when they need to first and foremost stand in faith against the work of the enemy in spiritual realms. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you!”
I agree. An example of the “leaders” of the Corinth church using rhetoric and logic to justify their practice of church in direct contradiction to what Paul had taught by word and example is in 1 Cor. 9. Paul’s example in leadership was ministry “free of charge”, always combined with marketplace work. The Corinth saints rejected that after he left town so he had to rebuke it in 1 Cor. 9. Here is the rhetoric.
7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense?
Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit?
Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?
These 3 are analogy fallacies used to justify professionalized ministry. They sound plausible, so much so that every hired Bible expert today will jump on board with these as inspired truth and say these are all rhetorical questions. They are not. Paul gives them as questions to ask us all to think deeply about them and examine their case for validity.
Why are all of these false?
Every believer is a soldier in God’s army. We all serve at the expense of Jesus and with the power he has freely given to us without charge. Soldiers in service to God are not a selected and elevated few who should dominate the work of God for a pay check.
The same goes for the vineyard owner and the shepherd. We are all planters of vineyards for God and all shepherds of others in the household of faith. These are not ministries reserved for a few experts.
In the 2nd half of this same chapter Paul will answer all these analogy fallacies, authority grabs, and OT twists with “Nevertheless I have refused all these things”. He would “rather die” than not boast about ministry “free of charge”, and many other amazing reasons for this practice.
All hired Bible experts today are suckers for the analogy fallacies of the Corinthian logic constructs. The result is 1000’s of divisions of God’s people to follow one hired expert or another with a slightly different style or doctrine or personality or institutional management scheme.
There is no money in the gospel. It is all received for free and should be delivered and practiced for free. Matthew 10:8b “You received without paying; give without pay.” I have written a free PDF book that goes into great detail on the 8 passages that Paul teaches always combining marketplace work with spiritual leadership, and the 3 passages that all hired Bible experts use to nullify the 8. It is all amazing corruption that all hired Bible experts love. This can be fixed if we know the truth and can share the truth with others. We should not depend on our own use of words and passion. The power is in the scripture. I can IM it or email it to anyone who wants it. It is not professionally edited yet. I offer interaction on any of it as my email is included in the book.
I think a simple answer to the statements is that we have already received payment / reward beyond measure. What value can you place on God’s Love or being brought into His community.
First, we have to get on the same page about the definition of the word “heresy” because it’s come to mean something completely different (and often, opposite) from the “heresy” that was condemned by New Testament writers. Here’s an explanation I shared on another post:
Actually, that whole post is really good. So, once you finish this excerpt, you may wanna scroll to the top and read the original post too.
Richard, ck out this talk by Ed Silvoso. Great!