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The Surprising Truth About Heresy

“In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it.”

– 1 Corinthians 11:17,18

What do you think of when you hear the word heretic? If you’re like most Christians, you probably think of someone who ascribes to and promotes a false doctrine. Like maybe they don’t believe in the Trinity or they don’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God. Surprisingly, this may not have been the Apostle Paul’s intent when he used this term!

The root word used to derive heresy is hairesis, which in Greek means “one who chooses.” So a heretic, in Paul’s view, is someone who causes division in the church by choosing their own way over God’s. Thus, it is possible for a person to have completely sound doctrine and still fall prey to heresy. In fact, there are multiple Scriptures that use the root word hairesis that have nothing to do with belief and everything to do with division. These include 1 Corinthians 11:17,18 (above), Titus 3:10, and Galatians 5:20. The latter asserts that a heretic is someone who operates in the flesh, or in other words, who chooses their own ego above the good of the Kingdom of God

Friend, there’s a reason why the great Apostle Paul was an advocate for love above all else! While he certainly warned against preaching a gospel that was different from the one he taught, he understood that love and joy are at the heart of keeping the church together. When ego prevails and someone’s personal agenda is promoted above the good of the Body, things crumble, and this is just as true today as it was then. I urge you, beloved child of God, to be a bringer of unity wherever you go, whether at work, at church, or in your home. Look for ways to build bridges to those who have different views and make compassion, mercy, and forgiveness your hallmark. When you do this, an abundant life will become you! Isn’t that great news?

Prayer


Make me a person of unity, Jesus, and empower me to be a peace-bringer and joy-giver wherever I go.

Reflection


How can you proactively bring unity to your places of work and of worship?

If you’re unable to attend your local church or need some additional weekly inspiration, be sure to tune into Hour of Power every Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. PT on TBN or watch online at hourofpower.org/episode.  

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