Sunday, October 29, 2017

Danger is hidden in half truth. . .

The danger of heresy is that it is never totally wrong; it is  just that it is never totally right, either. Heresy is dangerous because it appears to be true, indeed, it is a half truth, a twisted truth, or a semi-truth. There is less danger in absolute falsehood for it is easily identified for being false.  So, for example, if someone contradicts the truth in an obvious way, it is obvious.  But, if someone does not contradict the truth as much as to deny part of it, then it is dangerous beyond measure.  Heresy is attractive because it appears reasonable, sensible, and Biblical.  It makes perfect sense, after all.  In this way, the truth is treated as something systematic, connected, and reasoned.  But, of course, the faith is not reasonable or sensible.  It is Biblical.  It does not make perfect sense -- not in whole or in parts.  Some of the doctrine is downright offensive to the reasonable mind and to the ordinary sense of things.  Heresy is how you would define God and the things of God if you were making the whole thing up.  Made up truth is, if anything, reasonable, logical, and sensible.  But the truth of God is anything but reasonable, logical, and sensible.  It offends.  It is offensive.  When we would smooth over the rough edges and square up the angles and put a finish coat on it all, we are committing heresy.  God is, if anything, raw, unmanageable, and not domesticated. 

Heresy is more than anything else an attempt to domesticate God, to force God to play by rules (ours most of all), and to require God to appeal to reason most of all.  It is because we confuse faith with understanding and presume that God wants, above all things, to be comprehended.  But that is the point.  His ways are high above ours.  He condescends to us to save us and not to explain Himself to us.  He calls us to follow Him and not to converse with Him on the deep things of Him and His Kingdom.  Heresy forgets this or rejects this.  Heresy requires more than faithfulness, it requires sensibility.  In this, heresy does not only value sensibility but seeks emotional approval (especially in our own day and time).  This is why it is so dangerous.  Minds and hearts are constantly seeking to understand and to appreciate it all but God does not seek to be understood or even appreciated.  He calls us to trust in Him, to cast aside all and take up our cross and follow Him.

The intellectuals of any age who presume to treat God as a riddle or to unpack the mystery as if it were a mystery to be solved (or even one that could be solved) are no helpers of God.  In this respect, we offend the very nature of God when we presume to be His interpreters, His explainers, or His apologists.  God needs no defenders.  God requires only voices who will speak His Word and thus become His voice addressing the world with the Word that endures forever, the Word that saves, and the Word that creates faith.  Heresy presumes God needs an intermediary to translate Him to us and heretics presume to be those intermediaries and to fit God into the ears, minds, and hearts of the hearers.  Such a God is defanged and declawed by the very people who would claim to be His greatest allies.  Heresy makes God into a toothless lion who is so weak and fragile that He will do anything to be loved.  Where is this God in Scripture?  He is not there.  So heresy inflates the mortal and demeans the divine.

I sometimes shudder at the casual way we use the word leader or leadership.  It is bantered about as if it were ordinary and routine when it comes to God and His kingdom.  But does God ever seek leaders or need our leadership?  Does God recognize leaders or acknowledge leadership or does He simply equip those whom He has already called?  Could this presumption be the greatest heresy of all:  God needs leaders and God requires their leadership because He is not fully capable of revealing Himself or making Himself known or creating faith in the hearts of people.  But of course this is false.  And yet we live with this half-truth all around us.  The greatest leaders of Christianity ought to be the greatest followers of Christ, humble and deferential just as blessed Mary, greatest of all women, delights to sing not of herself but of Him who has raised her up and declared her blessed.  The wise cloak themselves in everything but God's Word and so they are exposed more as heretics than as sages.


Anonymous said...

Oil and water do not mix. Why aren't Roman Catholics (and EKD German Lutherans) upset about these events?

Heresy indeed!

Carl Vehse said...

Heresy is to be expected in the church of the Antichrist.

George said...

Heresy is not the name of everything you hate. Heresy is to depart from the apostolic transmission, from the living experience of God incarnate. And all the heresies - with no exception - either attacked the incarnation, or the Holy Trinity, or both. And the incarnation and the triunity of God we know, because God has revealed himself to us. Period.

The "attempt to domesticate God" is not heresy, but the core of the Incarnetion, whereby God became one our us, and, in perfect hypostatic union, the impassible suffered, the feeder of the universe had to suck milk like us all etc.

«His ways are high above ours»? Isaiah 55:8 is the motto that every sinner uses when s/he seeks to enslave other sinners, and become their god.

On the other hand, God appeals to our reason, although it be corrupted by sin. «And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.» In God's knowledge - and not in blind submission of someone who pretends to know something about God - do we have life eternal.

«He calls us to follow Him and not to converse with Him on the deep things of Him and His Kingdom.» This sounds like wahhabism, not Gospel.