HERESIES & DAMNABLE HERESIES
By John Henry
September 10, 2015

Heresy Scripturally Defined

The Greek word translated "heresy" is "hairesis" (Strong's Gk. #139). This Greek word found nine times in the Word of God is translated "heresy" (singular) once (Acts 24:14), "heresies" (plural) three times (2 Pet. 2:1; 1 Cor. 11:19; Gal. 5:20), and "sect" five times (Acts 5:17, 15:5, 24:5, 26:5, 28:22). It's root word is "haireomai" (Strong's Gk. #138) translated "choose" (Phil. 1:22), "chosen" (2 Thess. 2:13) and "choosing" (Heb. 11:25), and is akin to "haireomai." Then there is "hairetizo" (Strong's Gk. #140) which is found just once translated "chosen" (Matt. 12:18). One who makes wrong Biblical choices is a "hairetikos" (Strong's Gk. #141) which is translated "heretick" (Titus 3:10) in the Bible and is found but once.

The Greek word "schisma" (Strong's Gk. #4978) is a synonym of "hairesis" and is rendered "division" (John 7:43, 9:16, 10:19-21), "divisions" (1 Cor. 1:10, 11:18), and "schism" (1 Cor. 12:25).

HAIREOMAI & HAIRETIZO are therefore:

1. To elect (Matt 12:18; 2 Thess. 2:13)
2. To prefer, choose, take (Heb. 11:25; Phil. 1:22)

HAIRESIS is:

1. Never spoken of in a good light in the Bible (Gal. 5:20).
2. The choice of an unscriptural doctrinal error (2 Pet. 2:1)
3. Dissension or schism arising from wrong choices (1 Cor. 11:19)
4. A body of people following or accused of following error:
      a) of the Sadducees (Acts 5:17).
      b) of the Pharisees (Acts 15:5, 26:5).
      c) of the Christians (Acts 24:5, 14, 28:22).
5. The way doctrinally sound believers are made manifest and approved when others err (1 Cor. 11:19)

1 Corinthians 11:19: "For there must be also heresies  among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you."

HAIRETIKOS is:

1. One who is free and able to choose between truth and error.
2. A follower of a false doctrine (2 Pet 2:1).
3. Schismatic and factious having chosen error.

Dr. Alan Cairns gives this excellent and precise Biblical definition of heresy: "A deliberate denial of revealed truth, together with the acceptance of error (2 Peter 2:1). The basic meaning of the Greek word hairesis is "choice," giving the meaning of heresy as a self-willed opinion in opposition to Biblical truth. Such opinions frequently give rise to sects or parties (Acts 5:17, 15:5, 24:5,14, 26:5, 28:22; 1 Corinthians 11:19; Galatians 5:20). A heretic, therefore, is a sectarian. Thus he is to be cut off from church fellowship (Titus 3:10)." (Dictionary of Theological Terms)

FOLLOWING ARE ALL THE INSTANCES OF THE WORDS SECT, HERESY & HERETICK FROM THE BIBLE:

Acts 24:3-8, 10, 13-15:
"We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness. Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words. For we have found this man [Paul] a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect  of the Nazarenes: who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law. But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands, commanding his accusers to come unto thee: by examining of whom thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things, whereof we accuse him. ... Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, ... Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me. But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust."

Acts 5:17: "Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect  of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison."

Acts 15:5: "But there rose up certain of the sect  of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."

Acts 26:5: "Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee."

Acts 28:22: "But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.

1 Corinthians 11:18-20: "For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lordĺs supper."

Galatians 5:19-21: "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

2 Peter 2:1: "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction."

The heresy here in 2 Peter 2:1 is clearly doctrinal error having to do with deceitful teachers!

Titus 3:9-11: "But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself."

Notice that there are "heresies" and then there are "damnable heresies," one, "denying the Lord" (2 Peter 2:1), is called as much. I can think of three "damnable heresies" in the Bible:

1. Denying the deity, person and character of God Almighty (Psalm 25:8; 1 John 4:16, 5:7; Heb 7:25; 2 John 7-11; et. al.).
2. Adding and subtracting from the Word of God (Rev 22:18-19; Deut 4:2, 12:32; Prov 30:5-6).
3. Rejecting Biblical Salvation (Spirit birth when one received the free gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus' death and resurrection through repentance and faith) (Gal 1:6-9)

The modern word, Cult, is defined this way: "A religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often ... under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader. The followers of such a religion or sect." With the Word of God as the standard anything out side of Biblical Christianity may be considered a cult or cultic. Therefore, cult and heresy are basically synonymous.

Therefore, according to this Scriptural reasoning Catholicism is a cult, Pentecostalism is cultic, likewise Armenianism and others false teachings that that are contrary to the Bible on the Person of God, His Holy Word, and salvation. Teachings that err in these areas are consider as heretical and cultic.

Sect / Heresy = Cult / False Teaching!

Heresy is division over doctrinal choices. One who made an unscriptural choice on a serious enough issue was disciplined by his church by being excluded from the church and treated as an heathen and a publican after three admonitions (Matt 18:15-18; Titus 3:10).

Matthew 18:15-18: "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Titus 3:9-11: "But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself."

1 Corinthians 12:25-27: "That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."

It is good "for brethren to dwell together in unity" (Psalm 133:1), but not at the expense of Truth that the church was charged to keep (Matt 28:20; 1 Tim 3:15). There should always be a "schism in the body" if heresy enters the body and the culprit refuses to repent.

Romans 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."

2 Thessalonians 3:14: "And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed."

2 John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

Colossians 2:8: "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

2 Peter 2:1-2: "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away" (2 Tim. 3:5)

Speaking the Truth in love while earnestly contending for the Faith,
John Henry



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