Sunday, August 26, 2018

"Heresis" Part VI

Matthew 1:20 tells us,  (But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
Mat 1:21  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Mat 1:22  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Mat 1:23  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.)  

Those are astounding words, the scriptures both Old and New are filled with many such divine revelations concerning our fall and redemption. It is the revealing of the Divine purpose of God from all eternity, (1Pe 1:18  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
1Pe 1:19  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
1Pe 1:20  Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
1Pe 1:21  Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.)

Orthodoxy is the right understanding of these doctrines, heresy is the wrong understanding of them. Once the human mind receives understanding and faith is born, it begins to ponder about how these things could be. Was it not a popular publication not many years ago which coined the phrase, "Inquisitive minds want to know"? It is our attempt to explain and understand how these things were done and how they came to pass that is our difficulty. It is good to ponder things, for they bring us into a state of awe at the Glory of our Father and the wonder of our redemption. However, it is in these areas we must be extremely careful. A look at history, as well as the present day, reveals the damaging effect of prying into the things we know not.  (Jud 1:10  But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.)  

The Orthodox teachings of the Trinity speak of the Godhead in terms that help us understand in limited ways the being of God. However, it is careful not to reach too deeply into the mystery as to lead us astray. The Orthodox teaching of the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds define for us the nature of Christ in terms that help us in our understanding. They present the elements that are necessary for His being to bring about our salvation in a way that gives us assurance. Yet again they are careful not to probe too deeply into the mystery of the incarnation.  

The church confessions of the reformation are also very helpful in maintaining Orthodoxy. They safeguard us from being lead astray by a personality or persuasive speech of an individual. They define our explanations of the major doctrines held by the church concerning our faith.  They are not the product of any private interpretations, but of a gathering of minds deemed qualified for such a task. However, we must be constantly aware they are not infallible, for they are the works of men and should always be understood as such. 

Many of these Creeds and Confessions were a product of Orthodoxy responding to some error that was induced into the church. Their response was to set the right doctrine in place of the error. It is extremely important for us to consider all these things. If this all seems to be of a great effort, it is because it is of great importance. We have only one divine revelation delivered to us, great care must be taken that we understand it correctly, for a hope and faith in anything else is a false hope and fruitless faith.

Therefore, we should be encouraged to study to show ourselves approved (2Ti 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.) taking advantage of every tool made available to us. 

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,


For a much more in-depth study please see the book by Harold O. J. Brown "Heresies"  

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