Hearty Heresy

Heresies and How to Avoid Them
July 4, 2007, 6:32 pm
Filed under: Christianity, Faith, God, Heresy, Jesus, Religion, Theology

What don’t Christians believe? Is Jesus really divine? Is Jesus really human? Can God suffer? Can people be saved by their own efforts? These are the burning questions, aren’t they? That’s what Ben Quash and Michael Ward, editors of Heresies and How to Avoid Them: Why It Matters What Christians Believe, would have you believe. That’s why they’ve written this modest (160 pages) textbook. To help Christians from slipping into heresy by believing the wrong thing about God, Jesus, salvation, etc. Here are the topics the book covers:

  • Adoptionism–did Jesus become the Son of God at his baptism?
  • Docetism–was Jesus really human or did he just appear to be so?
  • Nestorianism–was Christ one Person or a hybrid with a divine dimension and a human dimension?
  • Arianism–was Christ divine and eternal or was there a time when he did not exist?
  • Marcionism–is the God of the New Testament the same as the God of the Old?
  • Theopaschitism–is it possible for God to suffer in His divine nature?
  • Destroying the Trinity–does God have a simple or a complex nature?
  • Pelagianism–can people save themselves by their own efforts?
  • `The Free Spirit’–are there two kinds of Church membership, one for the elite and one for the rest?
  • Donatism–do Christian ministers need to be faultless for their ministrations to be effective

Yes, these are, indeed, the issues Christians should be worried about, aren’t they? Forget the suffering in Iraq, or the crucifixion of Mother Earth in the name of rampant capitalism, or the steady erosion of civil liberties in the United States. Unless you are 100% Chalcedon Compliant my friend, the flames of hell await you. So run, don’t walk, to your nearest Brand Xian bookstore and pick up a copy before you do something eternally stupid, like trying to follow the unadulterated Gospel of Jesus. You know, his dead-on prophetic riffing on Micah’s “do justice, love mercy, walk humbly”: love God, love your neighbor, forgive each other. (Of course, Brand Xians will say: “You can do all that and be orthodox, too.” To which I reply, “You and do all that and be heretical, too. Only difference is, I feel no need to include eternal damnation in the equation. And I don’t think Jesus did, either.”)


13 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I was really, REALLY starting to get all wrapped up in all sorts of confusion when i first started reading this. I’m so glad you turned it around. I kept thinking ohhhh noooooo, i’m in big, big trouble!


Comment by damewiggy

Yes, indeed. If orthodox Christians made Jesus’ message any more complimecated, I don’t think they’d be able to understand it themselves!

Comment by heartyheretic

I so relate to this….
You commented on my blog re: my thoughts on Maroon 5 – not quite sure what you meant by that -but I’ve added some more thought in my response. You call yourself a heretic, I call myself a redheaded stepchild – it’s all the same, eh?

Comment by hamiam

They can’t even come to consensus within their own ranks.

It’s a fine day to be a heretic..

Comment by Grace

That’s the thing–they think there’s concensus, but there’s really not. I especially like the “biblical worldview” Christians. They’re the ones who really dig the Creation Museum, etc.

Comment by heartyheretic

And hamian–there is something of a stepchild feel to being a heretic. Brand Xians are a very close knit family (in spite of their universal aspirations). You can’t be fully part of it until they decide you’re alright.

Comment by heartyheretic

I am VERY aware of that – the stepchild nomenclature fits me literally as well as at church.

Comment by hamiam

Heresy, its not just for breakfast anymore!

Comment by pastorofdisaster

Or, Heresy–the Breakfast of Champions!

Comment by heartyheretic

Although at this stage a bit tongue-in-cheek, I’m starting to really contemplate a move away from the “orthodox” christian gospel to something else. I’d really appreciate any comments from you on where I have got to so far.

Comment by jonfeatherstone

Will do, Jon!–HH

Comment by heartyheretic

I’ve just finished reading the book today and will post a review soon. Hauerwas in his forward writes that “one of the tests of orthodoxy is beauty means orthodoxy betrays itself if it is used as a hammer to beat into submission those we think are heterodox”. To be fair, this book doesn’t do that (although “orthodoxy” does have more than its’ fair share of moments of hammered submission”).

Comment by rgillingham

Yes, the book doesn’t seem to be using orthodoxy as a hammer. Looking forward to reading your review.–HH

Comment by heartyheretic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: