Thursday, February 08, 2007
Have All We Like Heretics Gone Astray?
"Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." (John 9:48)
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8)
"So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." (John 8:7)
Down through church history theologians and priests have prided themselves in being defenders of the faith. The have considered their teachings to be the foundational and critical doctrines of the faith. Systematic theologies have been developed, zealous followers have been created, and heretics have been tried. These acts have occurred because men believed that they had a significant repository of truth within themselves to allow their interpretation of scripture to become the standard against which to measure the teachings of all others. In classic legalistic fashion heretics have been burned at the stake, tortured to recant, and massacred. Catholics and Protestants alike have been proud heresy hunters.
I wonder - does the same self-evaluation which Jesus required of the Pharisees who brought the woman caught in adultery to Him apply to us in respect to the issue of heresy hunting as well?
Could Jesus just as easily have said, "Let him who is without [heresy] cast the first stone," and meanwhile have written strange teachings each person held in the dirt with His finger? I believe He could have, but I also believe that not one of them would have seen their own false beliefs as being false. The identification of a sin which is contrary to the very things we all teach is an evident hypocrisy which we can not deny, but the strange interpretations of scripture which Christians devise are not readily seen as false. Those teachings often become the source of what we believe are the deeper teachings of the Christian life.
Just as we have all been forced to admit that we are all sinners, could it be that we should also have to admit that at some level we are all heretics doing our best to recover from the ravages of false doctrine which has filled our minds over the years? and that we all have itching ears which like dogs we seek to have someone come and itch?
Pete Rollins, and others from the Emergent Conversation are suggesting that we are all heretics who like idolaters have built false images of God in our minds.
What do you think? Should we have to admit that at some point we are all heretics?