Saturday, April 18, 2015

The History of Heresy

Satanic Origins
Heresy is a break from unity in Christ. To be specific, it is a break from the truth that binds us together in Christ. From the beginning, heresy has served up death and destruction on the human race since the father, and first heretic, Satan, introduced it. Satan created a schism between himself and God. Essentially, he rejected God’s truth. He substituted his own word in place of God’s word. Jesus said he was a liar from the beginning. Jesus also said, “unless you believe I am He, you will die in your sin.” (Jn. 8:24) Literally, the text says unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins. The Satanic alternative to the words of Christ is a rejection of Christ, His Word, and His truth. That reject may be dressed up as a partial acceptance. But a partial acceptance of God and of Christ and of God’s Word is a rejection of God and His truth. In its place, the heretic supplies his own self, his own word, and his own truth.

Satan separated himself from God along with the angels that followed his thought process. Additionally, he drove a wedge between God and man by asking man to reason independently, apart from God. Man adopted his own self, word, and truth as his final standard, exchanging the truth of God for a lie. Paul tells us that the minds of the ungodly are blinded by Satan to do his will. (2 Cor. 4:4) Christians are commanded to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (1 Cor. 10:3-5) Elders are told to reject, avoid, have no care for, and to push away a heretic after a first and second warning. (Titus 3:10) Heretics seek to contradict God’s truth and in so doing, they seek to destroy it. The point of this paragraph is that Christians have to take heretics more seriously than they have in recent years. They are enemies of God and of Christ and they seek to destroy the Christian faith. They are not sincere Christians that love Jesus with whom we have a casual and insignificant disagreement.

False Prophets
Deut. 18:29 lays down the punishment for heretical prophets who come bearing a false word as if from God. When the prophet claims that this truth is God’s truth and it turns out not to be God’s truth, that prophet shall die. The Torah dealt harshly with heretics. Satan offered up an alternative to divine truth and was cast out of heaven. Adam and Eve thought they could substitute their own truth in place of God’s truth and introduced death upon all their progeny. Prophets that offered an alternative truth under the law were executed under divine law. Moreover, Deut. 13:5 instructs Israel to execute any prophet that gives counsel that contradicts divine law. God views ungodly beliefs and advice as counsel to violate His revealed will, His divine command. Hence, when we hear men like “Dan” advise us that God honors gay marriage and gay sex when Scripture clearly forbids it, we see Dan providing counsel to people that is perfectly justifiable to rebel against God. Our response cannot be one of a mere casual shrugging of the shoulders and agreeing to disagree. The situation is far more serious than that. In both the Old and the New Testaments, the heretics were purged from the community of faith. So must they be in today’s church.

False Apostles & Teachers
The ancient Christian apostle, Peter, issues an ominous warning to his audience in his second letter: But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned. (2 Peter 2:1-2) Paul tells Timothy that false teachings will spread like cancer. (2 Tim 2:17) As an example he mentions Hymenaeus and Philetus who have erred regarding an early form of Preterism, claiming the resurrection had already taken place. Paul, using the OT instance of Jannes and Jambres, informs Timothy that false teachers, even though they invoke the name of Jesus, oppose the truth, are men of depraved minds, and are rejected in regard to the faith. (2 Tim. 2:8) Paul uses the metaphor “savage wolves” to describe false teachers: “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. (Acts 20:29)

Paul warned the Corinthians about false apostles, saying, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” (2 Cor. 11:13-15) These men actually look like apostles of Christ. They wear the same disguise as the true apostles wear. But upon closer examination, they are exposed. Jesus said that many would come in His name saying that they were one of His, and claiming that they embraced and proclaimed His message. But they are liars, fakes, and pretenders according to Jesus. In the end, it is those who hear His word and do it that are the true teachers and followers of Christ. (See Matthew 7) The point here is that the NT documents are filled with Christ and His apostles identifying again and again false teachers and their teachers and correcting those ungodly ideas with the truth of God with the message of God that has been reduced to the written text. That written text is the only protection we have to keep us safe from error that damns and condemns the soul. Perhaps now it is easy to see why the false teachers, the liberal pastors and scholars, continually focus their main efforts around contradicting Christianity by attempting to weaken or discredit the Scripture, contradicting it, and leading people to believe it is not God’s word, it is not authoritative, it is not binding, and there is no single interpretation to which the Christian is obligated. 

Early Heresies
The “Ancient Roman Symbol” R stands out as a witness to the attitude of the church concerning the serious nature of heresy and false conversion. Moreover, it points up to the remarkable emphasis that the ancient church placed on sound belief and the confessions required of new converts even at their baptism. This practice served as the basis for what would eventually become the Apostles Creed. The volume of competing ideas and non-Christian influences were just as enormous for that culture as they are for any culture today. It is essential that the modern churches continue to take measures to ensure that such leaven does not make its way into the community. For, if it does, as Paul said, it will spread like a cancer.

One of the fiercest battles over truth and the gospel in the ancient Church was that of a Judaizing effort within Christian circles. As one can imagine, since most Christians in the earliest times were Jews, the dangers of Jewish influences within the Christian community were ever present. The number of different strains varied from Ebionism to Essenianism to Elxaism. These systems involved errors that ranged from of law-based salvation to aberrant views of the nature of Christ.  The dangers were so real that Paul pronounced an anathema on anyone found guilty of preaching a gospel contrary to the one he had published and peached. Can you imagine what the results would have been if the attitude of the Church was similar to men like “Ted?” These are all opinions of equal weight and therefore, each man is free to think as he pleases? There is no set of authoritative teachings providing the basis by which we, as Christians, must form our beliefs.

Another very early heresy that also contained many tentacles was called Gnosticism. “The Gnostics would take any doctrine that they found valuable, without any regard for its origin or for the context from which it was taken. When they came to know early Christianity and saw its great appeal, they attempted to take those aspects of Christianity which seemed most valuable to them and adapt them to their systems.” [Gonzalez, A History of Christian Thought, Vol. I]

Just as exists today, there was a dualistic tendency in some early heretics. Marcion comes to mind. Gonzalez calls it “an exaggerated Paulinism.” Marcion held radical views, such as his belief that the God of the NT was a different God of the OT. He held a negative view of the OT Scripture. Are these sounding familiar? The gay, anti-Christian movement espoused by “Ted” makes the exact same move. Both Marcion and Ted destroy the God of the OT. Marcion destroys it literally while “Ted” destroys it literarily. But each man’s view has the same devastating consequences.

This particular heresy is a bit more complex. It can typically be divided into two aspects of a similar effort: Dynamic Monarchianism and Modalist Monarchianism. Dynamic Monarchianism basically viewed Christ as a mere man and was close to Ebionism in that respect. Modalist Monarchianism took the nature of Christ a different direction. The divinity of Christ was identified with the Father. This view eventually was adopted by its most famous proponent, Sebellius and became more widely known as Sebellianism. The church at Rome condemned dynamic Monarchianism, in 195 AD. Dionysius, bishop of Rome, condemned Sebellianism in 262 AD.

Logical Preconditions of Heresy
I want to talk about the necessary and sufficient conditions for heresy. First, the necessary condition for heresy is that truth exists. If truth did not exist, heresy could not exist. In order for heresy to exist, it is necessary for truth to exist. Truth then is a necessary condition for heresy. But the mere existence of truth is not a sufficient condition for heresy just as being a woman is not a sufficient condition for being a mother. A sufficient condition for heresy is that one adopts a contradictory view to certain kinds of truth. Unless certain kinds of truth exist, and unless men are capable of adopting contradictory views to these truths, it follows that sufficient conditions for heresy would not exist. Moreover, if this were the state of affairs that has obtained, heresy would not be possible. But we know, according to Scripture, that not only is heresy possible, but that it exists, and it has existed from the earliest times in the history of Christianity. Moreover, we know that if heresy existed, then necessary and sufficient conditions for it must have existed.

Upon close examination of views like that put forth by men like “Ted” (see the com box in my previous blogs for his real name), we discover that sufficient conditions for heresy would be impossible. Ted’s denial of the binding and authoritative nature of Scripture is a denial of the very kinds of truth that make heresy possible. In other words, Ted’s argument eliminates heresy as a viable option from human behavior. The reduction of all truth to mere subjective, non-binding opinions is to remove any and all sufficient conditions for the existence of heresy. However, since heresy existed in the time of Christ and His apostles, we know that such a move is not philosophically plausible, logically coherent, and most importantly, it is not consistence with the unambiguous teachings and events recorded in Scripture.

What men like “Ted” do is not really the denial of absolute truth. If you read Ted’s argument and accusations of me, you will see a clear self-refutation emerge. Ted is merely exchanging one authority for another. He is not denying all authority, practically speaking anyways. He is replacing biblical authority with his own set of beliefs. That is not difficult to see, at least for the non-Ted’s that are reading the discussion. Ted is exchanging the truth of God for the truth of Ted. And his descriptions of me reflect deeply on Ted’s convictions that his views not only apply to him, but they extend to me. Moreover, Ted’s accusations of me show that Ted at least thinks his views transcend humanity and apply equally to all those in my category. So we also see in Ted the unavoidable logical end of self-refutation. This is why I referred to Ted as a walking contradiction.

The Ignorance of Ignoring Heresy
Modern cultures, due to the pervasive infection of postmodern relativism within them, cannot be trusted to provide the appropriate response to heresy or heretics. The notion that man is the measure of all things, even in the backhanded sort of way Ted suggests, is insufficient in its ability to deal with the seriousness of damnable dogma. Far too often, local churches and entire denominations, being influenced by the academy and the so-called sophistication of modern biblical scholarship, downgrade the heresy of false doctrine that the ancient Christian apostle Paul himself, compared to the deadly disease of cancer. As a matter of fact, the downgrade of heresy, far from advancing the Christian ethic, and enriching Christian knowledge, more often than not, ends in disastrous consequences. Indeed, if we continue to extend this strategy, such policies will inevitable result in the total eradication of biblical Christianity.

In short, the long history of the existence and condemnation of heresy testifies against the arrogance of postmodern thinkers like “Ted” and Rob Bell and others. Historically, the Church has been dealing with heresy for nearly 2,000 years. And for those who want to soften how that practice occurs, the Church has been dealing with heresy harshly and seriously for nearly 2,000 years.


  1. Just popping in to make the one clarifying comment for any readers (if you have any readers) who may happen through here:

    Suffice to say that anytime that Ed says, "Dan (or Ted) claims..." he is factually mistaken. Ed has consistently not correctly stated what I believe. And those few times he has correctly repeated what I've actually believe, he misunderstands or misstates other points. Like, for instance, the claim in the last post that my opinions ARE my opinions, and that I'm not speaking authoritatively for God. THAT is a correct fact. But what he leaves out is that ED's opinions are, likewise, Ed's opinions and that he is not speaking authoritatively for God.

    So, the mistake there is in his mistake of arrogance, to presume that he is speaking for God, not offering his own opinions.

    Anyway, it may be helpful if anyone actually reads this to, when you find Ed saying "Dan believes..." to simply change it to read, "Dan almost certainly does not believe..." and then, we'll be closer to the facts.

    Ed, again, if you can't understand my words, written in your own language in your own culture and century, on what basis should we trust your personal human opinions about what Paul or Jesus thought, written 2,000 years ago in a language and culture not your own? Your own words undermine you, buddy.

    Be a man. Repent, or at least stop making false claims.

    In Christ,


    1. People can go read the com box Dan and see that you are using Rob Bell tactics...saying it while saying you are not saying it.

      The blog averages between 15-30 thousand reads a month for your information.

      I not only understand your words Dan, I understand their logical end which is where I drive your statements and this is what you object to more than anything. Your rejection of Paul's authority, Luke's reliability, God's design for marriage, and the historicity of the creation account, along with the God of the OT is enough to dismiss you as a modern Marcionite seeking to resurrect ancient heresies. You emergent types are good at that sort of thing.

    2. Additionally, your claim that the Scriptures are not authoritative, not binding, is sheer poppycock and born out of a spirit of antichrist. You do NOT know Him because you reject His words and even dare to call gay sex holy sex, pure sex, the kind of sex God had in mind from the beginning.

  2. And for the last time, Ed: That I disagree and reject YOUR HUMAN HUNCHES is not the same as disagreeing with God. I do not conflate Ed with God, you really should repent of doing the same.

    And yes, as a matter of fact, people CAN read my words and see that you are extrapolating meaning out of them that I have not said nor do I believe. And how do I, Dan Trabue, KNOW that you have assigned meaning to my words that I don't believe? Because I AM Dan Trabue and I am in a better position to know what Dan believes than Ed is, Ed being a complete stranger to me.

    That Ed thinks he knows better than Dan what Dan means is indicative of Ed's problem with Scripture. It appears that, in Ed's World, if Ed believes it, then it is "true" and a "fact," regardless of reality.

    Humble yourself, brother,

    In the deep and abiding love of Christ,


  3. Dan, you could provide one conclusion about you that I am wrong about. For your edification, I will state the most basic ones again:

    1. You deny that Scripture is authoritative and binding.
    2. You deny that the Bible is the Word of God.
    3. You deny that Luke's writings are reliable (he was wrong to include Adam and Seth in his genealogy).
    4. Paul's writings are simply reflective of Paul's own personal opinions; they are not binding nor authoritative.
    5. The creation account is a myth rather than an actually historical record of what actually took place.
    6. The Stories of God ordering the genocide of the people of Canaan in the OT are myths, not to be take as actual history.
    7. Any God that would damn a 16 year old to eternal hell is unjust.
    8. Gay sex is as holy as heterosexual sex.
    9. Gay marriage is ordained of God.
    10. People can practice gay sex and love God both at the same time with no condemnation whatsoever.
    11. You attend, or endorse a group that calls itself a Baptist community that receives practicing homosexuals as bonafide Christians.

    There...pick those that are a lie or merely based off a hunch.

  4. I've already done that, Ed. You ignored the correction.

    But here's one more, just to throw you a bone that you can then ignore again. Or, better yet, that you can recognize as a mistake and correct it.

    I do NOT deny that Luke's writings are reliable. I REJECT the notion that Luke's writings are not reliable. I further reject your modernist imposition of modern standards on his writings, insisting that Luke should have written in the way that you would have written it.

    Just because Luke reported a genealogy as best he knew to report it does not make it unreliable, even if it turned out it was a mistaken genealogy.

    So, as a point of fact in the real world, I have never said that Luke's writings are unreliable and I do not believe them to be unreliable.

    You, sir, are factually mistaken. You are conflating your opinion (that Luke would not have written a genealogy with a possible mistake or undocumented data in it and to do so would make Luke's book unreliable) with fact (none of that is a fact).

    Will you admit your mistake?

    Humble yourself, brother. Demonstrate that you are capable of admitting errors and that you do not conflate Ed's opinion with God's Word.


    1. So the fact that Luke's reporting was WRONG, regardless of what the nature of that reporting was, does not make Luke's reporting unreliable? What then does it make it? Naive?

      Your spin proves my point Dan. Only you and your mommy can't see that your spin is nothing more than a rhetorical rescuing device employed so well by politicians and emergent church pseudo-Christians.

      You are essentially saying that your philosophical presupposition about myth in the OT is right and that must mean Luke was wrong. You also disagreed with Paul as well. In fact, anywhere a writer writes with authority, you reduce their writing to mere opinion, using your own philosophical presupposition as the criteria for doing so. And your presuppositions about Scripture are sheer poppycock aimed at giving you a god you can like and a version of Christianity you can embrace. In other words, your mind is made up a priori and anything that threatens your worldview, you engineer some literary rescuing device so that you can continue with your delusional club of immoral, God-hating, commandment-breaking chaps.

  5. What then does it make it? Naive?

    It makes it Luke's attempt to record Jesus' story as accurately as he could. Thus, it only becomes unreliable when you try to make it into something it's not.

    The fct remains, I do not consider Luke's history's unreliable. I only consider YOUR spin on Luke unreliable.

    Do you truly not see the difference? Are you so blinded by your emotional cultural biases that you can't sort out fact from falsehood?

    Regardless, my point stands: your claims are riddled with falsehoods and half-truths, as has been demonstrated repeatedly. May God open your eyes and soften your hard heart, dear Ed.


  6. Look, Ed, I'll help you out. What you COULD say with some confidence:

    I, Ed Dingess, don't see how one could consider Luke's books to be anything less than 100% factual history without making the whole thing invalid and unreliable. That is how it seems to me, Ed Dingess.

    You COULD say that, if that's what you believe. But just because you, Ed Dingess, might see it that way doesn't mean that Dan Trabue does. Dan Trabue, as a point of fact, DOES consider Luke's books to be reliable, as long as you don't treat it like a modern history book, because it is not a modern history book and to treat it like that is a modernist bias, presuming that ancient people should tell stories the way that we do.

    Look, there are histories of Julius Caesar, right?

    "The historian Suetonius reported that Julius saw a divine messenger who urged him to cross."

    Some of those histories of Julius Caesar contain miraculous events. Does that mean that historians treat those histories as "unreliable?" OR, do they recognize that the record is reliable, but that we need to recognize that it isn't written like a modern history would be, that we need to recognize that there may be fantastic elements mixed in with more literal history, because that was the style of the day. Is Suetonius then "unreliable" and ignored by historians? Not at all! Historians just read with the realization of the context of the text.

    Perfect literal historical accuracy of facts is not necessary for something to be reliable. The problem is not in the text, it is in how you treat it. If you treat it as a text of its day, then you get reliable information/stories. IF you treat it as a modern history or science book, not so much. But that does not make the text unreliable, only the reader.

    I hope now you can see the claim that Dan thinks Luke is unreliable is a literal false claim and then repent of that false claim. It's an error, you made a mistake. There's no problem in that, it happens all the time. The error would be in refusing to see reality for what it is and admit the error.

    In Christ,


  7. One further thing to consider about Luke's "reliability" (and again, I think that Luke's stories ARE reliable, rightly understood)...

    Luke reports Jesus saying in Luke 24...

    Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."

    Now, do you believe in ghosts?

    I will assume you do not. And if so, good for you.

    Now, Jesus speaking to his disciples after his death, assures him that he's not a ghost (or disembodied spirit, if you prefer). Why would Jesus do that if there are no such things as ghosts/disembodied spirits?

    Does Jesus mentioning something that doesn't exist mean that Jesus' words (or Luke's) are unreliable? Or was he simply speaking to the people of the day in the context of that day.

    I'd argue the latter.

    Luke, in Luke 1, is offering the known genealogy of Jesus, as best as it was known. He had no reasons to guess it may not be entirely factual, and its exact factually accurate nature is not the point. In the same way, in that culture, it appears that a belief in disembodied spirits existed. Luke has Jesus speaking to that belief, as it was the belief common to the day?

    Why wouldn't Jesus use the notion of ghosts, even if there are no such thing as ghosts? Why wouldn't Luke offer the best known genealogy, even if it isn't perfectly accurate? Does either of them operating out of the context of the day indicate that the text is unreliable?

    Absolutely not. And so, I don't think Luke - or any biblical texts - are unreliable and this is directly contrary to your claim of fact...

    You deny that Luke's writings are reliable
    (he was wrong to include Adam and Seth in his genealogy).

    I do NOT deny Luke's writings are reliable.
    I do NOT say he was wrong to include Adam in his genalogy.

    Mistake and mistake.

    I think your difficulty is that you must imagine that I am treating the Bible as a history book, told in a more modern sense of history. I don't.

    I think the Bible is a glorious book of Truths, not factual history.

    Now, IF I were making the claim "I think that the Bible is a factual history book with no historical factual inconsistencies" THEN, for me to say that Adam is a mythic character might be considered unreliable.

    But I don't make that claim. You may, but I don't. Not at all.

    I think to treat the Bible as a history or science book is disrespectful and degrades the nature of the Bible as a great book of Truth.

    So, perhaps that's where your blind spot is: In presuming that I'm starting with the same human presumptions that you hold.

    Regardless, again, it has been clearly demonstrated that your claims are factually mistaken.

    Will you man up and admit your error and move on?

    Or will you double down on the error and cling to factual errors in spite of reality?

    Ball's in your court.


    1. No Dan, you don't say those things outright because you are a liar and liars lie. You spin it. Luke included Adam and Seth in a literal genealogy. That means Luke thought Adam and Seth were as real as David and the others. YOU think Luke was wrong. YOU say we have no idea what God's opinion was of including Luke in his genealogy. If genealogies are not intended to be taken as literal birth records, they are useless.

      I wonder what no literal fall means. No literal redemption? No literal eternal life? No literal sin?

      Your spin is nonsense Dan. Your treatment of OT history is philosophically and biblically unjustified and unjustifiable. I have said that repeatedly. Your belief that the Old Testament is written with the same intent Greek mythology is arbitrary and unjustified.

    2. I have repeated accused you of not allowing the Bible to be what it claims itself to be. You treat the Bible like it is just like any other book from the ANE and then impose your philosophical presuppositions on it, throwing out what you don't like and keeping what you do.


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