Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Modern-Day "Heresies"

This past Sunday I taught the adult class I teach every week. Our subject people or groups of people who call themselves "Christian" but are, in fact, outside the Christian tradition. We focused mainly on Jehovah's Witnesses (Mormons were tabled until the next class in two weeks) but also discussed Oneness Pentecostals, Christadelphians, Unitarian Universalists, Benny Hinn, and a few others. Interestingly, like the Teacher in Ecclesiastes says, there's nothing new under the sun. Each of these groups or people are espousing theologies which were deemed as heterdox very early on in the church, whether Arianism, adoptionism, modalism, or the like. The only possible exception might be Benny Hinn and his belief (at least in one interview in 1990) that each person of the Trinity was comprised of three people, which is just idiosyncratic. Anyway, I find it noteworthy that people who consider themselves Christian today still hold some of the same views that have been frowned upon for over fifteen hundred years.

I wonder what this indicates about our Christian faith? Was it more heterdox than we had previously imagined? I don't think so, at least not to the degree that DeConick and Ehrman claim. Is some of what is within our Christian tradition simply hard to get our minds around, thus naturally leading to other theories that supposedly make more sense? This is more probable to me. When we way that Jesus was truly God and truly human, someone is going to call b.s. Same with the Trinity -- three persons one substance...right. But this should not cause us to shy away from the doctrines that have shaped Christianity from virtually the beginning. Instead it should lead us to find ways to communicate them that are as sensical as possible (note well the "as possible"). After all, if the God we worship can be explained by human logic and reason, would he be worthy of our worship?

3 comments:

Caron said...

Nope, nothing new under the sun...
You may like the "demo" on Justin Peters site... http://www.justinpeters.org

Justin spoke at my church and comes highly recommended by my pastor, Dr. John MacArthur.

J. Matthew Barnes said...

Thanks for the link and the comment! The Word of Faith movement was certainly part of what we talked about in Sunday School. Scary freaks.

Caron said...

:)