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A daily dose of encouragement from David and Marilynn Chadwick. 

  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

by David Chadwick

We are wrapping up our week with one more heresy: Marcionism.

This heretical thinking became popular in the 2nd century. Marcion, an early Christian theologian, presumed that there is a difference between the God of anger and judgment in the Old Testament and the God of mercy and love revealed through Jesus in the New Testament.

Marcion drew up a canon of 11 books in the New Testament that included the four gospels and a few of Paul’s writings. He left out the entire Old Testament.

Eventually, this was labeled a heresy, a wrong teaching. Take note of any leader or pastor today who is trying to discount the veracity and the importance of the Old Testament as they are dancing with Marcionism.

In the Old Testament, one sees a God of anger and judgment, yes. But I would argue, and many others would as well, that a God of love, compassion, and forgiveness is displayed as well. Grace is woven into every part of the Old Testament and story after story gives whispers and glimpses of the coming King Jesus.

Similarly, in the New Testament, Jesus rules and reigns with a message of humility, forgiveness, love, grace, mercy and compassion. But he also warns of the reality of hell and of eternal judgment. Jesus gives us more info about hell than about heaven! God’s eventual judgment of this world is evident in most of the New Testament books.

God is the same God of the Old and New Testaments. And as I mentioned earlier, Jesus is found throughout all of Scripture. He is even seen physically in Old Testament, pre-incarnate theophanies as well as the New Testament Incarnation. This refutes one popular preacher who recently encouraged Christians to “unhitch” ourselves from the Old Testament. Take heed of such thinking! It is wrong and will lead you astray!

Strengthen yourselves in the Lord, my friends. Put your trust in him. See and understand the amazing storyline of the Bible, one common theme woven throughout all 66 books.

Learn the historical truths of both the key doctrines of the Christian faith as well as the heresies that lead people into deception. Develop strong theological muscles that can withstand any storm!

And always remember: Sound doctrine produces a sound mind and mental health.

  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

by David Chadwick

Understanding the heresies of the Christian faith strengthens our theological muscles. If you’ve spent any time at Moments of Hope Church lately, you’ve heard us talk about what we call the “Core 4”: Scripture, Theology, Wholeness, and Outreach.

These are 4 spiritual food groups, if you will, that we believe develop mature believers. Too much of one thing over another creates an unhealthy imbalance. Understanding heresies will help you to develop a strong theology.

Today’s heresy is Arianism. It’s probably the longest standing heresy. It was dealt with repeatedly over several centuries. Its name came from an Egyptian priest who introduced it in the 4th century.

The belief of Arianism is this – while Jesus was the son of God, he was not eternal, nor was he divine like the Father. Nor was he the same nature as God the Father.

So, who was Jesus to those who support this heresy? He was a holy man. A good moral philosopher. An interesting and insightful teacher. He was fully man, but not fully God.

See, what heresy does is that it allows the church to weigh false teaching against what has commonly been held by the church. Though a mystery, the Incarnation holds that Jesus was fully man and fully divine at the same time. Conceived by the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Remember Philippians 2:5-11 from yesterday? The same argument applies here. He suffered as a man, yet was fully God. He lived as a man, yet was fully God. This is the clear teaching in the Scripture. For example, look at Thomas when he finally saw the resurrected Jesus. He fell to his knees and worshiped him. Note that Jesus received the worship and didn’t correct him! Also bookmark John 1:1-2, John 1:14, Colossians 1:15-20 and so many other verses.

Don’t be deceived by teachings that have historically been labeled heretical. Build strong theological muscles that allow you to stand in faith in the midst of wrong thinking.

Always remember: Sound doctrine produces a sound mind!

  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

by David Chadwick

Heresies. They are the beliefs and opinions that are contrary to the Christian faith. As we move forward, let me first add how important it is to note that not every area of disagreement is a heresy.

Unfortunately, in my many years of pastoral ministry, I have seen many who deem things they are uncomfortable with as heretical. Dear friends, please be careful. Unless it’s a clearly outlined biblical and historical heresy, we should not toss this word around loosely.

With that said, let’s look at another one of the historical deviations from Biblical Christianity so we can learn more clearly what are considered true heresies.

Docetism. It is the belief that Jesus is not human. The Greek word “to seem” is the root of the word Docetism.

In this heretical thought, Jesus seemed human but is not. He did not have a real human body. It only appeared to be real. All of the suffering on the cross was not real. It only appeared to be real. So, according to this way of thinking, the crucifixion was an illusion of reality and Jesus, as a perfect spirit, only “seemed” to suffer and die. Don’t fall for this heresy! Its logic is no better than a sleight of hand trick.

Jesus was totally God and totally human at the same time (Philippians 2:5-11)! Both his body and his spirit were real. He was a flesh and blood person, conceived in a virgin’s womb. He walked this earth and chose to suffer just like us, as a demonstration of love! He is able to help us because he knows everything we experience (Hebrews 2:18). Plus, he had to be fully human, the second Adam, to pay the price for the forgiveness of our sin (Romans 5:12-19).

I find it interesting that Gnosticism promotes the separation of the spiritual and the material and Docetism encourages the separation of divinity and humanity. Oh how humankind loves extremes! But the profound message of the Gospel is found in the tension and mystery of extremes. A message that is profoundly material and mystically spiritual. A Savior who was fully God and fully man.

This is the Gospel that saved my life! I pray it has saved yours as well!

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