How can I spot heresy?
People call each other heretics all the time. Some ask what I think heresy is — what I think is not important, however I believe we can find the answer in Scripture. I see the doctrine of Calvinism, Arminianism and Lordship doctrine as all heresies.
Preaching another gospel – that would include adding anything other than the correct meaning of repentance (change mind) and believing on Christ dying for our sins, being buried and risen again, proving He is God because He has the power over sin, death, and took His life back up again. Gal 1:6-9 tells us those who preach another gospel are accursed. That would include ‘repent from sins’, ‘commit your life to Christ’, ‘surrender all’, ‘make Jesus Lord of your life’ (clue: He is Lord of all), ‘getting water baptized’ (you should after you believe), or any of those things that are added TO the gospel as a requirement to be saved. Turning from sins is a good thing for believers to do, do not get me wrong. But it is a work, and you CANNOT add any works to the gospel. Repent from dead works if you have.
Preaching another Jesus – (2 Cor 11:3-4) Jesus is Deity, He is the Son of God, and He is God. We cannot believe in a Jesus who is not who He said He is.
And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. John 8:23-24
Preaching pre-regeneration (being born again) before you are able to believe. We do not see anywhere in the Word where the Holy Spirit seals or baptizes someone into the church BEFORE they are saved. This is also some explaining that Eph 2:8-9 teaches the ‘gift of faith’. This is attacking the Word of God and the condition the Word gives us to be saved. BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Order is clearly shown in the Scripture.
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, >>>ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. Eph 1:13
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) John 7:37-39
Adding to or taking away from the gospel or the Word.
As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Gal 1:9
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. Prov 30:5-6
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. Rev 22:17-19
Preaching you can KNOW you are saved by your works or performance. The Word tells us we can know because of God’s Testimony (His Word) because of what is written, not because we have proven it to ourselves (we can live it out in front of others by our testimony), but we are justified BY faith NOT by works. So this can only be heresy.
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 1 John 5:13
The Bible tells us we can know these things based on His Word, His testimony of His Son. Any teacher, preacher, pastor that teaches you that you must judge your performance, or ‘examine yourself to see if you are in the faith’ (incorrectly using 2 Cor 13:5), is deceived, or worse, a heretic.*
Let’s discuss Performance: Tom Stegall mentions this in his book, “Must Faith Endure for Salvation to be sure”.
“The Bible actually teaches that it is possible for one who is eternally saved by God’s grace to:
1) Commit idolatry and apostasy (1 Kgs. 11:1-10)
2) Believe only for a while (Luke 8:13)
3) Not continue in the Word of Christ (Jn. 8:31)
4) Not abide in Christ (John 15:1-8)
5) Become disqualified in the race of the Christian life (1 Cor. 9:24-27)
6) Resist God’s chastening and correcting to the point of physical death (1 Cor. 11:30-32)
7) Stray from the faith (1 Timothy 1:5-6)
8) Shipwreck faith (1 Timothy 1:18-20)
9) Fall away from the faith (1 Timothy 4:1-3)
10) Deny the faith (1 Timothy 5:8)
11) Cast off initial faith and follow Satan (1 Timothy 5:12-15)
12) Stray from the faith by loving money (1 Timothy 6:9-10)
13) Stray from the faith by professing false doctrine (1 Timothy 6:20-21)
14) Deny Christ and be faithless (2 Timothy 2:11-13)
15) Have faith overthrown (2 Timothy 2:14-18)
It seems pretty clear to me, eternally saved believers, OT saints and members of the church can have poor performance.
It’s Heresy if they preach that you can lose your salvation, that eternal life is not everlasting.
Most Arminian churches teach you can at least ‘walk away’ by not understanding context. Scripture does not contradict Scripture.
Calvinism, Lordship, Arminianism are kingdom’s that Satan has set up well. They attack all the things Satan has attacked from the beginning.
1) The Word of God – yea hath God said? (Gen 3:1)
2) The Gospel preached to Abraham – (Gal 3:8, Gen 12:3; 15:6) – did God really mean all?
3) The condition of believing – Faith for justification. This they set up as a gift, so you can NEVER know if you REALLY have it – thus, minds have been corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor 11:3-4). They try to say faith is a work otherwise, or ‘meritorious’. Hogwash. The Bible is clear, faith is NOT a work (Rom 4:5)
4) Eternal security – (oh yes, I know they claim it), but not really. Preservation becomes their perseverance as proof they were REALLY one of the elect, that they REALLY were regenerated.
5) Assurance – Assurance comes by persevering, not by believing God’s testimony of His Son. Assurance should never be by anything except believing what God has written.
6) It attacks the GOSPEL. The Gospel is the power of God UNTO salvation (Rom 1:16-17; 1 Cor 1:17-18). In Calvinism, being pre-regenerated in order to believe (or gifted faith) is the power of God unto salvation.
7) The Knowledge of God: These doctrines exalt itself against the knowledge of God . Promoting men’s teachings and quotes over God’s Word, and thinks of men beyond what is WRITTEN. (2 Cor 10:5; 1 Cor 4:6).
8) They attack the Liberty we have in Christ: These doctrines takes men’s eyes off of God, and back unto themselves, bewitching them. What has begun in the Spirit, we cannot finish in the flesh.
Here are some things we can KNOW.
If we have BELIEVED the gospel for ourselves, Jesus Christ crucified for our sin, in our place, buried and risen again, proving He is God, and we believe that is the ONLY WAY to be saved. We have believed God’s testimony of His Son and THAT is the only way to judge your salvation. NOT by performance. Spend some time with the Lord in His Word. He told us to abide in Him (the Vine) and abide in His Word. Get some Mary time or feet time with Jesus (Luke 10:38-42)
If you are not sure if you have believed the simple gospel, click here.
When we Believe, here are a few things that happen to us.
We are given the Free Gift of Eternal Life. Rom 6:23
We are Reconciled to the Father. 2 Cor 5:18-20; Col 2:14-17
Born Again, Begat by the Word, Sealed by the Spirit AFTER we heard and believed the Gospel. James 1:18, 1 Pet 1:23
We are washed in His blood. Rev 1:5
Our Conscience is purged, cleansed. Heb 10:22
Saved to the Uttermost. Heb 7:25
Baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ. 1 Cor 12:13, Eph 4:4-6
Permanently Indwelt and sealed by the Spirit until the day of redemption. Rom 8:9; Gal 4:6; Eph 3:17; Col 1:27
We are made one flesh with Christ. Eph 1:23, 5:30; 1 Cor 12:27
Under no condemnation. John 3:18, 36; Romans 8:1
We are not under wrath. 1 Thess 5:8
Passed from death unto life. John 5:24 — Made alive. Eph 2:1; 1 Pet 3:18
Perfected forever. Heb 10:10,14
Confirmed blameless to the end. 1 Cor 1:8
Anointed and taught by the Spirit. 2 Cor 1:21; 1 John 1:27
Translated into the Kingdom of His dear Son. Col 1:13
Accepted in the Beloved. Eph 1:6
Given an inheritance undefiled and reserved in heaven for us. 1 Pet 1:4; Heb 9:15
*Obviously this list is not even close to all inclusive of ‘Christian’ heresies, just some within the ‘mainstream’ Christian church.