It should be clear to the one who is familiar with Scripture and has discernment that those descriptions are quite appropriate the darker the days come. They are in fact, necessary, in order to be clear where we stand in this dark age of "Christianity".
How like Satan to stand in the way in the midst of "Christianity" to deflect the true, biblical, and appropriate labels of such spiritual harlotry, because then more Christians will be seduced into that same error as they defend their false teacher who could never apostatize nor lead them into error.
The often used threat of "be careful to not be so hasty in using the term 'heretic' " is merely cowardice and cover for a false teacher, and frankly is exactly what the Word of Faith Charismatics use to deflect any challenge or rejection of the "anointed" leaders of "God". There is no difference.
Time to man up folks. Call a spade a spade. Don't hesitate in calling a false teacher as such, when he is tested by Scripture and found to be such. We (who have received the love of the truth, those who are discerning because we love and know the Word and the God of the Word) need to press back on to those who would silence the truth by telling us we're irrational, emotional, overly critical, jumping to far or to fast and that we need to give more time to prove if Dr. So and So is a heretic or not. We need to press back when people act as if we don't know what we're talking about regarding their idol who holds a doctorate or a pastorship or both. As if we don't have the Holy Spirit--or perhaps not as much of the Spirit---as their idol supposedly does (sound like the Charismatics? It should--that's the same worldview.)
We don't have "more" time. That time is NOW. Such teachers like Piper, Keller, Driscoll, Graham, Chandler, Francis Chan, Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, Pricilla Shirer, etc., and groups/conferences such as T4G, The Gospel Coalition, Passion Conference, Desiring "God", etc. have proven they are teaching against biblical doctrine and practice accordingly, however subtlely or not so subtlely. What more do they need?
What the defenders of these men and others like them are actually doing is buying their idol more time to prove us wrong.
But we're right. And not for the sake of being right. We're right because we KNOW the Word and we KNOW its Author (Heb.5:14) . We KNOW the Great Shepherd's voice (John 10). These false teachers are voices we do not know because they are not of HIM. Therefore we do not listen to them.
To make us the ones who need to prove our point is to elevate a false teacher to a level that is itself false. And just how much evidence will it take to satisfy a skeptic who won't let their idol go?
A friend of mine has written on the idol of graciousness and I can't wait for him to do more on this topic. Because this idol, and its battle tactic of threats to be careful and not rush into using the term "heretic" too hastily is wrong and sinful. It presumes that 1) we don't know a heretic or false teaching when we see one, and 2) that we take the things of God in a trivial or fleshly manner. Just the opposite is true.
Because we take the things of God SERIOUSLY we are compelled to evaluate all teachers by the Word and reject them which are false and are unfaithful to the Truth. It is precisely because we believe Scripture and pursue to live by it that we must reject entire movements, churches, ministries, and men who fail the test of Scripture. We of all people know the seriousness of what heresy is, usually because we had at one time be deceived ourselves, but thanks to the mercy of God, He rescued us out of it and now we hold on to the Truth all the more as we continue to study and hold on to the Scripture. Moreover, it is because of the love OF the truth that we also see the seriousness of anyone claiming to be a pastor,teacher,elder, theologian. As times grow darker there are, contrary to James 3, a plethora of men (and women!) who claim to be teachers of Scripture, which ought not to be. Truly there are many who claim a kind of godliness (which is of the flesh and that is always seen over time) but deny the power thereof. As there are an increasing number of teachers, so there is an increasing amount of error. We know from 2 Thes. 2 that there will indeed be a great deception that God will bring upon those who do not have a LOVE of the Truth. If it was bad in the days of John when he wrote Revelation, think of how much worse it is now as we get closer to the return of Christ Jesus!
God will not allow His name nor His Word to be mocked by those who "rise up among you" that deceive the sheep. Entire chapters and books in Scripture are devoted to this very issue. If it is that important to God--that SERIOUS to God---then why are so many "learned" men so hesitant to see the truth that there are currently among them, false teachers and those who welcome false teachers? It is these "learned" men particularly who are the impediment of true biblical love and discernment. They have a love for their idol of their favorite man (scholar, theologian,pastor, teacher, conference speaker) instead of a love of the Truth and the souls of those being led right into heresy itself. After all, they are so discerning, educated, and wise that it is impossible for them or their idol to lead anyone into error. They would surely know a wolf when they saw one, since they are more educated!
Woe to them--not just the heretics, but those through whom the heretics get inside the church doors.
Act 20:27 "For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.
Act 20:28 "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
Act 20:29 "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
Act 20:30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.
Act 20:31 "Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.
2Jn 1:9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.
Are these sobering passages in everyone's Bible? Are they not true? Are they not to be believed AND obeyed?
There is far, far, more heresies and heretics than most "Evangelicals" are willing to admit. They act and think as if heretics are few and far between. Such people are not discerning or worse, have redefined what truth and error is. They are the reason why the wolves have entered into the sheep pen.
As Thomas Brooks once wrote:
"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel
of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in
the seat of mockers." Psalm 1:1
From G138; properly a choice, that is, (specifically) a party or (abstractly) disunion. (“heresy” is the Greek word itself.)
From the same as G140; a schismatic. (“heretic” is the Greek word itself.)
Webster's 1828 Dictionary:
1. A person under any religion, but particularly the christian, who holds and teaches opinions repugnant to the established faith, or that which is made the standard of orthodoxy. In strictness, among christians, a person who holds and avows religious opinions contrary to the doctrines of Scripture, the only rule of faith and practice.
2. Any one who maintains erroneous opinions.