Due to some subjects that have come up in recent weeks in the Men’s Sunday School Class at Chenal Valley Baptist Church, I was just thinking about the evidence in our era that we are, indeed, living in what the New Testament refers to as “the last days.” One such evidence is what I call “The Hearsay of Heresy.”
The word “hearsay” refers to receiving unverified, unsubstantiated information from a person or source. It is important that we also note the definition of “heresy.” It is a belief or teaching that is at odds with what is accepted, especially when it is contrary to biblical doctrine or belief.
In this column, I will share quite a lot of Scripture because God’s Word is truth, and to battle heresy, we must depend upon the truth.
The Biblical Truth About Heresy in the Last Days
The apostle Paul wrote to his young protégé, Timothy: “The Spirit clearly says that in later time some will abandon the faith and following deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron” (I Tim. 4:1-2 NIV).
Some may say these heretics have always been around. That is true, but they will be more abundant as the time of Christ’s return approaches. We are living in a time when, wherever one turns, there is a “new” revelation from God as taught by those who contradict the Bible’s instruction.
Our world is inundated with false teachers. From television to radio, books and the internet, well-meaning believers fall prey to fine-sounding teaching that is far from the truth of God’s Word. Paul said to Timothy (and to pastors and teachers today): “If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather train yourself to be godly” (I Tim. 4:6-7).
Some of the Hearsay of Heresy
Many of the heresies being taught in these last days have lingered for decades. False teachings are abundant, including:
• Jesus is a way to Heaven, but He is not the only way;
• Salvation is not by faith alone, but by works and baptism;
• No one is truly saved unless he or she speaks in tongues;
• Jesus was not born of a virgin;
• Jesus didn’t actually die on the cross, He just soul slept;
• God doesn’t want Christians to be poor, so give to this ministry or that in order to become rich (the prosperity gospel); and
• Stories of the Old Testament are myths — there was no parting of the Red Sea, no Sodom and Gomorrah, no Noah and worldwide flood and no King David.
I could list many more, but my point is this — the hearsay of the heretics is unverified. It is attitude based on skepticism, doubt and the theory that such teachings are impossible. Some of the heresies I have mentioned are not just coffeeshop talk, they are being taught from church pulpits and seminary lecterns across the world. Should we be surprised? No! This is evidence that we are living in the very days Paul wrote about.
Here is something else to consider — what Paul said about these heretics: “If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain” (I Tim. 6:3-5). Such individuals are all over the airwaves. Our world is being infiltrated by heresy at every turn.
Standing Against Heresy
So, what do we do? We could throw up our hands and say, “It is what it is. We can’t do anything about it!” But that is not the instruction we believers get from the Word of God. Parents, pastors, Sunday School teachers, public school teachers, employers and employees in this day and time cannot be passive. Heretics are enemies of the cross and of the church. They must be exposed and resisted.
To the Romans, Paul wrote: “I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk they deceive the minds of naïve people” (Rom. 16:17-18).
The heart of the heretic is no good. He is influenced by the demons of the devil with the intent of keeping the believer from sharing the good news of Jesus Christ that He died for them, arose and is one day coming again. The heretic’s teaching is the discipleship of destruction. Matthew recorded what Jesus said about it: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them” (Matt. 7:15-16).
Christian, your stalwartness is essential. Put on the whole armor of God and pray for your fellow believers to do the same. We are in the last days, and there has never been a time when the Truth of God is more needed. May the Lord bless you as you live for Him.