Heresy is false doctrine which is believed to be true and causes division in a body of people. Heresy is that belief which causes division and disunity.
Heresy is not merely a misunderstanding of some religious tenet, nor even the teaching of such a misunderstanding. Heresy is that false doctrine which is coupled with a stubborn refusal to be corrected by the Word and the Holy Spirit. Heresy is the end result of a choice to believe and hold fast to false teaching. Such a person, who refuses to be corrected by the truth, makes himself a heretic.
Strongs Exhaustive Concordance: NT:139 GREEK hairesis (hah'-ee-res-is); from NT:138; properly, a choice, i.e. (specially) a party or (abstractly) disunion: KJV - heresy [which is the Greek word itself], sect.
A heretic is a person who is schismatic. A heretic is a person who causes schisms by believing and teaching false doctrine in spite of the Holy Ghost counsel which God has been faithful to send his way.
8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
An effort should be made, at least twice, to help a heretic understand that he has been deceived by Satan’s lies and that what he has come to believe is false and causing discord among the members of the church. To cut a heretic off from the fellowship of the church without any effort to recover him from his snare, is unjust and unmerciful. To excommunicate a person for some perceived error without a scriptural effort to reconcile that person is arrogance and pride.
But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
The religious Jews, who were themselves caught up in heresies, called the Christians a sect and accused them of teaching heresy. The Christians were not submitting to the Jewish leaders because the Jewish leaders were guilty of sin and did not teach the way of truth properly. Each person is individually responsible for knowing whether or not he has accepted some false doctrine or heresy. There are many heretics in the religious world. This is the reason for so much division among the many sects claiming to be Christian.
Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
The Sadducees were a religious sect of the Jews. They did not believe in the resurrection of the body to an eternal reward. The Sadducees taught people that there was no resurrection of the body unto eternal life. There were many other beliefs which were the customs and traditions of their elders and which were contrary to righteousness and the law and the prophets.
There are many people in our world today, some of which claim to be Christians, who do not believe in an eternal place of punishment called Hell. It is heresy to teach that God is love and our spirits are part of His loving Spirit and someday we will be gathered back to His Spirit because no part of Himself can ever be really lost. God is love. And, we will all come before Him at the great judgment; however, if we have sinned and rebelled against His commandments, we will be punishment with an everlasting fiery punishment.
How could any person be in danger of damnation if their spirit and soul could not possible be separated from God the Father?
Jesus said in Matthew 5:22, “whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Again, Jesus said in Mark 3:29, “But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:”
Unless a heretic see the error of his beliefs and submit to the correction which comes from the Holy Spirit, he is in danger of eternal damnation.
But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
The Pharisees were a religious sect of the Jews. They were a very morally strict sect and many of them were truly children of God. However, there were many Pharisees who were self-righteous and proud knowing not that they were guilty of heresy. The Pharisees taught the importance of keeping the Law of Moses. This was fine until the “Lawgiver, Jesus Christ” came and brought in a new and better covenant.
The Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead; but, they also believed that their customs and traditions were just as important as the commandments of God. These religious Jews abused their authority over the people and made rules to ensure their control of the people. They were full of envy when Jesus came teaching forgiveness, mercy and righteousness. They taught some things and left other more important matters undone.
For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:
These religious Jews rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They refused to be corrected. They refused to walk in the light which Jesus brought. They were full of envy against Jesus and rejected the true doctrines which He taught to all the people.
4 My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
5 Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers:
Paul was part of a religious sect until his conversion on the road to Damascus. When Paul accepted the truth of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the Way of Truth, he was charged with being a part of some new sect. Those Pharisees who were in a sect accused Paul of being in a sect. This is common for people to do the same thing today.
22 But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.
23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.
24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.
25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,
26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:
27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.
29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.
30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,
31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
Some people, in Paul’s day, called the Way of Truth a sect. Some people today will accuse those who hold to the truth of teaching heresy. You must be sure that what you call truth is truth and what you call heresy is truly heresy. If you call truth heresy, you will be in trouble. If you call heresy truth, you will be in trouble.
1 Corinthians 11:18-22
18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.
21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
Heresies always cause division. Whatever causes division is heresy. Truth will not cause division. People who reject the truth cause division.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Heresies produce sin because it is a sinful condition of pride or arrogance or covetousness which cause a person to hold to something which is unrighteous and untruthful.
2 Peter 2:1-3
2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways [morally lawless and sexually unrestrained]; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
This is the judgment of God against heresies and heretics. They are damnable and they will bring certain destruction.
Satan is not opposed to someone being religious. Satan does not want you to be walking in the light of truth which Jesus brings. Some people are bound by the false doctrines which they have believed because they are afraid to examine their beliefs. They are afraid to think or hear anything which is different from what they have been taught. We must not be careless in our examination; however, we must not be afraid to examine and prove what we believe by the evidence and witness of the Word and the Spirit.
Is there any heresy in the things you believe?
Are you willing to prove all things?
The truth will withstand close examination.
Don’t be on the side of heresy when Jesus comes.
We will be judged by the book of life, not some man’s doctrine or custom.