A few days ago a friend of mine pointed me to an interesting article by Scott McKnight at Jesus Creed entitled â€œWhat is a 'heretic' anyway?â€. Scott offers three definitions of â€œhereticâ€, only one of which he feels is â€œjustifiableâ€. The timing of this article and our conversations here on Jason's blog seemed too perfect to pass up.
Does this â€œthingâ€ we are talking about, a revisiting of the message, a renewing of understanding and a reapplication of truth fall into this final category that Scott defines as: â€œanything that denies Nicea or Chalcedon, etc.â€.
Somewhat more of a coincidence was that a day before I read Scott's article, I was sitting and watching â€œCasanovaâ€ with my wife when I heard the following quote from one of the Inquisitors: â€œHeresy is an affront to the teachings of the church. It is a rebellion against our moires and our morals, more to the point ... heresy is whatever I say it is.â€. Mind you this is a Hollywood movie, so the definition is somewhat dramatic.
For some we are treading the sacred ground of â€œteachings of the churchâ€ and thus the discussion of heresy needs our loving attention. I believe those on all sides of this conversation need to revisit this definition, first to not too quickly judge those who are exploring change and second to understand where those opposing change may be coming from.