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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sloppy Heretic

The book isn't brand new (published in August) but I ran across this troubling title again last week.

I hear some of you right now...

Troubling? Has he even read the book? Does he know that Burke is a good guy who makes a lot of terrific points in his book? Is he really going to give his opinion on a book he hasn't even read?

In short: Yes, I believe so. No, I have not. If true, that's great to know, but it doesn't change my concern? Yes.

Slightly longer version:

1. There is a huge line between a heretic and a perceived heretic. In chapter one, Burke states
Copernicus and Galileo are among the world’s most famous heretics.
He explains that because Copernicus believed the sun was the middle of the universe and not the earth, some labeled him a heretic. However, there is a big difference between actually being a heretic and being called a heretic. According to the Word of God (the real standard), I never want to be called a heretic. However, if a Jehovah's Witness, Mormon or even Catholic wants to label me heretical, as long as I'm accurate to the Word, I'm ok with that.

2. I'm sick of mocking hell. Perhaps I'm misreading the cover design but the words "heretic" and "eternity" accompanied with fire sends the impression that Burke is saying, "Call me a heretic. Say I'm going to burn in hell for my heresy. See if I care." Again, maybe I'm reading him wrong, but this has been the tenor of some I've read of those who question the reality of hell. But this is never the attitude of men calling the church back to Biblical doctrine. They are worried for those with the convential, religious belief (think Reformation) and call them to repent to escape the fires of hell. They don't minimize hell. They certainly don't flipantly declare they may be going there. There heart breaks for those who oppose them, for they believe that is their destiny.

3. Is this concept anywhere in the Word? I can make a case that we should be radical. I can even make a case that we should seem foolish. But I can't find anywhere that men should aim to be different. Men should aim to be true to the Scriptures and that will sometimes get them labeled are rebels, but there aim should never be to act different just for the sake of difference.

4. A heretic is an awful label. No one should strive for it. A heretic is not one who strays from tradition or holds a different biblical perspective on just any issue. A heretic is one who distorts and perverts the gospel, thus their doctrine does not lead to eternity. That's like writing a book to encourage evangelism to Jews and calling it "Be Antisemetic." What a horrible, gross idea! If I'm ever called a heretic, it's not something I want to celebrate, but mourn. First, I should stop to evaluate my teaching according to Scripture to see if that is true. Second, if I believe I am being accurate to the Word of God, I should mourn for the brother who called me a heretic. Either he misunderstands the word and is making an accusation he should regret, or he himself may be the heretic, for he cannot spot the truth. That conclusion shouldn't be one to celebrate.

Overall, I'm just sick of the church's obsession with shock-value. Do we not believe the Word of God presented accurately will pierce the hearts and souls of men? Instead, we have to pick shocking titles, abusing words, just so we can sell more copies.

I don't know much about this book, but if its contents are as sloppy as its title, I think I'll stay away.


  • At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    When I saw this title, I thought you were referring to me (I used the word heretic 3 times in my comments in your previous post).

    I hope I wasn't offensive in my perhaps "sloppy" use of the term.

  • At 8:57 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    no problem, mcduda.

    i wrote this article before your comments showed up on my email...no offense.

    it's great to have you back in the blogosphere.


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