How do you determine whether someone is in heresy or not?

So I’m curious how do you determine whether or not someone is in heresy by bible alone? You have some denominations that reject trinity,baptismal regeneration and stuff like that.

Quite easily, if they claim to be Christian yet do not profess to be Catholic, or if they are Catholic but reject any doctrine or dogma of the church then they are heretics.

Catholicism states that it is the one true faith, so all other creeds must be entirely false or at the very least in some degree of error.

I don’t think I’d frame it in quite that way of making myself the judge of calling someone else a heretic. :wink:

But with regards to supporting Church teaching with Scripture, that’s going to look a little different for each teaching. Every teaching can be supported by Scripture, but not every teaching is explicitly present in Scripture. If you try to force-fit everything into being “proven” by Scripture verses, you’re really letting the non-Catholic lead the conversation. It probably won’t turn out the way you want it to.

count me in, I guess

As you know, the word heretic simply derives from the Greek for “one who chooses”. Heretics are those who pick and choose what to believe rather than professing and believing all the Church proposes for belief.

We aren’t to pronounce on the eternal state of any individual soul (we lack the knowledge to do so), but we certainly can identify many people as “those who choose for themselves” (i.e. as “heretics”) without too much difficulty. I’m not sure I’d be so reticent to call a spade a spade.

That being said, I’d probably use a different, less inflammatory term, “dissident” or “heterodox” come to mind, rather than “heretic”, but they all carry the same meaning. Calling Nancy Pelosi a “dissenter” for her stance on abortion really isn’t much different from calling her a “heretic.”

Good points and I agree. My point was just that I would prefer to ask “How can I support this Catholic teaching from Scripture?” rather than “How do I prove the person I’m arguing with is a heretic?” :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m not sure who you are directing this to; Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, or others.
So, from a Lutheran perspective,

J. Gerhard,* Loci theologici, XIII, pp. 222–223: “For one to be properly called a heretic, it is required (1) that he be a person received by the Sacrament of Baptism into the visible church; (2) that he err in faith …; (3) that the error conflict directly with the very foundation of faith; (4) that to the error be added malice and obstinacy, in which he stubbornly defends his error, though repeatedly admonished; (5) that he stir up dissensions and scandals in the church and rend its unity.

Similarly,

C. F. W. Walther* summarized the teaching of Luther and the Luth. dogmaticians: A heretic (1) errs in a fundamental article; (2) brings about divisions; (3) continues in his perverse ways despite repeated admonitions and contrary to his own better knowledge and conscience.

cyclopedia.lcms.org/display.asp?t1=H&word=HERESY

I’m not sure what you mean you say “by Bible alone”, as within Lutheranism, from what Gerhard and Walther both imply, the Church makes that decision. The Church brings up not only scripture but also doctrine, and follows up with repeated admonitions.

Jon

The church makes the call not the bible. The church uses the bible to determine who is a heretic.

What if someone admits they are one–that would be rather unique, wouldn’t it?

1Cor 8:6 “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”

,baptismal regeneration

(to the unbaptized thief) Luke 23:43 “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

and stuff like that.

Everyone is a heretic to a Roman Catholic unless they are a Roman Catholic. People like me just have to get used to it. Today heresy is not a primarily a biblical term, but a political church term to emphasize the superiority of one’s own political hierarchy. Thus the only way that a Roman Catholic can be deemed a heretic is by challenging and rebelling against the hierarchy and probably the same applies to Eastern Orthodoxy.

In relation to biblical heterodoxy, I personally would include in the term ‘heretic’ Arians like JWs, that do not believe that the Word was God, anyone that rejects the divine order in 1 Cor 11;3, legalists of which there are still many today that rely on obedience to human law and not faith, antinomians (rejectors of the moral law) such as Quakers and some unitarians and many cults, univeralists that don’t believe in the concept of hell, Mormons who accept many bizarre doctrines including spiritual marriage and baptism for the dead, and were hardly Christian at all in former years (although perhaps some are on the way to being Christian these days with the dumbing down of some of their more preposterous absurdities), and anyone who rejects the Old Testament as unworthy of modern society (which is effectively Marcionism - i.e. the creation of two gods, a lesser god for the OT and a better one for the NT.

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Charles,

Let’s define terms. From the CCC, paragraph 289

Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it.

Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same;

apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith;

schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."

please show me where in the CCC The Church says this.

Today heresy is not a primarily a biblical term, but a political church term to emphasize the superiority of one’s own political hierarchy. Thus the only way that a Roman Catholic can be deemed a heretic is by challenging and rebelling against the hierarchy and probably the same applies to Eastern Orthodoxy.

yes there have been those that deny the truth of the apostolic faith and are called heretics. Has nothing to do with politics.

In relation to biblical heterodoxy, I personally would include in the term ‘heretic’ Arians like JWs, that do not believe that the Word was God, anyone that rejects the divine order in 1 Cor 11;3, legalists of which there are still many today that rely on obedience to human law and not faith, antinomians (rejectors of the moral law) such as Quakers and some unitarians and many cults, univeralists that don’t believe in the concept of hell, Mormons who accept many bizarre doctrines including spiritual marriage and baptism for the dead, and were hardly Christian at all in former years (although perhaps some are on the way to being Christian these days with the dumbing down of some of their more preposterous absurdities), and anyone who rejects the Old Testament as unworthy of modern society (which is effectively Marcionism - i.e. the creation of two gods, a lesser god for the OT and a better one for the NT.

if one does not have a valid baptism and does not believe in the Trinity, they would by apostates, not heretics.

PnP

Jon,

I am sure you can see the great irony here.

I know only the Council of Trent and that is what I go by. Lesser documents I trifle not with. It is perfectly clear from what is written therein, that everyone who does not accept the full Roman Catholic doctrine is a heretic. Starting with:

CANON XI.-If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema.

I suppose that in part it involves quibbling over the distinction in meaning between the words justification and salvation, but all the protestant doctrines that I know assert that justification and grace is the work of Christ to the exclusion of anything done by or through men. It is rather salvation that is wrought by the operation of grace consequent on the justification purchased by the blood of Christ.

Rom 5;9 “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
Eph 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith”
Titus 3;7 “That being justified by his grace”
Jn 1:17 “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

But perhaps a more divisive issue for all protestants involves the sacraments:

CANON I.-If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law were not all instituted by Jesus Christ, our Lord; or, that they are more, or less, than seven, to wit, Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Order, and Matrimony; or even that any one of these seven is not truly and properly a sacrament; let him be anathema.

Even John Calvin repudiated matrimony as a sacrament. But then there is the decree that the sacraments must be carried out according to the Roman rite,

CANON XIII.-If any one saith, that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church, wont to be used in the solemn [Page 56] administration of the sacraments, may be contemned, or without sin be omitted at pleasure by the ministers, or be changed, by every pastor of the churches, into other new ones; let him be anathema.

And now we come to the really unequivocal issue. If you don’t accept transubstantiation, you’re going to hell!!!

CANON I.-If any one denieth, that, in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ; but saith that He is only therein as in a sign, or in figure, or virtue; let him be anathema.

Well I could go on, but I hope you get my point.

yes there have been those that deny the truth of the apostolic faith and are called heretics. Has nothing to do with politics.

You mean, the Roman Catholic version of the apostolic faith, which Luther, Wyclif and others decried in opprobrious terms as being, for the most part, little more than legalisms.

if one does not have a valid baptism and does not believe in the Trinity, they would by apostates, not heretics.

I fail to understand your logic. By definition you can’t be an apostate until you’ve had a valid baptism. And the Trinity of the divine essence is nowhere contained in the bible, as the very concept of the divine essence is foreign to the bible. Even the Eastern Orthodox are beginning to see this.

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