Monday, June 1, 2009

Are Heresies a Blessing....?

There is one verse, above many others, that I think that I struggle with the most:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Since I believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, I have to submit and believe all that is included within it. That does not mean that I / we will not struggle with some of the teachings that it contains. I believe it, yes, but I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it.

What about heresies? Is there an occasion to be happy about heresies that plagued the Church of God? While doing some research on the development of doctrine, I came across two quotes by St. Augustine (born 354 A.D.) that shows that there is an occasion to be happy about heresies:

For while the hot restlessness of heretics stirs questions about many articles of the Catholic faith, the necessity of defending them forces us both to investigate them more accurately, to understand them more clearly, and to proclaim them more earnestly; and the question mooted by an adversary becomes the occasion of instruction. (St. Augustine, City of God Book 16 Ch 2)

Seems as though St. Augustine had the right frame of mind when considering heresies. They are opportunities for instruction - however those opportunities are not just limited to the heretics themselves, but also to the believer.

There have been plenty of heresies throughout the history of the Church. Each one of them has forced the Church to dig deeper and deeper into the teachings of Christ. Using both Scripture and Sacred Tradition (and most importantly, guided by the Holy Spirit into all areas of truth John 16:13), they have formally declared the difference between an article of faith and a departure from that faith. What is in complete alignment of the teachings of faith, and what is outside of it.

Augustine also writes:

For many things lay hid in the Scriptures: and when heretics had been cut off, with questions they troubled the Church of God: then those things were opened which lay hid, and the will of God was understood. (St. Augustine, Exposition of Psalm 55, Chapter 21)

Treasures of Scripture which lay hid, are opened up when challenges that trouble the Church of God come about. I guess that is just like God - to have a good thing, a blessing, come out of an unfortunate heretical situation.

God bless...


Willison said...

No. Heresies are not a blessing, but the Bible is right.

A blessing is something God gives us for our good. God does not send people to spread false ideas about him. God does not give us confusion. God does NOT give us heresy.

However the verse you quoted says that God can make all things work for good - and he does do that. God frequently brings good out of the bad of a heresy. However, that is very different than it being a blessing.

Carlus Henry said...


Great distinction.....

While heresies themselves are not blessings, there are blessings that come out from it.

Makes sense....