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Why Christianity Needs Heretics

Christianity needs heretics. And, anyone who knows anything about Christian history, knows this religion, as indeed all religions, has had its share of them. In fact, virtually every denomination was birthed out of what was labeled heresy by the “orthodox” at that time.

I got to thinking about this today after reading John S. Spong’s response to a question someone sent him. As you will see below, and perhaps agree, Spong is on to something here very important here and worthy of every consideration…

Why Christianity Needs “Heretics”

“The problem with historic Christianity,” writes Bishop John S. Spong “is that in the 4th century, the church decided to adopt creeds. Creeds assume that the truth has been and can be captured in words. Once that decision is made, the world is divided into true believers and heretics. The fight between the two is never edifying.

Why Christianity Needs "Heretics"

Why Christianity Needs “Heretics”

Why Christianity Needs “Heretics”

“It is the heretics who always counter the orthodoxy of the past and open believers to new possibilities in the future. The church needs more heretics and we need to listen to them with openness rather than with fear and negativity. The fact is that yesterday’s heresy has a way of becoming tomorrow’s orthodoxy, and the pattern has been repeated time and again. Reformation never comes from the institutional center; it always rises from the fringes. Heresy is like the hammer, orthodoxy is like the anvil. Without the pounding of the hammer, the anvil will become dead, set and unchanging. Without the anvil of tradition on which to pound, the hammer would ultimately become destructive.

Why Christianity Needs “Heretics”

“No one can be both hammer and anvil, but every hammer needs an anvil and every anvil needs a hammer. It is the relationship between the two that is essential to the truth, and the search for truth is, I believe, the essence of Christianity. It is too bad that rarely in the life of the church do hammers and anvils appreciate each other.”

Sorely needed words, if you ask me, especially at a time when the Church is going through unprecedented change. Cannot both be valued for the contribution they make?

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2 Responses to Why Christianity Needs Heretics

  1. sandra nelms June 3, 2016 at 5:06 PM #

    Steve, I usually agree with all your posts ect, but I have to tellyou I was blind sited about the comments about America not needed to be made great again.Not suprised you dont like Trump, just suprised you think America is any where near not needing some serious repair work. Not saying Trump could do it. Maybe ,msybe not. Just saying.

    • Dr. Steve McSwain June 23, 2016 at 9:52 AM #

      Oh, I am sure you have missed my point or I, and this is more likely, did not make it clear. Yes, yes, there is much that needs to be different and to change in America. And, I am not anti-Trump and pro-Hilary. Frankly, I do not feel hopeful about things with either candidate. I’m in a dilemma. America is, too. Thank you Sandra Nelms for your comments.

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