Once my good friend and brother in the Lord affectionately referred to me as “The Heresy Hunter.” I laughed, but it made me stop and think. For several years I had been confronting teachers, preachers, and Christians for any theological error I could find. I addressed their errors through articles, social media posts, and podcasts. But when my friend gave me this label, I was taken back a bit.
Before I go on, there are a couple of things I should say. First, there are good apologists out there that call out heretical theology and for good reason. Second, making such defenses for the faith can be a lonely job. I was once told to speak the truth but not to read the comments. It was true. Everyone has an opinion and for every person that agrees with you, two people will tell you-you’re a spawn of Satan. Ahh, how some Christians “love” each other.
What Are We Called To?
This brings me to my point. I think that addressing bad theology is important. Churches need to be a place where biblical theology is taught and the Gospel is preached. However, sometimes believers go beyond defending the foundational elements of our faith and let theological minutia divide the body. Jesus tells us that the second greatest command is to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:39), yet so often we are ready to divide over disagreements and petty feuds while using theology as an excuse. This is not what the Lord wanted for us. When praying to the Father before His death, Jesus asks:
Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
Christ wants us to be one. He wants us to love each other, forgive each other and bear one another’s burdens. Paul writes in Eph. 4:31-32:
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Being a Christian means putting up with and loving those whom we don’t really like. It means forgiving before a person has asked for forgiveness. As Lacacia wrote so eloquently in her post on digital communities:
“Being in community is sticky, it’s hard and you are commanded to love people whom you may not be able to stand.”
Love Over Religious Pride
It wasn’t long after my friend titled me the “Heresy Hunter” that I heard a sermon by Timothy Keller (link below). The sermon itself was on the book of Esther and the wonderful story therein. What stuck with me about this sermon was Keller’s description of spiritual and religious pride. I believe Keller’s words can speak to all of us, so I encourage you to listen to the entire teaching, but the message that I got out of it was that I should not be searching for heresy in my brothers and sisters. Certainly, foundational theology must be upheld but even this should come from a place of love.
Our job is to first love the Lord and serve Him completely, our second job is to serve, forgive, listen, be there, pray for and love each other. This can only be done when we consider others as more important than ourselves and begin to love first before we pick up the theological baseball bat and start swinging.
Listen to “The Man the King Delights to Honor” by Timothy Keller