Tertullian Revisited: Chapter 2 – Heresy is a Virus that Attacks the Church in Every Generation

Chapter 2: Heresy is a Virus that Attacks the Church from Within.


Heresy’s existence in the church is not a cause for alarm, but of pity. Just like a computer virus, the heretic has been contaminated with bad theology and wayward faith. He or she has supplanted humility with pride, faith with arrogance, and belief with obstinacy. The heretic believes that he or she is expressing their freedom and free will. The trouble is this: they become ensnared by their own folly; they become captive to their own confused hearts.


Heresy’s power lies in its ability to intrigue the dilapidated soul into thinking it has discovered a mysterious secret. It entwines the spirit by seducing thought, suppressing doubt, and casting God aside. All answers to life’s mysteries are found from within and each time a spiritual solution is uncovered, Christ is diminished whilst the heretic is glorified. It is a pleasant process of self-idolization and personal enlightenment. The soul is hypnotized by the merest flicker of light from within. The utter grandeur of God is forgotten and the obsession to fuel the heretical spirit with spiritual self-devotion is no longer a temptation. The heretic, therefore, cannibalizes his or her own spirit, not realizing that he or she is emptying their precious soul.


Christian heresy, if there is such a thing, is not to be admired nor accepted. Its power to deceive is subtle and over the years a gradual loss of traditional Gospel values gives way to a flood of inconsistent standards and self-deceptive doctrine. To guard against it, the Christian believer needs to daily bathe his or her spirit in prayer, meditation, thanksgiving, and supplication. Surrendering to God’s authority and reminding oneself of being a creature, guards against a multitude of heresies and protects the believer from wandering off the true path.

Curiosity and a morbid fascination with heresy, disrespect for boundaries and an over indulgent self can lead one down the path to heresy. What begins as an intriguing journey ends up in an entangled wilderness of abandoned faith and lost hope. The heretic deludes her or himself that everyone else is wrong and that they are ultimately right, forgetting that the Only One who is completely right is God.

To counter heresy, the believer has to avoid its charms. All heresies begin with a kernel of truth that becomes warped and worms its way into the heart and soul of a spiritually shallow person. Most heretics are unaware that they are toying with heresy or that their spirits are endangered. They spurn all help to set them on the right path and end up down a blind alley. What begins as a journey to discover the secret of truth and light becomes a pathway to self-delusion and an inward darkness of the soul.

Heresies have no power of their own. Like the demons of the past, they are only empowered by what credence or acceptance we give to them. Superficiality, superstition, and slothfulness are key ingredients in perpetuating heretical myths, theories, and doctrine. Short cut theology and cultic behavior attract infantile spirits and shallow souls.

Heresies abound where dogmatic confrontation is avoided. Heresies slowly smother traditional values by displacing long held components of the Gospels and Christian beliefs. Heretics bully people into adopting their ways and attack the Church in order to create disorder. A Church divided is easily invaded. A Church that is weary is easily won over.


Heresy worms its way into the Church through the weakest walls and over broken boundaries. The Church must ever be vigilant in every generation, for without having sentinels, the sacred will be usurped, faith will be depleted, and the people will be dispersed. 


About stushie

I'm originally from Scotland and have been a Presbyterian pastor for over twenty years. I live in Knoxville, TN. I enjoy art as a means of therapy, but also as a creative way to strengthen my spiritual connection to God.
This entry was posted in Christian blogs, Christianity, defending the faith, faith, faith in the Church, Gospel, Gospel values, heresy, heresy in the Church, Religion, Tertullian. Bookmark the permalink.

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