Tertullian revisited: Chapter 7 – Modern heresy is paganism revisited

Chapter 7: Heresy is paganism revisited. 

The world is wise in its own eyes. It has always chosen to be blinded by its own reason and to shut out God. The world is man’s attempt to build for himself a Garden of Eden. If he can shut out God, he thinks he can be happy; but all that he will become is isolated and deluded – in other words, man’s Eden becomes a living hell.

Man uses his mind to sever himself from God. He concocts words and makes mighty manuscripts to rid himself of God’s penetrating presence. Sadly, he forgets that God is both the Original Spirit and the Progenitor of the Living Word. No matter how excellently man crafts his words and creates his ideas, he can never separate himself from the One, True and Living God, for man’s existence and thought is dependent upon the benevolent sovereignty and favor of God.

Each generation produces its unholy band of heretics. Today’s world is not protected from the foolish prognostications of false prophets and deluded philosophers. As each century passes, the attempts of universalists and atheists to attack the Church become more puerile, belligerent, and bellicose. They attempt to lure the masses away from Church by talking of the death of God, the decline of Christianity, and the irrelevance of Christ. But this is the mere buzzing of flies and biting of gnats. Their personal philosophies will not outlive them by more than a few decades. The Church, however, will grow stronger each day until the promised end of Time.

Rational modern and post-modern men are both the same: existentialists who dream that their own generation is the finest and most able to pull apart the Church. They do not believe that the soul can be eternal and that death extinguishes everything. Were they to admit to the immortality of their souls, they would have to accept that a Higher Being exists. Were they to accept a Higher Being, then they would have to admit that their own reasoning is limited. Thus they opt to believe that the soul dies, but they cannot say how it decays unless the soul is actually the mind, in which case it dies with the brain, but where and when does the soul begin or end, they do not know.

Heretics deal with the same questions that the Church provides answers: why is there evil in the world? Why is it permitted by God? Where did Man originate? What is His purpose? What is the meaning of Life?

Rather than accept the Church’s teaching on these matters, the heretic pursues his own answers. He does not ask for discernment, but expects enlightenment. He does not seek God’s guidance, but believes he is following a godly path. He rejects the wisdom of the Church and the ancient wisdom of God; instead he embraces popular myths, superstitions, and philosophies in order to be embraced by the world in return. In other words, the heretic is no prophet; he is a populist.

Heretics are stimulated by debate and seek to glorify words and phrases, ideas and opinions that enhance their reputations. Modern heretics of prosperity gospel reject humility gospel and squander their talents on gaining gain and making more. Any who confront them are treated as idiots and any who contest their sincerity are vehemently attacked. The Christian who stands up to these enemies of the Church may experience hatred and venom, especially from those heretics who abide within the Church. 

Using sweet words and respected research, heretics maintain that their ideas and interpretations of scripture are the ones that current man should adopt. The past is treated as being non-essential and traditional history is meaningless. They seek to find the historical Christ, bleeding Him dry of His words and diminishing His ministry. They reinterpret scripture to fit their own lifestyle choices and brand Christ the Great Universalist, whose toleration and compassion knew no exclusivity. In other words, they reinvent the Gospel by becoming modern day Marcionites and Theological termites.

To the heretic, truth is no longer absolute and Christ’s words have no absolute meaning. Christ’s ministry is localized to those who believe Him in certain areas of the world. Salvation is found all over the earth in the purity of religious fervor. Whoever believes sincerely in what he or she sincerely believes is saved by their sincere desire to believe in their own god. This is not Gospel, for in Gospel Christ says “Believe in me and also in God.”

What is there that separates Christians from heretics? Both believe in truth: for the Christian, truth is found in Christ; for the heretic, truth is found inside himself.

Christianity is too simplistic for the heretic. He wants to rationalize, complicate, and complement his faith and uses his own mind to do so. He does not realize that he is idolizing his own insights, instead of Christ’s teachings. The Church’s role is to remain true to Christ: all others goals are incidental.To be possessed by Christ is to know His endearing and eternal love. To be possessed by heresy is to callously reject Christ’s embrace, and instead, to choose to be seduced by spiritual narcissism.

Our faith in Christ should be enough. If it isn’t, then we haven’t faith in Him, only in ourselves. 

About Stushie

I'm originally from Scotland and have been a Presbyterian pastor for over thirty 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 apologetics, Christian apologetics, Christian blogs, Christianity, defending the faith, faith, faith in the Church, God, Gospel, Gospel values, heresy, heresy in the Church, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Religion, Tertullian, Tertullian Revisited and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Tertullian revisited: Chapter 7 – Modern heresy is paganism revisited

  1. saul says:

    I find Christ’s teachings to be very simple: love your neighbor, don’t judge others, etc. I find church theology to be very complicated, three in one deities that start as just a father figure smiting everyone in sight in the old testament and evolving into a proselytizing holy spirit, only to go back to a murderous, world destroying, vengeance God in Revelations, torturing those who never even knew about Christianity for all of eternity, just for being born in the wrong place, according to His plan.

  2. stushie says:

    Saul, you use the term ‘complicated’ to describe what you feel is unacceptable, and yet you recognize some truths about God. Why do you run away from Him?

  3. Stuart Brady says:

    Greetings,

    I would like to introduce myself. My name is Stuart Brady and I have been a Roman Catholic all my life. I may be considered a Heretic because I accept the Scriptures but I also accept the Gospel of Saint Thomas as Truth. GoT is an apocrypha, considered to be the oldest and most accurate of Christ sayings.

    I still believe the Church in principle is right. The Church is “infallible” in the sense that while the men running it, Pope all the way down to Lay Persons, will error and Sin. The Church will suffer. However the Holy Spirit/ God in action will guide it to the more righteous/ Godly path. The Church is an institution of Man prescribed by Our Lord in the form of Man Christ. Yet with an understanding of GoT ,the episode of Christ giving Peter the Keys to the Kingdom makes more sense. In all truth sense the Kingdom has arrived. It is all around us and inside of us, quite literally anything gained on Earth is gained in the Kingdom and Vice Versa.

    My Understanding of GoT has risen my Spirituality from Faith to Knowledge. I know God exist because I see him at all times. When my spirit leaves this Earth, hopefully, it doesn’t go to some arbitrary Heaven. It rejoins the Father where all things are possible for all time. From the beginning to the End there are Infinite possibilities in the Kingdom/ Rejoining of the Father, which of course the Father is the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    Sin wrongs God because Sinful actions keep you from rejoining God/ entering the Kingdom. GoT has helped me understand why Sin is Sin. Actions such as Anger or impure thoughts always perplexed me. If I didn’t act on them why were they Sins. With the understanding that Sin keeps you chained to this realm, i.e. your soul doesn’t want to leave and refuses to rejoin God/ the All. Christ saying nothing Unclean may enter Heaven makes sense. God would not want anything unclean/ still holding on the the mortal plane to rejoin Him/the All.

    In all Truth I hope in time the Vatican will accept GoT as Cannon. I would not classify myself as a Gnostic because it is perceived as one possessing “secret” knowledge not available to everyone. I know this to be untrue but there are the other parts that are perceived to be Gnostic, i.e. God of Earth, God of the All etc.

    Until such time as the Vatican realizes that the Words of Christ, even with Gnostic redaction does not take away from the importance of the Church I will happily label myself as a Heretical Catholic.

    One last point the Church should embrace the Gospel because it even adds to the significance of the Eucharist in my view. The saying of the Lion eating the man becoming Human and the man eating a Lion having the Lion become Human. ( I know I got it backwards but I am paraphrasing.) Eating the Body and Drinking the Blood of the All in human form only helps bring you to oneness with the All.

    Looking forward to continuing with our journey to returning to the Light as Children of the Light,

    Stu “The Heretic” Brady

    Check out the website for more info on GoT

    http://home.epix.net/~miser17/Thomas.html

  4. stushie says:

    Thanks Stu for your candid comments. You are indeed following an heretical path. Perhaps you should read chapter 8 of Tertullian Revisited that I have just posted.

    Like all heretics, you are trying to be different and unique, following your own enlightened path. You are enticed with the novelty of GGoT and have succumbed to its charms.

    Service in the Kingdom requires servants who are willing to submit to the authority of the Scriptures. You, by your own frank admission, do not.

    I do not doubt your sincerity, but do remember this: you can be sincerely wrong.

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