The Missing Middle…part 3

Someone once said, “Truth and heresy live next door.”  We often think that truth and heresy are polar opposites – and sometimes they are.  But more frequently the heresy results from taking a biblically revealed truth to what seems to be its logical conclusion.

For instance, 1 John 2:2 tells us about Christ’s death for our sins:

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Some have taken this verse to mean that Jesus’ death on the cross was not only sufficient for all but will be salvific for all. (i.e. that all people will in the end be saved.)  This is a logical conclusion based upon this one text.  If Jesus offered up His own body and blood as a payment to divine justice for all the sins of the world, and the Father was pleased to accept His payment, then all the people of the world are forgiven of their sins.  How could the Father punish a sinner for the sins that Jesus has already been punished for?

This is the heresy called “universalism.”  Universalists do not necessarily deny the pivotal role and place of Jesus in salvation.  But they remove the role and responsibility of people to respond to God in the process.

This essential response of men comes by hearing and believing the gospel:

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. (John 16:15-16)

Jesus makes two things very clear in this text.  His followers are responsible to go through out the earth preaching the gospel.  That’s a part we MUST play.  Next, only those who hear and respond to the gospel will be saved.  Those who don’t won’t.

The same Apostle who penned 1 John 2:2 also penned John 16:15-16!

If logic leads you to a place that is outside of the revelation of the Bible, then you are in danger of embracing a false doctrine.  Here are some other examples of commonly held beliefs that though based on isolated texts are finally derived by logic:

  • If all believers are part of a royal priesthood, and all believers have the Holy Spirit as their Teacher, then we have no need for ordained leaders and teachers who exercise authority in the church.
  • A loving God could never send a person to a place of eternal torment.
  • Because there is no mention of musical instruments in the New Testament it is wrong to use them in our worship services.
  • Drinking wine is a sin.
  • Sickness comes solely from the devil and is never God’s will.
  • It’s impossible for a Christian to be demonized (demon-possessed).
  • A Christian who dies with an unconfessed sin in their life may not make it to heaven.
  • The initial evidence of the Spirit’s enfilling is always speaking in tongues.
  • Every believer has a guardian angel.

The common denominator of all these false beliefs is that they have some basis in truth.  But someone has taken the truth beyond the biblical scope…to what they believe is a logical conclusion. Thus they depart from the overall counsel of the Bible. And there are millions and millions of Christians who believe these things.

You may have read something here that angers you!  If so, please go back and read the three posts before this one:

Watch out for the ditch…on both sides of the road!

The Missing Middle…part 1

The Missing Middle…part 2

Finally, let me give a word of advice to you:  Truth is not afraid of the light.  If what you believe is truly what God has revealed through the Bible, it will always stand up to subsequent investigation. Don’t be afraid to test what you believe from time to time. It is the mark of a cult to not allow questions and discovery.

Sometimes a false belief does not become obvious until enough time has passed.  Periodically, then, we should review our beliefs. This will only serve to strengthen that which is true.

Feel free to comment on this post with any questions or concerns you might have.  Or if you can think of some other false teachings that have some basis in truth but rely more upon human logic, feel free to share those here too.

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