How to Spot a Heresy

What is the allure of secret knowledge about God?

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A heresy isn’t any false teaching, but a fundamental twist on orthodox Christian teaching. It is a teaching, couched in Christian language, which fundamentally robs our faith of an essential, necessary truth. Denying the deity of Christ, for example, is a heresy, whereas differing views of how the end times will happen are not.

This study looks at some of the common heresies in our society today and the widespread appeal of exclusive religious knowledge.

Table of Contents

SCRIPTURE: Colossians 1:15–23; Colossians 1:24–2:4; 1 John 1:1–10; 1 John 2:20–27


    • Identify the Current Issue

    • Discover the Eternal Principles

Teaching point one: Heresies often suggest that matter is bad and the spirit (or the mind) is good. Orthodox Christianity teaches that matter, having been created by God, is good and that sin is not merely a matter of confounded thinking, but of behavior that offends God.
Teaching point two: In the Old Testament there was a spiritual mystery: how would God accomplish all he had promised? But Jesus Christ has made that mystery clear.
Teaching point three: The real evidence that we know God’s mystery—that we are spiritual insiders—is in how we behave.
Teaching point four: Christians must be on guard against heresies and have God’s Spirit to help them.
    • Apply Your Findings

    • Recommended Resources


    • The Heresy Itch, by Sarah Hinlicky Wilson (2004, 11 printed pages)

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