To Be or Not to Be…a Heretic

By Patrick Hawthorne


“Hi.  My name is Patrick, and I am a heretic.”  Well…let me rephrase that.  To some of you reading this, I might be labeled a heretic if I disagree with your particular theology.  I know this to be true because I am sometimes accused of being a heretic.  No, the word heresy might not be the word of choice, but I’m fairly bright and can read between the lines.  No worries.  My feelings are still intact.

We – the Body of Christ – must be careful when throwing out the Heretic label.  Sometimes it is a knee jerk reaction made by someone who thinks they have all the information but really doesn’t.   It is, in my humble opinion, the equivalent of the protocol violation of going straight to the, “Triple dog dare,” while bypassing the double dog dare.  As we say in the south, “That dog won’t hunt.”

Not everyone who has a different view of a particular Bible verse or passage is a con man or an impostor bent on destruction of the Body of Christ.  Furthermore, not everyone who interprets a passage different from you or from me is a “heretic.”  It may be that they have a better understanding than we do.  I will give you an example.

Most understand Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” to simply mean that we all miss the mark through sin.  This is true.  However, when researched, the verse means so much more.  It actually means,   “All have sinned and have fallen short of seeing ourselves as God sees us through Christ Jesus **.

Are we both right? Yes.  Yet, to the ones who think of themselves as nothing more than lowly worms in Christ, they might not take too kindly to my interpretation.  But, does that negate the fact that when we became born again Christian’s we were adopted by our Heavenly Father?  No!  So, in line with keeping with the context of the verse, we all need to start seeing ourselves as God sees us. My believing this does not make me a ravenous wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Jesus said we can know the ravenous wolves by their fruit. (Matthew 7:16).  In joining the tag line of Jeff Foxworthy, “If you go to a so called man or woman of God for grapes and only find a thorn bush, they might be a ravenous wolf.”

So, instead of being quick to jump on the “Ye Ole Heresy Wagon,” do your research.  You might just find out that your so called wolf was just a more knowledgeable sheep.  You might also find that your theology needs a slight adjustment.  That is alright.  I too have had to adjust my theology as I discovered some errors in my stinking thinking.  Be blessed.

** The word for come short is 5302 hystereo (failing to fulfill a goal) means to be in lack and hence, unable to meet the need at hand because depleted (all run out). This state of lack (insufficiency, privation) naturally results when a person misses out on what is vital.The word for glory is ‘Doxa’ (from dokeo, “exercising personal opinion which determines value) – glory. 1391 /doksa (“glory”)
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Posted in Christian, teaching, writing
9 comments on “To Be or Not to Be…a Heretic
  1. SLIMJIM says:

    I do think the term heretic is to be used….very very carefully. It can’t be a knee jerk label to give someone who disagree with you. For the record I’m a Calvinist but don’t think Arminians are not saved.


  2. Absolutely! As you well know, I disagree with the major tenants of Calvinism, but never, for one moment, would think that you are not saved. On the same token, I know full well that you do not agree with much of what I believe. However, to say I never learn anything from the Calvinist would be false. I would not be following your blog if that were the case.

    And, just because we are sharing, some might think I’m Word of Faith. Actually, I’m more Faith in the Word. I study out the Word and if it does not line up, no matter what camp it comes from, I chunk it in the trash or in the “I will study up on this more,” can.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wally Fry says:

    Hi Patrick

    I am currently en route to your location with a cord of firewood and a large pole upon which I plan to tie you prior to lighting the whole thing on fire. Ok, not really.

    Truth is, I probably disagree with both you and brother Jim on numerous things. I suspect I am not nearly so Calvinist as him, and not nearly so Arminian as you.

    While it’s a vast shame you are both so wrong, in the end…so what?

    Seriously though. Look, I won’t be joining either of the churches you two belong to, and probably would not have either of you as a guest speaker at our place. That’s just how things work, and why we gather with like minded people in the first place. How else could we have peaceful worship and fellowship?

    I sometime wonder if God didn’t design it all this way in the first place. If He just gave us every answer, then why would we seek answers? Perhaps the ambiguous areas are His way of keeping us seeking, learning, and growing.

    Just my two cents

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well…just know that when you bring the firewood I will bring the marshmallows. If we are gonna have a roast, might as well do it right.

      You make my point so well. For awhile, I was you (Missionary Baptist) and to some degree still am. Too many in my camp get so cheesy that it can become nauseating. But, on the MB side, too many can be so rigid that God would have to phone ahead to make an appointment.

      However, to call someone a heretic, (with the meaning that they are working for the devil,) is something that should not easily roll off the tongue of a professing Christian towards another professing Christian. That is a serious charge.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Wally Fry says:

        Yes, it is quite a serious charge, and the list of things that would be actual heresy is pretty darn short. Many things are certainly wrong, but few are actually heretical.

        Love the quote about God needing an appointment….I shall use that at my first opportunity. In church, probably at a Deacon. That is, if they let me out of the nursery.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Casey Dees says:

        Just had this same convo today. That is a serious charge. If we are truly part of the body of Christ & our distinguishing trait is to be loving one another why all the friendly fire? It’s not the word of the Holy Spirit.


  4. Mel Wild says:

    One of my favorite quotes from Thomas Merton, “If the ‘me’ of five years ago doesn’t consider the ‘me’ of today a heretic, then I’m not growing,.”
    If we continue the trajectory of church history, much of what is considered heresy by some today will become tomorrow’s orthodoxy.
    Good word, bro!


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