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How did the early church deal with heresy?
The first-century Christian Church had a lot going on. Their Savior died and was resurrected, sending the Holy Spirit and leaving them with the command to take this new message to all tribes and tongues. The book of Acts records some of their travels, as they went all over the known world with this good news. But they were not the only people evangelizing. So were the gnostics. Gnosticism takes a lot of different shapes. It was a belief system that challenged Christianity, even as some tried to incorporate elements into the faith.
Is modernism heresy?
Now consider modernist theology – what we’ve been talking about all season. It is a belief system that doesn’t believe in the miracles or the divinity of Jesus. To evangelicals of the 1800s and 1900s, this was a real threat. Like Gnosticism before it, modernism threatened to destabilize the gospel message. What to do?
In this bonus episode, Chris takes a look at 1-3 John to see what they have to say about dealing with heresy.
Chris is hard at work on season 6! He’ll be presenting these short episodes in the meantime to recap some of the themes of season 5.
- If you were alive in the mid-1800s and saw modernism rising, what would you do?
- Do you think modernism is a heresy?
- How should Christians today deal with heresy?
- What did the fundamentalists get right and how did they mess up when approaching heresy?
Selected Source Materials:
- 1-3 John
- “The Early Church” by Henry Chadwick