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by Wayne Blank
Originally, a heresy was a relatively innocent term which simply meant being of an individual group within the same organization, not necessarily in opposition to it e.g. "But the high priest rose up and all who were with him, that is, the party [KJV sect] of the Sadducees" (Acts 5:17 RSV). Two independent political parties who are both loyal to the same country could be a modern-day example of that definition.
Gradually however, the accepted meaning of a heretic changed to that of a religious outcast who opposed true doctrine. While there certainly have been no shortage of those in the past 2,000 years, all too often the actual heretics became so numerous that true Christians were labeled as heretics - and many of the saints (see What Is A Saint?) were persecuted and martyred because of it.
Those Who Actually Oppose God
"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words [see Sweet Nuthins']; from of old their condemnation has not been idle, and their destruction has not been asleep." (2 Peter 2:1-3 RSV)
"Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry [see Images and Idols], sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit The Kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19-21 RSV)
"But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels over the law, for they are unprofitable and futile. As for a man who is factious [KJV heretic], after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned." (Titus 3:9-11 RSV)
Tribulation Upon True Christians
"They will put you out of the synagogues; indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do this because they have not known The Father, nor Me" [see The Logos and Jesus Christ] (John 16:2-3 RSV)
"And the beast [see The Antichrist] was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months; it opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming His Name and His dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain. If any one has an ear, let him hear: If any one is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if any one slays with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints." (Revelation 13:5-10 RSV)
"As I looked, this horn [see The Great False Prophet] made war with the saints, and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints received the kingdom." (Daniel 7:21-22 RSV)
Fact Finder: What did Jesus Christ say was the "unpardonable sin"?