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We Are All Sinners, But We Are Not All Heretics

I am tired of the arguments that always surface when liberal politicians such as Pete Buttigieg uses faith to belittle others who hold Christian convictions. These arguments always center around hypotheticals beginning with “Jesus would…”

“Jesus would support LGBT rights.”

“Jesus would support huge government entitlement programs.”

“Jesus would condemn evangelical hypocrites.”

…and so on.

Besides being totally bereft of Biblical support and based on irredeemably flawed logic, the biggest problem I have with these statements is that they invariably begin with the position of judging the Bible based on what other Christians (and so-called “Christians”) say or do.

The Bible is not some grab bag of bromides to be searched when in need of an argument against someone with whom you disagree. It’s not a tool bag to be opened to grab a hammer or a drill. The Bible is the revealed Word of God to mankind. It contains a mix of historical fact, poetic symbology, song, assembled wisdom, prophetic words, and first-person testimony.

The only way to properly interpret the Bible is through the Bible.

Jewish scholars are not taught to learn more about God through the study of other Jewish scholars, or through the study of other Jews, past or present. They are taught to learn about God through study of Torah (the Pentateuch), and the words of the prophets.

The basic tenets of the Christian faith were established within three centuries after Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. The First Council of Nicaea was held in 325 AD, and codified the consensus of canon, and the Nicene Creed. Very little has changed since then, and what has changed is mostly translations from the original texts and items dealing with church government and human authority.

In the U.S., denominations that teach heresy are declining and in fact dying, because people desire truth. “Unaffiliated” Christianity is rising, because if people can’t find truth in the mainline denominations, they will see it elsewhere. Glory to God for whoever speaks the truth. If people want sin, they can simply walk away from God. Anyone teaching heresy has an agenda apart from God, be it ego, power, or pleasure. The numbers are what they are.

People are sinners. We are all sinners. We are all, in one way or another, hypocrites who profess one thing and then fail to live up to it. One sinner criticizing another for being a sinner is not terribly useful. James, the brother of Jesus, wrote:

My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

James 5:19-20 NIV

Accusing Mike Pence of being a homophobe or of denigrating women because he refuses to dine alone with a woman not his wife is not turning a sinner from error. It’s justifying Mike Buttigieg’s sin of claiming Christianity while living in a sinful relationship. It’s using a patina of “deep faith” to mask heresy.

Sin does not justify sin.

Being a member of a denomination that justifies sin by ignoring or deliberately misinterpreting parts of the Bible is not hypocrisy. It’s heresy. Teaching sinful practices, introducing error into the body of Christ, and failing to listen to correction is heresy.

Anyone can point out sin. It abounds. Anyone can say “Jesus would…” but they’d be wrong. There is no “Jesus would.” There is only “Jesus is.”

Jesus IS…

  • alive, eternal, and all-powerful as a Person of the Godhead
  • sitting at the right hand of the Father
  • in Heaven awaiting His own return
  • ready to separate the sheep from the goats
  • a groom awaiting His Bride, the Church
  • interceding for the faithful
  • immediately and intimately concerned with every soul
  • desiring that not one perish, lavishing common grace and love on all
  • the Commander of the angel armies
  • going to judge the Earth, rule with an iron rod, and cast Satan into a burning pit to burn forever

This is what the Bible says about Jesus. What Jesus said is to wait for Him, to be faithful, and to make disciples of the entire world. That is our task.

We are all sinners, but we are not all heretics.

I don’t mind listening to sinners. I refuse to listen to heretics.

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