In regard to heresies, Barth quotes Irenaeus, an early church father of the early third century. Irenaeus was a vehement defender of the Christian faith against the insidious attacks of Gnosticism. Here is what he said regarding heresy:
For though they say things that sound similar to what the faithful say,…not only do they hold opinions which are different, but even contrary to the truth and thoroughly full of blasphemies, through which they destroy those who through the likeness of the words draw toward themselves the poison which does not suit their constitution; just as when someone who gives plaster mixed with water instead of milk can deceive on account of the likeness of the color; as a man greater than I has said of all those who in whatever way pervert the things of God and corrupt the truth: ‘Lime is wickedly mixed with God’s milk.’ (Irenaeus, C. o. haer. III, 17.4 quoted by Barth, Dogmatics I.1. 032.)
Good reminders to:
- Know the Word. It’s hard to draw out corruption if we have failed to be well-acquainted with the truth. I hear this as a good reminder to spend more time in the Word…without commentaries, books, blogs or sermons informing the meaning of what we are reading. Let the Holy Spirit inform first.
- Test what you hear. Examine everything carefully (I Thess. 5:21). Friends, if you have teachers in your life who do not want you to examine their teaching, please consider that a huge red flag. Truth, and those who speak it, does not fear cross-examination. Some of what is heard sounds so good, right? Or possibly, “he’s such a nice guy and tells such funny stories…he would never say anything that would mislead me.” Be careful, don’t be ‘drawn to the poison.’
- Consider Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:10-4:5. What implications do these words have for you?
On that little cheery note, have a great weekend, worship extravagantly and listen carefully.