“Heretic.” It’s a favorite word that many Christians have no problem dropping on the heads of their fellow sisters and brothers.
In common parlance, the term is used to describe any person who disagrees with “orthodox Christian teaching.” The problem, of course, is that there are different perspectives on what exactly constitutes “orthodox Christian teaching.”
Some claim this for Calvinism, while others claim this for Arminianism, or for Roman Catholicism, or for Eastern Orthodoxy.
And we must not forget the many Fundamentalist groups who reserve the term “orthodox” only for people who agree with every one of their distinctive beliefs and/or practices.
2,000 years down the church history pike and the body of Christ is sliced and diced into over 33,000 fragments, some of which pull the heresy lever at everyone else without blinking.
In this essay, we are definitely not going to suggest that false teaching doesn’t exist. It existed at the time of Jesus and Paul, and it exists today.
What we are going to suggest is that many people are using the word “heretic” in ways that are not biblical and/or that do not align with its use in church tradition. And this, we believe, brings disrepute on the body of Christ.