Four Types of Heresy – Rejection of Biblical Morality

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The rejection of moral codes is nothing new for Christianity, but instead has occurred since its foundation. Since the beginning there were people who would manipulate or simply ignore passages of Scripture in order to live in the way they desired.

St. John refers to a group known as the Autoproscoptae (‘offenders against themselves’). These people cut themselves off from communion with the Church and did away with priestly accountability. Though they kept doctrines, they did not live appropriately, leading John to summarize them as such:

“Thus, they openly cohabit with women and maintain them privately in their homes. They are addicted to business and profit-making and other worldly affairs. They live unreasonably and neglect in deed those things which in word they profess to maintain, so that by the judgment of the Apostle they are transgressors. For, although they are monks and organized under a clergy, they honor God in word but in deed dishonor Him.”

Under moral heresies, we see that the first type of moral heresy is the type that claims one thing, but then does another. We can think of the multitude of fallen pastors who would rail against homosexuality while the entire time engaging in homosexuality. We can think of Christians who talk about how Christ came into the world to save the world, but then use their money and time to better themselves rather than helping others.

We think of Christians who go and worship Christ on Sunday, but their bank accounts and time spent helping others don’t reflect that they’re disciples. We think of Christians who rail against other Christians, but then do the very same things they rail against. This is a heresy that is not limited to a conservative or liberal Christian, but rather infects all Christians and is the most common heresy in existence.

The second type of moral heresy is the one that ignores Scripture in order to justify an immoral action. John referred to the Ethicoproscoptae (‘offenders against morals’) and said,

“The Ethicoproscoptae offend in the matter of morals, that is to say, in conduct; while they reject some of the most praiseworthy moral teachings, certain blameworthy ones they condone as useful.”

Even at the beginning of Christianity there were people misinterpreting passages or saying that such passages did not apply to the modern world (or what was modern back then). The whole movement of people saying, “Well, that moral code was for ancient Christians, but not for us” is not some new thing that came about as a result of liberalism; it’s existed for thousands of years.

I think most notably of Tony Jones in his endorsement of the homosexual lifestyle. He quickly argues away the seven explicit passages (but does nothing with the multiple implicit passages) in order to justify the homosexual lifestyle. That is, such an argument is one of convenience, but not one that is solid. However, he quickly keeps the command for monogamy in the Bible in place, saying that if a homosexual couple is monogamous, then who cares? But in throwing away one moral precept by arguing that it’s old and limited to culture, why can’t we say the same thing of monogamy?

Such moral heresies that seek to deny or limit Scripture’s input on modern morality commit the error of thinking they know better than the inspired authors of Scripture. Such heretics use their own reasoning and cultural context to determine what is right and wrong rather than looking to Scripture and seeing how to apply Scripture to the modern day.