Sound Doctrine, Heresy, and Theological Divisions


The blogosphere has been buzzing recently with charges of heresy. But what is heresy? Is it a question of one’s theology? And is that theology something worth dividing over? I addressed these questions in a chapter for the book, Simple Church: Unity Within Diversity. What follows is an excerpt from my chapter, adapted with permission for this blog post.

When believers separate over theology, it is usually because one or both sides think the other’s theology is so badly wrong that they cannot remain in fellowship. As justification for this divisive behavior, they often appeal to verses that talk about “sound doctrine” or “heresy.” Of course, both groups pridefully imagine that they are protectors of sound doctrine but that the other group promotes heresy. This approach has caused the majority of schisms and persecutions throughout church history. It also reveals a misunderstanding of both sound doctrine and heresy as spoken of in the Bible.

Primal Fire by Neil Cole (Book Review)

Primal Fire

Neil Cole is a name I’ve known for quite some time. He literally wrote the book on “organic church”—a term that describes the journey I’ve been on for almost four years now. But until recently, I’d never actually read one of his books. I’m happy to say that’s no longer the case.

His latest book, Primal Fire, is about the five roles listed in Ephesians 4:11—apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd, and teacher (or APEST for short). And while APEST is his focus, he covers much more than these specific callings. The book was thoroughly enjoyable from cover to cover.

I agreed with just about everything Neil had to say. Because of this, I’m going to get my one disagreement out of the way before covering the many things I loved about the book. And when it comes down to it, our only major area of disagreement is a matter of semantics.