As one who has been an erstwhile victim of heresy hunts, I am naturally wary of doing unto others as has been done unto me, sometimes twice. At the same time, there are strange doings afoot in the church, and the Bible does talk about taking the situation in hand when situations need to be taken in hand.
Part of our problem is that our standard of definition for heresy naturally tends to be set by what flies in our own circles. But if this is unwatched, it turns into radical sectarianism. If it is unwatched in the other direction, it turns into pomomush.
Let’s approach this as a practical problem. There are ascending layers to this.
1. On the same page, as sort of a twins separated at birth kind of thing;
2. On the same page in most respects, such that you could speak at the same conferences for years without encountering any real disagreements, although they are there, and the whole thing is grand;
3. Different in significant respects, which are kind of obvious to everybody, but they are doing good work over there and you want to be friends anyhow;
4. Different in significant respects, and the differences if followed to their logical conclusion (in your considered opinion) will lead to serious damage to the Church down the road;
5. Different in significant respects, and the damage is being done to the Church right this very minute, but enough about Brian McLaren;
6. Different in a way that reveals these guys to be flaming heretics of the sort that would make Arius and Servetus blush;
7. Satan spawn.
Who would you be willing to have come speak at your conference? I would say #1-3. Whose conference would you be willing to go speak at? Well, actually, if the content of what I would say was not restricted in any way, and depending on the circumstances, I would be willing go #1-7. I speak for atheist groups — why not? And then you have the degrees of separation problem. You are speaking at a conference with a #2, but he is willing to host conferences that would invite a #5. He is no heretic himself, but his BS detector is broke. Now what? Then there are the books. What kind of books are you willing to learn from? Hmmm?
Now let’s sort this out. Or, rather, let’s have a go at sorting it out, because it is not as easy as it looks.
Tullian Tchividjian is the pastor of Coral Ridge, which oversees Knox Seminary, which just hired Bruce Waltke, the theistic evolutionist, because he resigned from RTS, because his position on evolution was very similar to that of C.S. Lewis, who is everybody’s hero, including mine, and the aforementioned RTS employs John Frame, who is a stalwart of the faith, but has views on worship styles that I find discordant with mine, but he had to leave Westminster West, which has an R2K thing going, and Scott Clark there at Westminster West is on a jag against me because I deny justification by faith alone, which I don’t, but that’s another discussion, and even though he is in the URC he is very concerned about this frenetic virus (FV) spreading in the PCA, whose major rock star right now is Tim Keller, who is okay with women deacons, which I oppose, but John Piper is willing to work with Keller, which shouldn’t be surprising, because he was also willing to work with me, even though I met Mark Driscoll once when he was in college at Washington State University. Still with me?
The problem is a thorny one, and it is an enormously practical problem. More on this soon, Lord willing.