An oldie but a goodie from Craig @ Crosswise. Reposted with generous permission.
Are you a heretic? Am I? No one has perfect theology, do they?
Not one person who is currently living or who has ever lived could rightfully claim ultimate infallibility with regard to Scripture interpretation (excepting Jesus Christ Himself and the rest of the Godhead, of course). We learn from each other. It’s an organic process as we grow in Christ.
HOWEVER, there are certain Scriptural Truths that are non-negotiable within orthodox Christianity. And, I will fight for those Truths earnestly contending for the faith [Jude 3]. There are aberrant teachings such as Latter Rain/Dominionism/Manifest Sons of God/Prophetic/NAR, Word of Faith, the emergent/emerging church, strict legalism, etc.; plus, there are, of course, sub-Christian cults. Each of these MUST be addressed!
The thing we must keep in mind, though, is that there are those caught up in these doctrines/movements unknowingly. Some are truly seeking God through Jesus Christ yet are enmeshed in heresy. It is for this reason I prefer to label the teachings as heresy rather than call those involved heretics. To call individuals heretics, to me, seems to make a judgment of the heart.
This does not mean to say that some of these individuals are not teaching heresy knowingly. I’m sure there are those who are quite wittingly leading others astray – wolves in sheep’s clothing [Matthew 7:15]. These people may never be reached at all as they are the tares/weeds amongst the wheat:
24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’ [Matthew 13:24-30 NKJV]
On the other hand, we are to continue, in love, to show the error of false teaching for to do so, we may potentially help some of those who are following heretical teachings actually reach a saving faith.
22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy mixed with fear – hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh [Jude 22-23 NIV]
19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. [James 5:19-20 NIV]
OK, so, I’m not a heretic and, hopefully, neither are you. Let’s all grow in the knowledge of His will through all spiritual understanding in order to live a life pleasing to the Lord [Colossians 1:9-14].