Writings on Christianity

Heresy by Alistair McGrath (Tsouloufis Post)

Heresy by Alistair McGrath (guest post by Dan Tsouloufis)

Throughout every age, people have been fascinated by, and drawn to, alternative versions of Christianity.  In our present day, there is no shortage of books and articles which seek to undermine the traditional, orthodox version of Christianity, in favor of various unorthodox views about Jesus, the Bible, and the early church.
There’s a great book I’d like to recommend called “Heresy: A History of Defending the Truth” by Alistar McGrath.
McGrath’s compelling, insightful book explores many aspects of heresy, including the roots of heresy, the classic heresies of Christianity, and the enduring impact of heresy.  Moreover, it challenges some of the modern liberal misconceptions about heresy and orthodoxy in the early church.
Below are some key points that McGrath makes in his book:
1. Most heretical beliefs and practices did not originate from outside the church, they originated from within the church.  While external influences and ideas may have contributed, the development of heresy often took root within the community of faith.
2. Many of the heretical beliefs and practices rejected by the early church were actually more radical and oppressive than the rival orthodox claims. 
3. Many theological alternatives were rejected when the church had no power to enforce one view over another, long before Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.   
4. Oftentimes, the appeal of heresy lies in its challenge to authority, since heresy offers liberation to its followers from the confines of religious orthodoxy and church authority.  
5. Heretical beliefs are never fully eradicated; they only go underground and resurface in different forms.  
Also in his book, McGrath explores the early classic heresies of Christianity, such as Ebionitism, Docetism, Valentinism, and the later classic heresies, such as Arianism, Donatism, and Pelagianism.
Overall, it’s an insightful book which clarifies many aspects of heresy, as well as confirms the need for the church to preserve the categories of heresy and orthodoxy in order to remain faithful to the person and work of Jesus and His message.

By Tom Schmidt

Christian, husband of Rach, Church Planter,musician,

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