Friday, November 07, 2008

Warfield on Heresy

From the pen of B. B. Warfield:

Whatever account we may give, however, of the power of the world's thought over Christian men, it seems pretty clear that the "concessive" attitude which leads men to accept the tenets which have originated elsewhere than in the Scriptures as the foundation of their thinking, and to bend Scripture into some sort of conciliation with them, is the ruling spirit of our time, which may, therefore, be said to be dominated by the very spirit of "heresy."

"Modern discovery" and "modern thought" are erected into the norm of truth, and we are told that the whole sphere of theological teaching must be conformed to it. This is the principle of that reconstruction of religious thinking which we are now constantly told is going on resistlessly about us, and which is to transform all theology.

What is demanded of us is just to adjust our religious views to the latest pronouncements of philosophy or science or criticism. And this is demanded with entire unconsciousness of the fundamental fact of Christianity-that we have a firmer ground of confidence for our religious views than any science or philosophy or criticism can provide for any of their pronouncements.

It is very plain that he who modifies the teachings of the Word of God in the smallest particular at the dictation of any "man-made opinion" has already deserted the Christian ground, and is already, in principle, a "heretic."

The very essence of "heresy" is that the modes of thought and tenets originating elsewhere than in the Scriptures of God are given decisive weight when they clash with the teachings of God's Word, and those are followed to the neglect or modification or rejection of these.

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