Heresies Arising Out of “Me and my Bible alone”

preaching to empty pewsAccording to a survey of American theological beliefs by Lifeway Research, published September 27, 2016, many American evangelicals believe in what historic, orthodox Christianity calls heresies. In “Americans Love God and the Bible, are Fuzzy on the Details,” evangelicals are correctly defined as those who strongly agree that: 

“1) The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe; 2) It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior; 3) Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin; and 4) Only those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.”

Still, as shown below in the summary of heresies that American evangelicals believe in (percentage in parenthesis), they are confused and/or miseducated about what Scriptures teach.

Trinitarian heresies:
• “Jesus is a created being.” (71)
• The Holy Spirit is a “divine force but not a personal being.” (56) The Holy Spirit is “not equal with God the Father or Jesus.” (28)

Heresies about the Bible:
• “The Bible was written for each person to interpret as he or she chooses.” (30)
• “There is little value in studying or reciting historical Christian creeds and confession.” (23)

Heresies about the church:
• The church does not have “the authority to withhold the Lord’s Supper from me and exclude me from the fellowship of the church.” (57)
• Only 30 percent of Americans attend religious services weekly or more. Another research said about the respondents in these surveys, “nearly one in seven of you fibbed about attending.”

Heresies about other religions:
• “God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam.” (48)
• “Heaven is a place where all people will ultimately be reunited with their loved ones.” (64)
• “God will always reward true faith with material blessings.” (37)

In “Evangelicals, Heresy, and Scripture Alone,” Matthew Block traces the cause of these heresies to the “me and my Bible alone” belief popular among evangelicals:

If we are going to address the rise of heresy in our churches, then Christians must rededicate themselves to reading the Bible in community—with the local church, yes, but also with the Church throughout history. If the Bible is truly the authority Evangelicals say it is, then we must also recognize that God has exercised that authority over Christians other than ourselves. The history of the Church, in its creeds and confessions, is a witness to other Christians who have been shaped by and wrestled with the Word of God.

 

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