Re: [asa] Why couldn't you write your d*mn book more clearly?

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Sat Mar 15 2008 - 12:40:24 EDT

The language of ANATHEMA in scripture seems limited to deviation from the
"gospel" (Galations 1), particularly with respect to grace vs. works, and
not loving (PHILEO, interestingly) Christ (1 Cor. 16:22). And whether
one calls Jesus ANATHEMA or Lord is a test of whether a person is speaking
by the Holy Spirit (I. Cor. 12:3).

Was DIDASKALOS (James 3:1, DIDASKALOI, teachers) an official office in the
early church?

On Sat, Mar 15, 2008 at 11:42 AM, George Murphy <> wrote:

> 1) The term "heresy" is best reserved for teachers, or those who presume
> to be teachers, in the church. (Cf. James 3:1) The traditional language of
> condemnation, "If anyone says XXXX, let him be anathema" is really directed
> to such teachers rather than those who simply accept what they're told by
> them - though the distinction will not always be clear cut.
> 2) There are nuances between straight orthodoxy & outright heresy that,
> e.g., the RCC uses. The following paragraph from the online Catholic
> Encyclopedia at ,
> while of course stated in terms of that communion's self-understanding, may
> be helpful.
> Both matter and form of heresy admit of degrees which find expression in
> the following technical formula of theology and canon law. Pertinacious
> adhesion to a doctrine contradictory to a point of faith clearly defined by
> the Church is heresy pure and simple, heresy in the first degree. But if the
> doctrine in question has not been expressly "defined" or is not clearly
> proposed as an article of faith in the ordinary, authorized teaching of the
> Church, an opinion opposed to it is styled sententia haeresi proxima , that
> is, an opinion approaching heresy. Next, a doctrinal proposition, without
> directly contradicting a received dogma, may yet involve logical
> consequences at variance with revealed truth. Such a proposition is not
> heretical, it is a propositio theologice erronea , that is, erroneous in
> theology. Further, the opposition to an article of faith may not be strictly
> demonstrable, but only reach a certain degree of probability. In that case
> the doctrine is termed sententia de haeresi suspecta, haeresim sapiens ;
> that is, an opinion suspected, or savouring, of heresy (see THEOLOGICAL
> The phrase "tantamount to heresy" is also used sometimes.
> 3) But with all that, I agree that we ought to be cautious about tossing
> around the terms "heresy" or "heretic."
> Shalom
> George
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:*
> *To:* ; ; Gordon.Brown@Colorado.EDU;
> *Sent:* Saturday, March 15, 2008 10:00 AM
> *Subject:* Re: [asa] Why couldn't you write your d*mn book more clearly?
> On the other hand, the definition of "heresy" has to change with the
> times. More truth has been revealed and we are morally responsible for what
> we do with it. As an extreme but clear example, there are truths that
> weren't revealed until the NT era, which to deny would be an indicator
> that we don't know God at all.
> I don't think YECism is categorically "heresy" because I'm not convinced
> the scientific data are equally accessible to all persons. Therefore,
> denying the age of the Earth doesn't categorically indicate that we don't
> know God. But surely people who don't have a heart willing to submit to
> real truth are committing grave error. Some YEC's are indicating greater
> error than others because they have greater access to the truth and really
> ought to know better. Ancient YECism was no sin at all since there was no
> access to the truth at all. The sin isn't in how much truth we have
> available to us, but our willingness to submit to the truths that we do have
> and what our response says about the state of our hearts.
> Phil
> -----Original Message-----
> From: George Murphy <>
> To: John Walley <>; 'gordon brown' <
> Gordon.Brown@Colorado.EDU>;
> Sent: Sat, 15 Mar 2008 9:02 am
> Subject: Re: [asa] Why couldn't you write your d*mn book more clearly?
> I have to dissent. Ham's notion that a ~6000 year old earth & "no death
> before the fall" are essential to Christianity is nonsense but those are, in
> fact, ideas that many - at some times the great majority - of Christians,
> including leaders of the church, have held. We can't postumously
> anathematize them. While dangerous & disruptive nonsense should be called
> what it is & vigorously opposed, it is not necessarily formal heresy.
> Shalom
> George
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "John Walley" <>
> To: "'gordon brown'" <Gordon.Brown@Colorado.EDU>; <>
> Sent: Friday, March 14, 2008 11:29 PM
> Subject: RE: [asa] Why couldn't you write your d*mn book more clearly?
> Maybe Ken Ham doesn't technically deny any of the fundamentals that we
> otherwise share, but he does add a couple of more of his own, like a 6000
> year old earth and no death before the fall which they consider part of
> the
> litmus test for orthodoxy. Which is worse, denying shared fundamentals or
> adding burdensome and falsifiable extra fundamentals? The net result is
> the
> same, false and destructive teaching. And the NY speaks very harshly
> about
> this.
> Granted I would like to give every average church going YEC the benefit
> of
> the doubt and attempt to show them why this is important and hopefully
> they
> wouldn't still insist on it, but in the case of the hardcore ones that
> steadfastly refused (like Ham) then I think you have to take action. We
> see
> a pretty good parallel of this in the NT when the Judaizers added to the
> gospel the doctrine that they also keep the Jewish law and for which Paul
> had a strong rebuke and called "another gospel".
> Thanks
> John
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [<>]
> On
> Behalf Of gordon brown
> Sent: Friday, March 14, 2008 10:49 PM
> To:
> Subject: RE: [asa] Why couldn't you write your d*mn book more clearly?
> On Fri, 14 Mar 2008, John Walley wrote:
> > Bottom line, I feel Protestantism is flawed because there is currently
> > no mechanism to excommunicate people like Ellen White, Herbert
> > Armstrong and Ken Ham.
> Excommunicating Ken Ham strikes me as being rather extreme. Ellen White
> and Herbert Armstrong founded their own churches because they disagreed
> with traditional Christian doctrine concerning the Bible or the Trinity.
> Granted, Ham reinforces a popular false stereotype of Christians and the
> Bible, and we ought to try to correct that widespread impression, but it
> doesn't seem Biblical to me to want to excommunicate someone because he
> believes in pseudoscience unless he also denies some fundamental of the
> faith. Although he may wish that we who are not YECs could be
> excommunicated, we should strive not to let our differences with YECs
> prevent fellowship with them.
> Gordon Brown (ASA member)
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David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
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Received on Sat Mar 15 12:41:22 2008

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