I recently watched a movie with my family called "The Majestic" with Jim Carey. It recalled the J. Edgar Hoover era and the communist inquisitions in our own country. With the communist scare, there were those who suspected the most unlikely people of communism. If you knew someone who was a communist or a communist sympathizer in the past, you stood a chance of being bullied by the government until you admit you were a communist, even if you were not. If you so much as seemed to sympathize with working people who were mistreated at the hands of the establishment, then you surely must be a communist, since that is part of the communist ideal
In retrospect, history shows us how ludicrous this was. Knowing a communist did not make you a communist. Sympathizing with oppressed laborers did not make you a communist. Fortunately we as a nation have learned something from history that will prevent us from repeating mistakes such as rounding up all Japanese Americans into concentration camps, or having inquisitions against so-called "heretics," when in fact it was those conducting the trial that were the heretics. History can be a valuable teacher.
What is sad is when you see those who claim to be believers acting in this way. It is sad when those who were once persecuted become the persecutors. It is just a ridiculous to say that a person is a heretic simply because he owns certain books as it was during the trials of the inquisition. It is just as ridiculous to say a person is a change agent simply because he attended a lectureship as it was to say a person was a communist because he was a co-worker with one. It is just as ludicrous to say a person is a heretic because something he says sounds similar to a true heretic, even if what he says that sounds the same has nothing wrong with it. This mentality comes from spiritual immaturity and biblical illiteracy because this is clearly not how Christians are to act.
Well, shouldn’t we be concerned about heresies? Don’t you care about straying from the truth? Shouldn’t we make sure we are following sound doctrine?
We should, but not by paranoia, scare tactics, and inquisitions. When we throw so much time into keeping up with the latest heresy, we may be slowly starving ourselves spiritually. Let me put it another way. The best way to fight disease is to inoculate. The best way to fight unhealthiness is to be healthy. That is the sentiment of the following Psalm.
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers (Ps 1:1-3).
The word "law" is more than just a religious code. The word, "Torah" in Hebrew means "law," or "instruction" In fact, the verb form of the word is usually translated "to instruct" or "to teach." So to meditate on "Torah" is to meditate on God’s instruction, his word, his truth. If we are doing this, then we are "grounded" like a tree by a stream. We are healthy, nourished, healthy and fruitful.
Being grounded in the word means knowing God. Truly knowing God means a transformation, a putting off the old self and putting on the new self. Paul puts it this way.
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:2)."
When we are led by God to inner transformation, then we are able to do the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. Where does this transformation come from? It comes from the Spirit.
" He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit (Tit 3:5)."
A "renewal" comes through the Holy Spirit. When we are led by the Spirit, we will be able to appraise all things. Notice:
"But he who is spiritual appraises all things (1 Cor 2:15)."
However, those who were unspiritual manifested the works of the flesh, such as strife (1 Cor 3:3), or disputes, factions and dissensions (Gal 5:20).
However, if we are nourished by the water of life, planted as a tree by streams of living water, we will not wither, or fail to bear fruit. Heresies will come and go, but the tree remains. Besides, a strong spirituality is evident in the fruit it produces. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.