If I’m not an evangelical or Protestant Christian, does that make me a heretic?
Grand Canyon University Pastor and Dean of Students Tim Griffin and Dean of the College of Theology Jason Hiles, PhD, answered this question on this week’s episode of Trending Faith.
Dr. Hiles began the conversation by discussing what it means to be a heretic, as this is important to know before labeling someone as such. To be a heretic means you do not have an accurate knowledge of or genuine relationship with Jesus Christ.
Sometimes, people inject error into conversations about God. Therefore, as believers, we must use good judgment about what others say and focus on what Scripture reveals about Him. However, just because someone claims to be a Christian but talks about God in different terms than us, does not make them a heretic.
For example, the term “born again” in evangelism refers to someone who has a personal faith in Christ. While this term is common among evangelical Christians, someone else may not describe their relationship with Christ in this way, even though they believe in Him.
There are fundamental truths about understanding God as Creator, acknowledging our need for a Savior and believing Jesus is fully God. But, when we go back in history, we can see that these things have not always been discussed in the exact terms we use today.
When it comes down to it, genuine believers depend on Jesus for their salvation. Dr. Hiles brought up James 1:19, where the apostle James says we ought to be slow to speak, slow to become angry and quick to listen. We can discern the differences between heretics and those who speak differently than us when we are careful and take the time to truly listen to the content of what they are saying.
Pastor Tim added that there are many labels believers have carried over the years, and people have certain reactions to them. Fundamentalism, evangelism and Protestantism are terms used to label people of the faith, and they all mean something.
To hear the full discussion, watch the video below: