Monday, May 30, 2005

A Heretic?

I'm very slow to label someone a heretic. I figure that that moves into very dangerous territory. I'm trying to figure out why so many people are so quick to label Brian McLaren a heretic. Granted, I'm only about 80 pages into A Generous Orthodoxy, but I'm just not seeing it. I read his blog, but I'm just not seeing it. He tends not to use some of the catch phrases that people look for when they want to see if a person is legitimate, but I don't think that puts him in the camp of heretics.

Interestingly, when Jesus talked about an unpardonable sin, he was talking about blaspheming the Holy Spirit. What he defined as the sin (if my memory serves correctly, I'm typing in the dark) was a claim that something was not of God when, in fact, it was. That is the trouble with labeling someone as a heretic. If the Holy Spirit is working through someone, calling them a heretic makes that accuser guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. THAT is scary stuff.

Don't get me wrong. I think there is a need for clarification with some of McLaren's writings. He is very vague on too many things. Being vague and being a heretic are two very different things, however (and remember, I'm only 80 pages into one of his books). I would guess that John Calvin was quite surprised when (if?) he got to heaven and found out that a few people he had burned at the stake were already in glory, in spite of his opinion that they were heretics.

Conclusion? Be slow to judge, be quick to give grace. Weird, it seems as though some Guy from Nazareth practiced that...