Why Heretics Win

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“There are several reasons that heretics win battles.

First, Scripture tells us that they are more clever and cunning than believers: “For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light” (Luke 16:8). They have a way of thinking that makes them more politically astute, more street smart, more imaginative in their machinations, and more willing to act in sinful ways in order to achieve their goals. Stealing, lying, and bribery are fine so long as they “advance the Kingdom.”

Second, heretics introduce false ideas stealthily: “But this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage” (Galatians 2:4) and “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation…” (Jude 4). They appear to be sheep, but are not; and the ideas they teach, at least at first, appear to be true, but are not. By their smooth words, they deceive many into thinking that they are Christian brothers and the ideas they advance are Biblical.

Third, heretics frequently use force to persecute Christians. Force works; it silences the opposition. That is why heretics and tyrants use it. The blood of the martyrs is not the seed of the church; only the Gospel is.

Fourth, and most important, those who believe the truth tend to be slow to recognize error and even slower to take the actions necessary to defend the truth. They lack both discernment and courage. This is the crucial matter. Christians cannot help the fact that the sons of this world are more shrewd than they are, or that false brethren do things subtly, surreptitiously, and coercively. But Christians can help how they understand and respond to such doctrinal and ecclesiastical subversion. Their lack of discernment stems from a lack of knowledge of Scripture, and their lack of courage comes from a lack of belief in the promises of Scripture.”

– by John W. Robbins (E. Calvin Beisner, editor)

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