Heresy is a far broader definition than the one which I am about to apply. “freethoughtmom”:http://freethoughtmom.blogspot.com/ asked this question in “this discussion”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/?p=317:
bq. Who decides which teachings are considered a heresy?
Ultimately, Scripture itself dictates what is heresy and what is not. It is, in fact, extremely specific on what doctrines are most important, those that are “fundamental”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/?p=213 to becoming a Christ-follower, a Christian:
- the fact that all men are born into sin
- that no man can attain Heaven by his own merits because no man can possibly live up to a holy and righteous God
- that God sent His only, perfect Son to pay the price for menÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sins by dying on the cross
- that the Son overcame death by rising from the dead on the third day
- that the Son ascended back into Heaven to prepare it for His people.
I believe that these basic doctrines are the only ones that are vulnerable to heretical teachings, _per se_, since they are the only ones that are essentially foundational for a person to acquire the salvation of their soul. All other teachings found in Scripture describe what a Christian Ã¢â‚¬â€œ already a believer Ã¢â‚¬â€œ must do to live a righteous life and what he must do to further the Kingdom of God. These teachings, as such, are not prone to heresy, at least not in this specific definition, though they _can_ be counterbiblical, since they are covered under the doctrine of grace. In essence, if a believer fails to live 100% righteously (an inevitability), he does not lose his salvation or earn the wrath of God (except through repeated, unrepentent violations, and then only punishment that will bring the believer back into a right relationship with God) but can, instead, repent and receive forgiveness and continue on his walk.
In short, I think that the term ‘heresy’ can only be, and should only be, applied to teachings and beliefs that are counter to the basics of the Gospel, to those basic beliefs that are absolutely mandatory for an unbeliever to come to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, beliefs which are very clearly spelled out in Scripture itself.