What Is Heresy?

By David J. Stewart

“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” —Ephesians 4:14

       When you study the Scriptures you have a text and you have a context. You cannot take and make a text out of the context and separate the two. You have to keep them together if you want the correct interpretation. Many well-meaning false prophets have absolutely manipulated the Scriptures, wrestling the Bible and leading people into Hell.

We've all heard the saying: "Everyone has an opinion..." Interestingly, the word "heresy" in the Bible comes from the Greek word hairesis. Here is what VINE'S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT WORDS (Page 303) states concerning the word "hairesis" ...

..."a choosing, choice"; (from haireomai, "to choose") then, "that which is chosen," and hence, "an opinion," especially a self-willed opinion, which is substituted for submission to the power of truth, and leads to division and the formation of sects...


The word "heresy" in the Bible simply means, "an opinion." Many of the doctrines circulating in today's churches are merely opinions, not based upon the Word of God. In John 5:39 Jesus commanded His disciples to... SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES!!! It is dangerous to form one's opinions apart from the Bible. People who express teachings not taught in the Scriptures are guilty of spreading heresy. There are sincere people in every church, who attempt to help others by offering unsought advice. Unfortunately, much of this advice is heresy, even damnable heresy. 

Common Heresies (False Doctrines) Taught in Churches Today:

  • Infant Baptism
  • Baptismal Regeneration
  • Holy Sacraments
  • Speaking in Tongues
  • Baptism by Sprinkling
  • Holy Laughter
  • Miracle Anointing
  • Zionism
  • Prosperity Gospel
  • Faith Healing
  • Confessional Booth
  • Divorce for Adultery
  • Christian Rock Music
  • Lordship Salvation
  • Perseverance of the Saints
  • Limited Atonement
  • Celibacy
  • Abstaining from Meats
  • Sabbath Keeping
  • Recognition of the Virgin Mary
  • Assumption of Mary
  • Perpetual Virginity of Mary
  • Immaculate Conception of Mary
  • Praying the Rosary
  • Ecumenicalism
  • Unity with Unbelievers
  • Healing Services
  • Storehouse Tithing
  • Holy Miracle Water
  • Financial Seeds
  • Protestantism
  • Calvinism
  • Arminianism
  • Lifestyle Evangelism
  • Postribulation Rapture
  • Transubstantiation
  • Universal Church
  • Women Pastors
  • Social Gospel

These are all manmade doctrines, opinions, which are NOT based upon the Scriptures. 

There's nothing in the Bible about speaking-in-tongues as done in Charismatic churches today. Biblical speaking-on-tongues ALWAYS involved known, established, earthly languages; not the insane jibber-jabber that goes on in Pentecostal churches today. 

Infant baptism began with the heretic Martin Luther, who plainly stated that water baptism could save a person, even without faith...

"Further, we say that we are not so much concerned to know whether the person baptized believes or not; for on that account Baptism does not become invalid..."

SOURCE: Martin Luther's Larger Catechism

Mr. Luther is a liar—a heretic who taught heresy! You can get water baptized all you want; but it means absolutely nothing if you have not faith in Jesus Christ... "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16). Salvation is by faith alone in the Savior (Ephesians 2:8,9); and not by water baptism in any capacity (1st Corinthians 1:17). 

Some heresies, such as Zionism, have crept into our churches, causing believers to support unbiblical agendas. Zionism is of the Devil.

Lordship Salvation is one of the biggest lies in the world today. It is tragic that so many ministries, such as Chick Tracts,  are promoting this heresy. Dr. John R Rice exposes the heresy of Lordship Salvation

We ought to follow the teachings of God's Word; and avoid following men such as Arminius, Calvin, and Luther. All these men had flawed OPINIONS concerning the Scriptures. Psalm 118:8 states... "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man." "Let God be true, but every man a liar..." (Romans 3:4). 

Billions of Catholics are going to burn in Hellfire, because they are trusting the OPINIONS of men (i.e., the priests, the Pope, and the Vatican). In Mark 7:9 Jesus warned... "Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." How sad and tragic that so many people today are relying upon their own opinions, or the opinions of others, instead of obeying the inspired Words of God. 

I hear a lot of opinions from a lot of people; but I have no opinion apart from the Scriptures. An unsaved public schoolteacher recently asked me... "What is the basis upon which you form your opinions?" I told him without apology... "Everything I believe is based upon my faith that the Bible is God's inspired, infallible, preserved Word." I am as narrow-minded as the Bible. Every believer shouldn't want to hold any opinions in conflict with what the Bible teaches. Let us be diligent to study the Bible. Let us scrutinize every doctrine of men, to make certain that the truth of God's Word is upheld. The best way to expose darkness is to shine the Light of God's Word upon it. 

Let us never forget that the word "heresy" in the Bible means "an opinion." Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that we form our opinions from the truths of God's Word; and not from the latest New York Times bestseller. 

False prophets who “privily” bring heresies into the Church

Satan is subtle. 2nd Peter 2:1, "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who PRIVILY shall bring in damnable heresies..." The word “privily” here means “taking pains to avoid being observed; to lead aside.” This is the nature of false prophets. They are used by Satan to mislead people, going through pains to avoid being detected. They are all ecumenical. They all pervert the Gospel message, requiring sinners to stop living in their sins to be saved. But that's not what God says. Lordship Salvation is a backdoor approach to Works Salvation. Instead of requiring people to do good works to be saved as the Catholic Church does, Lordship Salvationists require people to stop living in sin to be saved. The result is the same—self righteousness.

A liberal (also leftist) is someone who rejects logical and Biblical standards, often for self-centered reasons. There are no coherent liberal standards; often a liberal is merely someone who craves attention, and who uses many words to say nothing. Liberalism began as a movement for individual liberties, but today is increasingly statist and, as in Europe, socialistic. Liberalism has changed over the years and degenerated into corruption.

False Doctrines

Ye Must Be Born Again! | You Need HIS Righteousness!