Tag Archives: Church Leaders


First, the basic definition of "heresy", since this is a word that has been used in connection with "subordinationism".


From merriam-webster:

  • a: adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma
  • b: denial of a revealed truth by a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church
  • c: an opinion or doctrine contrary to church dogma
  • a: dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice
  • b: an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards

I think it is important to understand that in order to have a "heresy", you have to have an authority to proclaim it OR to have an absolute, definitive theory, opinion, practice or doctrine to which to adhere (and be contrary to).

POINT: If you choose to level an accusation of "heresy", you should have an authoritative church body that represents "the Church" as a whole. If you cannot do this, you are choosing, either as a single person or small body, to proclaim orthodoxy and/or heresy outside of the "body" as a whole.

Accusations of heresy are serious business. False accusations are more serious yet. We should be very cautious when using such words as "heresy" or "blasphemy", lest we bear false witness against brothers and sisters in Christ.

I have little trouble examining doctrine against "historical proclamations" of heresy.  There was a time that was much closer to the cross and the apostles then we are now.  There was a time when the church was united; before the church in Rome and the Eastern Church separated.  Before that time, the young church had several councils that gathered together, examined Scripture and proclaimed "orthodoxy".

So...who decides?

A Church Council is an official ad hoc gathering of representatives to settle Church business. Such Councils are called rarely and are not the same as the regular gatherings of church leaders (synods, etc). An ecumenical council is one at which the whole Church is represented. The three major branches of the Church (Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant) recognize seven ecumenical councils: Nicea (325), Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451), Constantinople II (553), Constantinople III (680), Nicea II (787). Further ecumenical councils were rendered impossible by the widening split between Eastern (Orthodox, Greek-speaking) and Western (Catholic, Latin-speaking) Churches, a split that was rendered official in 1054 and has not yet been healed. (from PBCC.org)

I'll let folks do their own search for the "seven ecumenical councils" - because which of the three major branches will cite different sources, yet all three branches recognize a group of seven councils on which all agree.

In short...if these seven councils agree that a doctrine is "heresy", all three major branches of Christianity today (Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant) will agree.

The Seven Ecumenical Councils:

  • The Council of Nicea, 325
  • The Council of Constantinople, 381
  • The Council of Ephesus, 431
  • The Council of Chalcedon, 451
  • The Council of Constantinople II, 553
  • The Council of Constantinople III, 680
  • The Council of Nicea II, 787

To wrap it up, these seven ecumenical councils of the early church met to BOTH unite the church on essential doctrine and to separate those who teach heresy from those who teach truth.

I believe that if a teaching is not found (or condemned) in these seven councils, it becomes more difficult to level an accusation of "heresy". Again, we should be very careful when doing so.


GRAND RAPIDS -- Despite the stunning resignation of its top administrator over an allegedly inappropriate relationship with a female colleague, the Christian Reformed Church will recover and heal, the CRC's newly named executive director says.


Right off, this may be seen as airing somebody else's dirty laundry - but there is a very real purpose in it. Paul tells us church leaders are to be rebuked publically, so that others can be warned - read this and be warned.

This is my denomination, and Mr. Bremer has been well loved in it. A woman that I work with said today that he had been her family's pastor when they lived in another state and when he was first chosen, one of the ladies in my ministry group said the same thing. He has been highly respected and it is always sad to see a man of God fall. Our prayers should cover all of the people involved.

The thoughts that I've (I've been pondering this for a few hours) are a result of things that were said at work. I've said before that I live in a very special area; of the four staff in my classroom this summer, all four are professed Christians, two are CRC, two are Catholic - in most areas, how many public school classrooms can say that?

Anyway...we were talking about the news this morning and this came up.

The first thoughts center around the act. (hint: the third thoughts may be the most important.)

One of the women commented, "You see, it happens in other churches, too." I have a few thoughts related to that comment - the first one that happened to pop into my head was that "at least our denomination took care of it, instead of tranferring the guy and/or paying somebody off and/or sweeping it under the rug." But that doesn't make the sin any less, it just makes the denomination more credible in the way that they deal with it.

The second group of thoughts center around the consequences.

1) When confronted with the information, Bremer resigned within hours. The consequences were immediate, definite and public. (1 Timothy 5:19-20 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning) It does matter, Biblically, that it was public and not swept away, only to be made public years later.

2) Bremer denies a sexual relationship and officials are not alleging a sexual relationship. This is important - it really is. This means that the CRC is taking a stand that male/female relationships that are not sexual, but still cross boundaries are still serious enough for this kind of consequence.

The third set of thoughts center around the aftermath

One of the women I work with said this: "I told my husband that if he ever made a fool of me that way, with his name in the paper and all that - it would be all over - no second chances."

Within this marriage, this story could be a testament to consequences, or it could be a testament to repentance, forgiveness and restoration. Only time will tell what it will be.

If Bremer repents and commits to accountability and everything else it takes to make repentance real - will his wife forgive "seventy times seven". I know that every time it comes to mind (and it will come to mind), the forgiveness will have to take place in her mind. At least seventy times seven - and many more.

Will she forgive as God forgives? Will she commit to never bringing it up against him - to him, to others and even (with God's help) to herself? In the face of her husband's repentance, will she see her lack of forgiveness as a sin at least equal to the one that her husband committed?

Only time will tell...and God's hand will have to be on all of it, and my prayers are with them.