A daily devotional by Dr. K. Neill Foster
for February 11, 2019
|Heretics Are Going to Hell|
Text: "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned. As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned." [emphasis added] Galatians 1:8-9
This morning as I read this Scripture again-- how many times in a lifetime I have read it, I do not know--I was stunned by the anathema Paul pronounces on the heretics. Their error has terrible results. Paul deliberately says it twice-- these people, the ones who preach and teach this heresy, are not just "out to lunch." No, they are eternally condemned. They are going to hell!
Turn this over and over in your mind! Paul was so outraged, so intent on being dreadfully clear, that he twice uses the term "eternally condemned."
Concerning this text, Chrysostom says, "Lest you should think that the words came from passion or were spoken hyperbolically or through a loss of self-control, he says the same things over again."
My concern today is that the Church finds itself almost unable to recognize heresy and is often unwilling to label anything as heresy. Thomas C. Oden, General Editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, has wryly observed that in some seminaries not a heresy is left to denounce. Seemingly, the only heresies that come under scrutiny are departures from political correctness and deviations from inclusivism.
The Primitive Church was much different. In one text, one of the Fathers was discussing "the eighty-fourth heresy since the ascension." Was Oden overstating the case? Were the Fathers too vigilant? We do not know. But what we do know is that Paul was furious in his condemnation of the Galatian heretics-- and they were eternally condemned.