The word ‘heresy’ is a transliteration of the Greek word haireses which literally means:
– A choice
– The opinion chosen
– The sect holding the opinion
In its classic usage, the word was not necessarily derogatory. It simply referred to a certain sect within an established system of beliefs (c.f., Acts 5:17, 15:5, 24:5).
However, and as the church began to grow, so also did negative connotations of this word.
Certain men within the church departed from Apostolic teaching and essentially began to press others ‘to choose’ their side (c.f., 1 Corinthians 11:19, Galatians 5:20, 2 Peter 2:1).
This schismatic behavior was denounced by the Apostles as ‘heresy’ and that is why the word continues to this day to be a label for false doctrine, those who promote it, and the sad divisions that are caused by such.
Written by Pastor McShaffrey