Doctrinal Error and Damning Heresy
plus... A Call for Separation
I can appreciate Don Fortner's explanation to a certain extent, but his example (below) of damning heresy in the case of conferred grace in the Lord's Supper could be misunderstood. While BibleCatholics don't believe Holy Communion gets us to heaven-- only Christ has won heaven for us--we do believe receiving the bread and wine in this way is the same as receiving Jesus's body and blood, and so it is a real aid in this life. Because we are truly receiving Christ's own promise, we know it is of benefit to us for this life.
For those, like Don Fortner, who believe the bread and wine only represents but does not confer to us Christ's true body and blood---we can perhaps understand why he believes the Lord's Supper does not give the grace or favor of God to those who receive it. They do not believe Christ's promise that ...this is my body, ....this is my blood. Therefore, for Don and his followers, it is true...they do not receive the promise nor do they receive the grace that Christ gives us when we receive him in this manner that he commanded. Because this is by Christ's command, we consider it an act of God and not of man.
What Don is likely addressing here is the Roman Catholic concept of the Lord's Supper which not only believes that grace is conferred, but also that such is vital and necessary to allow the person to do the things needed to "do their part" to get to heaven. In other words, yes, it is part of the Roman Catholic false gospel that to receive the bread and wine regularly gives the receiver a better chance to gain heaven by adding God's grace to his or her own works. That is why Fortner calls it a damning heresy because the grace conferred is something that is considered necessary, in addition to the death of Christ, to get the Roman Catholic to heaven.
As BibleCatholics, we do not receive the body and blood to help us get to heaven in anyway--Christ took care of that on the cross. Again, while we do consider this a benefit for this life--we do believe it confers grace to those who believe--it is in no way considered a help to heaven. Instead, Christ left his supper as a comfort and aid for us in this life.
We believe we truly receive Christ's body and blood when we receive the bread and wine. We believe that only because Christ himself promised us just that (Matthew 26:26-28). In such a case, how can we believe we receive Christ's body and blood and not be blessed?
Nevertheless, there are some good points to be made in reading about damning heresy and the call for separation. --bro. Jim
1 Corinthians 11:19
By Don Fortner
For more from Pastor Fortner,
A friend once asked me, "Do you make a distinction between doctrinal error and damning heresy, and if you do what is it?" That is a good question and deserves a public answer. While I do not find such a distinction made in the scriptures between the use of the words "error" and "heresy", the word "error" as we commonly use it is a much milder word than the word "heresy". But in the New Testament distinctions were made. For example, Peter was in grave error in the dissimulation he made at Antioch. By his actions he gave the appearance that believers should still be held under the yoke of the law, and for this error Paul publicly rebuked him (Gal. 2:11-21). However, his error was not damning heresy. Had he taught that men gain salvation or improve their relationship with God by obedience to the law, that would have been damning heresy (Gal. 5:2,4).
This is where we must draw the line of distinction - DOCTRINAL ERROR is the misinterpretation or application of any biblical teaching. DAMNING HERESY is any doctrine or practice that is contrary to salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Obviously, any teaching that allows the worship of false gods, denies the deity of Christ, his virgin birth, or vicarious atonement is damning heresy. But there are other forms of heresy far more subtle and dangerous.
To teach sprinkling for baptism is grave error, but not necessarily damning. However, to make baptism a condition of grace to any degree is damning heresy. To substitute grape juice for wine in the Lord's Supper is serious error, though not damning to the soul. But to make the Lord's Supper a sacrament by which grace is conferred upon a sinner is damning heresy. The list could be greatly enlarged. But there is one test by which damning heresy can always be identified. ANY DOCTRINE THAT TEACHES, OR PRACTICE THAT LEADS PEOPLE TO BELIEVE, THAT SALVATION IS IN ANYWAY CONDITIONED UPON, DEPENDENT UPON, OR DETERMINED BY THE WORTH, WORK, OR WILL OF THE SINNER IS DAMNING HERESY AND ALWAYS DEADLY TO THOSE WHO EMBRACE IT. Arminian, free-will, works religion is as damning to the souls of men as Judaism, Islam, Roman Catholicism, or satan worship. It is our responsibility to expose heresy by instructing men in the truth and to reject those who will not obey the truth as self-condemned heretics (Tit.3:9-11).