In the July 1954 issue of Reformation Review, Francis Schaeffer published “How Heresy Should Be Met.”  He proposed that, to neutralize the heresies defrauding people in our time, what is needed is a three-fold strategy:

“The final problem is not to prove men wrong, but to win them back to Christ.  Therefore, the only ultimately successful apologetic is, first, a clear, intellectual statement of what is wrong with the false doctrine, plus a clear, intellectual return to the proper scriptural emphasis, in all its vitality and in its relation to the total Christian faith, plus a demonstration in the life that this correct and vital scriptural emphasis meets the genuine needs and aspirations of men in a way that Satan’s counterfeit does not.”

The ultimate apologetic is churches where (1) falsehood is exposed, (2) the gospel is clarified, and (3) we together, though imperfect, become living proof that the gospel creates beautiful human beings in beautiful community.

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2 thoughts on “How heresy should be met”

  1. Michael Snow says:

    http://www.thepoachedegg.net/the-poached-egg/2013/04/aw-tozer-why-waste-time-on-errors.html

    Why waste time on errors? Why not just preach the truth? You might as well say to a farmer, ‘why waste your time on weeds? Why don’t you just plant corn?’ If he plants corn and does not deal with the weeds, he will not have any corn after a while. – A.W. Tozer (from Experiencing the Presence of God)

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Ray Ortlund


Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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