What is the Meaning of Anathema? Can a Church Pronounce an Anathema Upon Me?

By Dr Paul M Elliott

Our series on the subject of how Christians should deal with false teaching in the church generated some followup questions from readers. We take up the first today: “What is the meaning of anathema? Can a church pronounce an anathema upon a person or group?”

Several Related Questions

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Is Your Church a Spiritual Titanic?

By Dr Paul M Elliott

Part 12 of a series. Read part 11

In our current series we’ve been addressing these questions: “My church is no longer true to the Word of God on essential Christian truths. What should I do? Should I leave? Should I stay and try to fight error? Will I be guilty of schism if I do either one?”

Presently we’re dealing with some of the un-Biblical responses that are common today. In this installment we focus on the untenable position of those who say that there is safety in remaining in a larger church or denomination despite its errors, rather than becoming part of the remnant that comes out and separates from apostasy. Today many Evangelical and Reformed church-goers believe it is safer to remain on a large but apostate sinking ship, rather than trust their lives to the safety of a small but sound Gospel lifeboat.1

The Safety of a Large But Sinking Ship?

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Is It Wrong to Leave a Church Because It Hasn’t Officially Endorsed the Heresy Within It?

By Dr Paul M Elliott

Part 11 of a series. Read part 10.

Our current series addresses these questions: “My church is no longer true to the Word of God on essential Christian truths. What should I do? Should I leave? Should I stay and try to fight error? Will I be guilty of schism if I do either one?”

Presently we’re dealing with some of the un-Biblical responses that are common today. In this installment we focus on the untenable position of those who say that a church doesn’t become a heretical body unless it officially endorses heresy.1

Another Fallacious Argument

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Who Has the Right to Call False Teaching Heresy?

By Dr Paul M Elliott

Part 10 of a series. Read part 9.

Our current series addresses these questions: “My church is no longer true to the Word of God on essential Christian truths. What should I do? Should I leave? Should I stay and try to fight error? Will I be guilty of schism if I do either one?”

Contrary to what many church leaders are saying today, the Bible assigns the right — and responsibility — to call false teaching by its right name, not to a handful of theological specialists, but to every believer.1

The Definition of Heresy

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Should You Stay and Fight?

By Dr Paul M Elliott

Part 9 of a series. Read part 8.

Our current series addresses these questions: “My church is no longer true to the Word of God on essential Christian truths. What should I do? Should I leave? Should I stay and try to fight error? Will I be guilty of schism if I do either one?”

Scripture tells us that to “stay and fight” in a church that has become apostate is itself an act of schism that God condemns. He declares, “You are separating yourself from Me.”1

Can the Battle Be Won From Within?

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Are You Really Looking for an Exit?

By Dr Paul M Elliott

Part 8 of a series. Read part 7.

Our current series addresses these questions: “My church is no longer true to the Word of God on essential Christian truths. What should I do? Should I leave? Should I stay and try to fight error? Will I be guilty of schism if I do either one?”

Some people adopt what they call an “exit strategy” attitude in the face of clear apostasy in their churches. But a recent example shows that often those who adopt this strategy aren’t really looking for an exit. Far too often, they’re looking for an excuse to disobey God.1

A Recent Example

Like the wait-and-see response we discussed in our last article, the “exit strategy” response is another proposed way to supposedly deal with apostasy that rests on the false notion that separation is somehow always premature. Perhaps I can best illustrate the foolishness of this response by recounting what happened earlier in this decade when the once-sound Orthodox Presbyterian Church (in which I was at the time an elder) demonstrated clear apostasy on the Gospel and the doctrine of Scripture.2

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Wait and See? What Are You Waiting For?

By Dr Paul M Elliott

Part 7 of a series. Read part 6.

In our current series we’re addressing these questions: “My church is no longer true to the Word of God on essential Christian truths. What should I do? Should I leave? Should I stay and try to fight error? Will I be guilty of schism if I do either one?”

Presently we’re dealing with some of the un-Biblical responses that are common today. In this installment we focus on the position of those who want to adopt a “wait and see” attitude in the face of clear apostasy in their churches.1

It Is Way Past Time

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