10 Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11 knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned. Titus 3:10-11 (NASB)
True Biblical discernment is crucial for the spiritual health of the Body of Christ because there has and always will be a plague of false teaching and teachers upon it until our Lord’s return. In the Truth War that is upon us in the Church, we have many enemies trying to come in “unawares.” They try to infiltrate, appearing as “Orthodox” but their teaching is deceitful, degrading, and damnable (2 Peter 2:1)….
Those of us who have been gifted by God with spiritual discernment are, therefore, also given the job of flushing these people out. Part of this job is knowing who our enemies really are. Are they apostates or are they simply holding to some heresy that doesn’t fall into the range of “deceitful, degrading, or damnable?”
Before we go any further let’s make one thing perfectly clear. There is a difference between apostasy and heresy. Apostasy is seen most clearly in “cults.” It is a departure from Christian truth in general. Those in these cults profess to be Christian, but they are actually in denial of true Orthodox Christianity. This denial of Biblical truth might consist of all Christian truth or just a single truth such as the deity of Christ or justification by faith. These denials of truth results in the destruction of all biblical truth. Therefore, an apostate is not a Christian. Arius was an apostate. He was a 4th Century parish priest in Alexandria who taught that Jesus was a created being, and, therefore, was not coequal with God. The “cult” that came from his teaching was called Arianism and has existed in various forms ever since.