My wife texted and said I needed to meet her in town after she got off work. "What for?", I replied. "I bought some rocks, and I need someone strong to load them", she texted back. I immediately rolled my eyes and wondered what I was getting into.
When I arrived at the address listed on Facebook marketplace, we were escorted by the resident on a brisk walk around the corner of the house furthest away from the driveway. There under the deck were several small boulders. The rocks were all different sizes, good for a landscaping feature. There was a skinny triangle with a fat-bottom. One looked like a square circle with sharp edges. The lightest of the stones had to weigh 75 pounds. It doesn't sound like that much weight, but it's compact and awkward to carry...and like I said, that was the lightest one. If it was 100 lb human, I could throw them over my shoulder in a fireman's carry no problem. Imagine that same amount of weight but the size of an overinflated basketball. That brisk walk around the corner of the house was starting to look like a mile.
All the fundamentals of weight-lifting were washing over me: lift with your knees not your back, work smarter not harder...."oh Lord, I'm that age when grown men get hernias"..."hey, are you carrying any of this weight?!?!" Then the bargaining and renegotiation ensues. "Let's take 10 steps, set it down, catch our breath and quickly pick it back up and do 10 more steps." We worked together and got the rocks loaded, and I only mentioned like five times what a good husband I am.
Alright....let me throw out some heavy things, and see how you would go about picking them without hurting yourself or others.
* Where did the Bible come from?
* Who wrote the Bible, God or humans?
* What if someone today says that God spoke to them, and they want you to obey what they say because God speaks through them?
* What if your pastor, or even a close friend were to say to you "We don't follow those parts of the bible silly, that's the Old Testament". What would you say?
Are there criteria to keep in mind when doing mental heavy-lifting as the church? Some of the oldest heresies in the church have to do with what we call biblical canon. Canon, in this case, means 'rule' or 'guide' for measuring. Another way to say this is: Out of all the writings from the early church, which ones are authoritative and who decides?
We'll talk about figures from history like Montanus and Marcion. Montanus declared that God spoke through him, and followers of Jesus should obey him because it was ultimately God speaking prophecy through him. Montanism was labeled a heresy.
Marcion (85-160 AD), an early Christian theologian and evangelist, said that the benevolent God that sent Jesus into the world was different from the malevolent creator god of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Marcion was excommunicated from the church around 144 AD.
We'll look at these figures and some contemporary examples of their ancient heresies in Sunday School. We said that heresy is the mother of orthodoxy. The existence of bad teaching and practice forced the church to write down and share good teaching and practice. In the meantime, here is a brief introduction to where our bible comes from...