But the fact remains there is heresy and false teachings today in 2017. When the last page of the Bible was written, heresy and false teaching didn't suddenly disappear. There are a lot of warnings against false teachings in the New Testament, yet we modern day Christians just swallow everything that comes our way, never questioning it, and giving people a hard time who do. As long as it has the Christian label attached and the local Christian bookstore sells it, we jump on it.
The Shack novel/movie is a great example. The book is fictional, but has several false teachings which are considered heresy my many. Yet, countless Christians rave about the book and urge their friends to read it, or watch the movie. They take offense at accusations of heresy in the book, and refuse to acknowledge it may not be a book Christians should read.
Walk into any Christian bookstore, and you'll see books by people who are teaching and preaching things contrary to the Bible. You don't have to look far. But it would seem as long as that person says enough that is Biblical and makes people feel good, we overlook the parts that don't line up with the Bible.
And that is where heresy/false teachings come in: when something doesn't line up with Scripture. It doesn't matter if Rob Bell, Joyce Meyer, William Paul Young, Joseph Prince, Benny Hinn, your pastor or mine, or Billy Graham said it. If it doesn't line up with Scripture, it is false teaching.
We do have to be careful not to accuse people of heresy for things we may see differently that may not be in black and white in the Bible, and different churches may consider different things heresy.
Walk into a Calvinist church and tell them they are wrong on that "once saved always saved" and predestination, and you may be labeled a heretic.
Go into a Catholic church and tell them infant baptism confessing to a priest, and making too much of Mary is wrong. You will be labeled a heretic most likely.
Go into my church and suggest that we bring a drum into the church, and you will be labeled a heretic. (just kidding...... maybe)
Try telling a charismatic church they are wrong on that speaking in tongues thing, and you may get called a heretic.
Back when the church ruled everything, people were labeled heretics for doing or saying anything the church disagreed or disapproved of. William Tyndale was a heretic for making his translation of the Bible. Many good people were burned at the stake for being heretics, simply because the church didn't like what they were saying and doing.
So one does need to be careful, but we have gone too far the other way. If you dare suggest someone is teaching or preaching something false, you will be met with resistance. A few years ago I did a post about a popular preacher and his wife and dared suggest that he preaches a false Gospel. (I still believe he does). I had one man on Facebook delete me as a friend because "I attacked the body". I received a couple of other negative comments also.
Here is a question to consider: how much of someone's teaching has to be false, for them to be considered a false teacher? Well, how much poison would have to be in your food for you to consider it inedible?
It is said a few times in the Bible that a little leaven leavens the whole loaf. That means a little false teaching within a lot of good teaching makes it all bad.
Nothing supersedes the Bible. If someone is saying things contrary to the Bible, they are guilty of false teaching and possibly heresy. And we all need better discernment to see it when it happens. But discernment seems to be lacking today among we 2017 Christians.
Here are some real life heretics:
Rob Bell. This man wrote a book and insisted in it that God loves people too much to send anyone to hell, and everyone will go to Heaven in the end. (Something also taught in The Shack).
John Pavolvitz. I personally tangled with this man several times in a Facebook group. He teaches that God is OK with homosexuality - in fact He blesses people doing it - and that the Bible is not divinely inspired, among other things.
William Paul Young. In his popular book The Shack, he gives several ideas that are contrary to the Bible.
And there are more. The most dangerous thing about these people and others, is they say enough good that Christians overlook the bad. It seems if a book or preacher makes them feel good, they will overlook the false teachings and defend them with all that is in them.
If Jesus and Paul were here on earth today, I believe 100% they would be calling out many of these people that Christians are following so easily and faithfully. I also believe they'd be shouted down and called names for daring to call these people out. It isn't popular to point out false teaching. I don't know all of the reasons, but it is sad that with all of the warnings against false teachings that are in the Bible, no Christian today wants to acknowledge that any exist, and they are definitely not receptive to them being pointed out.
We do have false teachers today in 2017, and it is time we stop following them and recognize them for what they are.