Dealing with Heretics and Blasphemers- Keach

For Keach there were two things which rendered a Man an Heretick:

1. An Error in matters of Faith, Fundamental or Essential to Salvation.

2. A Stubbornness in continuing to hold to such a thought after it has been disproved.

After believers work to convince the heretic of their abominable Error; and they remain obstinate, them they must be delivered up to Satan- which is the righteous censure of the Church at that point.

“As touching Hereticks or Heresy, the same Censure, when they are convicted, ought to pass against them; Heresy is commonly restrained to signify any perverse Opinion or Error in a fundamental Point of Religion, as to deny the Being of God, or the Deity of Christ, or his Satisfaction, and Justification alone by his Righteousness, or to deny the Resurrection of the Body, or eternal Judgment, or the like. Yet our Annotators say, the Word signifies the same thing with Schism and Divisions; which if so, such that are guilty of Schism or Divisions in the Church, ought to be excommunicated also. Heresies are called Damnable by the Apostle Peter; without Repentance such cannot be saved, as bring in Damnable Heresies, denying the Lord that bought them.

Two things render a Man an Heretick according to the common signification of the Word.

1. An Error in matters of Faith, Fundamental or Essential to Salvation.

2. Stubbornness and Contumacy in holding and maintaining it. A Man that is an Heretick, after the first and second Admonition reject. Now that this Rejection is all one with Excommunication, appears by what Paul speaks, I Tim. I. 20. Of whom is Hymeneus and Alexander, whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to Blaspheme.

Their Heresy, or Blasphemy was in saying the Resurrection was past.

Some would have none be counted an Heretick but he who is convicted and condemned so to be in his own Conscience, mistaking Paul’s Words, Knowing t hat he that is such, is subverted, being condemned of himself. He may be con demned of himself, tho not for his Heresy, yet for his spending his Time about Questions, and strife of Words, to the disquieting the Peace of the Church ; or tho not condemned of himself directly, yet indirectly; according to the Purport of his own Notion, or what he grants about the Point in Debate, &c. Else the Apostle refers to some notable and notorious self-condemned Heretick. It is a great question, whether Hymeneus and Alexander were condemned in their own Consciences, about that Heresy charged upon them, and yet were delivered up to Satan. However the Rule is plain, respecting any that are subverted, and resolutely maintain any Heretical Notion, i.e. after he hath been twice (or oftner) admonished, that is, after all due means used, and pains taken with him, to convince him of his abominable Error; and yet if he remains obstinate, he must be delivered up to Satan; that is, the righteous censure of the Church must pass upon him, as in the case of other notorious Crimes. Heresy is a Work of the Flesh: and hence some conceive such ought to be punished by the Civil Magistrate.”

Taken from Keach’s The Glory of a True Church. Noted by https://feileadhmor.wordpress.com/2014/11/20/of-dealing-with-hereticks-and-blasphemers/

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