The Nashville Statement and ‘noble heresies’

“Perhaps on the rare occasion pursuing the right course demands an act of noble heresy …”

That’s Governor Swann’s comment about piracy, but I think it applies here. For too long people have been erring by obeying the letter of the law for fear of the uncontrollable freedom the spirit of the text allows. Churches have squandered an immeasurable amount of potential and people in order to get out of fulfilling their debt of love. That’s what noble heresies are – love carried out to the full, a 1 Corinthians 14 kind of love. It’s because you love someone you want to break the bonds that bind them, be they a systematic evil like slavery, a cultural evil like refusing rights, or a church-created evil as a result of bad theology. Let us love freely, let us love our neighbors, and let us love one another – even our brothers and sisters who don’t believe in noble heresies – we all need love.

Sarahbeth Caplin

rainbow_flag-300x200I haven’t weighed in much on the Nashville Statement, save for a fewarticles I shared that summarize my feelings better than I could. I just didn’t have much to say that hadn’t already been said. But the phrase “noble heresy” came to mind during my morning “God time” today, and I feel compelled to explore that a bit further.

When I think of “noble heresies,” I think of the brave men and women who ostracized themselves in their congregations when their pastors preached on the wrong side of justice. I think of the Dietrich Bonhoeffers during the Holocaust, the abolitionists and civil rights protestors: many of whom risked their jobs, reputations, and even their lives because they truly believed that the church they loved was wrong about something.

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3 thoughts on “The Nashville Statement and ‘noble heresies’

  1. “It’s because you love someone you want to break the bonds that bind them…”

    If we know the truth, it is a natural desire that others walk in what has been revealed to us. However, we must “speak the truth in love”. Just because we give truth, does not mean it was in or out of love. Sometimes, we spew the truth in order to direct someone to behave according to our desire. Love does not do that. Love does not have its own agenda. Love looks out for the benefit of another.

    Let’s seek to not just break those bonds, but to allow the Lord to do the breaking. He is the Master Surgeon, who can affect change from the inside, inspiring repentance (change of mind), leading to change, which leads to bonds being broken.

    Excellent post. You really have a heart for His grace to shine through.


    1. The comment’s mine, but Sarah Beth’s post said it a whole lot better than I ever could. What really breaks my heart is how messed up Christianity has gotten. I try my best to follow a 1 Corinthians 13 sense of love – like Jesus’ for us, and treat others as he would treat them. I can’t imagine him acting in many of the ways I’ve seen Christians behave in the past several years.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I have been getting to know love a little better, in recent years. I shared some of this in previous posts on 1 Cor. 13. We have, indeed, become a people who have forgotten love and what love is. It is high time we get back to Jesus.

        Liked by 1 person

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