Pj Miller has a way with presenting some really great posts, pointing us to some relevant information. For this post, PJ refers us to an older post, BB (Before Blogs).
Excellent article by Benjamin B. Warfield – (Nov. 1851 – Feb. 17, 1921)
The article begins,
In G. P. Fisher’s History of Christian Doctrine there is a very suggestive passage in which he tells us how heresies usually originate, and gives us an insight into their nature. He says:
When Christianity is brought into contact with modes of thought and tenets originating elsewhere, either of two effects may follow: It may assimilate them, discarding whatever is at variance with the gospel, or the tables may be turned and the foreign elements may prevail. In the latter case there ensues a perversion of Christianity, an amalgamation with it of ideas discordant with its nature. The product then is a heresy.
But to fill out the conception, it seems necessary that error should be aggressive and should give rise to an effort to build up a party, and thus to divide the Church. In the Apostles’ use of the term, “heresy” contains a factious element.
He then proceeds to remark that ” ‘heresy’ meant originally ‘choice’; then an opinion that is the product of choice or of the will, instead of being drawn from the divine Word”; that it is, in a word, “a man-made opinion” as distinguished from a divinely taught doctrine.
It is an article well worth reading.