When discussing theology, I've come to realize that not only is personal study of doctrine a necessary component to faith, but it is something that shouldn't be kept to oneself. I want to share my journey, both past and ongoing, into the realm of theology. Through this, I hope that you will gain insight into the Christian faith as a whole. Before reading anything else, I suggest you read the introduction and definitions (found in the pages tabs above) so you may better understand where I am coming from in everything I write. Because many of my posts are on heresies, there is also a page above with a family tree of heresies and links to all the posts I have so far on the topic.

10 December, 2012

Heresy of the Week: Asceticism

This week's heresy is often repeated in other heresies (especially Gnostic-family ones).  It's fairly simple, and deals less directly with doctrine and more with behavior (although practicers of Asceticism believed their behavior helped them earn or hurry along their salvation, which is a Pelagianism heresy as noted below, and utterly heretical).

Asceticism is the belief that abstaining from “worldly pleasure” can help bring about salvation and liberation from mortal coils. This was a common practice of some early church fathers (at least insofar as many sought to distance themselves from the world in any way they could), and is still used in some protestant churches today. This is a Legalism heresy, and by extension, a Pelagianism-family heresy as well.

The biggest issue is when focus on the Law over the Gospel becomes disproportionate.  Any teaching that you can do something to help "earn" your salvation is dangerous, because it creates distrust and despair ("Did I do enough to make sure I am saved?" or something similar should never be a question on the lips or mind of a Christian).  That is what makes Pelagianism and Pelagianistic heresies so dangerous.

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