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“Do you see my bookshelves over there?” All heads would turn toward the thousands of books surrounding them in my classroom. “Do you think that’s real wood?” I would offer. “It feels like vinyl,” one would say, hands close enough to touch. “But it looks like real wood!” another would say.
I would then show them the back edge of an extra shelf; exposed particle board greeted their gaze. “Now the advertisement says,” I continued, “I can pick from cherry or walnut grains. But in all honesty, I’m simply buying a thin veneer of plastic, covering pressed wood.” My bookshelf illustration was about to bring home the truth. “This is exactly what false teaching is like,” I concluded, “It looks right, at first glance, but upon further inspection, it is shown to be wrong. Heresy depends on attracting our attention, then leading us astray.”
The word “heresy” comes from the Greek word meaning “to choose.” Any move toward heresy, toward falsehood, is choosing to step away from biblical teaching. As Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:16, “Watch your life and doctrine closely.” And there is the issue. What we believe, creates how we live. I think the Christian singer Rich Mullins said it best: