The Cruelty of Heresy
An Affirmation of Christian Orthodoxy
By The Rt Revd C. FitzSimons Allison
445 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016
This work is just as needed today as when it was written in 1993. Heresy is cruel because it draws people away from biblical belief and practice.
Bishop Allison does a good job of explaining how that there are not really any new heresies, just old ones re-packaged for a different place and time. He wrote the work whilst serving as bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina before it left the Episcopal Church over false teaching under Bishop Lawrence.
This excerpt from the Preface as he writes about his enthusiasm for orthodoxy gives you an idea. “This enthusiasm is born perversely not from virtue but from sin. I find John Calvin’s commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19 to be enduringly accurate. ‘All errors that have existed in the Christian Church from the beginning, proceeded from this source, that in some persons, ambition, and in others, covetousness, extinguished the true fear of God. A bad conscience is, therefore, the mother of all heresies…’ Unless guided by the Church’s creeds and Councils, I believe I would produce the most virulent heretical distortions of scripture.”
Over 10 chapters and almost 200 pages, Allison witheringly deals with the way that false teaching has affected and is affecting the church. He posits as many have before that most heresies arise from a wrong teaching regarding the incarnation and the understanding the Holy Trinity.
Arianism, Docetism, Ebionism, Adoptionism, Cappadocianism, Apollinarianism, Nestorianism, Eutychianism — all are addressed in an easily understood fashion without being too simple for specialists in the field. It is an imminently useful little tool.
Bishop Allison is alive and well at the age of 94. His pace might have slowed, some, but his mind has the agility of a man decades younger. He is the inspiration for the Mere Anglicanism Conferences held in Charleston, South Carolina each January (apart from Covid restrictions).