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I recently posted a video on Facebook from Todd Friel and Wretched Radio on why “Joel Osteen is Dangerous.”  In this clip, Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church (to use the term loosely) was stating that Mormonism and Christianity are basically the same thing and that “if somebody loves Jesus and believes He is the Son of God…that’s good enough for me.”  Mr. “I don’t know” Osteen is one that does not really understand the Gospel, the Bible, that Mormons do not believe in the Jesus of the Bible, or true Christianity.  He is a false teacher and a danger in leading others astray who do not check his faulty words against the Bible.

So after posting that video an atheist friend of mine, whom I respect and love, made a comment “Burn the Heretics!”  My reply to this statement was that Biblical Christianity has never “burned heretics” but pointed out faithfully where the wolves are to warn other sheep.  We are advised in Scripture to always beware and discern teachers by their actions, their words, and their preaching of the truth and compare it with the Word of God.  Any faithful and Biblical pastor would encourage his congregation as well as others to do this as he is to give an account for them one day.  The difference with my friend’s statement and true Christianity is that I still love Joel Osteen.  Love is demonstrated by pointing out respectfully where he is preaching false doctrines and pray for him to one day understand the Gospel and proclaim God’s Word truthfully.

Another point is the premise of burning of heretics.  I can truthfully say that no Biblical Christian burned heretics or false teachers.  This is a painting a picture that never happened and attributing evil actions to supposed followers of Christ.  There have always been those that have killed, burned, maimed, etc. in the name of Christ but they were all false teachers, heretics themselves, or false converts.  Jesus clearly states in Matthew 7:21, 23 –

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

If history is told correctly, it was not Christians burning heretics, but Christians being burned and killed in every century (and even to this day).  A single book could not contain the amount of names of Christians persecuted, tortured, and martyred for being a Christian.  But here is a short list for those who have not done their homework:

  • Jesus suffered and was crucified on a cross after being judged innocent multiple times by Pilate
  • Stephen was stoned to death
  • James the brother of John was beheaded
  • Matthew the Gospel writer was pinned to the ground and beheaded
  • James the brother of Jesus was thrown off the Temple tower and then had his head smashed in with a fuller’s club
  • Matthias was stoned and beheaded
  • Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross
  • Mark was dragged to pieces
  • Peter was crucified upside down
  • Paul was beheaded
  • Jude was crucified
  • Bartholomew was beaten and crucified
  • Thomas was tortured, run through with spears, and thrown into the flames of an oven
  • Luke was hung from an olive tree
  • Emperor Nero lined his roads with burning Christians
  • Emperor Domitian slaughtered thousands of Christians
  • Timothy was clubbed to death
  • Emperor Trajan boasted of putting thousands of innocent Christians to death daily
  • Emperor Adrian crucified thousands of Christians to mock the death of Jesus
  • Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus killed in the most inhuman fashion such as crushing Christians feet in presses, forcing them to walk over nails and pointed objects, whipped until veins were exposed
  • Emperor Marcus Maximus ordered all Christians hunted down and killed in large pits
  • Emperor Decius tried to eliminate Christianity and its followers completely
  • Emperor Valerian martyred and tortured more than they could count
  • Emperor Diocletian led a massive persecution of Christians
  • There were thousands upon thousands of persecutions throughout the world of Christians from 300AD-1200AD
  • The Papal persecutions and the Inquisition accused many Christians of charges of heresy and “reading of the Bible in the common language” was deemed punishable by death as well and thousands of Christians, Jews, Muslims, suspected witches, and others were killed and tortured
  • John Wycliffe was persecuted for his Biblical teachings against the Church of Rome and after he died they dug up his body and burned it and threw it into the Rhine River
  • John Huss was persecuted, tortured, and burned alive
  • Jerome of Prague sang hymns while he was burned alive
  • William Tyndale, John Frith, Andrew Hewet and thousands in England and Scotland were martyred for their Christianity
  • Martin Luther was persecuted by the Church of Rome
  • John Hooper was burned alive
  • Dr. Rowland Taylor was burned alive
  • Donald Cargill, John Bunyan, George Fox, William Carey, Robert Thomas
  • The Boxer Rebellion, the Soviet Union, Romania, China, Albania, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, throughout African and Islamic nations today, millions upon millions of true Christians killed, tortured, martyred (too many to count).

So please do your homework next time.  Real Christians do not burn heretics…they are the ones being burned.  It is unrepentant, lawless, unbelievers that burn people sometimes in the name of religion and sometimes in the name of atheism.  In any case, we as Christians are told to love our enemies, to give Jesus all the glory for what He has done for us, and if so, give our lives for the sake of telling others the good news of the kindness and mercy of our Savior.  Never look at a religion or belief system on the actions of supposed followers but investigate it for whether it stands the test of truth.  And true Christianity is the truth because it is about Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life…And I would be burned at the stake for Him, because while I was still a wretched sinner, He died for me.