Most Christ-like Heretics in 2014

1Do you know what it feels like to be called a heretic? Well I learned from the best! Here is a quick summary of the most Christ-like voices among the heretics that influenced me in 2014. These voices and books have been a God-send on my own journey. I am grateful to have connected with each of them on Facebook.

#1 – Benjamin L. Corey

Ben is a self-titled “formerly fundie“. More than anyone, his thoughts “nail it”, repeatedly. If we are indeed in an ephoch-change that only comes every 500 years, Ben should be recorded as one of the leading voices of that change. The church is far better off for his thoughts. Check out his incredible book (which I am in the process of reading)… Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus

#2 – Timothy Michael Kurek

Timothy did something courageous that sparked conversations that will likely last for decades if not longer. He disguised himself as a gay man and came out without telling his family about his experiment. He found out how gays are treated and documented his findings. His incredible book showed me how the cross of Jesus can be found in the closet. Timothy’s Facebook posts (usually lighthearted!) and discussions have edified me wonderfully throughout the year. Here is his groundbreaking book, endorsed by Desmond Tutu: The Cross in the Closet

#3 – Matthew Vines

Matthew’s passion for the bible and evangelical Christianity spawned the Reformation Project, and it was an incredible success. As gay man, he believes the bible does not condemn same sex marriage and that love is the driving force of Christianity.  It has been amazing to see Matthew work tenaciously to refine his theology and work to advance the kingdom where few have dared to go. His book is a great starting point to get an overview of issues gay Christians face: God and the Gay Christian.

Who has influenced you throughout this year? What did you learn? What Christ-like voices do you hear? Who do you think is helping the church to advance the gospel? 


  1. This year I thoroughly enjoyed reading 4 books by James Danaher: The Second Truth; Contemplative Prayer; Eyes That See, Ears That Hear and Jesus After Modernity:

    Presently, I’m in the process of borrowing from the library and reading about 5-6 books by the Franciscan monk Richard Rohr:

    I realize how much I had been an activity oriented Christian with a highly undeveloped contemplative life, which I am presently praying about, reading much on and seeking. It is quite a refreshing contrast to the Christianity I have been accustomed to for 3 decades.

  2. #1 Peter Enns for helping me to rethink my approach to interpreting scripture and in terms of understanding the process of inspiration (that is, what motivated the writing process of scripture) helping me to adopt a more intellectually honest approach

    #2 Clark Pinnock for his beautiful and organic theology of the Holy Spirit and the trinity

    #3 Alister Mcrgrath for his well-written and thorough text books on Christian history

    #4 (in no particular order) My wife, Joe Schaeffer, Ben Toh, Brian Karcher, John Yoon and the rest of the ubfriends community for the many wonderful and thoughtful conversations throughout the year

    #5 Richard Rohr for the reasons Ben stated above

  3. I should add a second list. The authors/preachers I have read and learned from this year, but probably are not “heretics” are:

    1 – James P. Danaher
    2 – Anthony Gittins
    3 – Charles H. Spurgeon

    And I would have learned nothing if not for the vibrant conversations with David W., Ben T. and all our ubfriends in 2014. I have had several intense debates with our mutual friend JohnA as well. All these dialogues I am most thankful for in 2014.

    I am also really thankful for the Progressive Christian Alliance and Outlaw Preachers forums this year–those forums have faciliated amazing discussions!

    I really want to dig into more of the works of Rene Girard, Richard Rohr, NT Wright and Leslie Newbiggin in the new year.

    Noticeable absent is Rob Bell and Brian MacLaren from my lists. I haven’t read them yet, which seems odd since they seem to be my kind of heretic.

    And if all goes well, I will join the Reformation Project cohort and the Lasting Supper from the nakedpastor in 2015. (both of which will of course seal my fate as a heretic who will surely burn in hell)

    • Ditto, Brian. I learned so much through our dialogues here and recently on facebook (that convo really challenged my understanding of the cross and practical inclusivity). And I think I’ll have to start reading Danaher as he seems like a very thoughtful theologian who has some timely things to say in our post-post-modern context. NT Wright also has a ton of great lectures on youtube; hopefully we can incorporate some of his stuff in articles here. God bless, friend.

  4. forestsfailyou

    1. Cs Lewis. I finished the rest of his books this year. His view on heaven was life changing. The screwtape letters gave me a glimpse into the nature of demons.

    Ravi Zachariah. His book on marriage
    , I issac take you Rebecca, gave me a healthy view of genesis 24. It was a balance between what ubf teaches and what is commonly accepted.

    St. Athanasius of Alexandria. Famously he stood “contra mundi” (against the world). When it appeared that the church would accept something less than the truth he published “on the incarnation of the word” where he passionately argues for the truth of the trinity.

    “The Savior is working mightily among men, every day He is invisibly persuading numbers of people all over the world, both within and beyond the Greek-speaking world, to accept His faith and be obedient to His teaching. Can anyone, in face of this, still doubt that He has risen and lives, or rather that He is Himself the Life? Does a dead man prick the consciences of men, so that they throw all the traditions of their fathers to the winds and bow down before the teaching of Christ?…Jesus that I know as my Redeemer cannot be less than God.”

  5. Darren Gruett

    1. “Raising Your Children for Christ” by Andrew Murray. This is hands down my favorite book other than the Bible. His insight and application of the Scripture regarding parenting is amazing. It is a book I will continue to read throughout my lifetime.

    2. “The Way of Life” by Charles Hodge. Even though I am not finished with it, it has been a wonderful read. It is very convicting and totally biblical.

    • Darren, my wife really enjoyed Murray’s book and blogged on it around the time of the birth of our first child. I read some of it and, at the time, was blown away by his skill as an exegete.

      I also have a deep appreciate for the erudition of Hodge; I remember being highly impressed by his thoughts on Romans. As you know, Hodge was the preeminent inerrantist of his day. If you’ve read the article I wrote on the OT and Inspiration, I’m curious to know what you think of it in light of Hodge’s view of scripture.

    • Darren Gruett

      David, I did read your article. I will post some comments under it when I get a chance.

  6. I also love reading “boring” commentaries by Reformed scholars and teachers:

    1) Romans, Douglas Moo (2014);

    2) Romans, John Stott (2014);

    3) Deuteronomy, Daniel Block (2014);

    4) Deuteronomy, Ajith Fernando (2014);

    5) Revelation, Dennis Johnson (2013).

    6) Revelation, Leon Morris (2013).

    7) The Gospel According to John, D.A. Carson (2013).

    That’s why my inclination is toward Reformed Theology, which is now being messed up by the mystics, who advocate silence and contemplation. Boy, what a theological mess I might be in!

  7. The Huff Post had this provocative article (and video) yesterday, what do you think of it?

    4 Teachings of Jesus That His Followers (Almost) Never Take Seriously

  8. forestsfailyou

    “Jude says that the sad reality is, he says, “I would like to have written to you about our common salvation,” as he starts his epistle, but he can’t, as hard as he may have tried because he realizes that there isn’t going to be a common salvation, or a common understanding of the gospel and salvation if they don’t earnestly contend for the faith. Because unless you’re going to battle for the truth, you’re going to lose it since, he says, the heretics have crept into the church unawares. They’re embedded, they’re in the church, they’re in the love feast, they’re surrounding you. They’re at the table. They’re right there embedding themselves in the church. And that’s where they do their damage. That’s why he calls himself an evangelical. That’s not an evangelical viewpoint, that’s a heretic. And that’s…and if you have this mass of quote/unquote professing Christian people that make up the large part of the church, the visible church, with no discernment, with no real theological understanding, then this stuff can be very, very seductive to them, very attractive to them. So see, if it’s worded clever…cleverly…that’s what makes Brian McClaren effective. He’s…he’s clever, deceptively clever to the uninitiated and the undiscerning.” John Macarther on the Emergent Church

    • Joe Schafer

      Ah, yes, JohnnyMac. I admire his zeal. He is certainly a warrior, fighting and dividing to uphold the core teachings of the faith. My main disagreement with him is that he doesn’t seem to believe that unity is one of those core teachings. His circle of friends gets smaller and smaller as his list of heretics gets longer and longer.