It started in September of 2017. Three authors who did not agree on everything theologically came together to agree on one thing: We can love and respect people even if we disagree.
Since then, the three of us – that’s me, Jamal Jivanjee and Matthew Distefano – have recorded almost 50 episodes of the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast which have been downloaded over 100,00 times [to date].
We’ve had some amazing conversations with people like avowed atheist Bart Ehrman, political radio personality and comedian John Fugelsang, theologian Richard Rohr, former pastor Bishop Carlton Pearson, author William Paul Young, and dozens more.
The podcast spawned a private Facebook group and a Patreon page where supporters get even more exclusive interviews and bonus podcast content, plus a board game designed by the 3 hosts called “The Slippery Slope” [to be released soon].
We’ve even put together our own t-shirt store so listeners can spread this heresy far and wide with messages like “God Loves Gays” and “Agape Against The Machine.”
We’ve even created subversive Christian throw pillows to troll your unsuspecting friends with Bible verses that don’t usually inspire warm thoughts, like the verse where David blesses those who dash babies against the rocks or the one that celebrates the impalement of two lovers with a spear, for example.
But, the fun and games are just a small part of what’s going on at the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast. We do take the whole “heretic” thing seriously. Why? Because all three of the hosts have been labeled as a Heretic for affirming LGBTQ people, questioning Penal Substitutionary Atonement Theory, rejecting Eternal Conscious Torment, affirming Patristic Universalism, critiquing Christian Nationalism, espousing non-violence, rejecting Biblical Inerrancy and many other views that question the status quo.
Our response is to run with the label “Heretic” because everyone is someone’s heretic. Meaning: Everyone holds a view that another person might call “Heretical.” So, we’ve decided to embrace – tongue-in-cheek – the term “heretic” and mock the whole idea of labelling people we disagree with in order to dismiss them. Instead, we are willing to say, “Sure, I’m a heretic. But so are you. Let’s sit down and listen to one another anyway.”
See, what’s ridiculous is that the term “Heretic” has come to refer to anyone who happens to hold a different view theologically than you do. [As if you were the standard of truth and couldn’t possibly be wrong about anything].
But, the actual word “Heresy” simply means “causing division” and in the New Testament the emphasis is on the sin of dividing the Church, not about false teaching.
See, unity is a big deal for Jesus. He prayed that we would be one as He and the Father are one. He said that our unity would be a sign to the world that Jesus was actually the Messiah sent from God.
This is also why Jesus commanded us to love one another as He has loved us – which is to say – extravagantly and unconditionally.
Paul also stressed unity in his epistles to the early Christian assembly. He rebuked the Corinthians for dividing over which Apostle they like best. He reminded the Galatians that we are no longer divided by race, or status, or gender, but that we are all one in Christ. He rebuked the Romans for dividing over whether or not eating meat sacrificed to idols was right or wrong and told them to each be convinced in their own mind, but to remain in unity as brothers and sisters in Christ.
He even suggested that it was ok to just allow oneself to be wronged as long as unity in the Body of Christ was maintained.
Unity was – and is – crucial. People will know that we are the followers of Christ if we have love for one another. So, it’s a very big deal.It’s why Paul warned us in Titus to warn a divisive person twice and then have nothing more to do with them if they refused to stop dividing the Church.
So, the idea of dividing that Body was heresy. It went against everything that Jesus and His Apostles stood for.
Heresy, is about division. This means one could be guilty of heresy while teaching the truth.
How? By using the truth to divide the Body of Christ.
One could also be a heretic for simply saying this: “I cannot fellowship with anyone who disagrees with my theology.”
Only a heretic divides the Body of Christ over differences in theology.
The irony, of course, is that people do this all the time. Hardly a day goes by on Facebook where someone doesn’t say exactly this – “I cannot fellowship with anyone who disagrees with my theology” – and usually in the process that same person will accuse those who disagree with them of being heretics.
But the only heretic is the one who divides the Body of Christ – even if they are technically correct in their theology.
So, please don’t be a heretic. Don’t divide the Body of Christ over your own views of scripture. Don’t insist that everyone must agree with you on ever single point before you’ll accept them into your fellowship.
Our unity is in Christ. Not in our agreement.
As our podcast motto says: It’s about burning questions, not people.
Join me this summer at one of these upcoming events:
*El Paso, TX – May 19 “United We Stand”
*Costa Mesa, CA – June 22 “United We Stand”
*Hot Springs, NC – July 11-14 “Wild Goose Festival”
Want Keith to come speak at your church or in your home town? Learn more HERE
Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.
His new book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.
He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” with a Foreword by Greg Boyd.
Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean.
BONUS: Want to unlock exclusive content including blog articles, short stories, music, podcasts, videos and more? Visit my Patreon page.