I think there has always been some question as to whether John is referring to proper gnostics or to proto-gnostics.
The prayer 'that they might be one' was not primarily a request for doctrinal conformity; [John 17:11,21-23] at its heart it has the statement that his prayer is
I like the definitions Martin Lloyd Jones gives in His comentary on Ehpesians conserning heresy and apostacy.Hersey according to Jones is any teaching which is unbiblical and not true. That is anything contrary to the truth expecially conserning Christ or the gospel is heresy.But heresy is not as serious as apostacy. A genuine Christitan can and often does embrace many heresies perhaps unknowlingly through ignorance or false teaching. However apostacy is the abbragation or turning from the central core of the gospel conserning the Person and work of Christ and willfully embracing a false system or teaching which denies the very Person of Christ and tramples upon His blood and redemption and Person. A heretic may be a genuine believer who has embraced and advanced a teaching or belief that is off or contrary to scritpure. But an apostate is one who has denied the faith and rejected the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. An examble of "heresy" might be the teaching of the Word Faith preachers or the "prosperity" teachers. This is heresy and contray to God's economy and the healthy teaching of God's New Testement Economy which is in faith and concerning Christ. John fox, the founder of the "Quakers" could be considered an Heretic because He began to teach that the "inner Light" had more authority than scirpture and that it superseded scripture". Nevertheless John fox was a genuine beiever and had a genuine knowlgede of God and experience of the reality of the Spirit. However He was a reaction to the deadness of orthodoxy at that time but took real truth and pushed it too far not recognizing that the same Spirit who is within us is also the One who breathed out the Bible and there can be no contradiction. The Spirit and the Word are One.But Apostacy is something akin to the JWs or Mormons who deny the very Person of Christ and His work. A genuine Christian who is born again may embrace heresies or false teaching, but an apostate is one who has forsaken the faith for lies or fables and is antagonistic to the truth of the gospel and opposes both the Person and work of Christ. An apostate is "antichrist" and denies both the Father and the Son and is devoid of the Spirit.We have to be more secure when we are charged with "heresy". It is an ugly world and sends fear down our spiritual spine. But even if it can be shown that something we believe is "heretical" that does not mean we are not Christians or are not "born of God" but it means we need to call on the Lord, have our concepts and teachings exposed and if they are contrary to scritpure, we forsake them and recieve the knowlege of the truth. But if we are Apostate, we are an enemy of Christ and the gospel and outside the faith. We need to repent and believe the gospel, call on the Lord and be saved.Graftedbranch
shall we be close to those who are 'heretical' in our mind? (which could be wrong) :-?