JEAN'S BIBLE STUDY COM

  

Look up a topic in the Glossary     View the chapters of the concordance     Look up a verse in the cross-reference Index

 

    KJV      NAS      Parallel Gospels      Page Numbers      How to use this Website

 

 

Search Topics/Commentary        Search KJV/NAS

SEARCH ENTIRE WEBSITE -- Place "quotes" around words to search for an exact phrase

Lost Knowledge of the Scriptures

(Influence of Gnosticism on the Church)

 

See also: False Religions of the World

 

Watch the video at the end of this article.

 

I have been saved for forty years, and from the very beginning I suspected there was something missing in the theology of the Church regardless of denomination. The sermons I heard and the language people used to describe their faith in Christ did not fully encapsulate all that I read in the Bible. The pervasiveness of the problem pointed to something that happened long ago, far back as the second century. Since then, Church history can be clearly seen with a hole straight through the middle of it. At its fledgling state it grew alongside a blasphemous religion called Gnosticism, which posed as a legitimate sect of Christianity, but spoke in different terms and derived opposing conclusions about the Old Testament and the teachings of Christ and those of the original apostles. Some of their ideas were appalling, while others seemed to parallel Christian theology, giving the appearance of blending with the true faith, and consequently making them very dangerous to those who were trusting in Jesus for their souls. The second and third century Christians feverishly fought against them, trying to rid the Church of their evil influences, and inadvertently threw out the baby with the bathwater. It is not fair to say that the Gnostics stole anything from the Church, for Satan is the real culprit, and we can’t even say that he stole anything, since we willingly surrendered to him what he wanted, like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In this paper we will compare the teachings of Gnosticism with the Scriptures and note the differences and similarities between them. The differences we will use to reveal an extremely toxic and blasphemous religion, while the similarities we will use to expose the method by which the devil used Gnosticism to steal the central core of Christianity from the Church.

 

 

Following are teachings and quotes of the Gnostics that oppose Christian theology:

 

1. What the historical Christian writers thought about Gnosticism In his book Stephan A. Hoeller writes, “Three of the writers were known for their vehemently anti-Gnostic views: Irenaeus of Lyons, Hippolytus of Rome, and Epiphanius of Salamis. All three were elevated to sainthood, and the works of all three are never free from mendacity [tendency to lie] and theological ire.” (p.193). You can hear the anger in his own writing about these saints who fought against the Gnostics with a tenacity that is missing in today’s fight for truth.

 

2. Gnostics seek liberation instead of salvation – Hoeller again writes, “There is no need whatsoever for guilt, for repentance from so-called sin; neither is there need for blind belief in a vicarious salvation by way of the death of Jesus. We don’t need to be saved; we need to be transformed by gnosis [knowledge].” (p.116). This sounds eerily familiar to our society today. People call it New-Age, and it is; this shows the influence of Gnosticism on New-Age belief systems. Then again it sounds like Hinduism. A plethora of religious ideas are thrown into a basket and shaken-not-stirred, and whatever comes out is what the average unbeliever calls truth in today’s heathenish society.

a)     They dismiss mainstream Christian atonement theology – Again he writes “The entire message of mainstream Christian atonement theology is meaningless to the Gnostic. The world was not created perfect, its present state is not the result of a fall, and the human race did not incur an original sin that is passed on to all men and women. Consequently there is no need for God’s son to be sacrificed in order to pacify his wrathful Father and thereby save humanity.” (p. 20).

b)    They do not live by faith but by an experiential knowledge (individual salvation) that liberates them from Christianity and sadly from the God of heaven. “There occurs a significant altering of consciousness that transports the knower beyond the limitations of personal consciousness and indeed, beyond the limitations of the very world we live in.” (p. 6) This is not something God is interested in doing for anybody, but in fact uses our will to accomplish His will, and He certainly can’t do that while we are under a satanic trance.

c)     Instead of salvation they seek divine liberation found in Buddhist and Hindu traditions “There are several specific features that join Gnosticism and Hinduism. One is the teaching regarding the presence of the Divine in the human spirit… The Hindu and the Gnostic would agree that to know one’s deepest self is tantamount to knowing God.” (p. 179). In contrast the apostle Paul wrote, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh” (Rom 7-18). “In my flesh” gave exception to the fact that the Holy Spirit dwelled in Him, but the Gnostics apparently don’t need the Holy Spirit to have something divine dwelling in them.

 

3. Gnostics are polytheists – They deny the Judeo-Christian doctrine of one God (monotheism): They believe in a flawed creation because of a flawed creator. “Since the Gnostics—rather reasonable, it seems—could not believe that an erring pair of human ancestors could have brought about the innumerable evils and unpleasantries of the world, they were left with only one culprit: the Creator, God himself. The world did not fall, the Gnostics said: rather, it was imperfect from the start.” (p. 16).  "The Gnostics asked the great question: Is this flawed creator truly the ultimate, true, and good God, or is he a lesser deity who is either ignorant of a power beyond himself or is conscious of a divine authority superior to himself but decides to usurp the position of the highest Deity? The Gnostics answered that this Creator is obviously not the true, ultimate God but is rather a demiurgos, a secondary deity. The Demiurgos is the originator of evil and imperfection in the world.” (p. 75).  “The Gnostics see this imperfect state of the world as the result, not of original sin, but of an original flaw. Put in slightly more abstract terms, evil is part of the fabric of the world we live in. If there is a Creator of this reality, then surely this Creator is responsible for the evil in it. For believers in monotheistic religions, however, the Gnostic position appears blasphemous, and even those who consider themselves unbelievers often view it with dismay.” (p. 74).

 

4. Gnostics believe God is evil – They believe the god who created the universe is evil, the God of Moses who gave us the Law. Then there was another god independent of the creator who sent Jesus Christ; He is the “good god”. The Gnostics' end goal is to become gods themselves and possibly supplant the Creator God. This was Satan’s endgame, and now apparently the Gnostics have adopted it. “Far from the embodiment of evil, the serpent is considered the wisest creature in Paradise. The text extols the wisdom of the serpent and casts serious aspersions on the Creator, asking: ‘What sort is he then, this God?’ It answers that God’s prohibition concerning the fruit of the tree is motivated by envy, because he does not wish humans to awaken to higher knowledge.” (p. 28).  He continues, “While the mainstream version of Genesis says that after eating the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve fell from paradisiacal grace, the Gnostic version says that ‘their eyes were opened’—a metaphor for gnosis. The first humans could then see for the first time that the deities who had created them were loathsome in appearance, having the faces of animals, and they recoiled in horror at the sight of them.” (p. 29). “Adam’s prediction catalogues the two major calamities that follow: the Flood and the fiery destruction of Sodom and Gomorra. Both come about not because of the sinfulness of humans, but because of the envy and anger of the Creator-Demiurge [the inferior god], who could not tolerate people acquiring Gnostic wisdom.” (p. 31).

 

5. Gnostics readily confess to believing in myths; thus, they dismiss the notion of absolute Truth “At the core of Gnosticism is a specific spiritual experience, grounded in vision and union, that does not lend itself to the language of theology and philosophy, but instead has a close affinity to and expresses itself through myth. In this context, the term myth does not mean stories that are not true, but rather, stories that embody truths of a different order than the dogmas of theology or the theories of philosophy. Myths were held in high regard in the ancient world.”  (p. 13). “Gnosticism has a worldview, but it has no theology and no doctrines to believe in. the Gnostic scriptures are primarily mythical in content and all myths can be interpreted in diverse ways.” (p. 24). The Gnostics insisted on being accepted into fellowship with mainstream Christianity, but they were no Christians at all, troubling the saints with their false teachings and heretical nonsense.

 

6. Gnostics do not deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ; instead, they deny He ever had a physical body like ours – The Gnostics say, “… that the resurrection, like most events recounted in the New Testament, is not to be taken literally. Some sort of reanimation of Jesus’ body may have taken place on Easter morning… This does not mean that Jesus came back to life in a physical body like ours. Indeed, there is doubt whether he ever occupied a physical body like ours. Physical bodies do not walk on water, pass through walls, or shine like the sun. The precise nature of Jesus’ body is a mystery, said the Gnostics, and they felt this applied to both the body he occupied before the resurrection and the one in which he appeared thereafter.” (P. 64). Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene near the tomb and instructed her not to touch Him, the Gnostics believe because His body was insubstantial.

 

7. Simon (Megus) the magician (Act 8,9-24) was the first Gnostic prophet – He wrote two papers: The Four Quarters of the World and The Sermon of the Refuter that spoke about the Old Testament God as an impostor and the serpent of paradise as “a benevolent character. (p. 97). The book (cited at the end of this article) gives the reference Acts 8,9-12, but if we keep reading, it continues, starting in verse 18, “Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’ But Peter said to him, ‘May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.’ But Simon answered and said, ‘Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.’” Simon was momentarily penitent, but his Gnostic tendencies and his demons got the best of him and he received honor from his fellow Gnostics as their first prophet. To cite Acts chapter eight, ignoring verses 18-24, is a classic example of compartmentalizing their minds for the purpose of accepting some aspects of the truth while rejecting others, a craft that is perfected by narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths.

 

8. Gnostics have too many things in common with the Catholics – Catholicism adopted Christian doctrines and sacraments in an environment of paganism, and was apparently influenced also by Gnostic views and ideas. The Vatican says that the collation period of biblical cannon never expired, so whatever comes to the Pope’s mind he adds to the Catholic perception of divine truth, which is an accurate description of Gnosticism.

 

9. Gnosticism can be found in most charismatic leaders – The so-called “Charismatic denomination” of Christianity that teaches the prosperity doctrine has a history of making up teachings that they claim can be found in the Bible, but are really just poor misrepresentations of the Scriptures, bent, twisted and stretched to fit their desired beliefs. This too can be used to describe Gnosticism, or if you prefer, New-Age.

 

10. Gnosticism is undefined, they say… we’ll see about that

 

 

Following are Gnostic teachings and quotes that somewhat parallel Christian theology

 

Keep in mind that the similarities of Gnosticism are far more insidious than their differences. The similarities are what caused the second century Church so much trouble in distinguishing between it and the true Christian faith, and what ultimately caused the Church to cave to the currents of Catholicism. 

 

1. Gnosticism means “knowledge” or insight – Since the Gnostics claim “knowledge and insight", does that mean Christians have to give up theirs? I’m not giving up mine that God has given me. That is just what the Gnostics want us to do, though; in fact the Church at large has already done this. Claiming to have knowledge and insight in the ears of a fundamentalist Christian sounds like Gnosticism to his religious sensitivities. This is what Gnosticism has done to Christianity; it has made us feel guilty of developing an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches (Rev 2-7,11,17,29; 3-6,13,22). The Bible doesn’t teach Gnosticism, so what’s the difference between it and the true Christian faith? The only real difference is in the Spirit that is speaking and in the message that He leaves, but then again those are the only two things that are involved, and the Gnostics have them both wrong, so in that sense Gnosticism is the polar opposite of Christianity. In other words, Gnosticism is a counterfeit to Christianity.

 

2. Gnostics interpret the sayings of Jesus in their favor – “St. Paul the apostle used the term [gnosis] frequently in reference to the knowledge of God. One of the clearest statements he made concerning the visionary and perhaps even visual character of gnosis is in 2Cor 4-6: ‘God… has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge [gnosis] of the glory of God in the face of Christ.’" (p. 6). Hoeller writes, “The Gospel of John is not the only canonical evidence for the Gnostic character of the teachings of Jesus. At least part of the considerable body of the sayings of Jesus was incorporated into the gospels of Matthew and Luke, and some even into Mark. Many of the sayings in the canonical gospels contain teachings that make eminent sense when interpreted in a Gnostic light.” (p. 57). What Hoeller is saying is that the essence of Gnosticism is not that different from true Christianity. In a sense he is right; hence, it was too complicated and confusing for the second and third century Church to untangle these similarities from Christianity, so they determined that anything remotely resembling Gnosticism would be removed from the Christian faith; the Church has been reeling from the consequences of this ever since. The writings of the second century Church revolve around the teachings of Scripture, doctrine and church structure, but they are silent about the the Holy Spirit enlightening the word of God in our hearts, because they had already truncated this teaching from the Christian faith.

 

3. Gnostics think Paul had Gnostic tendencies based on 2Cor 12,2-4 “Paul’s account of being ‘Caught up to the third heaven,’ ‘whether in the body our out of the body I do not know,’ and there learning ‘things that cannot be told, which man may not utter,’ fully qualified him as the Gnostic apostle par excellence.” (p. 112). The Gnostics say that Paul’s rapture to the third heaven and hearing inexpressible words that a man is not permitted to speak details the experiences of the Gnostics. I doubt it. For the blasphemous things they believe, their experiences derive from demons, and whatever heavenly places they claim to have seen are hellish compared to what Paul heard that day.

 

 

Gnosticism versus Christianity

 

Tallying up everything we have read so far and going by some of the other things Hoeller said in his book, it sounds like the Gnostics are loosely based on certain teachings, gurus and authors, many ancient but some newer. They seek truth from whatever spirit will speak to them, except of course the Holy Spirit, and whatever they extrapolate from their sessions become their personal truth, regardless of how wacky it sounds or how much it deviates from Scripture. This means that in practice Gnosticism is in no way similar to faith, making the only thing they have in common with Christianity being that they seek to be spiritual. Their problem is they listen to the wrong spirits.

 

The Bible says we should have a relationship with the Holy Spirit. We hear the phrase “walking by the spirit” every day, but not many people actually do it, and if they did, they would be too afraid to take the first step in God’s direction, because there are no doctrines in place in the Church giving them permission to obey the Holy Spirit. If people walked with God as the Bible teaches and as Abraham did, they would suddenly find themselves alone in the Church experiencing God in a way that no one of their fellow believers could relate, and so they would have to keep their mouth shut about it and walk with God as though it were a secret.

 

There is nothing in the Bible that has Gnostic tones or resembles Gnosticism in any way, but the Gnostics think so, and that is how they were able to convince Christianity to abandon their relationship with the Holy Spirit, leaving the Church with a lot of lifeless doctrines they are supposed to believe without the help of the Holy Spirit. They say that the Holy Spirit is helping them, but if He is able to do anything in people’s lives it is inadvertent. The Church has not permitted anyone to intentionally develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit since the first century. Paul said to Timothy, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2Tim 2-1). This speaks of a deliberate working together with God, just as Abraham walked with God.

 

 This is what the Bible teaches

The Spirit and the Word

Review the many reference of Scripture pertaining to this subject

 

The Holy Spirit and the word of God are often found together throughout the New Testament, revealing that they have a dynamic relationship with each other. The significance of observing so many instances of the Spirit and the Word together in the New Testament is that each case refers to the manner in which God desires to communicate with His people. When we bring the Spirit and the word together through prayer, wonderful things happen. A good example of this is the book of Psalms; it is a book of prayers. King David understood these things thousands of years ago, but we seem to have forgotten them even after Jesus spoke about them, shed His blood and sent the Holy Spirit in His place. There is a plethora of references in the Bible that speak about the interaction between the Holy Spirit and the word of God, and we are going to explore just a few of them.

 

Mat 16,13-18 "When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Jesus just said that He would build His church on the principle that the Holy Spirit reveals His word to His people, so if the Holy Spirit does not reveal it to us, then all we have is a lot of facts, but not the truth. 

 

Jn 14-26  "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you"Although Jesus alluded to the Holy Spirit from the beginning of His discourse with His disciples, He formally introduced Him in verse 16, calling Him the Helper of the Christian walk. His primary purpose is to dwell in the believer and teach us the word of God. The "Spirit and the Word" refer to the Holy Spirit working with the word of God that we place in our hearts as students of the word and disciples of prayer. Just as Paul said by way of hypocrisy the devil sears false teachings in the hearts of liars "as with a branding iron" (1Tim 4-2), so God stamps His truth in the hearts of people through His Spirit.

 

1Cor 2,6-8  "Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" – What is this mysterious wisdom that only the mature can understand? It is the anointing, which itself is a mystery. The anointing is the very substance of Christianity, making the many concerns within the Church peripheral issues by comparison. The anointing is something that only the mature can receive, incorporating every aspect of Christianity into singularity with obeying the Holy Spirit. Doing this requires faith and obedience, and it requires a deep understanding of the truth. Jesus reiterated this statement in the Book of Revelation more than any other statement: “He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.” Nevertheless, there are those who opt out of obeying the Holy Spirit. The only people who are fulfilling their calling and purpose in life are those who obey the Holy Spirit; otherwise, how else are we supposed to know the truth unless we listen and let God speak to us? Once we discover His personal will for us, we must do it, and in that process we will learn the many mysteries of God. This is the mark of true maturity in Christians. The one who has a deep understanding of the Bible, that is good; and the one who has a close walk with God, that is better, but the one who obeys the Holy Spirit has both, plus fulfills his calling from God. This is the one who truly knows God, but there are very few people in the Church today matching this description, very few indeed who even know about these things.

 

Jn 16,12-15 "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you" – There were many more things Jesus wanted to tell His disciples, but they could not bear His words. He told them that when the Holy Spirit comes, He will guide them into all the truth. For Jesus to tell them what the Holy Spirit would tell them later would have been a waste of time. The things Jesus wanted them to know only the Holy Spirit could reveal to them. They were not facts they could learn in a university college where they go to understand various disciplines of science and mathematics. Jesus had to wait for the Holy Spirit to come and reveal His word to them, because that is His ministry, to guide the Church into all the truth. Not even Jesus could do this. His ministry was to come and give His life in obedience to the Father, to become the door through which we would enter and receive God’s righteousness by faith in the cross, but it was the Holy Spirit’s ministry to reveal the truth behind the cross. Although we are taught by men and read the Bible for ourselves, we still need to receive the Scriptures by revelation of the Holy Spirit, otherwise His word remains inkblots on a page.

 

Eph 1,15-19  "For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe" – The “Spirit of wisdom and of revelation” is another example of how the Holy Spirit works to enlighten His word in us. In this case Paul is praying that God would work His wisdom into the Church to reveal the “hope of His calling.” Every Christian has a general calling and a specific calling from God. Generally we are all called in one hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord, and specifically we are called to walk in the good works that God has "prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Eph 2-10), referring to a trail of good works that God has preordained for us to walk, and if we do, we are "Working the Grace of God", which is the subject of the next section.   

 

 

Working (with) the grace of God

Review the many reference of Scripture pertaining to this subject

 

The subject of Working the Grace of God encapsulates the power of God in human flesh. It is a biblical subject that is virtually unknown to the Christian Church, though it is etched into the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. Obviously the Church knew about it in the days of Paul, since he wrote about it here and elsewhere, and Jesus’ teachings revolved around this ethereal subject, so the question is why don't we know about it? The Church fathers after the apostles fell asleep never mentioned it in their writings, being totally absent in church history, making this subject one of the very first doctrines to be truncated from Christian theology. There is a reason the devil slated this doctrine for immediate expulsion; it was his greatest obstacle in his quest to enslave the Church. Working the Grace of God is not something the devil could allow people to believe, though had the Church stood its ground he wouldn't have had a choice. There is a plethora of references in the Bible that speak about “Working the Grace of God”, and we are going to explore just a few of them.

 

Rom 4,18-22  "In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, "So shall your descendants be. Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, he was able also to perform. Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness" – God has called us to obedience just as He has called Abraham. If we are going to hear the Holy Spirit speak to us as Abraham did, and if He is going to give us a ministry, then we will have to do something. The works we perform in obedience to the Holy Spirit is holy to the Lord. This is the concept of working with the grace of God, which is exactly what Abraham did. Heb 11-8 puts it most succinctly, “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed….” The Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts guiding us through life, giving us a ministry, and our corresponding obedience works the grace of God. Over the years Abraham began to doubt, yet in spite of his doubts he continued to believe, and he demonstrated his belief on the soles of his feet, which ultimately brought fulfillment of the promise.

 

Heb 4,7-11  "He again fixes a certain day, 'Today', saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, 'Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.' For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience" – The voice of the Holy Spirit is the very essence of Christianity. We learn about God in the Bible, but we actually live out our Christianity through the Spirit. Once we acquire the hearing ear, we pick up the good works that God is calling us to do and run with them, and whatever we do according to His will we do in a state of rest. It will no longer be us doing it but God working through us. We will be pleasing to the Lord, because then we will be doing His will and not our own will. In this way God initiates our works as a matter of obedience, which He guarantees to bear fruit. We will be inspirational to others and our works will have the effect that God intended. He wants every aspect of our lives to be a product of the Holy Spirit working in us.

 

Heb 11,8-10  "By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God" – Abraham heard the voice of God, and the experience was so persuasive that he dropped everything and went on a life-long journey into the unknown in search of the fulfillment of God’s promise. He fashioned his life around the Holy Spirit, making sure the voice he heard was at the very center of his life. This is exactly how we should be living, especially in the new covenant era, which is designed to give us the same experience and way of life that Abraham lived. When God speaks to us, His manner of giving directions is very similar to the way he spoke to Abraham, except that he heard an audible voice, while we hear an inaudible voice. God didn’t tell him where he was going, but He did tell Abraham why he was going: there was an inheritance that awaited him, and he devoted his life pursuing it.

 

Heb 11,28-31  "By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace" – Passover was a very simple act of faith, yet it moved the spiritual realm. They followed a handful of simple instructions and marked their doorpost with the blood of a lamb, yet it held as much credence as the faith of Abraham and all the toil and hardship he endured in effort to fulfill the call of God on his life. They passed through the Red Sea, and marched around Jericho, and Rahab welcomed the spies, all examples of a single premise: a simple faith in God. However, faith really isn’t easy. Abraham, while he resided in his homeland planning out his personal life, heard the voice of God, and he had to dump all his ideas and follow the direction of the Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches that faith is faith, regardless of the ease or difficulty of God’s demand. We determine in our heart to obey Him, whether it's a simple matter of smearing a little blood on a doorpost or wandering in a foreign land through life. No matter where it leads, we will go; no matter the suffering, we will endure for the hope of eternal life. In the meantime He has a few things for us to do. The ways of God are different from our ways, and the things He will ask of us will not be anything we would have done apart from His calling.

 

To learn more about what the Bible teaches on these subjects see: "Temple of God Made without Hands

 

Conclusion

 

The difference between Gnosticism and true Christianity is that the Gnostics listen to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons (1Tim 4-1), while the Church listens to the Holy Spirit, who teaches them the truth about His word. The Gnostics despise the tenets of Christianity, considering them static and monotonous, and so they made the goal of their pursuit to be about liberation from faith in absolute truth, but as we have seen, our relationship with God can be dynamic. Their religion does not revolve around faith or truth but around their experience of knowledge, not in knowledge itself. Anybody who attempts to stir the spirit realm using false knowledge conjures demons in the practice of witchcraft. In his book Stephan Hoeller claimed that Gnosticism is indefinable, but then in his short glossary he provided a definition; this is what he said: Gnosis is “Salvific knowing, arrived at intuitively but facilitated by various stimuli, including the teachings and mysteries brought to humans by messengers of divinity from outside the cosmos.” This definition sounds intentionally confusing, so I will take a stab at defining Gnosticism: Conferring with demons. There is always a price to pay for preferring demons over the Spirit of God.

 

The original apostles had a daunting task of evangelizing the known world in the time they were given, and they brilliantly succeeded. The next generation had just as important job to do: they were called to properly understand the gospel of Christ and convey it to the next century, but they did not do so well. This is what Paul said about the Gnostics of the second century: "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them" (Act 20-29,30). The true Church became fearful of allowing Gnostic teachings to infiltrate their doctrines, so they abandoned the ministry of the Holy Spirit enlightening our minds to the word of God. As a result, when the third century came along the Church mutated into Catholicism, which incorporated a blend of paganistic Gnosticism. 

 

Jesus tried to explain the gospel to His disciples before His crucifixion, but none of them got it until Jesus rose from the dead, ascended to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit in His place. Then they understood the gospel as an age of grace in which God would work with His people through the Holy Spirit. The second century Church didn’t know how to understand this in the midst of battle with the Gnostics who counterfeited Christianity. They didn’t know how to tease out the differences between the apostles’ teachings and teachings of Gnosticism, so they played it safe and jettisoned the ministry of the Holy Spirit, which was the substance of God’s grace that Jesus bled and died to provide for us. All that remained for the Church to manage the gospel after that were a lot of promises, a handful of doctrines and a few sacraments and ceremonies imposed on the body until a time of reformation (Heb 9-10). Jesus Christ was the reformation, and then another reformation came in the fifteen hundreds, and not even Martin Luther could see the problem. He recognized that salvation came through faith in Jesus’ blood sacrifice, not through loyalty to the Church, but He didn’t understand that God wants us to acquire His faith by obeying the Holy Spirit.

 

 

 

Hoeller, Stephan A. (2002). Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing. Quest Books: Theosophical Publishing House. Wheaton, IL.

 

 

James R. Wuthrich      jeansbiblestudy.com

 

________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

The following link refers to an audio recording of two evangelical pastors attacking my faith as a result of the above article. My claim is that they are stiff-arming the Holy Spirit, and their claim is that I am arrogant for confronting them about it. Their intimidating methods were meant to discourage me from attending their church; their methods worked beautifully. In this recording please note:

 

1. They refused to discuss this paper with me, refusing even to peruse my website, and I thought that was the reason for the meeting.

 

2. They criticized me for believing in the concept of knowing beyond knowing, but this is biblical. Paul said in Eph 3-19, "to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge."

 

3. Their intimidating methods were meant to discourage me from attending their church.

 

4. They said that if my goal was to teach, then I have wrong motives, as though being interested in helping build up of the body of Christ were somehow wrong.    

 

 

Navigation Bar