Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Modern Gnosticism and the importance of Church History

An important element in understanding much of the New Testament is getting your head around the issues which occurred within the early church. One such issue was, and would be for the first four centuries, Gnosticism.

Three books which have Gnosticism firmly in their background are the Epistles of John (which my youth group are currently looking at).

Last Friday I made the point that this seemingly obscure idea of Gnosticism matters because Gnostic thought, even un-named, is still alive and well today.

Gnosticism periodically pops up whenever one of the Gnostic gospels is mentioned in the media, "unlocking" a "secret truth" about Jesus or the early church.

Further, Gnosticism appears in popular films like The Matrix and The Da Vinci Code. Again, these rotate around a person or persons who posses a "hidden" or "secret" knowledge about the nature of reality or institutions. The point of the films are to follow the lead character in discovering the "real truth."

Finally, and most insidiously, the Gnostic belief of separating-physical-and-spiritual is in full force when it comes to the modern separation of body and spirit in regards to sex. Friends with benefits and one night stands thrive within this Gnostic teaching.

This is why church history and the foundational creeds matter.

The same issues which hounded the church in the past are still kicking today.

If we know how the Church Fathers dealt with problems surrounding Gnosticism, the Incarnation and deity of Christ, the Trinity, grace and the nature of Salvation then addressing these issues would be much easier...

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