Sunday, August 26, 2012
Cairns 8: Fables and Sound Theology
The Jerusalem Council was not enough. The Ebionites believed that the Jewish law still applied as the highest expression of His will. They didn’t even believe that Jesus was completely divine.
This lives on today in that still uses a sacrificial system and relies on Old Testament ritual.
People trace Gnosticism to Simon Magus, who Peter had to rebuke. It “sprang from the natural human desire to create a theodicy, and explanation of the origin of evil.” To them, matter was bad and spirit was good. Therefore, since God created matter, he’s bad. Christ is good, so he can’t have a real body. Christ was only there for the 3 years of his ministry and then left after Jesus the man died.
Believing that Christ had no body is also called Docetism, and this can also be called Dualism. To be saved, you had to tap into the secret knowledge that Christ would give.
Despite their disdain for the body, their beliefs led to libertinism as they believed the body would be destroyed anyway.
This believe produced Marcion who decided that Judaism was evil and so was the old Testament. He didn’t even like Paul’s letters or anything besides a condensed Luke. The Roman church condemned him as a heretic, so he went and started his own church. The Christians were right to oppose this as it turned the true God into two gods, and evil and a good one, and it started anti-Semitism. It also forgets about Christ’s crucifixion which saved us. If he had not had a body and really died then we’d still be lost in our sins.
Gnosticism lives on in just about any liberal belief system, especially in liberals who are so trendy and know all the right health fads.
Manicheanism taught that man emanated from the ruler of the kingdom of light who tricked them into being both evil and good. This is Gnosticism on steroids. Augustine followed this belief for 12 years and then refuted it. It pretty much lives on in any person that thinks tragedies happen because God is teaching a lesson.
Neoplatonism is a diluted Gnosticism that taught that since the body is evil, a person must separate from all other people to discover their inner light. This led to the trend known as asceticism. The biggest mistake people make is thinking that it’s holy to be alone, and it’s not. People should spend some alone time every day with God, but God created people to be together.
Ammonius Saccas started this philosophy in Alexandria. Origen and Plotinus studied under him, then Plotinus had his name placed on this movement.
Montanus wanted to fix everything that was wrong with the church. So he started his own group who followed just him. This started Montanism, the trend of following one person and only listening to him and this one person thinking he knows all the answers. This lives on in just about everyone who goes into ministry. We want to change the world, and we think only we know what we are doing, hence I’m guilty of being Montanus.
Monarchians are the ones who emphasize the Trinity’s unity that Christ and the Holy Spirit lose their individuality. It’s not as bad as Arianism (at least Jesus is still God), but it’s still a grave error to ignore that the three members do have three separate identities and roles even if they are the same being. This turned into modalism, or Sabellianism, and lives on in Oneness Pentecostal churches.
People would argue about if and when to celebrate Easter. They do that today.
The Donatists would not let returning Christians back into their midst after they recanted Jesus to save their skin in the persecution. How often do we forget that Christ saved greater offenses against us? The least we can do is ignore someone’s offense against us.