Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Heart of Gnosticism

I write so I can remember.  I had a polemic streak a few years back and declared war against folks such as Rob Bell who denied the existence of hell and the need for repentance.  I still have that streak but I'm backed by people in the Reformed blogging community, and I have since moved on to charismatic leaders such as Joel Osteen who preach useless positivity because it never leads to the Gospel.  Or worldwide heads of the church who can't stop opening their mouths causing me to lose more respect for them.

Though confusing, I do find Irenaeus fascinating.  He's reviewed some of the more infamous heretics: Simon Magus, Marcion, the Ebionites.

Among these people are a man who based a whole cult following on his personality, an exegete who rejected all Judaism, the OT, the OT God, and only read the Gospel of Luke, and a group of Jews who insisted the Christians still need to follow the empty rituals that have already been fulfilled by Jesus and which no longer apply.

Does any of this happen today?  Yes, and sincere Christians still fall prey to it all.  Praise God for his salvation because without Christ, nobody has any hope.  There are more obvious heretics who seduce women, team up with Oprah, deny Christ as the only way to salvation from the Father's wrath, support a libertine lifestyle. 

Then there are people who I believe are sincere Christians but seem to think that simple Bible reading and prayer are not enough to have a satisfying relationship with God.  I can talk more openly about this, but Sarah Young of Jesus Calling is one such woman.  Sola Scriptura is not her thing.  She presents all her words as if they were directly from Jesus, thus making her work equal to Scripture.  She is mostly sound except for a few things.  But the more extreme examples of this are Jim Jones who believed he was Jesus, that David in Waco, TX who thought he was Christ, and who led many people to their deaths.

Whether true believers or not, it is always dangerous to feel like you have a link to divine inspiration that no one else has.  This is the heart of Gnosticism.  Even from well-meaning people, it can leave a hole in people that would not be there had they simply sought out Christ in his word.

I know what it's like to feel lost and that God isn't giving you all the answers.  I know the temptation to seek people who have easier answers.  I remember going to a healing ministry in Augusta when mom had cancer and feeling like I did not have enough faith because she still died.  I still get tired of people who preach that we can demand anything from God.  I remember seeking the easy answers only to be disappointed and then remembering that God is sovereign.  He has all the answers and all the good endings but we still aren't there yet.  And it's his pleasure to share with us the journey of his renewing the earth that he sees, and I realize how unworthy I am to even have a part in that.

But whether I get confused or somebody else, the fact is, Jesus alone is our salvation.  He speaks to us in the Bible.  And he gives a support group called the church that celebrates Easter every Sunday.  We can approach him directly without an intercessor since he is that intercessor.  And sometimes you writhe in agony when you can't understand something.  Just the same, God's Holy Spirit uses hard times to shape you into something that gives Him glory.  In the long run, it's painful, but beautiful and is worth not getting lost in short cuts.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


I started reading "Against All Heresies" by Irenaeus again.  I stopped for a while because Gnostic systems are so complicated.  It's a bad soap opera.  This deity is married to this other deity and their offspring generated another offspring, and this woman got cast out of heaven by being to close to another Jesus.  It's too confusing.

One strange idea is that God the father is actually an offspring of Sophia but does not remember that.  He is the Demiurge who is the God of the Old Testament.  Meanwhile, Jesus is his father, but Sophia came out of the Pleroma of gods because she got to close to him and produced the Demiurge.

This all comes from people who still do not want to believe that God the Father and God the Son are the same God.  They want to think of Jesus as a marshmallow who is everyone's buddy, not the God of creation who also has wrath.

So I will no longer comment on all that.  But all the confusion has one thing in common: God reveals secret things to some people and they get a higher echelon in his kingdom.  Somehow they have to do something to tap into this knowledge.  In that time, they had to somehow get in touch with Sophia.  Does this happen today?  Does it sneak into the true church?  Yes it does.  It has not died down.  We still have people telling other people that they have to tap into tongue speaking or prophesy to receive the Holy Spirit's baptism when the Bible says you just need to become a Christian.  Leaders tell people that they need to do a certain thing to be higher in God's kingdom when Jesus clearly says that all his saved people are on the same level and counted as brothers and sisters of Jesus.  How much higher can that get?  We have Jesus as our brother.  We don't need anything higher.

But in this way men seduce people, promise quick answers, better wealth, and cause them to look into themselves when they need to go far from themselves and see what God says openly in his Bible. 

The moral: this attitude creeps into all Christian lives to deceive them away from trusting in anyone other than Jesus for their salvation.  Do not fall for it.  Trust in Jesus and realize that you need nothing if you have him.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Apparently yesterday or this week, President Obama compared the ISIS antics to the church's antics in the Crusades.  Taking advantage of America's lack of education, the Pres wants his followers to believe that Islam and Christianity are the same and that we are both violent and peaceful.

Here is the truth behind the statement.  W. Robert Godfrey says it best: "The Bible can be a dangerous book if misused and abused. In the history of the church, the misunderstanding of the Bible has led to many serious problems, ranging from false doctrine to legalistic customs and misdirected lives. One of the most blatant examples of this is the Crusades: a series of wars led by Europeans in the name of Christ against Islamic states in the Near East during the Middle Ages."

First of all, the Muslims did take over Jerusalem and moved on towards Constantinople and other fine symbols of Christianity at the time.  They used violence, killed people, and usurped their land.

The Roman Empire had fallen apart and the only thing really holding people together was the Pope.  He became greater in political power and wanted to defend his folks against the Muslims, quite possibly even take back Jerusalem and Constantinople.

Using the conquest of Canaan as support, and depending on the lack of Biblical education at the time, people began to believe that God wanted the Christians to take up arms and defend her folks with a full-scale war.

Never mind passages such as Ephesians 6 that declare that our battle is not against "flesh and blood but... against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."  They had not learned that Israel was a concrete picture of the greater war with Satan and sin that Christ won with the cross.  With Christ here, and the temple gone, there is no more need for God's people to use force to conquer the kingdom.

Pope Urban II in 1095 began campaigning to stop the Muslims.  He offered spiritual rewards, full forgiveness of sins, and escape from Purgatory if men would do their spiritual duty to fight the infidels.

There is no mention that Christ already has completely forgiven sins for his people and there is no need to do anything to earn the forgiveness they already have.  There is no mention that Christ took a complete punishment for his people's sins so that they don't have to receive more punishment for sins committed later, negating the need for Purgatory.  There was no reminder that Christ told Peter to put away his sword when he cut of a servant's ear as Jesus was being arrested.

And as a result, men fought against the Muslims to regain Jerusalem.  And this war took them to Constantinople.  And they brought along men less concerned about God and more concerned about gold and glory.  Sometimes they fought the Eastern Orthodoxers.  Sometimes they raped and pillaged.  It is one of Christianity's most embarrassing mistakes, and no doubt the Muslims did learn many tactics from these Crusades that carry over into their Jihads today.

So yes, professing Christians, whether sincere or not, have committed horrifying atrocities in Christ's name from the Crusades to the KKK.

But we must also remember the greater horror done by Atheist mythology that sprang from Darwin's ideas.  Eugenics began, the Holocaust took place, Planned Parenthood arose to prevent the poor black people from populating the earth.  Slavery took and all time high.  Sadly, Christians were just as gullible to Darwin and his ideas and went right along with it.  However, all atrocities began when people began to look to themselves to save the world and not to the Lord who had already saved the world.

There is also the fact that all people on earth are born as enemies to God.  The ones he saved are here because God drew them to Christ who gave up his life and gave them his.  Afterwards, these people still sin, have misunderstandings, get mad, say stupid things, and people suffer for generations to come.

But at the heart of it, it is like that football player said when the Ferguson protests happened, "We don't have a skin problem, we have a sin problem."

Obama is that first grader who tattles on his friends when he does the same things.  There has been no President more supportive of slaughtering innocent children who happen to be conceived at the wrong time and who hates the pro-lifers who want to provide women with their true choices that will lead to both life and them not being stuck in poverty raising an unexpected child.

Yes, Christians need to defend their country, but again, we do it with prayer, evangelism, and sometimes even martyrdom.  Sometimes they may need to take up arms for self-defense but it should only be to defend life, not kill more of it.  And the state bears the right for the sword, not the church.

And despite what anybody has done in history, saved or unsaved, Christ is still perfect, and we still need to look to him for our salvation and stop dividing ourselves one against the other.  Maybe one day our President will see that.  By then, let us try to make peace with our neighbors and continue to defend truth and human life.