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Featured Christian Gnosticism - Hidden Treasures?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JonC, Jan 26, 2019.

  1. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    The Problem (cue melodramatic music)

    In another thread this comment was made to justify a system of belief not specifically stated I Scripture.
    This reflects a concerning aspect of contemporary “scholarship”. At one time “when properly interpreted” meant taking the time to study Scripture, develop an interpretation, and recognize/own what is one’s own understanding. I can’t remember how many preachers I’ve heard insist they may be wrong and the congregation needed to search Scripture. In one sermon Spurgeon even confessed he suspected human leanings in his belief and instructed his congregation to test his words. But now we get the phrase “when properly understood” to be a type of gnostic understanding not actually present in the Biblical text but woven beneath the words, slightly out of view. The idea is that a “proper understanding” or correct theology brings what Scripture really means to say out of the dark and to the eye of the reader. Doctrine becomes an issue not of “it is written”, but “it is implied”. This is dangerous ground.

    My Solution (cue happy music)

    I took about a year to do this and it had a profound impact on my view of tradition and Scripture. Ultimately the exercise moved me from a more contemporary tradition to what some hold as a “classic” view. Some would say this was a good thing, others would insist I should have remained tucked in a more modern tradition as modern scholars have the benefit of and ability to refine the theories of those who have gone before.

    Get a whiteboard (I got two and put them behind a door). Systematically write down your theology. Line by line list the verses that correspond to what you believe. Write your theology in a notebook or use Word as well). On the whiteboard erase each belief that is not exactly in the text of Scripture (even if you know the belief correct).

    Now look at the verses. In a notebook (or in Word) record the entire passage (what is applicable to the topic). Read the book of the Bible that contains the passage. Read the chapter before, containing, and after the passage.

    Write down what the biblical text states. Read it aloud as if it were someone else’s view (perhaps it is). Even if you disagree with what specifically stated without adding clarification or expounding on the text, ask yourself if it makes sense (not whether it agrees with your theory, but is it coherent). You will find it is.

    Put your theology on one side and the passages on another. Choose one and study it for what it says and be honest about the one you have chosen.

    I find it helpful to do this on a regular basis. We, being human, tend to lean on our understanding and need to make a conscious decision to submit to God’s word. If we are not careful we will move away from Scripture inch by inch and never realize how many miles we have traveled.
     
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  2. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member
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    Gnosticism is a fungus. I never met a Gnostic who didn't hate Christians and Jews. They think that they have secret information and are super intelligent.
     
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  3. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I have met many who were actually Christians. In context of this thread think we have seen this on the board. When I say "Christian gnosticism" I mean those who rely not on the biblical text but on what they believe the text implies (what they see hidden beneath the text).
     
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  4. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member
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    Are they called Gnostics?
     
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  5. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I don't know.

    I am speaking of the process (what I have called "Christian Gnosticism"). I suppose they could be called many things. I wouldn't call them Gnostics.
     
  6. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Would any of those terms be Calvinists or reformed?
     
  7. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I think it could be a hazzard for anyone, regardless of theological position. I am speaking about anyone who relies on what they believe Scripture implies rather than what is actually stated in the text.

    We have to guard against leaning on our understanding, and I believe this applies to everyone.
     
  8. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Scripture itself gives rules for its interpretation.
    One of those is that the Scripture itself interprets Scripture. The truth is not decided by 'it is written' but by 'it is written again' (Matthew 4:6-7; c.f. Acts 15:15-16). When there is a question of the true meaning of a text of Scripture, it must be searched out by looking at other passages that speak more clearly. The Bible is one harmonious message without confusion or contradiction and pulling out one text that seems to support an argument is no guarantee that it does. Therefore the use of a Thompson's Chain Reference Bible can be helpful in finding other passages that illuminate the one under consideration.

    Another most important rule taught in the Scriptures is to seek the advice of those wiser than oneself, usually in commentaries before coming to an opinion (Proverbs 8:33; 11:14; 15:32 etc.). Our pride will naturally reject that, but it is a fact that all kinds of heresies have arisen from people thinking that they alone are interpreting the Scriptures correctly or have the master technique for doing so. We believe in Sola Scriptura, but beware of Solo Scriptura. We must certainly not follow commentaries blindly, but wisdom did not start with us.

    Allied to this is humility, which at the very least will drive us to prayer (James 1:5), and will, God willing, prevent us from supposing that our view is the 'classic' one, whilst those of others are mere 'tradition.'

     
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  9. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Good points. Scripture NEVER contradicts Scripture because God never contradicts God.

    Insofar as actual study methods I’ve found a couple of resources helpful also. The Hermeneutical Spiral by Grant Osborne and New Testament Exegesis by Gordon Fee (I know….Assembly of God scholar). Grasping God’s Word by Duvall and Hays is good as well.
    I take this with a caution. The passages are not speaking of seeking advisors to adopt their view or as experts in Scripture. We still are responsible to test all doctrine. Too often people assume God is using “wiser” men in their own tradition and not those with opposing views (the crux of choosing being the person who decides who to take as an advisor).

    BUT when we come up with a view that is new, we can know that the probability we are correct is slim to none.
    I absolutely agree in terms of supposing that our view is what “Paul believed” or “Jesus taught”. We see this quite often here. Simply put, there are things that the early church may have believed and taught that may not exactly line up with Scripture. There are even things that the Apostles may have believed that are not entirely correct. What is completely correct and without error is what God breathed through them and they wrote in Scripture.

    That said, we also have to be cautious about labels. There are historic ways of referencing theological positions that may be misleading to some unfamiliar with the terms. Those who are unfamiliar may do well to familiarize themselves while those who use these terms may do better to realize these forums are a broad audience (they can educate the unaware).

    For example, in dealing with Atonement theories there is the “Classic view” which is a “Ransom Theory” type of Atonement (Christus Victor theories would fall under this category). There is the “Latin view” (or “Objective view”) which is the Satisfaction Theory and would include views such as Aquinas’ Substitution Theory and Penal Substitution Theory. The “Latin view” is the view commonly held and developed in the western Church (the Roman Catholic Church). The “Classic view” (along with the Moral Influence theory) is the view commonly held and developed in the eastern Church (the Orthodox Church).

    I mention this because I do not know of any who holds that their view is the “Classic” view without meaning they actually hold what is historically called “the Classic view”. That said, there are some who do claim their view is what the Early Church Father’s believed (or would have believed), what Paul believed, or what Jesus taught. So I can understand the confusion with the word “Classic”. The “Classic view” is a tradition (in this context) just as the “Latin view” (Penal Substitution Theory) is a tradition (in that context).

    It also needs to be noted that it is one thing to say someone holds to the Latin tradition, or the Reformed Tradition and another to say that person holds to tradition (holds the view based on tradition).
     
  10. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    Very Solid Post, MartinM,

    So you believe scriptures can be understood without being a Christian gnostic?:Thumbsup:Wink:Thumbsup
    MM do you believe what is written in green below, [kjv] or, the newer suggested modified version in purple;and red;
    6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

    7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

    8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

    9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

    10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

    11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

    12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

    13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

    14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

    16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.
    or,

    6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: [those who follow confessions, and Cathechisms]

    yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

    7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom,[you know,secret gnostic philosophies that are hidden below the surface]


    which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

    8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

    9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

    10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: [edited, insults removed] for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

    11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?

    [so the whole confessional church has not understood the Fall, spiritual death, and what a natural man is ie, only flesh even]
    so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God [edited, insults removed]

    12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

    [And yet if we do any more than a direct reading of the text, we have become gnostics . Instead, the Bible is declared to be a fragmented group of sentences that we cannot put the puzzle pieces together on.]

    13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

    14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

    16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.
     
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  11. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member
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    I think that you need another term because Gnostic denotes an ancient cult predating Christianity. In cities such as Indianapolis where cultists far outnumber Christians, there are actual Gnostics. I personally tend to toss them in the category of occultists because Indianapolis is an international center of Spiritualism, and those groups seem to flock together.
     
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  12. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Rather than going line by line in your lengthly reply (I appreciate the time and effort), I will cut to the chase by addressing the one statement disoroving the whole of your reply.

    Your claim that I have not addressed through Scripture how spiritual death originated. This is a claim from ignorance because almost every post I made addressed the charge.

    Scripture teaches that spiritual death never occurred. It teaches this not by stating the negative (requiring such is a logical fallacy) but by explaining the meaning of spiritual life.

    Scripture stayes that Adam was made flesh in contrast to the "Last Adam" as a "life giving spirit". Scripture tells us this life is "in Christ" alone.

    Scripture tells us that natural man is spiritually dead, not that they died spiritually but that they di not possess spiritual life.deny

    Scripture describes being made spiritually alive as God giving man a new heart and a new spirit. God puts His Spirit in us.

    This is what you deny. This is why I object so much to your theory Adam was created with God's Spirit in him. Your position insist man conquered God in the Garden so God retlliated.

    Christ is the ONLY spiritual life. There is no other. Man does not conquer Hod. Spiritual Life is everlasting because Christ is eternal.

    There is NO spiritual life outside of Christ, period.

    All of Scripture disproves your myth. Your only evidence thus far has been tradition as no passage you have provided presents this fabled "temporary spiritual life" Adam supposedly possessed. Until you find such a passage I believe you would do well to kerp reading Scripture.

    Here is a hint - no passage exists to prove your tradition because Scripture states the opposite. Spiritual life is only in Christ. God puts His Spirit in us. Spiritual Life is not temporary.

    Your pre-Fall Arminianism is flawed because it does not exist.
     
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  13. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Perhaps. That's why I used "Christian Gnosticism" (like when Piper uses "Christian Hedonism"....a term I objected to for a long time, although I agree with his meaning).

    There are some who are close to your description.They hold that truth is hidden in Scripture ( implied, "between the lines") and revealed through the Spirit in the sense that those who disagree simply have not received that illumination. They congregate in groups (as evidenced by various threads on the BB) and rely on each other for support. They cloud conversations with Scripture used subjectively (their meaning is divorced from the actual text). They employ "double speak" when dealing with opposing views.And, they often flock together.

    The Gnostic principles are there in terms of "hidden knowledge". Mystic ideas are also present to a degree, but couched in "logic"as they place their trust in what they have discovered beneath the text. They are not, however, occultists as they are our brothers in Christ. So I do see your point.
     
  14. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I understand by other conversations that you believe you were born (natural man) "spiritually dead". If this is not the case, please let me know. If this is the case then please tell me when you experienced spiritual life so that you could spiritually die.
     
  15. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    One side of pure error is a person cannot answer when asked the right questions
    so what is Adams original condition just flesh?
    and does not have a spirit at all
    he has no spirit and soul is just flesh is that your position that you're defending because as biblicist pointed out several of us have address something died that day and it wasn't Adam physically
    so until you could show how death is passed all men that men are spiritually dead but they never thought it was just asked you that's what times you saying that people type but denied your position is an absurd nonsensical position. Try to describe my view is on many and is also ridiculous and it just used to cover up.
    No one disputes that eternal life is in Christ that's not the issue you bring it up several times and each post now to try to make you a post have some semblance of validity but the fact is until you can determine the origin of the spiritual death that you say men have your posts are nonsense
     
  16. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    No one has said that we born spiritually alive and die the only person that had a spirit that was alive in the original righteousness is Adam he fell and he spread it to all mankind so it was spiritual and physical death.
    the definition biblicist posted found in Ephesians about the condition of man separate and alienated from God shows the condition we inherited and Adam. You denying Federal headship of Adam in the spiritual sense denies the gospel in the sense that Christ as you put it gives us life but you're you're not accounting Adams for giving us death to keep repeating that we're trying to say that people natural men have life and then lose it and get it back is a red herring and just ridiculous and it's a cover-up I listed 50 things that you did say and by sorting through anyone looking at it can see that you've not answered the question that was put to you for five times reform commented on it Martin commented on it was just commented on and I commented on it and several others so until you answer that you have nothing to post
     
    #16 Iconoclast, Jan 27, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2019
  17. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    Let's make it really simple what condition was Adam in in Genesis 1 31 what condition was he physically what condition was his soul Spirit did he have one that they have any life or was he created spiritually dead answer that question and if he alone was created spiritually dead is that how it's passed all men or was it as it says in Romans death passed upon all men
    you assume that it's physical death first you have no scripture that says its physical death at all as a cause but as a result yes spiritual death leads to physical death
     
  18. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Unless I have missed something (which is possible since I have very little time at present), you have not addressed the point, except with blank denials. You have not addressed SFAIK Ecclesiates 7:29; you have not addressed the contrast between Genesis 1:26 & Genesis 5:3; you have not addressed Genesis 2:17 in respect of what would have happened to Adam if he had not eaten the fruit.

    So whether you have already done so or not, will you please humour me by addressing these points again. You ahve agreed with me that 'When there is a question of the true meaning of a text of Scripture, it must be searched out by looking at other passages that speak more clearly.' Here is your opportunity. :)
     
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  19. Dave Gilbert

    Dave Gilbert Active Member

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    In my estimation, there are a lot of people who do that, Jon.
    Growing up in Baptist churches, I ran across many who, instead of actually reading their Bibles for themselves, just took everything that came out of the pastor's mouth as truth, whether or not he was actually speaking it.

    Hardly anyone ever cross-checked the pastor.
    I no longer wonder why false teachings get propagated so far, so fast and for so long.:(
     
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  20. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member
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    Perhaps I did not make myself clear: Gnosticism is a cult and always has been a cult for more than 2,000 years. I myself throw it in with the occult because the Gnostic cultist that I have met in Indianapolis, and there are a few, believe that they have secret knowledge and that reminds me of the occult. Gnosticism cannot be rehabilitated. Real Gnostics are virulent opponents of Judaism and Christianity.

    If you are correct that authentic Christians call themselves Gnostics, I have to wonder if they know what the word means?
     
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