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Author Topic: Are Protestant Fundamentalists Gnostics?  (Read 13156 times) Average Rating: 0
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Edwin
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« Reply #45 on: July 10, 2003, 09:00:07 AM »

Linus,

I think a lot of evangelicalism has gnostic tendencies. But labelling is only of limited value, I think, and of course you won't get very far saying this to them directly. Still, I know that I see a lot of Gnosticism in the kind of Christianity I was taught (invisible Church, sacraments are unimportant, personal illumination is everything, etc.).

Having said that, not all Protestants are like this. Perhaps all share these tendencies to some degree, but in fact the first place where I heard my family's kind of Christianity described as "Gnostic" was at the college I attended run by the "Christian churches and churches of Christ."

In Christ,

Edwin
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« Reply #46 on: July 10, 2003, 10:16:20 AM »

Edwin:

Are you a former "Campbellite" too?  Which college did you go to?  Me?  I went to Ozark Christian College and Lincoln Christian Seminary.

Interesting.
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Nektarios_In_E.S.
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« Reply #47 on: October 22, 2013, 05:17:17 PM »

Linus7, I became friends with a gentleman who was then a Baptist but is now an Orthodox Christian, who would say that "the flesh" made him sin.  Such a view -reminds me of the platonic ideas where the body is considered a "prison" to the soul."  Back then he was barely learning about Orthodoxy and I told him to watch out about saying such things because sin does not originate "in the flesh" but in the heart. 

St.Matthew 15[19] For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 

St.Mark 7[21] For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders. 

St.Luke 6:[45] A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Further I told him that such views reminded me a lot more about gnosticism, which I had studied in my youth, along with philosophy so I was familiar with many ideologies of ancient Greece and Rome.

Anyway, yes, I agree, Protestantism and its disdain of the body, the sacraments and a belief of the superiority of the "spiritual" (in their conception of what "spiritualism" is) over the material do render it a dualistic type of religion like gnosticism.
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PoorFoolNicholas
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« Reply #48 on: October 22, 2013, 05:50:05 PM »

Please define "Gnosticism"...
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Nektarios_In_E.S.
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« Reply #49 on: October 22, 2013, 06:53:57 PM »

I found this as far as a "Definition" is concerned:

"Gnosticism
In the early second century a strange movement began to emerge, more strongly concentrated in Egypt, but with pockets of activity throughout the Roman world. Gnosticism was a curious synthesis of Jewish apocalypticism, Platonism, strains of pagan religions, and early Christianity. There are some indications of an early form of first century gnosticism in the NT, but nothing like what developed in the second century. Some scholars want to date various NT documents into the second century based on the apparent references to gnosticism.

To better understand Gnosticism, it is helpful to read the documents that represent the beliefs of Gnosticism. Our primary documents are found in a collection known as "The Nag Hammadi Library" (NH). The NH texts include The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel to the Egyptians and many others. Some of these documents are actually more Christian than gnostic, but others are decidely gnostic, like "To the Egyptians." See a photo on the right showing a text from The Gospel to the Egyptians in the NH in English. The reader is supposed to sound out the long vowels sounds given in the text. To better understand Gnosticism in the ancient world, download the paper: A Brief Introduction to Gnostic Writings.   
Similar to Marcion, basic Gnosticism consisted of an extreme dualism, drawing a distinction between the body and the spirit realm. The "demiurge" was the evil creator of the physical universe, humans were bound in their "evil" physical body, and could only be released from the confines of that body through the gaining of gnosis, or divine knowledge. The seven visible heavenly bodies (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) gave rise to a belief in eight heavenly realms. Plato had written about the concept of pre-existent souls in a state of perfection prior to taking on a mortal body on the earth. When the soul is released from the prison of the body it ascends back to the heavenly realm where it is reunited with the realm of ideas. The soul in the Gnostic system must ascend through these heavenly realms in the quest to return to a state of perfection. Along the way the soul must pass guardians of each level; typically to pass into the next stage, or heavenly realm, the soul must recite some of the heavenly gnosis learned during the earthly trek. The eighth level is the place of perfection, the ultimate goal for every soul.

Gnosticism in the second century was not a unified movement. Each group tended to gravitate around a single enlightened leader, and most groups were exclusive, seeing their particular set of dogma to be unique and essential. This lack of cohesiveness between Gnostic sects makes it difficult to quickly summarize the gnostic system beyond the above overview. To learn more, see the explanations regarding some of the chief gnostics of the second century:

Carpocrates
Basilides
Valentinus
« Last Edit: October 22, 2013, 07:21:28 PM by Nektarios_In_E.S. » Logged
Maria
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« Reply #50 on: October 22, 2013, 07:02:28 PM »

I found this as far as a "Definition" is concerned:

"nosticism
In the early second century a strange movement began to emerge, more strongly concentrated in Egypt, but with pockets of activity throughout the Roman world. Gnosticism was a curious synthesis of Jewish apocalypticism, Platonism, strains of pagan religions, and early Christianity. There are some indications of an early form of first century gnosticism in the NT, but nothing like what developed in the second century. Some scholars want to date various NT documents into the second century based on the apparent references to gnosticism.

To better understand Gnosticism, it is helpful to read the documents that represent the beliefs of Gnosticism. Our primary documents are found in a collection known as "The Nag Hammadi Library" (NH). The NH texts include The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel to the Egyptians and many others. Some of these documents are actually more Christian than gnostic, but others are decidely gnostic, like "To the Egyptians." See a photo on the right showing a text from The Gospel to the Egyptians in the NH in English. The reader is supposed to sound out the long vowels sounds given in the text. To better understand Gnosticism in the ancient world, download the paper: A Brief Introduction to Gnostic Writings.   
Similar to Marcion, basic Gnosticism consisted of an extreme dualism, drawing a distinction between the body and the spirit realm. The "demiurge" was the evil creator of the physical universe, humans were bound in their "evil" physical body, and could only be released from the confines of that body through the gaining of gnosis, or divine knowledge. The seven visible heavenly bodies (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) gave rise to a belief in eight heavenly realms. Plato had written about the concept of pre-existent souls in a state of perfection prior to taking on a mortal body on the earth. When the soul is released from the prison of the body it ascends back to the heavenly realm where it is reunited with the realm of ideas. The soul in the Gnostic system must ascend through these heavenly realms in the quest to return to a state of perfection. Along the way the soul must pass guardians of each level; typically to pass into the next stage, or heavenly realm, the soul must recite some of the heavenly gnosis learned during the earthly trek. The eighth level is the place of perfection, the ultimate goal for every soul.

Gnosticism in the second century was not a unified movement. Each group tended to gravitate around a single enlightened leader, and most groups were exclusive, seeing their particular set of dogma to be unique and essential. This lack of cohesiveness between Gnostic sects makes it difficult to quickly summarize the gnostic system beyond the above overview. To learn more, see the explanations regarding some of the chief gnostics of the second century:

Carpocrates
Basilides
Valentinus

My mom attends a Baptist and occasionally the Presbyterian Church. She believes that her soul is trapped in her body and that she will be set free upon death. This explains her wish to be cremated upon death.
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« Reply #51 on: October 22, 2013, 07:06:30 PM »

I apologize if I missed it and if anyone else has posted this though in case no one has, here you go:

Book Review
http://www.amazon.com/Against-Protestant-Gnostics-Philip-Lee/dp/0195084365


Especially start from where it says: "Gnosticism Redux"
http://www.journalforpreachers.com/Easter%202012-Long.html

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Nektarios_In_E.S.
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« Reply #52 on: October 22, 2013, 07:17:44 PM »

You said:
"My mom attends a Baptist and occasionally the Presbyterian Church. She believes that her soul is trapped in her body and that she will be set free upon death. This explains her wish to be cremated upon death."

If you ever read Plato's "Phaedo", you will see this "theme" of "body as a prison" throughout.  Plus, Jean Jacques Louis, the famous french neo-classical painter painted this scene where Socrates points his index finger up thus showing the "superiority" of the invisible world of absolutes vs. our physical world.  He was actually looking forward to be freed from the prison of the body.  
See the painting here: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/31.45

The Orthodox position:
Why Orthodox Christians Are Not Cremated--Fr. John Touloumes--an excerpt from this article:
"A Growing Practice & Problem
In our country, cremation is increasingly being practiced. In part this is due to the influence of Oriental religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, and to the rise of neo-paganism. But it is also a result of the eroding of traditional beliefs among non-Orthodox Christians. In many Christian denominations — or at least among their liberal preachers — it is no longer necessary to believe in the "empty tomb, " in Christ’s physical Resurrection. These teachers call the "empty tomb" a myth and reduce all the post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus to merely spiritual experiences. The Orthodox conviction that the Son of God was also truly Man and was raised in His whole human nature — body and soul — explains the Church’s traditional rejection of cremation, a practice which is diametrically opposed to the expectation of the resurrection of the dead in Christ. If the Resurrection is merely a legend or a beautiful metaphor, then as Saint Paul writes, "If Christ be not raised, your faith is in vain" (1 Cor. 15.17)"

For the entire article: http://www.annunciationmuskegon.mi.goarch.org/vsItemDisplay.dsp&objectID=961A29E7-399E-46A6-B1E12E083C295EA0&method=display

Please try to get her out of those neo-gnostic churches.  Help her soul.
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hecma925
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« Reply #53 on: October 22, 2013, 07:21:52 PM »

My mom attends a Baptist and occasionally the Presbyterian Church. She believes that her soul is trapped in her body and that she will be set free upon death. This explains her wish to be cremated upon death.
Reminds me of this old hymn that we sang in Church of God:
Quote
Some glad morning when this life is over
I'll fly away
To a home on God's celestial shore
I'll fly away

I'll fly away, oh glory
I'll fly away
When I die
Hallelujah, bye and bye
I'll fly away

Just a few more weary days and then
I'll fly away
To that land where joy shall never end
I'll fly away

I'll fly away, oh glory
I'll fly away
When I die
Hallelujah, bye and bye
I'll fly away

Cremation, though?  Yikes.  I used to want it, but I couldn't reconcile it with the Church's teachings.  
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PoorFoolNicholas
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« Reply #54 on: October 22, 2013, 08:55:02 PM »

I found this as far as a "Definition" is concerned:

"Gnosticism
In the early second century a strange movement began to emerge, more strongly concentrated in Egypt, but with pockets of activity throughout the Roman world. Gnosticism was a curious synthesis of Jewish apocalypticism, Platonism, strains of pagan religions, and early Christianity. There are some indications of an early form of first century gnosticism in the NT, but nothing like what developed in the second century. Some scholars want to date various NT documents into the second century based on the apparent references to gnosticism.

To better understand Gnosticism, it is helpful to read the documents that represent the beliefs of Gnosticism. Our primary documents are found in a collection known as "The Nag Hammadi Library" (NH). The NH texts include The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel to the Egyptians and many others. Some of these documents are actually more Christian than gnostic, but others are decidely gnostic, like "To the Egyptians." See a photo on the right showing a text from The Gospel to the Egyptians in the NH in English. The reader is supposed to sound out the long vowels sounds given in the text. To better understand Gnosticism in the ancient world, download the paper: A Brief Introduction to Gnostic Writings.   
Similar to Marcion, basic Gnosticism consisted of an extreme dualism, drawing a distinction between the body and the spirit realm. The "demiurge" was the evil creator of the physical universe, humans were bound in their "evil" physical body, and could only be released from the confines of that body through the gaining of gnosis, or divine knowledge. The seven visible heavenly bodies (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) gave rise to a belief in eight heavenly realms. Plato had written about the concept of pre-existent souls in a state of perfection prior to taking on a mortal body on the earth. When the soul is released from the prison of the body it ascends back to the heavenly realm where it is reunited with the realm of ideas. The soul in the Gnostic system must ascend through these heavenly realms in the quest to return to a state of perfection. Along the way the soul must pass guardians of each level; typically to pass into the next stage, or heavenly realm, the soul must recite some of the heavenly gnosis learned during the earthly trek. The eighth level is the place of perfection, the ultimate goal for every soul.

Gnosticism in the second century was not a unified movement. Each group tended to gravitate around a single enlightened leader, and most groups were exclusive, seeing their particular set of dogma to be unique and essential. This lack of cohesiveness between Gnostic sects makes it difficult to quickly summarize the gnostic system beyond the above overview. To learn more, see the explanations regarding some of the chief gnostics of the second century:

Carpocrates
Basilides
Valentinus

If you have to "find" an answer, then you really don't, nor have you ever understood "Gnosticism".
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Nektarios_In_E.S.
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« Reply #55 on: October 23, 2013, 11:21:53 AM »

You said:
"If you have to "find" an answer, then you really don't, nor have you ever understood "Gnosticism".

My answer:
I used to be a gnostic.  I was gnostic for about 2 years due to an influence from an aunt in my family who is still part of that.  She's been there for about 25 years.  After I left, she has been a little preachy with my mother and I -especially my mother- and was not very happy with us joining the Orthodox Church.  I thank God that I left those "teachings" long time ago.  

I'm sensing some type of animosity from your reply to my post.  Are you a gnostic? I apologize if that is the case and if you feel I have insulted your faith.  Though, I can assure you, everything I've posted, I'm doing so in good faith.

May The Lord God bless you.


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« Reply #56 on: October 24, 2013, 11:15:40 PM »

For starters the term "gnostic" is a hotly contested "label" or umbrella term for many different sects. So which sect did you belong to? Were you Manichaean? Not all "Gnostics" are dualists. Not all "Gnostics" see the body as a prison.
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Nektarios_In_E.S.
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« Reply #57 on: October 29, 2013, 11:46:27 AM »

Gnostic sects are no longer naming themselves after any of the ancient heresies -I don't think it would do them well to advertise themselves as such.  Instead, some of their institutions call themselves "Gnostic Anthropological Centers" or "Gnostic Athropological Institutions."  When I was part of that, I asked them, "what should I call myself when people ask me what my religion is?" -they told me: "tell them you're a gnostic student."  The particular sect I was attending took much of its teachings from the writings of samael aun weor.  As far as their practices and theology is concerned, they take a lot from Hinduism and Buddhism -for the most part: transmutation of sexual energy through pranayamas was at the top of the "prayer" list and they pretty much borrow just about everything else from Christianity, Zen, Taoism, Shintoism, Shamanism, Native American religions, etc.  They taught me that The Bible was not literal and that it has a lot of "hidden" meaning; that it is not historically reliable but instead that the events in it represented spiritual states and occurences of "internal worlds."  Like most of modern protestantism, they do not really have any formal or liturgical form of worship but they have what they call "conferences" which are basically sermons, talks, speeches or  classes that are taught.  One is like a student because there is much note taking to do.  You rely on reading many books, reviewing their content and then you're given exams so that you can advance to the next "phase." As you can see, in that case, it is akin to a philosophical system as well.
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