Deep Dive: Gnosticism in Christianity

In this first message of This is Home, Austin spent a long time speaking about Gnosticism to give us some context to 1 John.

Practically all heretical teachings in today's church were actually present in the first 300 years of the Christianity. So, it's important for us to understand the origins and theology of these teachings.

It was really interesting about 15 years ago when the hottest book and movie in America was The Da Vinci Code. This was a fictional book based on a very prevalent fantasy about Jesus. It proposes that the Gospels we have are lying. Instead, a group of books known as the gnostic gospels were actually telling us a secret truth about Jesus that the church has tried to suppress for 2,000 years.

Discussion Question:

How can we be sure the gospels found in the New Testament a factual and accurate of Jesus that can be trusted in a way that the gnostic gospels cannot be?

Here are some of the names for gnostic heresies that came into the church after John.

  • Docetism – Jesus just appeared to be flesh
  • Montanism- God gave certain people special revelations after the apostles died
  • Arianism / adoptionism / monarchism / modalism- Jesus is not an eternally divine being
  • Marcionism- Gods of OT and NT are separate
  • Manichaeism- dualism of Jesus

Augustine, the greatest theologian of the church, was a Manichaen before God radically saved him. Manichaeism was a branch of Gnosticism.

Responding to Manichaeism was a primary driver that gave us Augustine’s understanding of salvation by the free gift of grace as opposed to the extreme religious maneuvering of Gnosticism.

Discussion Questions:

  • How are Gnosticism and the heresies that follow it finding their way into perversions of the Gospel today?
  • How do you see people viewing themselves in unhealthy ways that reflects a modern Gnosticism instead of a self-identity rooted in the Gospel?
  • How does Gnosticism give people an unbiblical view of human sexuality?
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