Against the Protestant Gnostics by Philip J. Lee PDF

By Philip J. Lee

Because the discovery of unique gnostic records at Nag Hammadi in 1945, many students have famous a well-known presence inside of this historic heresy. to a few authors the most positive factors of gnosticism--belief in a mystery revelation to be had simply to an initiated elite, rejection of the actual international, and break out into the self--seemed similar to glossy cult teams and secular pursuits. besides the fact that, Philip Lee, noting that the majority of the early gnostics have been firmly ensconced in the Church, locates smooth gnosticism in the Protestant institution itself. "As a Protestant, i think i've got pointed out the elusive glossy gnostics and they're ourselves," he writes. during this penetrating and provocative review of the present kingdom of faith and its impression on values in society at huge, Lee criticizes conservatives and liberals alike as he lines gnostic motifs to the very roots of yankee Protestantism. With references to a rare spectrum of writings from assets as varied as John Calvin, Martin Buber, Tom Wolfe, Margaret Atwood and Emily Dickinson between many others, he probes the consequences of gnostic considering on concerns starting from politics to feminism, from ecology to parenthood. the moral ramifications of one of these gnostic flip were adverse and scary, he keeps. The booklet issues to optimistic methods of restoring health and wellbeing to endangered Protestant church buildings. Calling for the recovery of a dialectical religion and perform, Lee bargains an time table for reform, together with a renewal of obedience to the scriptures and an confirmation of lifestyles and construction in the circle of the .

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All things were created through him and for him. 33 The gnostic diatribes against the female, sexuality and procreation are answered sharply in I Timothy. "34 The challenge to gnostic despair over the Creation begun in the New Testament itself was picked up by the Church Fathers, reaching its most complete expression in the work of St. Irenaeus. The central purpose of Irenaeus's polemical theology was to understand clearly the relationship between creation and redemption so that the gnostic wedge between the God of Israel and the Savior Christ could be once and for all removed.

Similarly, states Quispel, in Valentinian philosophy "the point of departure is always man: it is of man that we must think unremittingly. "37 The stories of the Old Testament might have been of interest to most early Christian gnostics; the accounts of Christ's ministry, death and resurrection would have been considered vital, but only because they provided grist for the gnostic mill. As Quispel explains it in regard to Valentinus: But after all these influences (whether philosophic, Hermetic, Johannine, or Pauline) are not very important.

It follows that acceptance of such a dark view of Creation would require not only a rejection of or rewriting cf the Old Testament but ipso facto a serious adjustment of the New Testament Christology as well. "The gnostics were necessarily Docetist in their Christology," argues Runciman. If Christ is to be taken seriously as the Savior, how can he actually be part and parcel of this material cosmos? Again, the gnostics were compelled to embark upon another chore of distance-making, in this instance creating distance between Christ and the flesh.

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