We all know the early Apostles struggled with Gnosticism influencing much of the Church. In fact, frequently in the New Testament we find the authors addressing some of these Gnostic beliefs. However, few of us think about Gnosticism in the context of today.
The sad truth though, is that Gnosticism is perhaps even more common today, than it was in the first century.
There are dozens of beliefs that are rooted in Gnosticism but here are 8 common ones. If you find yourself agreeing with any, you have a good indication that you are one of the countless believers who have ignorantly bought into the Gnostic beliefs being taught today as the word of God.
1) You think your body is sinful and your spirit is perfect
Your body has been redeemed along with your spirit. While you still have a new body to come, this one is not inherently evil, it’ll do you just fine. God didn’t create Adam and Eve with a corrupt body, yours is just as good as theirs was before the fall (better according to Paul in fact – 2 Cor 5). If you think you have a sinful flesh I encourage you to read this article on the sinful nature.
2) You think the world is evil and only Heaven is good.
The world is not evil. “Worldly” behaviour is evil but God created this world for us to enjoy and be fruitful upon as we walk with Him. When He created this Earth and all that was on it, he called it “good”. According to Isaiah, His glory completely covers it (Isaiah 6:3).
3) You think money is evil and Christians should be poor.
Money is not evil, loving money more than God is. The simple fact is this, money enables you to be who you are, to more people, in a greater way. If you are generous and loving, then with lots of money you will have more options to be generous and loving. If you feel called to take orphans and give them homes, a couple of million in the bank sure would help! Here are some thoughts on how money simply reveals who we are.
4) You think that sex is a requirement to reproduce but God finds it dirty and distasteful.
Sex is really good. Trust me. Not only that but in the healthy confines of marriage Paul commands it – now there’s good reason to be more “Pauline” in your gospel interpretation! You and your spouse are to enjoy each other – I encourage you to get as fleshy as possible today with one another!
5. You think since your body is sinful, you might as well keep sinning. We are getting rid of the bodies anyway!
This is really stupid. Yet, if you don’t believe that what God has done in you is a complete work, you can easily fall into this trap. Your body was redeemed along with your spirit. Expect your spiritual fruit to have a tangible physical manifestation in and through you, as you embrace this reality.
6) You think that Christian’s should sacrifice all pleasure for God.
Interestingly enough, this is the polar opposite of number 5. Yet it’s very real. The previous point says “our flesh doesn’t matter so lets enjoy ourselves, in the flesh, as much as possible”. This point says “our flesh doesn’t matter, so let’s not enjoy ourselves at all!” Listen, you were born to enjoy yourself. The goal is to find that pleasure in God. It won’t take too much Bible study, before you find that enjoying God is something you experience in every part of you – body, soul and spirit! God delights in us, His kids, and wants us to enjoy ourselves.
7) You think that God only values the spiritual, anything we do in the physical has no value at all
God loves the natural. Many Christians have a disdain for things that are not overtly supernatural. But the truth is that God created us to live in this world. If He didn’t value the physical, he wouldn’t have made an entire universe of physical stuff! He would have made us as spirits and had us floating around in Heaven for eternity.
8) You think that Jesus couldn’t possibly have come as an actual man.
He was merely God pretending to be a man or possessing a man, right? Wrong. Jesus was absolutely, 100% a man… in all His fleshy glory! Not only that but He will now FOREVER be a man. That’s right, God loves “flesh” so much, He decided to become it for eternity in the person of Jesus. For more on this see “God’s the man”
Can you think of any more?
These are the 8 most prevalent ones I could think of in today’s Church. However, since Gnosticism can ultimately be boiled down to us believing that God only values the spiritual and denies the value of the physical there are countless manifestations – I have left many out for the sake of brevity.
What are some Gnostic beliefs you have encountered in the Church and what do you think the truth is we need to be preaching? Leave a comment below and let me know.