April 2019 Newsletter - "Gnosticism in the Church, Pt. II" by Nathan Padilla
Having laid the foundation of how heretical doctrines can be in the church today and how Yahushua and the Apostles emphasized the importance of being vigilant at the end of the age for many false prophets (Mat_24:11, 24; 2Pe_2:1) who would bring in destructive heresies and operate in lying signs and wonders. In the modern church, in many circles they are waiting for the next move of God, or last move of God, to be centered around sings and wonders. This is the frightening if you have read 2 Thessalonians when the Apostle Paul speaks of the church not having a love for the truth and God himself will turn them over to a strong delusion so that they would believe the lie and will be seduced by lying signs and wonders (2Th_2:9-12). The church is the threshing floor, and that is where the separation of wheat and tares will happen. Those who will not have a love for the truth and not following their own heart will fall into the deception by choosing to believe the lie rather than the truth (Jer_23:17).
This discourse will perform the function of a threshing floor where we will separate the wheat and the tares. We will “First gather together the tares” (Mat_13:30) and show what were the beliefs of the “’Gnostics,’ falsely so called.” 1 Among the Heretics, or so-called Gnostics, there are some primary beliefs they all commonly shared, but with each heretical sect they started to branch off into other ideologies that made each sect unique.
We will start with the most villainous heretic of the church, Marcion. As we see what his (as well as other heretics) how his beliefs were carried on by prominent figures in the West and even in todays churches.
Salvation will be the attainment only of those souls which had learned his doctrine; while the body, as having been taken from the earth, is incapable of sharing in salvation. 1
Marcion believed that due to our bodies being comprised of the earth, or matter, that we are inherently depraved of attaining salvation. We will visit this Marion dogma again when I bring forth the Augustine and Calvinistic ideologies.
Now this may contradict your beliefs and even venture to say that “Marcion must be right because he believes what I believe.” So if that is you, I shall call upon Polycarp as a witness. Iranaeus recalls an account of his spiritual father Polycarp when he came across Marcion.
And Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, “Dost thou know me?” “I do know thee, the first-born of Satan.” Such was the horror which the apostles and their disciples had against holding even verbal communication with any corrupters of the truth; 2
To refresh your memory, Polycarp was the spiritual son the Apostle John who was martyred for the Gospel. To learn more about the illustrious life of the revelator Polycarp you can read on his bio here. His martyrdom will bring you to tears on the beauty of martyrdom. Now understanding the authority of Polycarp, let me present you with something with and question. Does a heretic have the Holy Spirit? I mean, if it’s all about coming under the banner of love, shouldn’t we just accept this person and simply just say “agree to disagree.” The Apostle Paul was warning the church concerning what type of people would rise up from within the church after he would leave.
“For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.” [Act 20:29-30] Marcion was one these men that the Apostle Paul prophesied about.
In addition to believing in total depravity, Marcion believed that the Old Testament was done away with. He adamantly professed the separation of the two.
For since Marcion separated the New Testament from the Old, he is (necessarily) subsequent to that which he separated, inasmuch as it was only in his power to separate what was (previously) united. Having then been united previous to its separation, the fact of its subsequent separation proves the subsequence also of the man who effected the separation. 3
Tertullian, in his apologetic work “Against Marcion” spoke of how the Gospel is meant to preserve or be an extension of the Torah. Marcion was twisting the teachings of the Apostle Paul (as he was notoriously known for), as having done away with the Torah, when as Tertullian upholds the faith by showing that Paul was speaking of doing away of doing the law in the natural and now follow them according the spiritual sense.
When, again, he mentioned “certain false brethren as having crept in unawares,” who wished to remove the Galatians into another gospel, (see Gal_1:6-7; Gal_2:4) he himself shows that that adulteration of the gospel was not meant to transfer them to the faith of another god and christ, but rather to perpetuate the teaching of the law; because he blames them for maintaining circumcision, and observing times, and days, and months, and years, according to those Jewish ceremonies which they ought to have known were now abrogated, according to the new dispensation purposed by the Creator Himself, who of old foretold this very thing by His prophets. Thus He says by Isaiah: Old things have passed away. “Behold, I will do a new thing.” (Isa_43:19) And in another passage: “I will make a new covenant, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.” (This quotation, however, is from Jer_31:32) In like manner by Jeremiah: Make to yourselves a new covenant, “circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart.” (Jer_4:4) It is this circumcision, therefore, and this renewal, which the apostle insisted on, 4
Tertullian conveyed distinctly that the separation from following the Torah the ways the Jews did (the letter, literal) to the way the church observed the Torah (Spiritually) and was revealing the design of apostolic teaching. The teaching of another Gospel, as the Apostle Paul was indicating to the Galatians, was a Gospel that was separated from the Old Testament. Marcion supposed as well that when Yahushua came, that He came with the purpose of doing away with the Torah, even to the point that he was convinced, in his twisted mind, to think that Matthew 5:17 was added on by some inauthentic author.
“We begin to discern that He is the subject of the prophecy, which shows that at the very outset of His ministry, He came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but rather to fulfil them; (Mat_5:17) for Marcion has erased the passage as an interpolation.” 5
The vast majority of people today in the modern church need to clearly hear a person confess they’re an antichrist to be one, or have some kind of hideous feature such as an eye patch, or a wart on their face, or wearing all black, or whatever imaginary identifier they have seen in movies to be able to identify a false prophet, or false teaching. Tertullian makes a well-defined assertion concerning these wolves in sheep clothing.
They set forth, indeed, the name of Christ Jesus as a sort of lure, but in various ways they introduce the impieties of Simon; and thus they destroy multitudes, wickedly disseminating their own doctrines by the use of a good name, and, through means of its sweetness and beauty, extending to their hearers the bitter and malignant poison of the serpent, the great author of apostasy. ([Rev_12:9]) 6
Consequently, the heretics themselves confess and apply the name Jesus Christ as a way to seduce those in the church. How can that be? I thought by just confessing with your mouth Jesus Christ you were saved? I thought all who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved? Wait a minute, what is going on here? Yahushua Himself openly made this distinction in Matthew 7:21 that there would be many doing signs and wonders in the name of Jesus but would enter into the Kingdom of Heaven and even went further on to say that He doesn’t even know them. So confessing is not enough, and just because they can prophesy and teach some truth, doesn’t mean they’re genuine as the Apostle Paul stated, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Gal_5:9). The Gospel of Matthew states, “He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matt_16:12). These heretical doctrines in the church destroys the unity, which would make sense as to why we currently have over 40,000 different denominations in Christianity.
Moving forward we will look into other heretical doctrines that you some of you may be familiar with. Marcion taught that the God of the New Testament was a loving God, and that you shouldn’t fear him. This is the basis of the current grace theology being taught today.
“Marcion…has removed from his God, all the severity and energy of the judicial character…A better God has been discovered, who never takes offense! He is never angry, never inflicts punishment, has prepared no fire in Gehenna! There will be no weeping and gnashing of teeth in the outer darkness! For He is simply good. He indeed forbids all delinquency, but only in word… For He does not want your fear. And so satisfied are the Marcionites with such pretenses, that they have no fear of their God at all. They say it is only a bad man who will be feared, a good man will be loved.” 7
This is the same mindset and message numerous pulpits around the world are preaching. Out of fearing of losing money, I mean people, churches are now preaching a “non-offensive Gospel” that preaches that God is simply love…and that’s it! David wrote “Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling.” (Psa_2:11) and “He will bless those who fear the LORD, Both small and great” (Psa_115:13). When the feeling of conviction of sin is removed from the church, and one of the seven spirits of Yah (Isa_11:2) has been removed from the church there is no seriousness in the church. This may seem bizarre to some, and even uncharacteristic of God but His Word is clear.
Thus, so far, we have scratched the surface with the dogmas of Marcion in his beliefs in total depravity, the separation of the Torah and the Gospel in his beliefs. We can spend and immense amount of time examining the heretical doctrines of Marcion, and there is an extensive insight into his dogmas that have survived in the modern church today. This is part of a series of articles that I will continue to unfold to you to show the great deceptions that crept in amongst the church. It is the responsibility of the watchman to warn the people of the coming wrath to prepare and be on guard least they perish. If I stay silent, your blood will be upon my hands. God forbid I be silent in the murder of those whose very salvation is peril. I will let the Prophet Ezekiel have the last word.
Eze 33:2-5 Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and thou shalt say to them, On whatsoever land I shall bring a sword, and the people of the land take one man of them, and set him for their watchman: and he shall see the sword coming upon the land, and blow the trumpet, and sound an alarm to the people; and he that hears the sound of the trumpet shall hear indeed, and yet not take heed, and the sword shall come upon him, and overtake him, his blood shall be upon his own head. Because he heard the sound of the trumpet, and took no heed, his blood shall be upon him: but the other, because he took heed, has delivered his soul.
1. ~Iranaeus-Against Heresies Book 3 Ch. IV, Vol. 1
2. ~Iranaeus-Against Heresies Bk 3 Ch. V, Vol. 1
3. ~Tertullian-Remedy Against Heretics Ch. XXX, Vol. 3
4. ~Tertullian-Against Marcion Bk. 5 Ch. XX, Vol. 3
5. ~Tertullian-Against Marcion Bk. 4 Ch. VII, Vol. 3
6. ~Iranaeus-Against Heresies Book 3 Ch. IV, Vol. 1
7. ~Tertullian-Against Marcion Bk 2 Ch. XXIV Vol. 3