March 2019 Newsletter - "Gnosticism in the Church" by Nathan Padilla
The enemies against the faith, the most infamous heretics, have come out of the church. The Apostle John stated in his epistle that those who have left the church have a spirit of Antichrist in them, and they were never part of the church (1Jo_2:18-19). Some may have this idea that this spirit may come from an outside source, but in fact it comes from within the body of Christ. By leaving the church, it is not necessarily leaving the church itself but its truth and the teachings that it was built on (Rom_15:20; 1Co_3:10; Eph_2:20). The Apostle Paul warned about preaching another Gospel, another Jesus out of another spirit (Antichrist) that people would be seduced by (2Co_11:4; Gal_1:8). So, if you’re preaching another Jesus, another Gospel, you are not part of the church. Before the time of 325 A.D., the church was unified in their understanding and were in one accord. We hear today, “Let us put aside our denominations and our doctrines and just be under Christ.” With such a dangerous statement, it is imperative that we do know that there is no other way to be in one accord without the preaching of the one same Gospel and true Jesus who is the “Word that became flesh,” (Joh_1:14).
In Revelation 2:20, Yahushua exclaims, “Because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants,“ warning the church against the teachings of Jezebel and her false prophetic movement that seduces the servants, who are the prophets (Amo_3:7). She turned some of the prophets of Yah to destructive teachings. One may say, “Well, how can the prophets of Yah become corrupt?” The Prophet Jeremiah tells us, “’For both prophet and priest are profane; Yes, in My house I have found their wickedness,’ says the LORD,” (Jer_23:11). They are actually prophesying “love” and “peace” and preaching to just “follow your heart, no evil will come of it” (Jer_23:17). The Apostle Paul hit the mark concerning people in the church at the end of the age, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables,” (2Ti_4:3-4). People at the end of the age will decide to follow their own hearts and believe in what they want to believe, not the truth. They will not be lovers of truth but self-seeking.
By not having right understanding of the will of God through His Word, we will not inherit the kingdom, and in fact, we become Satan. Sounds farfetched and you may even venture to think it heretical; however, Yahushua rebuked Peter for not understanding the will of the Father, “He turned and said to Peter, ’Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men,’” (Mat_16:23). Strong words from the Savior who “is all love and peaceful.” Yahushua’s response should invoke the fear of the LORD in all us, showing the importance of understanding the will of Yah. Understanding His will comes from understanding the prophetic scriptures, as the Apostle Peter at the time did not understand the prophecies in Moses and the Prophets concerning the suffering Christ must go through. What should strike a greater sense of Godly fear is the fact that at the time of Yahushua, the Jews knew that the Messiah would come at their time, yet they didn’t expect Him to come in the way that He did. The Apostle Peter tells us that the prophetic scriptures are not open for our own personal interpretation (2Pe_1:20); he also states, “some things in those [epistles of Paul] that are difficult to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist and misconstrue to their own utter destruction, just as [they distort and misinterpret] the rest of the Scriptures,” (2Pe_3:16 AMP).
With now understanding the importance of having the right understanding of the divine scriptures we have also shown the gravity of the outcome for misinterpreting them (our own destruction). In the early church, they defended the truth of doctrine from others who were so-called Christians. There was no such thing as what we may call “denomination” or “sects,” because there was just one church. The Greek word for “sect” is the word “hairesis” or “heresy.” Do I have your attention now? As you can see, there were others who were calling themselves Christians and claiming to be other sects or denominations of Christianity; however, that was never accepted, they are heretical sects that have departed from the true faith. Theses other “denominations” were not teaching to interpret the Word the way the Apostles taught their disciples. The Apostle Paul warned the church about the great falling away and instructed the church what would protect them, stating, “stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle,” (2Th_2:15). This was how the whole church withstood against every heretic that came against the church. Irenaeus wrote the authoritative work called “Against Heresies” combating against every heretical doctrine that was contrary to Apostolic doctrine.
When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn around and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition.
But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser not merely than the presbyters, but even than the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth. For [they maintain] that the apostles intermingled the things of the law with the words of the Savior; and that not the apostles alone, but even the Lord Himself.
It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition. (Valentinus, Marcion, Cerinthus, and Basilides).1
As Irenaeus had expressed, the church’s position on doctrine and concerning the importance of understanding the traditions which preserved the church in its pure form, uncorrupted by any thorn seed of doctrine or belief that was not passed down by the Apostles. Now, in the same way that the truth of the apostolic traditions was passed down in unbroken succession preserved in the church, the heretical doctrines of Marcion (namely), Simon the Sorcerer, and Valentinus have passed down through other men, which in actuality would shock most but have also been found in the teachings of Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Calvin. This is not just an uninformed assertion, nonetheless with extensive investigating, we have conclusive evidence that reveals the link of Marcion with Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Calvin.
The best way to see for yourself is to compare their teachings and see how similar they are with each other. It will not be hearsay, but substantial evidence to show how much the teachings of Augustine, John Calvin, and Martin Luther are Gnostic beliefs and not true Christian doctrine. In the succeeding discourse, we will run through the gamut of their doctrine and beliefs and see in full the direct parallels of the Gnostic beliefs of Marcion, Simon the Sorcerer, the Manichaeans, and the Stoics in agreement with Augustine, Luther, and Calvin. This dialogue is to establish how those doctrines can connect with one another and how it survives in the modern church today. It’s time, saints, we go back to what we once knew.
1. Irenaeus – Against Heresies, Book 3 Ch. II, ANF Volume 1