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 this historical heresy. to a few authors the most beneficial properties of gnosticism--belief in a mystery revelation to be had in simple terms to an initiated elite, rejection of the actual international, and break out into the self--seemed akin to glossy cult teams and secular events. even though, Philip Lee, noting that the majority of the early gnostics have been firmly ensconced in the Church, locates glossy gnosticism in the Protestant institution itself. "As a Protestant, i feel i've got pointed out the elusive sleek gnostics and they're ourselves," he writes. during this penetrating and provocative review of the present country of faith and its impression on values in society at huge, Lee criticizes conservatives and liberals alike as he strains gnostic motifs to the very roots of yankee Protestantism. With references to a rare spectrum of writings from assets as assorted as John Calvin, Martin Buber, Tom Wolfe, Margaret Atwood and Emily Dickinson between many others, he probes the consequences of gnostic pondering on concerns starting from politics to feminism, from ecology to parenthood. the moral ramifications of any such gnostic flip were adverse and scary, he keeps. The e-book issues to optimistic methods of restoring well-being to endangered Protestant church buildings. Calling for the recovery of a dialectical religion and perform, Lee deals an schedule for reform, together with a renewal of obedience to the scriptures and an confirmation of existence and construction in the circle of the .
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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.
88 Later the Israelites were but another anonymous Middle Eastern nation with no future and no hope when the Lord said: I will have pity on Not pitied, and I will say to Not my people, 'You are my people. '89 29 GNOSTICISM IN CONFLICT WITH THE FAITH It is Yahweh who has searched for and found Israel rather than the other way around. And Israel is not confused: O Lord, thou has searched me and known me! . 90 What the Old Testament person can know about God is not selfdiscoverable. It can be learned only through the community because only through the community has He revealed Himself.
What should be clear at this point is that the Church's stubborn adherence to Old Testament thought patterns has been essential in drawing a line of demarcation between itself and heretical gnosticism. This line was drawn again by Irenaeus and became one of the bases for his battle against the gnostics. In his famous work, Against Heresies, Irenaeus interrupted his argument to pray: Lord God of Abraham, and God of Isaac, and God of Jacob and Israel, who art the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God who, through the abundance of Thy mercy, hast had a favour towards us, that we should know Thee .
Against the Protestant Gnostics by Philip J. Lee