The term Gnosticism is derived from Gk. Gnōsis, ‘knowledge’. Gnosticism is the teaching based on Gnosis, the knowledge of transcendence arrived at by way of interior, intuitive means.
Gnosticism is the grandest and most comprehensive form of speculative religious syncretism known to history, and perhaps, the most dangerous heresy that threatened the early church. In the 21st century, Gnosticism has been reborn through the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation Movement). When I say reborn I am referring to the second of the two false premises Gnosticism is founded upon.
Two false premises:
The first false premise
is a dualism regarding spirit and matter. Gnostics assert that matter is inherently evil and spirit is good. Because of this presupposition, Gnostics believe anything done in the body, even the grossest sin, has no meaning because real life exists in the spirit realm only. While you may find this is some circles it is the second false premise that pervades the Pentecostal, NAR church’s today.
The second false premise
is that Gnostics claim to possess an elevated knowledge, a “higher truth” known only to a certain few. Gnosticism comes from the Greek word gnosis which means “to know.” Gnostics claim to possess a higher knowledge, not from the Bible but acquired on some mystical higher plane of existence. Gnostics see themselves as a privileged class elevated above everybody else by their higher, deeper knowledge of God.
We live at a time that for a price, you can attend a conference almost every weekend to learn the latest revelation, the latest spiritual practice that will be the key you need to really ‘do’ something for God. – Sarcasm intended.
Similarities between Gnosticism and the New Apostolic Reformation Movement:
Gnosticism like the NAR, never had a central government or presiding council but is rather a joining of ideas from many religious traditions and can be defined more loosely to any form of religious belief which emphasizes any kind of dualism and, or the possession of secret knowledge. It consists of Oriental mysticism, Greek philosophy, Alexandrian, Philonic, and Cabbalistic Judaism. And mingles a New Age elitism with Christianity. These borrowed terms and practices are shaped into mythological expressions of not just an experiential salvation but an experiential lifestyle. These ideas often seem so strange that many are tempted to scratch their heads and wonder how anyone with any intelligence could believe such wild stories. Today, it is an almost commonplace practice for those who do not meet the biblical qualifications for ministry to claim some mystical experience or ‘new’ revelation as God’s stamp of approval.
Gnostics tears apart a beautiful picture of a king and then restructures it into a picture of a fox. Irenaeus ”
Gnostics are distorters of Christianity. This false gnosis is a morbid pride of wisdom, an arrogant, self-conceited, ambitious knowledge, which puffs up, instead of edifying.
Biblical Christianity holds only one source of Truth, the Bible, the inspired, inerrant Word of the living God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice (John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12). It is God’s written revelation to mankind and is never superseded by man’s thoughts, ideas, writings, or visions. Gnostics in the church today hold the prophetic word spoken by a prophet as equal too and sometimes surpassing the Word of God but when the so-called Christian Gnostics quote from the Bible, they rewrite verses and parts of verses to correspond with their philosophy to catch those who are either naïve and scripturally uninformed or who are seeking some personal revelation to make them feel special, unique, and superior to others.
Let us follow the Apostle Paul who said to “test everything. Hold on to the good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21), and this we do by comparing everything to the Word of God, the only Truth.
New Bible Dictionary (InterVarsity Press, 1996), 415.
Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988).
History of the Christian Church, vol. 2 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1910), 445.
“O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.” (1 Timothy 6:20–21, ESV)
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”” (2 Timothy 2:15–19, ESV)
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,” (Colossians 2:8–9, ESV)