By Philip J. Lee

ISBN-10: 0195040678

ISBN-13: 9780195040678

ISBN-10: 0195084365

ISBN-13: 9780195084368

Because the discovery of unique gnostic records at Nag Hammadi in 1945, many students have famous a well-known presence inside this historic heresy. to a few authors the most positive aspects of gnosticism--belief in a mystery revelation to be had purely to an initiated elite, rejection of the actual international, and break out into the self--seemed equivalent to sleek cult teams and secular routine. even if, Philip Lee, noting that the majority of the early gnostics have been firmly ensconced in the Church, locates smooth gnosticism in the Protestant institution itself. "As a Protestant, i think i've got pointed out the elusive glossy gnostics and they're ourselves," he writes. during this penetrating and provocative evaluation of the present country of faith and its impression on values in society at huge, Lee criticizes conservatives and liberals alike as he lines gnostic motifs to the very roots of yank Protestantism. With references to a unprecedented spectrum of writings from resources as various as John Calvin, Martin Buber, Tom Wolfe, Margaret Atwood and Emily Dickinson between many others, he probes the results of gnostic pondering on concerns starting from politics to feminism, from ecology to parenthood. the moral ramifications of this kind of gnostic flip were detrimental and scary, he continues. The booklet issues to confident methods of restoring health and wellbeing to endangered Protestant church buildings. Calling for the recovery of a dialectical religion and perform, Lee bargains an time table for reform, together with a renewal of obedience to the scriptures and an confirmation of lifestyles and construction in the circle of the .

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95 The outcome of the story is quite different from that of Faust: the protagonist refuses to succumb to the devil's destructive suggestions. The implication of the Gospel accounts is clearly, however, that if the Lord Jesus himself found selffulfillment so attractive, how much more will his sinful followers. Is this narcissistic tendency not the most troublesome human problem? The Four Gospels at various other points challenge the notion that salvation has to do with spiritual self-fulfillment.

There were the somatic (hylic) ones who were content to exist on a bodily level: eating, drinking, defecating, sleeping, copulating, dying. There were the psychics who functioned at the level of mind, intellect, emotions—the commonsense types who composed the "many" in the Church. Finally, there were the pneumatics, or gnostikoi, who were worthy of understanding the mysteries. The first group, those without spirit who felt completely at home in the natural world, who had no transcendental nostalgia, no longing for an escape into the perfect world from which man originated, were quite simply beyond all help.

In addition to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the Fathers also opposed gnosticism with the weapon of Church discipline. Individuals would not be allowed to define God in terms of their own self-discovery. "106 Clement of Rome (pope ca. 95-97) and Irenaeus (ca. 130-ca. 107 If the Christian faith were to be more than a collection of ideas from individual imaginings, then discipline and concrete structures were necessities. A Spiritual Elite Versus Ordinary People The gnostics would have considered bishops, presbyters, and other symbols of discipline quite acceptable, perhaps even necessary—for ordinary Christians.

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Against the Protestant Gnostics by Philip J. Lee


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