By Philip J. Lee
Because the discovery of unique gnostic records at Nag Hammadi in 1945, many students have well-known a well-recognized presence inside this historical heresy. to a few authors the most good points of gnosticism--belief in a mystery revelation to be had basically to an initiated elite, rejection of the actual international, and get away into the self--seemed comparable to glossy cult teams and secular routine. although, Philip Lee, noting that almost all 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 smooth gnostics and they're ourselves," he writes. during this penetrating and provocative overview of the present country of faith and its influence 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 resources as varied as John Calvin, Martin Buber, Tom Wolfe, Margaret Atwood and Emily Dickinson between many others, he probes the consequences of gnostic considering on concerns starting from politics to feminism, from ecology to parenthood. the moral ramifications of this type of gnostic flip were unfavorable and scary, he continues. The ebook issues to confident methods of restoring overall healthiness 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 existence and production in the circle of the nuclear family.
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Additional resources for Against the Protestant Gnostics
Paul, who is often accused of having gnostic tendencies, ever indicate the slightest interest in an individual search for God. Even less does he offer any hope for locating God within the self. All along he maintains a staunchly corporate view of what faith is. "1 1 Koinonia is a Pauline word used to describe the particular form of participation with one another by which Christians are bound together. "1 2 It is in this spiritually intimate and physically interconnected sense that Paul wishes to state the participatory bonds that hold Christians together.
It is true that within Christianity there should be ample room for diversity. " The Church Fathers were not for the most part an intolerant lot. 2 There are, however, limits to creative diversity. At some given point, a teaching, an idea or an action which claims to be Christian is so utterly different from the "faith which was once for all delivered to the saints"3 that it becomes the opposite of Christianity. " 4 The defense of orthodoxy then becomes more necessary than any struggle against a secular, easily identified external form, because if the Church loses the truth which distinguishes her from error, she no longer has the right or the inclination to contend on any other front.
All in all, the Gnostic election is . . 116 In gnosticism, God elects, not a people, but individual persons: persons who have a nostalgic yearning for the higher life, persons who have some spiritual insight, persons who are creative enough to see beyond the written text a meaning hidden to the many. This election resulted, negatively, in certain oblivion for the somatics, the mere animals who happen to be in human form. 118 And the psychics, in the middle, could go either way. Through the help of a pneumatic, the psychic might be brought out 35 GNOSTICISM IN CONFLICT WITH THE FAITH of ignorance into knowledge and salvation.