By Philip J. Lee
Because the discovery of unique gnostic records at Nag Hammadi in 1945, many students have famous a well-recognized presence inside this historical heresy. to a couple authors the most positive aspects of gnosticism--belief in a mystery revelation on hand in simple terms to an initiated elite, rejection of the actual international, and break out into the self--seemed such as sleek cult teams and secular routine. even if, 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 glossy gnostics and they're ourselves," he writes. during this penetrating and provocative review of the present country of faith and its influence on values in society at huge, Lee criticizes conservatives and liberals alike as he lines gnostic motifs to the very roots of yankee Protestantism. With references to a rare spectrum of writings from assets as diversified 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 type of gnostic flip were unfavorable and scary, he keeps. The e-book issues to optimistic methods of restoring overall healthiness 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 lifestyles and construction in the circle of the .
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Extra resources for Against the Protestant Gnostics
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. The idea, however, of the gnostikoi having to submit to such worldly trappings was not to be tolerated. These mundane, formalized, uncreative expressions of Christianity so carefully maintained by the orthodox Church were an embarrassment to the pneumatics within the Church.
Thomas Mann referred to the gnostic vision as a "narcissistic picture, so full of tragic charm. "71 The focusing on God alone—God isolated from cosmos, God isolated from change, time, place, and fellow creatures—can reveal only a God who is a reflection of self or, more accurately, fantasized self. Though that reflection, finally, cannot save us from our plight, who could deny that Mann is correct? The picture is full of "tragic charm," even of enchantment. The enchantment lies in the fanciful nature of the vision.
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.