I met a Docetist/Gnostic this morning

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FenderPriest

Puritan Board Junior
So there I am, having a conversation with a brother in our church about what God's doing in his life, and the guy behind us in Starbucks interjects. My friend has to leave to for work, and I keep talking to the guy. He works with inspirational speakers and talks a lot about how "repentance" or "the choice we make to change" is fundamental to life and growth. So I'm drawing him out on how God is involved in that process, presenting some good'ol "we're dead in our trespasses and sins" and "God must do the work and we repent/respond in light of God's activity" because God gets all the glory, etc. This leads to discussing death and resurrection, and he talks about how the spiritual is most important, and that's why Jesus was only spiritually raised from the dead.

Me: So, you would you say Jesus was physically raised from the dead?

Him: No, he only appeared to be - he was spiritually raised from the dead, and only looked like he was physical.

Me: Well, that's not a Christian belief.

Him: That's just your opinion.

Me: No, the Apostles who knew Jesus didn't teach that. The guys right after the Apostles didn't teach that. The church had some counsels and rejected that opinion. It's not opinion, it's a fact. Christians don't believe that.

It was a generous and hearty conversation and we genuinely were able to enjoy talking. We went from there to emphasizing that yes, God wants all the glory. No, this isn't about us because God is "most glorified in us when we're most satisfied in him." Which means that God makes himself look great, and that's what God is after - it's in the first commandment. No, we're not connected with God - he's wholly different than we are, we're just creatures.

I was grateful that I was able to present the Gospel to him (talkative types tend to dominate conversations) - that Jesus died in our place for the wrath we deserve for our sins (which aren't just "missing the mark") so that we would be spiritually and physically raised from the dead with Christ, be reconciled with God, and one day God will create a new heavens and new earth where we'll physically and spiritually live with God - not just spiritual, but the whole deal gets the curse of death taken away. All because of Jesus' death in our place. The guy seemed to get the centrality of the cross, but it obviously wan't central or clear in his thinking. He may have been a Christian in "mere" sort of way, but it was clear he didn't think like a Christian or have clear Christian convictions. Hopefully my "that's not what Christian's believe" statement set a thorn in his thinking... I pointed him back to the Bible to wrestle with what God says there (No, it's not just man's words, Jesus was sinless so God can speak sinless, human words), and I pray the Lord would help him see Christ more clearly.

So, just thought I'd share that the ol'school heresies are alive and kicking, for those who may have forgotten about them.

Anybody else have this type of experience?
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
I'm glad you had this opportunity. Though rarely stated with as much clarity as your acquaintance, I'd say Gnosticism really has a stronghold for poorly-taught church folks. Just look at the common, ethereal concepts of eternity -- floating around on clouds. And more than a few times, I've heard people say, the "real" Dave is in heaven now, he's not in the grave.
 

gordo

Puritan Board Freshman
I fell into Gnosticism earlier this year (but thankfully pulled back by the grace of God!). The major beliefs of christian Gnosticism (in a very quick rundown) is that the god of this world is not the true god, but the demiurge, who created this world very imperfectly and created us, also imperfectly. The serpent was actually Jesus in the Garden of Eden telling Adam and Eve to eat the apple so they can learn the truth (that the demiurge isn't really god and this world is just a prison for their souls). So they eat the apple and learn and the demiurge gets mad and wipes their memories. Basically gnostism is about 'remembering' the truth. That is salvation. This is just a fast and quick rundown. There is several different schools of thought in Gnosticism.

I was heavy into gnostic thought for a good 2-3 months. Even as I type this I can see the 'gnostic bible' i bought on my bookshelf. I thank the Lord for his mercy in bringing me back into his blessed everlasting arms!
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
What about this one:

“You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”
- C. S. Lewis
 

FenderPriest

Puritan Board Junior
What about this one:

“You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”
- C. S. Lewis
He used that line. It's an unfortunate line from Lewis. He was in a modernist context and was trying to make a point about human nature, but ended up not being so helpful or clear in the long run. I think Lewis had a good point, but poorly executed it at this mark. Something we all should be humble about.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
What about this one:

“You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”
- C. S. Lewis
He used that line. It's an unfortunate line from Lewis. He was in a modernist context and was trying to make a point about human nature, but ended up not being so helpful or clear in the long run. I think Lewis had a good point, but poorly executed it at this mark. Something we all should be humble about.

Agreed. But it hear it thrown around like it's not a statement full of danger. Heck, I've heard it quoted in a pulpit by a solid Calvinist. As can be shown from your new friend's use of it, it is easily taken to mean that our bodies are metaphysically secondary, and that they aren't part of what constitutes a whole person.
 

ReformedFordham

Puritan Board Freshman
About a year ago I had kind of formulated a semi-Gnostic dualist view of body and soul. That the body was corrupt and the soul was a more pure form of human existence. Of course this was all philosophical and had no Biblical exegetical foundation at all. How foolish one can get without a strong foundation of Biblical exegesis?
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
What about this one:

“You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”
- C. S. Lewis

I do not know what the context was but I will say Jesus body was in the grave while His being (which included His human soul) was in heaven between the cross and the resurection. Jesus took on humanity at His conception and He did not surrender it at His death.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
What about this one:

“You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”
- C. S. Lewis

I do not know what the context was but I will say Jesus body was in the grave while His being (which included His human soul) was in heaven between the cross and the resurection. Jesus took on humanity at His conception and He did not surrender it at His death.

I never said when a person's soul is ripped from his body that he ceases to be human. But the ripping of the soul from the body is highly unnatural--it only enters the picture as a result of the fall (we call it death).

I will not take the liberty of undue speculation about what this means for our savoir during that time. What I am willing to say is that:
1. He remained (and remains) human and divine.
2. His humanity was torn in two (body and soul) until His resurrection.

If I am out of line, somebody please correct me. These are holy things.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
I never said when a person's soul is ripped from his body that he ceases to be human. But the ripping of the soul from the body is highly unnatural--it only enters the picture as a result of the fall (we call it death).

I will not take the liberty of undue speculation about what this means for our savoir during that time. What I am willing to say is that:
1. He remained (and remains) human and divine.
2. His humanity was torn in two (body and soul) until His resurrection.

If I am out of line, somebody please correct me. These are holy things.

I shall not speculate at all on one thing Jesus did between the cross and Resurrection...."19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

PS. You were not out of line at all. :)
 

kappazei

Puritan Board Freshman
Jacob; Did you ask the guy how a spirit could have eaten anything? luke 24:41-43
Yep - didn't really get a strait answer on that.

Not surprised. But I'm glad that it was a good discussion.

In a newsletter from a Campus Crusade worker that our church supports mentioned people who are into 'a theauraputic deism'. Belief in a god but only to make me feel better. - sort of a gospel. It seems to me that gnosticism breeds that sort of an attitude because you don't need to defend physical ressurrection or believe that Jesus is the only way or any other teachings of the bible.

Over the summer and fall months I had two extensive online discussions with one person who still talks the Christian lingo but he's so hostile to orthodoxy that he might as well be an atheist. Then right afterward, I had another discussion on an atheist site with some atheist woman who brought in gnosticism and everything she could think of into her argument against orthodox Christianity. It was like, 'Anything but Christianity' Really sad.
 
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