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Gnosticism Today

By R. J. Rushdoony
May 01, 2000

Gnosticism is a theory of knowledge which, over the centuries, has exerted a most powerful influence. Since it has a specifically anti-Christian meaning, it has been most powerful in the Christian era. The essential meaning of gnosticism is that the only knowledge possible is human knowledge. Gnosticism excludes revelation, although when occurring in a Christian or Jewish context, it pretends to be of the Faith.

Where such a pretense occurs, gnosticism claims to give the true (non-supernatural) meaning. We see today gnosticism in the church denying the physical resurrection of Jesus, six-day creation, and much more. Creation is re-interpreted to mean evolution. God becomes a name for natural cause.

It is apparent now that a variety of movements over the centuries, culminating in modernism, are gnostic. Antinomianism too is gnostic; it does not believe in God's law. Wherever we substitute man's word for God's law-word, we are gnostics.

Gnosticism is a word derived from a Greek word meaning knowledge, or to know. Gnosticism may claim to believe in God, but it cannot see Him as more than an idea. As a result, it eliminates or re-interprets everything supernatural in the Bible.

Modern science, like philosophy and most churches, is gnostic. God cannot be the "First Cause" (nor the last) because all causality is natural. The Bible cannot be a source of knowledge because all knowledge must be humanistic.

Gnosticism was the full expression of ancient Greek humanism, and it is still the essence of humanism in all its forms.

Gnosticism in the twentieth century captured virtually all seminaries and most churches. Only a few theologians like Van Til have opposed it. Its presuppositions are now basic to the pulpit.

One result has been the exclusion of God from the church in the name of God. God is viewed in Darwinian terms, often as, at best, a vague natural force behind history.

Agnosticism is a milder form of gnosticism. Agnosticism claims it does not know God. Gnosticism implicitly denies the Biblical God.

One result of gnosticism is the disappearance of preaching on Genesis chapters 1-11 in most churches. It also means no preaching on God's law, and evasive preaching on the physical resurrection.

Christians must break with gnosticism and believe the whole Word of God. Gnosticism threatened the life of the early church, as it again threatens the life of the church. Chalcedon is anti-gnostic and stands for the whole Word of God without hesitation. Are you with us?

 


Topics: Philosophy, Science, Church, The

R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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