People continue to attempt to privately interpret the scriptures, in spite of the biblical warning to the contrary

BibleInspired

2 Peter 1:16-21 For we have not by following artificial fables made known to you the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ: but we were eyewitnesses of his greatness. (17) For he received from God the Father honor and glory, this voice coming down to him from the excellent glory: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye him.

(18) And this voice, we heard brought from heaven, when we were with him in the holy mount. (19) And we have the more firm prophetical word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts.

(20) Understanding this first: That no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation. (21) For prophecy came not by the will of man at any time: but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Ghost.

Topic: What Was St. Paul Actually Calling “Doctrines of Demons?”

In A Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, the 1953 classic for Scripture study, Fr. R.J. Foster gives us crucial insight into what St. Paul was writing about in I Timothy 4:

[B]ehind these prohibitions there may lie the dualistic principles which were already apparent in Asia Minor when this epistle was written and which were part of the Gnostic heresy.

Evidently, St. Paul was writing against what might be termed the founding fathers of the Gnostic movement that split away from the Church in the first century and would last over 1,000 years, forming many different sects and taking many different forms.

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Ecumenical Christian Scandal: The Paganization/Gnosticization of New Testament Bible Studies.

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Pagan Gnosticism Is Modernist Christian Babel

Given the institutions where I have taught during my professional life, it is appropriate to begin my overview of the Paganization/Gnosticization of NT Studies with a quote from J. Gresham Machen, speaking of the inroads of Liberalism into the American church at the beginning of the last century:

“The truth is that liberalism has lost sight of the very centre and core of the Christian teaching. In the Christian view of God as set forth in the Bible, there are many elements. But one attribute of God is absolutely fundamental in the Bible; one attribute is absolutely necessary in order to render intelligible all the rest. That attribute is the awful transcendence of God. From beginning to end the Bible is concerned to set forth the awful gulf that separates the creature from the Creator. It is true, indeed, that according to the Bible God is immanent in the world. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without Him. But He is immanent in the world not because He is identified with the world, but because He is the free Creator and upholder of it. Between the creature and the Creator a great gulf is fixed.

To be sure, Machen does mention Gnosticism, but he does define the essence it religious belief. Gnosticism, which builds on the common pagan notion of humanity as divine. Plato taught that the soul “was immortal by its very nature.” This notion is integrated into Jewish thinking by Philo, and developed by later Gnosticism as the alien “divine spark” within humanity.

Hans Jonas defines Gnosticism as radically dualistic–a dualism between man and the world, “an anthropological acosmism.” “The essence of man is knowledge, of the self and God.”

As the famous Messina Colloquium on Gnosticism in 1966 clearly recognized, “the idea of divine consubstantiality” is a defining notion of Gnosticism. Such a notion effectively eliminates the uniqueness and transcendence of God.

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Popular Gnostic myths


At bottom, Darwinism is a Gnostic myth, notes Dr. Wolfgang Smith, physicist and mathematics professor at Oregon State University:

“…As a scientific theory, Darwinism would have been jettisoned long ago. The point, however, is that the doctrine of evolution has swept the world, not on the strength of its scientific merits, but precisely in its capacity as a Gnostic myth. It affirms, in effect, that living things created themselves, which is in essence a metaphysical claim….Thus…evolutionism is a metaphysical doctrine decked out in scientific garb….it is a scientistic myth. And the myth is Gnostic, because it implicitly denies the transcendent origin of being; for indeed, only after the living creature has been speculatively reduced to an aggregate of particles does Darwinist transformism become conceivable. Darwinism, therefore, continues the ancient Gnostic practice of deprecating ‘God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth.’ It perpetuates…the venerable Gnostic tradition of ‘Jehovah bashing.'” (From Old Gnosticism to New Age I, Alan Morrison, SCP Journal Vol. 28:4-29:1, 2005, pp. 30-31)

Gnostics

Historically, Gnostics have always been notorious God-haters to the extent of consigning Him to hell. The early Church Fathers called them the “lawless ones,” as they were idolizers of their own minds, rebels against all authority, immoralists, hedonists, and builders of alternative realities (utopian fantasies) requiring the death of God, for the heart of Gnosticism is “man is god.”

While the infamous Tower of Babel was history’s first Gnostic project, the Soviet Union and Socialist Germany are modern versions. In his book “Science, Politics, & Gnosticism,” esteemed political philosopher Eric Voegelin (1901-85) identifies progressivism, positivism, Hegelianism, Marxism, and the “God is dead” school as modern Gnostic movements. All of these movements are firmly grounded on the Gnostic myth of Darwinism.

In their rage against God the Father, modern Gnostics refuse to be created in His spiritual image, thus they conceptually “uncreate” themselves through reductionism, which in the words of Wolfgang Smith, means that they speculatively reduce themselves to “aggregates of particles.” Reductionism is a tenet of the philosophy of materialism.

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The Paganization of Biblical Studies

A NEW VERSION OF CHRISTIANITY
Here is the real goal. The New Jesus of the Jesus Seminar gives us a new Christianity for the global era. With their new Jesus, the Jesus Seminar feels authorized to address the question of God, with the stated starting point: “It is no longer credible to think that there is a God ‘out there.'” John Shelby Spong, promoted by the Jesus Seminar’s Westar Institute, gives us A New Christianity for a New World. Spong’s mentor was J. A. T. Robinson, who popularised Tillich in the English-speaking world, and defended the publication of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Spong claims that stand helped him take a new view of sexuality, which presently includes him being the religion editor on a pornographic website.

Spong credits Lloyd Geering for creating “an audience for me in New Zealand and Australia.” Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at Victoria University, considered one of New Zealand’s foremost thinkers, described by Bishop Spong as a “Presbyterian heretic,” Geering takes this moment of human history very seriously, setting tomorrow’s global culture in the context of Western intellectual history. Embraced by the Jesus Seminar, Geering’s books are promoted as programmatic essays for the future earth community — from the point of view of Christian apostasy and pagan orthodoxy.

According to Geering, tomorrow’s culture will be post-Christian, global, and religiously pagan. This agenda is remarkably similar to that found in the ex-Roman Catholic Thomas Berry, The Great Work, which is working its way not simply through biblical texts but through the texts of the UN’s global programs.

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