By Philip J. Lee
Because the discovery of unique gnostic files at Nag Hammadi in 1945, many students have famous a well-known presence inside of this historic heresy. to a couple authors the most gains of gnosticism--belief in a mystery revelation to be had purely to an initiated elite, rejection of the actual international, and get away into the self--seemed equivalent to smooth cult teams and secular activities. notwithstanding, Philip Lee, noting that almost all of the early gnostics have been firmly ensconced in the Church, locates sleek gnosticism in the Protestant institution itself. "As a Protestant, i feel i've got pointed out the elusive glossy gnostics and they're ourselves," he writes. during this penetrating and provocative overview of the present kingdom of faith and its impact on values in society at huge, Lee criticizes conservatives and liberals alike as he lines gnostic motifs to the very roots of yank Protestantism. With references to a rare spectrum of writings from resources as various as John Calvin, Martin Buber, Tom Wolfe, Margaret Atwood and Emily Dickinson between many others, he probes the consequences of gnostic considering on matters starting from politics to feminism, from ecology to parenthood. the moral ramifications of this sort of gnostic flip were destructive and scary, he continues. The e-book issues to optimistic methods of restoring future health 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 lifestyles and production in the circle of the nuclear family.
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Extra info for Against the Protestant Gnostics
47 A modern writer, repelled by the strictures of what he feels to be an unimaginative orthodoxy, has called for a more syncretistic approach: "A single story . . "48 Gnostics, whether of the second century or the twentieth century, will not be constrained in the use of material. They will employ whatever is available, in whatever way they choose, to answer the needs of gnostic faith, which is to say, the spiritual needs of the self. 12 CHAPTER TWO Gnosticism as a Heresy T HE gnostic typology sketched in chapter 1 is patently at variance with orthodox Christianity's faith and teaching.
An identical distinction can be made between Christian gnosticism and Christian orthodoxy. When the gnostic escapes the world, it becomes very possible for him to be a Christian on the side, even in his spare time. But the Christian 25 GNOSTICISM IN CONFLICT WITH THE FAITH whose life has been transformed from aimless wandering to determined pilgrimage will find no respite. The Christian and the cosmos are inextricably bound together until death do them part. Within orthodoxy, there will be but one release from this difficult pilgrimage—that of physical death.
In fact, within the Church, has heresy not become a heretical word? Also, does not history show that heretics were simply those who had the least votes, that orthodoxy prevailed because a certain ecumenical council was packed or because one side had more pull with the papacy or the emperor than the other? Would not the bad guys 13 GNOSTICISM IN CONFLICT WITH THE FAITH have been the good guys had there only been more of them or had they played their cards right? These questions make us most reluctant to consider heresy as anything other than an interesting phenomenon of Church history prior to our present period of toleration.