As I have explored the depths of the New Testament book of Colossians and prepared to teach on it on Sunday mornings I am amazed at how similar the society of the first century is to the society of the twenty-first century.
The threat of Gnosticism that attempted to rewrite the truth about God and Jesus in the first century is alive and active just as much so, or more so, today.
Gnosticism is a belief system that is built on the concept that spiritual truth is not absolute but constantly changing. And the source of such truth is not found in the time tested words of the Bible, but comes from within our own selves.
The Gnostic-Jesus, a website devoted to the “explanation of the Gnostic path of Christianity revolving around direct experience and looking within one’s self,” says, “When you come to know yourselves… you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty.” This reflects the Gnostic concept that self-consciousness of one’s own divinity is the first step to salvation or “enlightenment”. Gnosticism teaches that “god” is in you and that “god” is in everything and that enlightenment comes through discovering and responding to the “god” within.
Perhaps the best known “Gnostic” writer of our day is Eckhart Tolle. His latest book is A New Earth. Since Oprah Winfrey added the book to her book club list it has sold nearly four million copies. Oprah is also offering a weekly web cast that explains in more detail the teachings of the book and how to apply them to your life. Seven hundred thousand people have signed up for the free web cast. On her daily XM station Oprah is having the teachings of twentieth century Gnosticism taught for 365 straight days.
With these concepts and beliefs being so openly pushed on our society I am curious as to what kind of affect it is having. What are you seeing? What are you hearing? How are you seeing it shape people’s thinking and actions. What are the cautions you would offer. What are the dangers you see coming?
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