Topic

In the spectrum of interpretations of our biblical story from literal to figurative, one is sure to bump into Gnostic attempts to obtain mystical knowledge about God. Our human nature virtually compels it. Kevin Hiebert’ journey through alternative theogenes – models of origin of the gods – illustrated the gulf between orthodox Christianity and Gnosis, or self-knowledge. Gnosticism is a class of beliefs utilizing texts from Egyptians, Mesoptamians, Platonic thought and others, for mystical purposes, hoping to awaken the “divine spark” within. For many years, our knowledge of Gnosticism came from heresiologists (Irenaeus & Augustine) and their arguments, but in 1945 many Coptic texts (Nag Hammadi library) were discovered that gave additional detail. The Christian church regarded Gnosticism as a particularly dangerous heresy and destroyed its texts, temples, practitioners, and as much as possible, any record of their existence, fearing their reinterpretation of the biblical narrative to supercede the Christian message. Kevin listed a number of Gnostic narratives, including Hermetica, Mandeism, Manichaeism and Zoroastrianism that showed how complex, and ultimately confusing, such beliefs were. More, the Gnostic message generally satisfied only the elect, rather than all people, which ultimately doomed it to the ash-can of history. Five characteristics distinguish gnosticism from orthodox Christianity: Gnosticism emphasizes knowledge as the way to salvation, whereas Christianity emphasizes the grace of faith. Gnosticism distinguishes manifestations of divine character as multiple gods, where Christianity emphasizes the unity of God with three faces and many names. Gnosticism distinguishes divinity from the Creator to account for evil where Christianity does not distinguish between them, but emphasizes the gift of love that defeats evil. Gnosticism claims strength from a wide variety of truths, making judging its accuracy difficult, where Christianity uses fixed and acknowledged testaments to test the fruits of the spirit. Gnosticism attempts to transcend “mundane” life to attain divine life, where Christianity gives meaning to life through love to attain divine life. In the transfiguration story (Mark 9:2-9) God makes plain that his reward is not distant and transcendent, but immanent and requires a response from us now, in this life. The Corinthians failed to understand this, being subverted by a branch of Gnosis, which is why Paul wrote his letters of correction. Would you rather try on your own to know enough to put your soul to rest, or would you rather put your faith in Jesus? Kevin suggests the reward lies in the second path. [AP]

Service Details

Passage: 2Cor 4:3-14

Communion: Yes

Ecumenical or Event: Transfiguration Sunday

Potluck Lunch: No

Congregational Meeting: No

Worship Team

Speaker: Kevin Hiebert

Worship Leader: Rovin Karuna

Song Leader: J Evan Kreider

Pianist: Ruth Enns

Usher: Erna Friesen

Childrens Feature Leader:

Hospitality

Bring Flowers: ED & FRIEDA EPP

Coffee Helper:

Sound Helper:

Sunday School Team

Child Care Volunteer: