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Lesson 8 Heresy Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   Rev. Dr. Gary 

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 08:43 AM

This is for questions pertaining to Lesson 8.

1. What were the roots of these heresies at this time?

2. Why was Gnosticism in particular such a great danger to Christian doctrine?

3. How did the existence of these heresies help the Christian church in the long run?

This post has been edited by Rev. Dr. Gary: 30 July 2008 - 08:21 AM

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#2 User is offline   Frank Selden 

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 03:35 AM

View PostRev. Dr. Gary, on Jul 29 2008, 04:43 PM, said:

This is for questions pertaining to Lesson 8.

1. What were the roots of these heresies at this time?

Heresies were rooted in Jewish legalism, Greek philosophy, Gnosticism, Manicheanism, and Neoplatonism. Some Jewish who became Christians insisted that Christianity included adherance to the Jewish law including circumcision. An early Jerusalem council attmepted to settle the issue. However, this heresy significantly influenced the church until the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 135. Greek philosophy in general attempted to rationalize Christianity and downplayed faith. Gnosticism, based on a specific greek philosophy, rationally attempted to explain the origins of good and evil in a logical approach than concluded with a bifurcation of the spiritual and divine. Manicheanism taught that the kingdom of darkness created the material world and salvation resulted from freeing our soul / light from our material bodies. Neoplatonism taught that our human spirit became part of the eternal divine.

2. Why was Gnosticism in particular such a great danger to Christian doctrine?

Gnosticism is a danger because of the natural tendency for people to ask questions. "Well, if that's true what about..." the New Testament does not answer every question we could ask about spiritual issues. The logical or rational answers create a systhesis in our beliefs, a holistic picture that can settle our questions without resorting to "Because I said so that's why" (even if the "I" was an apostle). Rather than use the plain teaching of the Scriptures (our concept of the New Testament Scriptures had not yet been settled) to frame debate, the Gnostics used rational analysis to interpret Scripture; for example declaring that Christ could not have a human body because that rationally could not have been true. Like the Sadducees the Gnostics did not believe in resurrection of the body. Gnosticism was not a specific, singular teaching but a category of differing teachings holding in common some fundamental beliefs and a process that could lead to various conclusions.

3. How did the existence of these heresies help the Christian church in the long run?

Existence of the heresies influenced the need for many writings of the apostles and church fathers. These writings helped stabilize church doctrine and administration. The church developed creeds to easily teach the tenets of the faith. Later the church created an accepted canon of sacred writings to distinguish certain texts from others created to support heresies.

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#3 User is offline   graham 

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 10:03 AM

1. What were the roots of these heresies at the time?

In the early stages of development (until the 4th. century AD), Christianity was under threat both from sporadic external persecution and from the constant challenge of internal dissent and false doctrines which arose in many shapes and forms. The converts to Christianity came from many different backgrounds and were wont to bring with them intellectual and religious baggage from their previous belief structures which they often tried to incorporate into existing Christian doctrine taking advantage of a lack of certainty as to what constituted core beliefs. Converts from Judaism endeavoured to maintain the notion that there was no salvation without circumcision and the Laws of Moses which conflicted with the belief that only faith in Christ will save and justify. Gentile converts were equally problematical (and much more diverse) at times; Gnosticism placed great stress upon the role of rational analysis and came to subvert or refute almost all the core features of Christianity, while Manichaeanism, developing around the mid-C3 AD, was an admixture of various creeds such as Christianity, Zoroastrianism and other oriental beliefs It posited two opposing kingdoms, that of Darkness and that of Light and only through self-denial and celibacy might the elite find their way to the Light and to salvation. Neoplatonism ( which endeavoured to 'update' Plato and his disciples by adding in an Absolute being), also became a rival to Christianity for a time and was adopted by Julian the Apostate during his brief reign. Erroneous theology which misinterpreted or unduly stresses facets of accepted Christian belief also posed a challenge as in the cases of Montanism (which preached an imminent second coming with inspiration and self-denial as qualifying aspects), and Monarchianism which taught variously that Christ was not originally divine but achieved divinity and saviourhood (Paul of Samosata) or that the Godhead consisted of only one personality that took different forms at different times (Sabellius).

2. Why was Gnosticism in particular such a great danger to Christian doctrine?

Gnosticism was a potent threat to Christian doctrines because it seemed to represent an attempt to reconcile facets of Christianity with the Platonic dualism of matter and spirit. Acording to Gnostics, the material world was inherently bad; only the spiritual world was potentially good. Gnostics, therefore, tended to live the ascetic life (although some, considering themselves irredeemable, practised hedonism) to minimise the corrupting effect of the flesh. Salvation came about when the soul escaped from the prison of the body by liberating the divine spark which is within everyone through 'gnosis' , a secret revelation given only to members of a particular Gnostic sect. Gnosticism tended to be a charismatic and egalitarian cult which contained elements recognisable to Christians such as the Godhead, Gospels and a redeemer. In his epistles, Paul denounces certain heresies which scholars now term 'proto-Gnosticism, which grew into fully-fledged Gnosticism during the second century under teachers such as Basilides and Valentinus. The acceptability of this cult to a people schooled in Greek intellectual philosophy but open to the acceptance of a belief system which offered salvation and redemption, was a danger to Christianity at a time when the body of doctrine was not articulated and recorded with sufficient precision or prescription.

3. How did the existence of these heresies help the Christian church in the long run?

These heretical challenges enjoined upon the church the need to clarify its beliefs and practices and to establish the disciplinary structure which would enforce them. Although they might well be a distraction at the time from the perceived priority of missionary work and preaching, they did concentrate the minds of the church Fathers upon this urgent task. Conciliar activity was intensified with positive results e.g Nicaea 325 settles the Pascal dispute while Constantinople 381 declares the Montanists to be pagan. The authority of the bishops was stressed in many writings by church fathers such as Augustine of Hippo (who had himself dabbled with Manichaeanism) whilst an agreed canon of scripture was assembled which represented the core features of Christianity. It is certainly arguable that both types of challenge, external and internal, were needed to impress upon the church the need to defend its position both from the point of view of disciple and doctrine.
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#4 User is offline   dsurvivor 

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 05:09 PM

1. What were the roots of these heresies at this time?

A. Jewish legalism. First it was the Judaizers who are mentioned in epistles. Many wanted to believe in the Messiah but did not want to give up many of their practices such as circumcision. Second, in the second century, there arose a group called the Ebionites. They believed in the unity of God but not the Trinity. They believed Jesus was the son of Joseph and obtained divinity via God
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#5 User is offline   djuliano67 

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 04:55 AM

This is for questions pertaining to Lesson 8.

1. What were the roots of these heresies at this time?

They were based on Jewish Legalism, Greek Philosphy and Erroneous Theologies.



2. Why was Gnosticism in particular such a great danger to Christian doctrine?


Because it taught that Jesus was not a flesh and blood living person. Instead they taught he was a spiritual being which eliminates the sacrifice made by His death on the cross.



3. How did the existence of these heresies help the Christian church in the long run?

In strengthened the position of Bishops as the protectors and enforcers of the true doctrine of the Church.
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#6 User is offline   William 

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:19 AM

1. Heresy is rooted in Jewish Legalism... Many converts from Judaism were holding on to their cultural and spiritual traditions. This effect was diluting the Christian Faith. I can imagine that this would be a difficult period for these people. Societal norms were changing and their was a real battle between Jewish interpretation and Christian understanding and belief in the new Testament.

2. Gnosticism, was dangerous because it allowed for rational tangible belief. It did not believe in the ressurrection of Christ and was a way for people to view the new testament in their own personal account of events based in logic. It allowed for too many interpretations and thus was a threat to weaken the overall doctrine set out by the Apostles.

3.Heresies gave the church an insight as to how to build a stong doctrinal structure. They developed creeds, like the rules of faith of Tertullian and Irenaeus, which delinated the orthodox essentials of the faith. This fostered the rise of Christian theology.
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