Evangelical Gnosticism

I’ve become aware of a deficiency in Evangelical Christianity in the last couple of years.

Gnosticism is the belief that the spirit is the only thing that is real or good. The body is disposable and unimportant. In our missionary efforts we are at times evangelically gnostic. We often teach that the MOST important thing is that people say a prayer so that their souls will not go to Hell. Many of our missionary approaches in turn have reflected a huge emphasis on church planting, tent meetings, street evangelism, door-to-door tracting and Billy Graham style crusades.

The problem with this approach is that it’s only one part of the story the Bible expresses. When sin entered the world all of creation fell out of relationship with God. Jesus’ sacrifice doesn’t just redeem our spirit’s relationship to God; it redeems all of creation. The Bible clearly teaches that when Christ returns ALL of creation will be restored. So when we focus solely on people’s souls we do not love them the way God intends them to be loved. God loves their whole person, body and soul. He wants their bellies, minds, hearts AND souls to be filled.

We absolutely should be seeking to save people’s souls. There is nothing wrong with church planting and evangelism. They are vital. But they are not all there is. We also need to be building schools and water wells, teaching people how to grow food and eat nutritiously and strengthening family and community relationships. Sole focus on the spirit leads to gnosticism.


6 thoughts on “Evangelical Gnosticism

  1. I think this similarity to gnosticism originally comes from the fact that most Christians, when asked why they believe what they do, will offer a lot of nonsense about how Jesus makes them feel and stuff. I don’t deny that it’s true! I have certainly had deep, spiritual encounters with the Lord. But to focus on that and try to convince someone to accept Christianity based on the things the spirit does for your soul doesn’t work. Every religion can claim spiritual experiences. But if we are both able to logically give an answer for our faith and able to show the love of Christ to everyone around us, we will build a very profound witness.


  2. “Gnosticism is the belief that the spirit is the only thing that is real or good. The body is disposable and unimportant.”

    This is false. On the surface Gnosticism may appear this way but this is wrong. This is what literalism does for you.

    Gnosticism states one should deny the physical as one should not become trapped in it. A fly in amber so to speak. But the body is just as important as the spirit. One must remember that one needs BOTH not one or the other. Although asceticism is a feature of some Gnostic groups or related such as the Cathars, to state that Gnosticism values the body over spirit is false.

    The Gospel of Philip and Thomas respectively quoted below illustrate the idea that one is not to worship or value one over the other. But to embrace BOTH, unify them..and transcend BOTH

    Light and Darkness, life and death, right and left, are brothers of one another. They are inseparable. Because of this neither are the good good, nor evil evil, nor is life life, nor death death. For this reason each one will dissolve into its earliest origin. But those who are exalted above the world are indissoluble, eternal.

    22. Jesus saw some babies nursing. He said to his disciples, “These nursing babies are like those who enter the (Father’s) kingdom.”
    They said to him, “Then shall we enter the (Father’s) kingdom as babies?”
    Jesus said to them, “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom].”

    Mormonism is Gnostic in that it approaches the divine in a nameless transcendant way I believe. This was Joseph Smith’s “vision” any way. Here is one article you may like. I don’t agree with going around saving people however. But that is your religion not mine.

    “The God of Joseph Smith is a daring revival of the God of some of the Kabbalists and Gnostics, prophetic sages who, like Smith himself, asserted that they had returned to the true religion….Mormonism is a purely American Gnosis, for which Joseph Smith was and is a far more crucial figure than Jesus could be. Smith is not just ‘a’ prophet, another prophet, but he is the essential prophet of these latter days, leading into the end time, whenever it comes.”

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