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“Dan Brown is a tad behind the times” Heresies about Christ: Part One 24 October 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "“Dan Brown is a tad behind the times” Heresies about Christ: Part One 24 October 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 “Dan Brown is a tad behind the times” Heresies about Christ: Part One 24 October 2010

2 Some guidance from Augustine “And if we discuss all heresies, we find that they deny that Christ came in the flesh.” – Sermon 183

3 More useful guidance from Hooker “There are but four things which concur to make complete the whole state of our Lord Jesus Christ: his Deity, his manhood, the conjunction of both, and the distinction of the one from the other being joined in one.” – Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity

4 Four ways of going wrong  “his Deity”  “his manhood”  “the conjunction of both”  “the distinction of the one from the other”

5 Is there also a fifth way?  Hooker’s words concern the person of Christ.  We should also mention the possibility of going wrong concerning the work of Christ.  Both in practice and in theory, the two are very closely connected.

6 A heresy about the manhood of Christ  The view that Christ wasn’t genuinely human is called “docetism.”  1 John 4:1-3: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God: for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.”

7 Early docetisms  Christ merely appeared to suffer (docetism about the Passion).  Christ merely appeared to be human (docetism about the Incarnation).  One particularly popular version held that it was actually Simon of Cyrene who was crucified.  Docetism is closely associated with...

8 Gnosticism McGrath: Gnosticism “is a family of religious doctrines and myths that flourished in late antiquity and that maintain or presuppose two things: (1) that the cosmos is a result of the activity of an evil or ignorant creator; and (2) that salvation is a process in the course of which believers receive the knowledge of their divine origin so that they are enabled to return to the realm of light after having been freed from the limitations of the physical world in general and human body in particular.”

9 Valentinianism  Valentinus (d. c. 165) founded a Gnostic form of Christianity.  Accounts of Valentinian doctrines differ, and there was variety within the group.  The true God dwells in the pleroma with thirty aeons.  The last of these aeons, Sophia (Wisdom), rebelled in some way.  Sophia’s rebellion somehow produced the Demiurge.

10 Valentinianism  The Demiurge imprisoned divine spirits in the human body, in a hostile world, at the mercy of the archons.  The divine spirit within us allows to establish a connection with the highest God.  The body imprisons the divine spirit and makes us forget who we really are.  Christ awakens the divine spark and opens our eyes to the esoteric knowledge of who we really are.

11 Valentinian Christologies  Christ is an aeon who descends from the pleroma and unites to the man Jesus (at birth or baptism) to bring humanity the saving knowledge of its true origin.  Jesus “ate and drank in a special way, without excreting his solids.”  So how do we classify Valentinianism in light of Hooker’s approach?

12 Bishop Wright on Gnosticism

13 A semi-Gnostic baptismal liturgy  Presider: Do you seek to awaken to the eternal presence of God, who is your very heart and soul?  God forever invites you to let go of self deceit to dwell in the house of honesty, where eternal Hope reigns. Will you accept this invitation?  God forever invites you to let go of all fear to dwell in the house of courage, where eternal Faith reigns. Will you accept this invitation?

14 A semi-Gnostic baptismal liturgy  God forever invites you to let go of all anger to dwell in the house of serenity, where Love reigns. Will you accept this invitation?  Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as the way of Life and Hope?  Do you put your whole trust in Christ’s grace and love?  Do you promise to follow Christ as the way of life?

15 Coming up  Next Sunday Fr. Ed talks about the Via Dolorosa.  Heresy class resumes the next Sunday (November 6) with Heresies about Christ, Part Two: “Without confusion, without change, without division, without separation.”


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