Redemption was viewed as liberation from the chaos of a creation derived from either incompetent or malevolent powers, a world in which the elect are alien prisoners. The gnostics held a Docetist Christology , in which Jesus only appeared to assume the flesh. Irenaeus and other Christian theologians dismissed gnosticism as pretentious but dangerous nonsense. Along with Irenaeus and others, the writers of the later New Testament books seem to have opposed early gnosticism.
The supporters of what would become orthodox Christianity stressed the need to adhere to tradition, which was attested by the churches of apostolic foundation. A more hazardous reply was to appeal to ecstatic prophecy. About ce a quasi-pentecostal movement in Phrygia was led by Montanus with two prophetesses, Prisca and Maximilla, reasserting the imminence of the end of the world.
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He taught that there was an age of the Father Old Testament , an age of the Son New Testament , and an age of the Spirit heralded by the prophet Montanus. Montanism won its chief convert in Tertullian. Its claim to supplement the New Testament was generally rejected, and the age of prophecy was held to have ended in the time of the Apostles.
In both cases, schools and colleges have come under attack because of the Jewish and Christian refusal to succumb to the old body-denying, Gnostic heresy.
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Chesterton once observed that the problem with moderns is not that they are bad, but that their goodness knows no form. We have become like an orchestra without a conductor or actors without a script.follow site
All our best sentiments crash and bang against each other in contradictory expressions. So it is with Gnosticism.
This heresy aims at a brilliant good: spiritual insight. Senses can deceive. Colds and callouses like disease and death can make what St. As long as man tarries in this vale of tears, flesh and spirit will mingle in an uneasy alliance.
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Where moderns are likely to go astray, the text warns, is when we misname our foe. It is not the body. So what is the remedy?
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A return to the principles of the Theology of the Body. As St. This is precisely what the new Gnostics wish to deny: the physicality of faith. The flight from the body through addictive technology is one danger. The document invites us to grasp the logic of the new Gnostics. It is a flesh-denying logic, and would destroy the fabric of Christian faith, and the character of Christian schools, if embraced.
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It is against such subtle errors that the Vatican warns the faithful. Not that we needed a Vatican document to tell us as much. These lines come from his first sermon preached to fallen angels who would not act like creatures and so could not dwell in the presence of the Creator. When we refuse the gift of the body, and of the essential connection that joins it to spirit, we too refuse our status as creatures , in all our sexually-determined, mortally-bound, corporality.
In place of the new Gnosticism Placuit Deo calls us to recover the old orthodoxy. It asks us again to learn the grammar of the body.
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