A. The Bible says "there's nothing new under the sun" and certainly, when it comes to heresy, that's true. When discussing the movie version of the Da Vinci Code Chris Matthews of MSNBC's Hardball said "why can't a believer just watch it and enjoy it as it is, a fictional account of 'what if'." I sent him an e- mail saying because "It's not just another historical 'what if' story like 'what if Hitler had won WW II' or 'what is the South had won the Civil War?' It's a fictional account of aspects of the life of Jesus that purports to deny His deity!"
B. To a true believer, a strong-in-the-faith grounded-in-the-word believer, the premises put forth in the book and now the movie, are, of course, preposterous. But to a weak Christian, and certainly to a non-believer, a "believable story" can have a powerful influence and cast doubts. This is where we can have a good chance to be a witness. We need to "bone up" on heresies of all kinds and more especially those that are "in vogue just now." Celebrities like Tom Cruise have people asking questions about Scientology. Others like Shirley McClain are into other forms of mysticism, like re-incarnation.
C. We need to be ready to give an answer to those who ask a reason for our Faith. Certainly, as Bro. Empey has said, "We just need to give them the gospel." That's true and that's the main thing, but to "earnestly contend for the faith," we need to understand the errors that folks have "bought into" and we need to be as familiar as possible with the various cult teachings… especially those considered "mainstream" such as Mormonism and so called "Jehovah's Witnesses." They might be the closest ones to the particular lies presented in the Da Vinci Code since they deny that Jesus is God.
D. The Gnostic philosophy is the basis Dan Brown's book. A second and third century philosophy of mysticism that claimed to be a "Christian" sect but was in fact totally "off the wall" and was similar to some of the present day cults that are man (or woman) made.
The apostle John (the one to whom Jesus entrusted the care of his mother) warned about an early form of this satanic philosophy in the book of 1st John.
His main purpose was :
II. How Did We Get Our Bible?1. to expose false teachers (1 John 2:22-26) (1 John 4:2,3)2. To give believers assurance of salvation (1 John 5:13)
Other warnings against false teachings: (1 Timothy 6:20, 21) (2 Timothy 1:14) (2 Peter 3:17)
A. Just which books should be included? What criteria do you use? This is how it was done.
III. WHEN WERE THEY WRITTEN?1. DID THE WRITER HAVE A DIRECT CONNECTION TO AN APOSTLE? (1 John 1:1) John states that he witnessed the "WORD" in the flesh.
(Luke 1:1-4) Luke says that he and others were witnesses of the fulfillment of Scriptures and he was writing his account to add to the certainty of that truth.
The New Testament writers walked and talked with Christ.
2. WAS IT "ORTHODOX"
The writings could not contradict the teachings of the Jewish scriptures or the apostles. (Galatians 1:6-9) Check out the book " Another Gospel" for a history of cults in America.
3. WAS IT ACCEPTED IN ALL THE CHURCHES In the known world.?
(Colossians 4:16) Paul told the Colossians to "pass it on", after his letter was read, to the church at Laodicea. It was no doubt the practice of the early churches to circulate copies of the apostles' letters among all the churches. The Roman roads made this an easy thing to do. In fact, considering the state of our roads, always being under construction and / or repair, hand to hand deliveries may even have been faster than here and now in the U.S.! See also: (1 Thessalonians 5:27) (1 Peter 1:1) (Galatians 1:2) (2 Corinthians 1:2) .
A. The "Canonical" Gospels (The Gospels In the Bible)
1. Matthew: Between AD 40 and 1002. Mark: Between AD 64 and 703. Luke: Between AD 70 and 904. John: Between AD 68 and 100
B. The Gnostic "Gospels" (Never in the Bible)
IV. GNOSTICISM1. "The Gospel of Thomas": mid-AD 100's2. "The Gospel of Truth": mid-AD 100's3. "The Gospel of the Egyptians": late AD 100's4. "The Gospel of Mary Magdalene": around AD 2005. "The Gospel of Philip": between AD 200 and 3506. "The Gospel of Judas": between AD 200 and 300?
A. Early Gnostics believed the following:
1. Matter is evil… Only spirit is good (man's body contrasted with God who is wholly spirit)2. Salvation is the escape from the body achieved not by faith in Christ But by "special knowledge" (the Greek word for knowledge is gnosis, hence Gnosticism.)3. Christ's true humanity was denied in two ways:a. Some said that Christ only "seemed" to have a body (Docetism)b. Others said that the divine Christ joined the man Jesus at baptism and left him before he died. [Cerinthianism, after Cerinthus, it's most prominent spokesman.] (1 John 1:1) (1 John 2:22) (1 John 4:2,3)4. Since the body was evil it was treated harshly (Colossians 2:21-23)5. Paradoxically, this dualism also led to immorality. The reasoning was that, since matter, and not the breaking of God's law, was considered evil, breaking His law was of no moral consequence! The Gnosticism addressed in the NT was an early form of the heresy, not the intricately developed system of the second and third centuries. In addition to that seen in Colossians and in John's letters, acquaintance with early Gnosticism is reflected in 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, and 2 Peter and perhaps 1 Corinthians.
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