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Evangelism in a Gnostic Culture


This course is worth two (2) credits toward your certificate program.

Instructions : Read the text (below) for this course. Take thorough notes as you read the text. When you are finished and you are ready to take the examination, click on the above link titled Examination. Print the examination out. Complete all of the answers and mail it to the address listed below .

Evangelism in a Gnostic Culture


Unmasking the influence of the Gnostic revival in post-modern Christianity



Joel L. Getts Ph.D.

Copyright 2008

All verses from the Holy Bible quoted are taken from the

New American Standard Bible (Copyright 1960 The Lockman Foundation)





                   In the 21st century the ministry and art of Christian evangelism is not as easy as it was some 25 years ago. No one listens to the “soap-box” preacher on the town square anymore. In fact he or she can now be arrested for such activities under the guise of “disturbing the peace”. To become an ordained Christian minister hardly has any clout anymore. Anyone can receive a perfectly legal “paper” ordination in minutes on line or via the U.S. Mail that will qualify them to perform weddings and conduct other religious services in just about all fifty states of the union. There are no educational or doctrinal requirements stipulated for most of these institutional ordinations.

                   Billy Graham or other major evangelists barely make the primetime TV agenda anymore. And when they do, they are never at the top of the ratings as they would have been in the 1960s. Unfortunately, just about all of the so called “Christian TV” and even a good bit of  “Christian radio” has become “extremely laughable” in the eyes of the everyday secular consumer and even the evangelical Christian believer, for that matter. Yes, even the Christian media has very little impact on the degradation of our North American post-modern society. The liberal media press nearly drown out the little shred of true and pure gospel evangelism media left to be heard.

                 The way this happens is even more subliminal than we could have ever imagined. Thirty years ago extremist evangelicals were prophesying the broad spectrum outward persecution of Bible believing Christians. They illustrated in “Christian” comic books and wrote spooky prophetic novels describing how treacherously Christianity would be devastated and demoralized.

         The liberal secular press refuses to blatantly criticize evangelicals. They very tastefully present an intellectualized watered down version of the gospel of Jesus Christ generally in the form of documentaries that appeal to the natural reason of the unregenerated person. In our post-modern society this is the tolerant way of diluting the gospel and gently erasing the deity of Jesus Christ from the standard acceptance of the North American general public before they are even aware that it has happened. The professors in many universities and seminaries promote the same philosophical versions of Jesus, the gospels and their original perpetuators.      

                  In our post-modern society the emphasis is not as much language as much as it is on performance. What one says is not nearly as important as what one does. Sometimes what one does can be easily misinterpreted depending on the circumstances and the perceptions of those who witness what has or is being done. Only those who live out their core fundamental belief systems in a very pure format can have an effect on others around them.

                   The other interesting factor is that a post-modern society insists on wrapping a blanket of ultimate “tolerance” around every issue of life proclaiming the self soothing motto of ”I’m glad that works for you.”  The irony of the tolerance “blanket” is that each day the world is growing increasingly less tolerant of Christianity and especially its moral and ethical value systems. This is because the world naturally (by the effect of generational sin) leans away from the things of faith in God through Jesus Christ.

                  Most evangelical Christians have discovered that the most effective format of Christian evangelism in the evolving post-modern society is what is commonly referred to as “relationship based evangelism”. This is where the relationship between a believer (Christian) and a pagan (non-believer) is individually nurtured and developed not only socially, but also spiritually by the influence of the Christian lifestyle and the submission to God’s Word.. If this process is sufficiently and consistently practiced the individual pagan is primarily convinced through example (not just by words) that there is indeed a better life to be experienced through faith in Jesus Christ for salvation and redemption. There is obviously not a timeline on this process, however there is a strong inner-gospel mandate exemplified by Jesus Christ Himself as He trained his disciples in preparation for their future lives in evangelism and for the perpetuation of the Gospel.  




                 We would typically blame this anti-Christian sociological decay on the sins of liberal politicians, the deviation of sensuality and pornography, the black market influence towards gambling and alcohol and substance abuse. We may even peer more specifically at the lack of spiritually healthy church leadership. While those “pointed fingers” may have some format of truth and reality to them, the real source of the problem rests in an enemy that has been subtly eroding and destroying the Biblically based Christian lifestyle since the first few hours after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

               We find the very first origins of Gnosticism are found in Matthew 28:11-15; Now while they were on their way, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. And when they had assembled with the elders and counseled together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, and said, "You are to say, 'His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.' "And if this should come to the governor's ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble." And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.

               This post resurrection event gave birth from these Jewish High Priests and elders to the central theme of Gnosticism. Their whole point with bribing the guards was not only to deny the reality of Jesus Christ’s “supposed” resurrection, but to also keep His remembrance as a mortal man who had really died and was buried. If that school of thought was advanced, it would eliminate any potential of Him being recognized as a deity in the future. It was also a feeble attempt to discredit this group of about 120 faithful disciples who had publicly adhered themselves to this one and only true Jesus Christ.  

                While the ideals and philosophy of this early Gnostic event and movement were slow to spread, the venom of their lies that they used to deceive others with became more palatable amongst those who were being continually exposed to the good news of salvation and eternal life that could be obtained through belief in the resurrected Jesus Christ. Many times pagans who were ripe for conversion and young non-discipled believers fell prey to the dilution of the emerging Gnostic movement .

                The Apostle Paul spoke of the influence of this parallel enemy on the early church and subtly condemned it. In 1 Corinthians 13:1-2 he writes, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

               Why would Paul mention “mysteries” and “knowledge” in the same breath? It was because these early threads of Gnostic influence promoted the mentality that there was a higher level of knowledge that would unravel the mysteries wrapped around this so-called Jesus, the Christ. If one would just seek out more knowledge above and beyond the accepted plane of normal accepted orthodox Christian doctrine, the mysteries of God and our universe would be revealed.     

                 Paul also encouraged his young ministerial apprentice Timothy to avoid the poison of the empty apologetical debates in I Timothy 6:20 when he writes, “O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called knowledge”.

                What was Paul referring to when he used the phrase “falsely called knowledge“? It is here that Paul  really connects back to avoiding worldly and empty chatter. He basically tells Timothy that what the Gnostics are calling “knowledge” isn’t knowledge at all. That type of discussion and argument has no foundation in truth or in the understanding of God.

                 Even Peter clearly describes and condemns the methodology of this shadowy cult of his day when he writes in 2 Peter 2:17-21 “These are springs without water, and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them.

                Why would Peter use the phrase “knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” It was probably because these people who eventually were “again entangled in them”, only knew about Jesus Christ but were never truly experientially were “in Christ” as Paul describes in Galatians 3:26-28 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ.

               Paul probably understood better than anyone in his day, what the difference between knowing of, and about Jesus Christ and experiencing His great salvation. It is still the problem we experience today in schools of “higher education”. In the religious sphere of influence, we would call these schools “Bible Schools” or “seminaries”. Anyone wishing to hold the office of the clergy or have the status of becoming an ordained minister can attend these schools (with the proper prerequisites, of course). They can learn everything that is available about ministerial procedures and practices. They may even learn much about the Bible and other complimentary texts. But the real question to ask is whether or not they have experienced the reality of Jesus Christ in their personal lives.   

               What kind of subtle war is going on during the early foundations of Christianity that makes both Peter and Paul mention quiet warnings about “knowledge” and groups of people arguing and fading away from the faith? It is the parallel “not-so-identical” twin of the Christian faith called “Gnosticism”. It was growing its roots in the first century and we as the church have never opted to pull it out of the ground next to us. Over the centuries, we have opted not to spray it down with good old fashion spiritual/Biblical based “weed killer”. It would appear that we are still not sure if we really want to kill its beautiful traditionally imaginative flowers, by our lack or response to it every time it blossoms out in our culture




            In John’s epistles he brings it all down to the bottom line in I John 2:18 “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not {really} of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but {they went out,} in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.”

           In this text John clearly identifies the antichrist as one who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Notice the emphasis on the phrase “Jesus the Christ”. He is clearly identifying the Gnostic problem, and that being that those who deny the deity or exclusive anointing of “the Christ” as Jesus are indeed the “antichrist”.  He is not speaking prophetically in the future, but instead he is addressing his contemporary readers (first century believers) by saying “even now many antichrists have arisen”.   

            In I John 4:2-4 he continues to write “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; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” Here John gets even more critical of the variances between the “Spirit of God” and the “spirit of antichrist” which by the way is “already in the world” This is not futuristic prophecy. Notice that the defining difference is the deity of Jesus Christ. If a “spirit” does not confess that Jesus is from God (meaning that Jesus is actually deity) it is “antichrist”.  He also says clearly that they must confess or proclaim that  “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh”. This means literally that you can discern clearly the Spirit of God because that Spirit will confirm or affirm that Jesus Christ (the exclusive only Son of God) was born into humanity.

            Finally in II John 1:6-7 John writes “And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

            Here John boldly labels these deceivers “who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh” as an “antichrist”. It is strong language, but theologically and doctrinally correct if one believes that Jesus is the Christ and was indeed fully man and fully God.

            To know the tenants of ancient and contemporary Gnosticism one must know that one of the key arguments regarding the existence of Jesus was that He was either a god that looked like a man, or he was a man who was able to live godly and do godly acts better than any other man. A true Gnostic cannot call Jesus “the Christ” because that gives Him (Jesus, the man) full deity.

            The Greek word “antichristos” used in these texts and translated as “antichrist’ is actually a word which is used in competitive descriptions and not necessarily in militant causes. So from that perspective, the word “antichrist” would not be the warring militant that “guns down” the other “religion”. But instead it would be the competitive “alternative” that offers a similar product, appears to be equally attractive, and yet this alternative competitor ultimately desires to be more successful than the other existing competitor. And so John declares that the “antichrist” is one who doesn’t destroy or remove Jesus Christ from the world’s vantage point or view, but rather the one who strips away His deity and personal description as fully God and fully man. If this is true than Gnosticism and Christianity can “work together” and exist on the same playing field. John’s constant use of the word Christ (or in the Greek “Christos”) affirms the fact that the issue in debate is indeed the elite position of deity found in the man Jesus (the Christ). The Greek word “christos” means to rub with oil or anoint. When it is capitalized (“Christos”) it mean that He (Jesus) is the only one, the specially chosen by God to redeem all mankind from their sins. Thus we are presented with God’s only begotten Son as the only Way, the only Truth and the only Life.  

            Evangelical Christians believe that Jesus is indeed fully man and fully God and that is why He is able to become the perfect sacrifice and atonement for our sins. Because He was fully man, He endured the temptations of this world in the same state of spiritual, mental and physical conditions that we do. But because He was also God, He was able to resist and remain perfect and sinless, only to bear our sins on the cross of Calvary, completing the act of redemption.    

            A true Gnostic must “think” (human intellect or knowledge) through the gospels with human logic, rationalizing miracles and proclaiming that Jesus never really died on the cross, and the cold dark tomb revived Him from His state of physical / mental coma a couple of days. Or maybe Jesus just stepped down off the cross and the rest of Christianity’s traditionally accepted doctrine is fiction made up to initiate a powerful “religious crutch” for millions to lean on for the next twenty or so centuries.  

            And that is how Gnosticism processes scripture. The word “Gnostic” comes from the Greek work “gnosis” or the English word “knowledge”. Gnostics take facts or even fables and wrap them in mysteries and predicate them to a higher understanding through a secret knowledge left to only an elite who are able to obtain. But that is only part of the big Gnostic scheme.




            The Gnostics are not as bold as to form a “religion” or even a denomination of another religion. That would lower them to the “normal” intellect of everyone else entrapped by Biblical, religious and spiritual convictions. Instead they subtly infiltrate the ranks of the faithful of any religion and perpetuate their own format of a “higher knowledge” that they only seem to have the key to. There is a noticeable arrogance about their words and writings. Their ideals and philosophies are more boldly seen in the various “New Age” movements, the ever popular “interfaith” organizations which foolishly believe that there is some common ground to be expressed and experienced between people of every religion and faith. And even in the last decade many “main stream”  Christian denominations have unknowingly begun to buy into the philosophical gestures of ancient and contemporary Gnosticism.

             The four major foundations of the Gnostic philosophy are as follows: The first is Dualism. This is a position that there is an eternal chasm between the spiritual world, which is ideally good and valuable, and the “material” world, which is essentially evil or worthless. This chasm cannot be possibly bridged. It produces other opposites of every type and creature that are equally diverse.

             Examples are light verses darkness. Light is equivalent to superior knowledge and intellect and darkness is equal to ignorance and/or complete stupidity. This is a very notable emphasis in eastern mysticism and in the “New Age” movements. If you are “enlightened” you obviously have achieved a higher level of understanding in spiritual matters.

            Good verses bad. Our deeds are weighed to determine our worth or lack of worth. This is a very popular perspective in the more liberal mainstream portions of Christianity. Some churches overemphasis the need for “good works” simply to tip the scales in your favor in God’s eyes. This way He will respond to you favorably upon request or He will have absolutely no reasons to banish you to hell upon the end of your mortal life. This thought process is common among many main-line Christian denominations.

             Another is dry verses wet. Wet indicates life and dry represents termination or death. Still another popular dualistic idea promoted by Gnosticism is that of excrement verses semen. Excrement represents wickedness or worthlessness. It must leave the body for the body to remain strong and healthy. Semen represents the initiations of new life. While it must leave the body, it produces new life when it does. Semen was often used in Gnostic based religious rites and ceremonies to call for newness or the beginnings of new life or relationships. Sexual practices such as masturbation and controlled orgies were often incorporated into Gnostic/Christian meetings and worship services to symbolize great value in what was being proclaimed. This would not be an unfamiliar practice to former pagans who were raised and lived under the Greco-Roman god system. It would make their former pagan lifestyle and their “new” Christian experience be much more culturally palatable and sociologically comfortable. 

             As evangelical Christians, we know that only real life can be found in God who is a spirit. John 4:24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." We know that we are created in His image as spiritual beings existing under earthly conditions and circumstances Genesis 1:26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." We know that God is pure holiness and light. I John 1:5 And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. We know that God is ultimate truth. John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.

           Dualism sounds right to the non-discerning believer, when in fact it cannot be right. The contrast is not between the material world and a spiritual world but rather between the desires of the flesh and the life in His Spirit. Romans 8:5-6 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 

           The second Gnostic philosophy is that God’s creative powers are not responsible for material order. Instead they were created by some primeval mishap or conflict at or in some higher order or realm above and beyond us or our concept of God. Knowledge and speculation determine foundations of materialism. This requires various levels of deity not disclosed in accepted canonized scripture for this to have happened.

          This becomes some of the knowledge that is to be sought after or acquired to obtain the “true” realization of our spirituality. This part of the Gnostic pollution would lead believers to think that if there is a God that has authoritative power over us, he had parents or creators. Thus, we ourselves might eventually become gods and creators over descending orders. Paraphrases of this particular system of beliefs are taught by the Mormons and

other pseudo Christian cults.

           The Word of God teaches us clearly that God is above us all and that He has had no beginning and of Him there will be no end. Revelation 1:17-18 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as a dead man. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

             The third element that prevails in Gnostic philosophy is that the spiritual element in man makes him elite and also a stranger in this world. Man is different from the animals because he has an accountable history. This is attributed to man’s spiritual existence. The only explanation for this spiritual difference is that man did not originate on earth. This would indicate that man’s ancestry were brought here from another planet or another type of existence, giving him celestial parents as opposed to being created by God. This gives a God a lesser value or role in the affairs of man and makes Him out to be some form of a “cosmic policeman” .

              With this philosophy comes the belief in aliens and UFOs. It creates a somewhat logical explanation for the mysterious appearances and even the close encounter abductions recorded throughout history. This phenomenon has never been more perpetuated than in current years. Even liberal theologians have brought them into the mix of Biblical explanation.

               Many of the “super-natural” Bible stories can be explained intellectually through the manipulation of and insertion of the UFO mentality. Examples of this are: The pillar of fire and the cloud by day that led the tribes of Israel through the wilderness; Ezekiel’s “firey” wheel in chapter one of that book; Elijah’s chariot of fire; the white brilliant light at the transfiguration of Christ in Matthew 17; the blinding light which initiated the conversion of Saul (Paul) on the Damascus road; and many more similar illustrations that continually erode the deity of God, Jesus Christ and the power and necessity of the Holy Spirit.       

              UFOs, aliens and “extra terrestrials” can only be rationalized into one of three separate explanations. Either they are 1). Extra terrestrials observing and studying our culture and society for their benefit or future domination, or they are 2). A demonic manifestation and/or presence, or they are 3). Our ancestors or planters on this planet, and they are continually monitoring us and steering us through a pre formatted or designed course of progress.

            The fourth of such explanations leads us to the fourth tenant of the Gnostic philosophy. This is the supposed fact that there are mediators ascending from various levels of the heavens to help and/or educate man. These include aliens visiting from other planets. Gnosticism puts a high importance on the appearance of and communication with angels. This concept of interactive spiritual life and fascination with angelic beings has penetrated modern and post-modern Christianity at all levels and in all denominations.

             Not only are angelic beings looked upon commonly as guardians but also as guides. The Apostle Paul clearly speaks out against this whole conceptualization of angels in Galatians 1:8 “But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” 

            Paul also wrote in Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. It is interesting to note that Paul includes “angels” in this list of things not able to separate us from God’s love. Is it possible that Paul might have perceived that the worship or desired interaction with angelic beings independent from their directed purpose form God could be detrimental to our faith?

            For centuries the Roman Catholic Church has promoted the idea of praying to saints who represent various emphasis in life. Prayers offered to and through these mediators (saints are often thought to have special influence on the activities of God amongst mankind and his affairs. Paul spoke to his young apprentice in ministry named Timothy. There is no doubt that Timothy was experiencing the beginnings of a Gnostic influence in the community in which he lived and ministered. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time.

           In our current culture there are many “splinter” groups of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox churches that revere the warnings and instruction of various deceased apostles, Biblical personalities or saints that have appeared to them in visions or apparitions. They are usually very apocalyptic groups who attempt to support their perceived messages with scripture (the Holy Bible), but will ultimately embrace the special message above and beyond scripture. During the last three decades the “Blessed Virgin” (Mary – the mother of Jesus) has been “appearing” from such places as a church in Medjugorje, Yugoslavia to a farm in Conyers, Georgia (USA). In those places, perceived messages are highly revered and accepted as a special message from God to these elite few who are privileged to be there upon appearance and presentation.     

             This ideal and belief system gives philosophers, theologians and religious leaders who claimed to have had contact with these “mediators” a higher level of prestige and competency. And it is mediators like these that are able to bridge the gap between the dualistic spiritual world and the material world. They are there to help and give the secret knowledge or “gnosis” to those who truly desire it so that they may find the secret spirituality within themselves.

             This concept of mediators is believed to have been a highly influential factor in the early formation of the doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church. In this branch of Christianity the Gnostic ideals of having the special knowledge or “gnosis” are almost unknowingly endorsed and promoted.   

               UFOs and alien life forms are also up for consideration as party of this mediator role. The influence of Gnosticism often uses UFOs and aliens to interpret the unexplainable in scripture. Who were those three men who appeared to Abraham and a few verses later rescued his nephew Lot from Sodom and Gomorrah, which were destroyed by fire from heaven in Genesis 19:24 ?

              Moses lead the children of Israel through the wilderness by following an cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night in Exodus 13:21. Who was that angel that appeared to Joshua in Joshua 5:13-15? Was that really an angel that told Mary she would conceive the Son of God in Luke 1:30? Who was that angel that set Peter free from prison in Acts 12:7? All of these Gnostic explanations continually attempt to deny God’s strength, ability and even desire to be interactive, loving and caring and thus He becomes a less potent more sterile God that might be just like any of us.  

              If one is seeking a logical explanation through knowledge and intellect, all of these and many other unexplained Biblical phenomenon can be explained by using the context of aliens and UFOs and close encounters of the third kind in a format of mediators or leadership.

              The Bible is exceptionally silent about any other such life forms or extraterrestrial crafts. This does not mean that they (UFOs and aliens do not exist, but rather that they are not relevant to our faith in God through Jesus Christ. Only once is there any slight hint in Paul’s writing that such a possibility of existence exists. In Philippians 2:9-11 Paul says “Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,           that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth,         and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

               The Greek word “epouranioon” translated to English “heaven” is often used to describe the planets and the solar system rather than the abode of God known as heaven. Paul may have dropped this little hint “by accident”, or by wanting to make sure he had all the “bases covered”, or because he had some form of personal “special knowledge” that he was not totally allowed to be open and forthright with. The Gnostic influence would emphasize the latter argument.      

               In reality we don’t know exactly why Paul used that word in the sentence. Under careful consideration, it doesn’t really make any difference when the relationship of the Christian believer in faith to God is scrutinized.  




               In recent years contemporary gnosticism has re-surfaced in incredibly subtle ways. It has had a tremendous effect on the Roman Catholic Church, mainline Protestantism and even in some circles of evangelical Christianity. This has been effectively accomplished primarily by the recent publishing of a secular novel by Dan Brown titled “The DaVinci Code” (Doubleday Publishers 2003).

               The “novel” is based on a series of insinuations that there has been a secret society that Leonardo DaVinci attempted to leave us clues about in his artwork that revealed the real truth about Jesus Christ. This so called truth being that Jesus was actually married to Mary Magdalene and they had a child together. This fictional premise was derived from a “gnostic gospel” specifically The Gospel of Thomas, found in a northern Egyptian archeological excavation in the mid 1940s often referred to as the Nag Hammadi scrolls.

              The Gospel of Thomas is a collection of supposed sayings of Jesus that was not compiled until the late second century. It portrays a very mystical Jesus and claims to offer the one that “shall find the interpretation of the words shall not taste of death” (verse1). Some passages are almost accurate duplications of sayings Jesus Christ is quoted in the canonical gospels. Verse 73 is one example; “The harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few.” The following  two verses lack continuity or connection to the previous. “Lord, there are many about the well, but no one in the well (verse 74).  Verse 75 says, ”Jesus said ; There are many standing at the door, but the solitary  are they who shall find the bridal chamber. “ Many scholars say that if you can indeed ever figure these sayings out, you will deserve to live eternally. Almost all conservative evangelical theologians dismiss any authenticity connected with the Gospel of Thomas or other such Gnostic gospels because of their lack of inspiration and continuity and their lack of depicting the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.     

                The emphasis on the Gospel of Thomas subliminally promotes the idea that the story we have traditionally accepted about Jesus Christ in the Biblical gospels, is simply a cover-up created by the early church fathers to make Jesus sound like He was fully God and fully man, a perfect human being that was capable of being that perfect sacrifice for mankind. Another accusation is that the Council of Nicaea, which was held in 325 AD near present day Istanbul, eliminated all of the Gnostic writings from the perceived canon to preserve the understanding of a holy or perfect Jesus Christ. But even at the Council of Nicaea one of the main requisites for the inclusion in the canon of any writing claiming to be a  “gospel” was whether or not it included an account of the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

               The DaVinci Code subtly attempts to break down any such Biblically based doctrine about Jesus Christ. It promotes such thinking that if Jesus was just a great man who was probably married to Mary Magdalene, and of course they had children. His crucifixion may not have culminated in mortal death and his resurrection might have been a staged event, or it may even have been developed years later by His disciples to help perpetuate His legacy. This obviously flies straight in the face of the content of canonized scripture (the four Biblical gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), unless of course you add these recently found “gnostic” writings into the mix. The implications of these writings is simply to erase or subtract from the deity of Jesus Christ and acknowledge Him as a great man, and only that. Accepted canonical scripture yields not even a hint of such a scenario.

                There are also insinuations made that DaVinci’s painting “The Last Supper” reveals several clues about what is referred to as the “real Jesus”. The primary one is that the figure to the left of Jesus (in the center as you face the painting) is not the Apostle John as tradition teaches us, but in fact is Mary Magdalene, who referred to in the canonical (Biblical) gospels. If you look at the painting through the cultural eyes of DaVinci, it may very well be an image intended to be Mary Magdalene. It really doesn’t make much difference. The fifteenth century Leonardo DaVinci was not present at the Last Supper recorded in Matthew 26, Mark 14 and Luke22. DaVinci’s personal viewpoint could be and probably is completely contrary to the circumstances and dynamics of the actual event. So what he painted was obviously incorrect and very well could have been an obvious plot to erode or destroy orthodox Christian teachings as they were then and as we know them today. 




                 Leonardo DaVinci himself was not a man of refined spiritual definition and faith, but instead worked diligently on bridging the gap between superstition and science. His nutshell biographical description refers to him as a frustrated left-handed vegetarian homosexual. His work as a scientist, an architect and an artist portrays his intellect and ability as an innovator and experimenter. He is considered to be one of the most intellectual scientific minds to have ever lived.

                This fact does not make him spiritual, God-like or even closer to God. The fact is most “smart” or highly intellectual people usually “over think” and rationalize the activity and maybe even the existence of God as it applies to the life and science of the planet earth. They are the ones either trying to explain God away or make His activity and relationship to us understandable by our terms of comprehension. There are obvious exceptions to this rule.         

                 In 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 the apostle Paul writes “but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God.” Only those whose wisdom and knowledge comes from and is directed by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit know how to apply proper applications spiritually to the things of this world.

                 DaVinci despised the Roman Catholic Church because of its teachings and domination and intimidation of its parishioners during his age. The Church often kept the common parishioner in the dark and shrouded the content of scripture with mystery and superstition. He had a very unhealthy and unbalanced relationship with anything that looked like or associated with the Roman Church. He sought for more depth and control of his own spirituality than the Church was willing to yield to him. DaVinci examined other avenues of spirituality such as eastern mysticism, Persian religions and other occult practices. Thus his art is not rooted in scripture or sound Biblical theology only, but rather in his perceptions and attitudes to this major “religious” institution he knew as the Roman Church.  

                Who was Mary Magdalene and why does she have such an important position in the DaVinci painting the “Last Supper”? Her importance to DaVinci in this work was that he knew and was familiar with the Gnostic writings such as the Gospel according to Thomas which implies that Jesus and Mary were indeed married. That influence stood contrary to the “orthodox” teachings of the Roman Church. Davinci was probably not convinced of the deity of Jesus Christ, thus he may have subtly inserted Gnostic overtones into his artwork attempting to play havoc on the Church and what it taught in that regard.    

                Mary Magdalene is only mentioned nine times including parallel passages in all four gospels. Outside of these gospel references, she is never mentioned in the other canonical epistles, the book of Acts or the book of Revelation.

                Why is that? There can only be three answers. Either it was because of the lack of importance in her role in the post ascension life of the Christian community; or she died shortly after the resurrection of Jesus Christ; or she could be considered a disgrace to the accepted traditional image of a pure and holy Jesus, because of her marriage to and/or sexual contact with Jesus. The novel The DaVinci Code plays the latter possibility out to the forefront.

                The mysterious implication of the “Last Supper” painting is that there is no main chalice present for Jesus to use in the meal. Traditional writings have referred to this chalice as the Holy Grail. DaVinci’s implication regarding Mary Magdalene is that she is the Holy Grail. Mary Magdalene actually carries or perpetuates the “blood” or “blood line” of Jesus Christ by bearing His child, specifically a girl named Sarah. By that “marital act” she actually becomes the vessel or the Holy Grail. This spiritual imagery flies “smack” in the face of non-canonized Roman Catholic writings of the literal “Holy Grail” or chalice that Christ actually used in the original upper room encounter (the last supper) of Luke 22 being carried off to northern Britain by the supposed uncle of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea, the man who originally buried the body of Jesus Christ immediately after crucifixion.      

                 We have absolutely no evidence in canonized Scripture or reliable secular historical accounts that indicates that Jesus had such a relationship with Mary Magdalene. There are not any hints or implications of such activity even in secular historical accounts that refer to Jesus Christ or to Mary Magdalene. The sexual nature of Jesus Christ is very simply never discussed in any historical document that has been proven accurate. It is only found in the so called “Gnostic” gospels which were found in 1945 near Nag Hamadi, Egypt.

             There are strong implications in scripture that Jesus was never married. The Jewish laws which surrounded the behavior of those days did not allow for a single male over the age of 20 to teach or instruct children. In a passage in Mark 10:13,14 Christ’s disciples are rebuking the adults for bringing their children to Jesus.  Jesus then tells his disciples that it is not a problem and then He continues  to  bless  and  teach. Why would the disciples be trying to protect Jesus from being found in a situation of having a strong influence or teaching children. It was because by Jewish traditional law (not canonical law) he as a single male over the age of 20 was not supposed to do that. 

            The apostle Paul refers to husband and wife relational issues in 1 Corinthians 7 and in Ephesians 5. If it was common knowledge that Jesus was married, our Lord Jesus Christ  would have been Paul’s pivotal example of what is healthy, normal and acceptable in such situations and relationships. But Paul doesn’t use such illustrations, and never remotely hints as to the marriage of Jesus. This is because Jesus wasn’t married.     

             Scripture tells us in Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. This does not give any room for Christ to have yielded to the desires of the flesh present in the hour of sexual temptation. 




               The only deciding factor left for Christians or for anyone is that of ultimate authority. What will we count as authoritative when we position ourselves doctrinally? The Roman Catholic Church has traditionally placed ultimate authority the church, specifically itself and its own interpretation and perception of the scriptures and tradition. This authority bleeds through the ranks of apostolic succession and the various levels of positionship in its hierarchy. That is why this new resurfacing of Gnosticism is such a direct threat to them. If the early fathers of the “Roman Church” who put in place a large portion of current Christian church dogma are found to be the originators of fraud regarding the historical facts of the Jesus we know, it will begin to crumble the foundations of that system of beliefs and practices. And yet, in their historical positionship and pious longevity, they don’t really seem to be concerned to any great measure with this recent resurfacing of challenge in regard to the orthodox teachings surrounding the life of Jesus Christ.  

                The Ante-Nicene and even the Nicene church fathers and doctors were not exclusively of the Roman church. They were in fact believers in Jesus Christ who comprised and represented the communities throughout the entire known world, serving under various bishops and authorities in Christendom. The Bishop of Rome had no more authority or power prior to the Council of Nicaea than did any other regional leader of the Christian Church. Christian believers from the first three centuries were all under heavy persecution from various factions of the Roman Empire until the Edict of Milan was issued by Constantine  in  312  AD.   A  careful  reading  of  that document will reveal that the Edict of Milan did not make Christianity the State religion as is often proclaimed vibrantly by the liberal media or even in our seminaries. It only made Christianity tolerable and acceptable throughout the entire Empire, never to be persecuted again.            

             The only authority we can actually claim is that of Jesus Christ – the Living Word of God. John 1:10-14 “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” If our authority is placed in God’s Word, we can stand secure. If we place our authority in the institution of any church ruled by men, it will eventually fail.

              The Word of God has three standards of acceptance that give it the position of ultimate authority in areas of theology and doctrine.  1). We believe that the Bible is thoroughly inspired by God. In other words, God Himself breathed it into the hearts of men who wrote it out. This is backed up by scripture itself 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.(NAS) 2). We believe that it is without error. This has been proven by its integrity (historical accuracy), its authenticity (believable and discernable content and authorship) and its veracity (displaying the truthfulness of the text and content). Believing that the Bible as we have it is without error does not mean that there are explanations and interpretation for all passages.  3). We believe that the sixty six (66) book accepted canon of scripture (the Holy Bible) stands complete and alone in its text and continuity. The council of bishops in 325 AD at Nicaea that acknowledged the New Testament canon when Emperor Constantine offered to print their Bible, did so under the leading of the Holy Spirit as they discerned the texts which were integrally knit together in spiritual truth and necessary content. 

              With this foundation of truth and authority we can stand against the continuous attacks of Gnosticism (the spirit of antichrist) continually proclaiming the truth of the Gospels, knowing beyond any shadow of doubt that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and it is trustworthy. Revelation 5:13-14 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever." And the four living creatures kept saying, "Amen." And the elders fell down and worshiped. The word “Amen” in the original Greek text is one which strongly indicates truthfulness and trustworthiness.

              When we are backed into the corners of life, where do we find our help? Where do we look or to whom to we go to recognize as the ultimate authority in our lives, or even in our church? If we go to our friends, our parents or even our spouses and companions, they will eventually fail us. We can not rely completely on the theories or teachings of man, be they tested by time or not. There is only one sure source of authority and help and that is found in Jesus Christ alone and his communicated word to us. He is the one certain absolute. He is the embodied essence of truth. He can be trusted. John 14:6-7Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him." John 17:17-21"Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.   "As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  "And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth." I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, {art} in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me.

            It is only when we rest completely on Him and yield our lives to Him that we can find help, peace and strength. This is because He is the only Son of God, the very incarnate image of God Himself. 

              Jesus was not a mystical figure from the past that was able to pull off a great big hoax on twelve close followers that would spawn the largest faith the world has ever known. He was not just a highly intellectual philosopher who issued some very moral teachings for us to live by. Jesus was not an alien from another world trying to get us refocused on the big cosmic picture. The evidence speaks for itself both in canonical scripture and in the historical accountings. They paint the real picture of a living breathing man who was also fully God. He loved us in the sacrificial unconditional way that only God can, by giving His faultless sinless mortal life for us, so that in His resurrection into new and eternal life, we also might live for Him, in Him and eventually with Him.              




               This statement of our faith, the Nicene Creed, was composed at the same council that the Council of Nicaea acknowledged the New Testament canon in 325 AD. It still stands today as the foundational creed of our faith in Jesus Christ alone for redemption from sin and reconciliation to God. Its theological soundness summarizes the emphasis of all canonical scripture that is accepted in evangelical orthodox Christianity.

               We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Colossians 1:15-17 And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

               We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. I John 1:5 And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

               By the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. Luke 1:30-35 And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. "And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.

              For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin {to be} sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Colossians 1:13-14 For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

                On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; Romans 1:1-4 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called {as} an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,  1 Corinthians 15:12-15 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found {to be} false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.  1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood,

                He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. Acts 1:9-11 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them; and they also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." Ephesians 1:20-23 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly {places} far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all. Colossians 3:1 If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

               He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy universal and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.  Amen.


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