Gnosticism and the Western Church

“The Gnostics soon posited a third opposition: The Savior God of the New Testament vs. The Creator God of the Old Testament.”

Pierre Courthial
A New Day of Small Beginnings — pg. 221

This is how it now works. The Savior God of the NT saves us from the Creational categories ordained by the Creator God of the OT. Courthial’s one simple sentence observation summarizes the Modern Evangelical and Reformed Church and in the train of this observation comes the necessary conclusion; “The Church in the West is Gnostic.”

The place that this Gnosticism is most apparent is the Western’s “Churches” hatred of Nationalism. Who we are, by way of our race and ethnicity, is a creational category with which God has made each one of us. Hatred and denunciation of race and ethnicity, along with increasingly shrill calls to denounce gender and patriarchy, are neon signs that the Western thing called the Church hates God’s creational categories and with that hatred the thing called the Church has become Gnostic.

You do remember Gnosticism don’t you? It was a heresy so dangerous in the early Church that St. John, upon finding out that the Gnostic Cerinthius was in the same bath house he was occupying for his daily ablutions went flying out of the bathhouse screaming for all to flee explaining that Cerinthus was inside and he didn’t want to be killed when the building collapsed under the righteous judgment of God!

Gnosticism was the ancient error that matter doesn’t matter and more than that was a positive evil to be shed. And in the spirit of Gnosticism we are being told by the modern cognoscenti that who we are in our ethnic (National) and racial makeup is a positive evil. We are being told that being saved and so Christian transcends our ethnicity and race. It’s as if some kind of made up Gospel Coalition in some tree-house somewhere has made a new club that requires for membership the oath, “the people I get saved will be taught salvation means that they are stripped of their national identity, familial identity, and gender identity (and don’t forget to tell them to send all their money.”)

The Modern Reformed Church could have given a few tips to the Albigensian / Cathri.

Seemingly everywhere in the contemporary Reformed and Evangelical Church (is there a difference any longer?) the siren song goes out on the dangers of Nationalism and / or love of one’s own people. From little known OPC Pastors in Buford, Geogria listing all the sins of our European Fathers without so much as a tip of the hat to their grace driven accomplishments, to the President of Southern Seminary going all “Danger Will Robinson” by writing how “toxic American Nationalism flies in the face of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” From the Pope in “Moscow on the Palouse” who never met a false dichotomy he wasn’t infatuated with to the theological law firm of Labberton, Moore, Carter, and Galli everywhere those reputed to be pillars in the Faith are seeking to make sure that the thought of Nationalism as a biblical option for social order among Christians “sleeps with the fishes.”

But this is not how the Church has spoke in Church history. Indeed, the Church Fathers spoke quite to the contrary as the below quotes – quotes which could be duplicated endlessly — begin to give a hint of,

“The ancient fathers… were concerned that the ties of kinship itself should not be loosened as generation succeeded generation, should not diverge too far, so that they finally ceased to be ties at all. And so for them it was a matter of religion to restore the bond of kinship by means of the marriage tie before kinship became too remote—to call kinship back, as it were, as it disappeared into the distance.”

Augustine – (A.D. 354 – 430)
City of God, book XV, Chpt. 16

“Since the intensity of an act results from the principle of action, and the principle of action is union and similarity, we ought to love in a higher degree and more intensely those who are more like us and more closely united to us.”

Thomas Aquinas 1225 – 1274
Commentary on Galatians

“According to every law, including the law of God, and the natural order of things, Czechs in the kingdom of Bohemia should be preferred in the offices of the Czech kingdom. This is the way it is for the French in the French kingdom and for the Germans in German lands. Therefore a Czech should have authority over his own subordinates as should a German.”

John Hus (1369-1415)
Jan Hus: Religious Reform and Social Revolution in Bohemia, p. 96

“It is the duty of parents to be more concerned and to pray more for the salvation of their children, than for the children of their neighbors; as it is the duty of a minister to be more concerned for the salvation of the souls of his flock, and to pray more for them, than those of other congregations, because they are committed to his care. So our near friends are more committed to our care than others, and our near neighbors, than those that live at a great distance; and the people of our land and nation are more, in some sense, committed to our care than the people of China, and we ought to pray more for them, and to be more concerned that the kingdom of Christ should flourish among them, than in another country, where it would be as much, and no more, for the glory of God. “

Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758)
Thoughts on the Revival; part iv. Section 3

To argue that the Scriptures are opposed to Nations and Nationalism and so the Church should be opposed to Nations and Nationalism is just a determined torpidity that should not be found among the clergy. Sigh, but one should one expect from pigs but grunts?

However, we need not only look to quotes of the Church Fathers which could be reproduced endlessly we might also consider how the Church has sang through the centuries. Contrary to what we might Imagine John Lennon has not been our Choirmaster through the centuries.


Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

Instead we have sang with verve about winning the nations. Again, these could be repeated endlessly.

Processional for Saint’s Day

What rush of hallelujahs
Fills all the earth and sky!
What ringing of a thousand harps
Bespeaks the triumph nigh!
O day, for which creation
O joy, for all its former woes
A thousandfold repaid!

We’ve A Story To Tell To The Nations

We’ve a Savior to show to the nations,
Who the path of sorrow has trod,
That all of the world’s great peoples
Might come to the truth of God,
Might come to the truth of God.

From Greenland’s icy mountains

From Greenland’s icy mountains,
From India’s coral strand,
Where Afric’s sunny fountains
Roll down their golden sand;
From many an ancient river,
From many a palmy plain,
They call us to deliver
Their land from error’s chain.

Well, if the Church has not had this visceral Gnostic hatred of Nations and Nationalism in the past where does all this “hoist the Jolly Roger and give no quarter to Nationalism” that we find in the contemporary Church come from? Well, people don’t like hearing this but this hatred of Nationalism comes from those who historically have vowed to destroy the Church. Again, please keep in mind that the quotes that follow could be repeated many times over,|

“The aim of socialism is not only to abolish the present division of mankind into small states and end all national isolation; not only to bring the nations closer together, but to merge them….”

Vladimir Lenin
The Rights of Nations to Self Determination — pg. 76

 “Even the natural differences within species, like racial differences…, can and must be done away with historically.”

K. Marx’s Collected Works V:103,

As cited in S.F. Bloom’s The World of Nations: A

Study of the National Implications in the Work of Karl Marx, Columbia University Press, New York, 1941, pp. 11 & 15-19:

1.) ”What will be the attitude of communism to existing nationalities?

The nationalities of the peoples associating themselves in accordance with the principle of community will be compelled to mingle with each other as a result of this association and hereby to dissolve themselves, just as the various estate and class distinctions must disappear through the abolition of their basis, private property.”

~ Frederick Engels in “The Principles of Communism”, 1847

“The equality of races and nations is one of the most important elements of the moral strength and might of the Soviet state. Soviet anthropology develops the one correct concept, that all the races of mankind are biologically equal. The genuinely materialist conception of the origin of man and of races serves the struggle against racism, against all idealist, mystic conceptions of man, his past, present and future.”

Mikhail Nesturkh, Soviet anthropologist, 1959|
The Origin of Man” (Moscow)Mikhail Nesturkh, Soviet anthropologist, 1959:

There you have it. The Christianity that is being proclaimed from those reputed to be experts and as picked up by their “Can’t shoot straight” sycophant preacher boys is the message preached by Rev. Mephistopheles from time immemorial. Pogo was never more spot on… “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Make no mistake about it. This is the issue of our day. This is to us living in 2020 what the Deity of Christ was to Athanasius in the 4th century, what anthropology was to Augustine in the 3rd century, what Justification by faith alone was to Luther in the 16th century, and what the battle for the Bible against Neo-orthodoxy was in the 20th century. This is one of those, “If we get it wrong here we will never make progress until we turn back and get it right” moments.

One might think, with the paragraph above that I have left hyperbole for inanity but think about it for a second.

1.) Gnosticism is the oldest and has been the greatest threat to the Church throughout the centuries. It keeps coming back in one form or another.

2.) If matter doesn’t matter than all matter is equal matter. If matter doesn’t matter then women are men and men are women and so Beth Moore in the pulpit is only a matter of personal taste. If matter doesn’t matter than all peoples and cultures are equal and so the cultures created by James Cone or Richard Nikolaus Eijiro, Count of Coudenhove-Kalergi are equal to the cultures created by Abraham Kuyper and James Orr.

3.) The Unitarian view of God that Gnosticism implies completely absents the whole notion of plurality that is found in the God of the Bible. Should we accept this Gnostic “theology” offered up by the doofuses in our midst we end up with a God who is a singular Demiurge. If we make that mistake we are no longer Christian.

Why is it so difficult to return the age old Reformed concept that grace does not destroy nature but restore nature? Being a Christian doesn’t mean I lose my National or racial identity. It doesn’t mean that I can quit being a boy or girl. It doesn’t mean that age no longer is a consideration. An older wisdom understood that,

“The revelation of Christ does not abrogate the natural and present life, but makes it recognized and practiced, from the viewpoint of Christ, exactly in its divine significance.”

Herman Ridderbos
Paul; An Outline of His Theology – p. 307, 315

Being in Christ means who I am in my ethnicity and race is now practiced from the viewpoint of Christ. It doesn’t go away. It become what it was originally intended to be sans the Fall. Being in Christ means who I am in my sexuality and gender is now practiced from the viewpoint of Christ. It doesn’t go way. It becomes what it was originally intended to be sans the fall. I am not more noble and more Christ-like all because I love my Fathers and share similitude with my ancestors. I am not more noble and more Christ-like all because I am androgynous.

God is not a singular Gnostic Demiurge but is a God of plurality. He likes our distinctiveness because as a God who loves matter He created us with varied corporeal and material plurality.

At least that is what the Church believed up until 1950 or so.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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