Sunday, July 30, 2006

Orthodox versus Gnostic Christians

There is no clash between mysticism and Christianity. Many of Jesus' and Paul's statements, as well as John's, are regularly quoted by mystics. But during the first two centuries of Christianity, the Church evolved into an institution instead of a family. It quickly became very rich, and in 312, it became involved in Roman politics, deceit, war, etc. That was the year that Constantine the emperor said that he converted.

Not everyone liked, or agreed with, the huge institution that the Church was becoming. Some wanted it to remain the simple family of Love, of God. So, the Church split into two very large groups-- the gnostics and the orthodox. The gnostics felt that people should be free and independent spiritually, but the orthodox felt that everyone should believe the same things-- a concept called "dogma." The orthodox were the ones whose hands were filthy with politics and greed. they actually killed some of the gnostics. They claimed that the gnostics were following Satan.

But these gnostics were Christians who loved Jesus. These gnostics were mystics. [Note: We are here talking about "small g" generic gnostics. The "capital G" Gnostics in the early church were cultlike groups with some odd and strange ideas, but they were not real mystics (gnostics).]

Long story short: gnostics said that God would teach a person in her heart, so that Christians did not need big churches. Jesus had not built a church-building. Christians were meeting in homes for over three hundred years after His death. The gnostics still did this. The gnostics said that murdering people who have a different kind of Christianity was evil and wrong. So, the orthodox started persecuting, and even killing, the gnostics.

Sadly, most churches today followed the orthodox, despite their nightmarish violence, unkindness, and ignorance. That is why most people in most churches think that the gnostics (mystics) were wrong, or even "evil." But almost all of these modern Christians have never read any of the ancient writings of the gnostics. They are like a person who has never played poker, but claims to "Hate"the game.

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