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Different Jesus?

John Collins02/15/2012Simon Magus is considered by the early Christians as the "father" of the Gnostic faith. He was well known throughout the people of Samaria, to the point that he was regarded as "the great power of God." Acts 8 describes his early days of sorcery, and then his conversion by Philip once he believed in "the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ." After his conversion, he worked with Philip beholding many miracles and signs.  He later realized that he could not give the gift of the Holy Ghost, and was not comfortable without being involved in the spirit world.  By trying to purchase the power of the Holy Ghost with money, he showed that he was full of bitterness and not love.

While the Church was in the early stages, Gnostic beliefs were also starting to take hold within some of the followers of Christianity. Their doctrines were very close to the original faith, but also incorporated some Pagan ideas that would eventually become the adversary for early Christians such as Irenaeus who fought against heresies.  They were unable to leave behind their sorcery and connections to the "spirit world".

Paul was no stranger to these early Gnostic ideas, and spoke out against them in 2 Corinthians 11. He compared these ideas to how the serpent beguiled Eve through subtilty, and warned them "so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. He warned them not to accept any Jesus other than the one Paul preached, any "holy" spirit which they had not already received, or any other gospel which they had not already accepted.

There were no mysteries that must be fulfilled to the believers, no strange lights needed to prove God. He warned them not to marvel at great lights, for "Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light". Such people Paul regarded as "false apostles" and "deceitful workers" who were pretending to be apostles of Christ. Their end would be according to their works.

Jesus Christ was taught by Paul in simplicity, but the people saw themselves as wise; looking for a greater sign. Paul warned them that in doing so they were gladly allowing fools to bring them into suffering and bondage, allowing a man to exalt himself and smite them on the face. Paul confirmed that the "God and Father" of the "Lord Jesus Christ" knew that he was telling them the truth.

As Christians, we should ask ourselves, have we let Gnosticism in the church? Have we let a man exalt himself and teach us a "different Jesus?"  Do we marvel in strange lights? Paul was not ashamed to proclaim that the Lord Jesus Christ had a "God and Father". Are we ashamed?