Gnosticism & Reverse Gnosticism – Church Behavior Part 2

(and why I hate naked people.) I hate naked people. Victoria's UnSecrets are distracting and rude. Abercrombie men are just gross. And don't get me started on the gifs from Tumblr. Granted after a while you get used to the "Solid Gold Gentleman's Club" advertisements on top of the taxis here in Fort Lauderdale but my repulsion remains. Why do I mention this? Two reasons: #1. When we forget who our bodies belong to it shows #2. If we only recognize sin in the physical form we are even more susceptible to sin within our mind. We all know folks who for whatever reason ignore the discretion God has placed within them. But if we judge them for their behavior without having compassion for the mentalities that brought them there we are at an even greater risk ourselves. Sin is sin. Sin is without bounds physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
"Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

Matthew 5:28

Jesus cared about what we do with our bodies yes, and He also cares what goes on in our minds. In my previous post, I wrote about how forcing convictions on others can be hurtful and rude because it does not allow the receiver to process WHY they believe what they believe. Let me add now that those who live by physical convictions which do not originate from spiritual and mental convictions have a greater risk of losing their faith than anyone. 18th Century belles who wore corsets didn't do a lot of crunches. Compare that to Laura Ingalls Wilder who no doubt worked hard out there on the prairie.
True strength comes from internal convictions. Not external structure.
That said, let me get to my main topic. Church Behavior, Exhibit A: Legalists We're pretty familiar with these folks. The judgemental, self-righteous attitude is usually easy to spot on others. Read my thoughts on this here. Church Behavior, Exhibit B: The Pendulum Swingers and/or Gnostics This is a VERY broad term for a large and varied group of people. Common denominators may include a strong emphasis on rethinking the beliefs with which they were raised on / forced into and finding truth through introspection / personal experience. Gnosis is defined in Merriam-Webster as
"Esoteric knowledge of spiritual truth held by the ancient Gnostics to be essential to salvation"
To be simplistic, in the "pendulum swing" response to being forced to live and think a certain way, Liberal Christians value freedom of action with knowledge of spiritual things. Subcategories also include "New Agers," and "Agnostics," the definitions of which I do not have time to get into. In many cases, they know what they don't believe - specifically legalistic Christianity. And now the fun group... Church Behavior, Exhibit C: Post-Legalists / Reverse Gnostics I don't know what to do with these people so let me try to explain them. They know how to recognize legalism and try to live in grace. For this I respect them. However ...
There is a seed of legalism within them that says "if I act/behave the right way that's enough."
This attitude is as sad and grievous as the other two. Like I said at the beginning ... God cares about how we live AND how we think. Additionally,
"God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

John 4:24

Contrary to what the pendulum swingers would like to believe, yes our behavior matters. And contrary to what post-legalists would like to think, the purity of our thought life determines our behavior.
Both are equally important, the one influencing the other.
Both must be submitted to the Truth written in the Word of God which clarifies and explains itself. Now I realize I've written a lot here. And while I've tried to think through the concepts thoroughly, I've also become so familiar with them that I might not have explained everything as clearly as I think I have. After all,
The greatest misconception about communication is the belief that is has occurred.
I've use quite a few new terms in this blog and recent conversations have taught me that those who agree on concept and principle may disagree on terms so feel free to let me know what I may need to clarify. My goodness that was a long sentence...
___________ Share on Facebook and Twitter Subscribe