The GnosticsPosted: March 9, 2007
A Gnostic is a person who stressed that people could be saved through knowledge or some call it “secret” knowledge. Gnosticism is shown throughout Christian writings of the second century, and some would classify it as perverting the Christian faith. They teach a sharp contrast in God and say that the creation was a direct result from the fall of wisdom, and creation is basically evil.
Since some believed that salvation depended completely on the knowledge of one’s ‘spiritual’ nature, they believed in indulging themselves in lusts of the world. Gnosticism enjoyed great success in history, especially in the reaches of Christianity. Not only was it successful but it offered explanations of the evil and confusion of the world and the human race.
In 1946 a bundle of twelve Coptic codices and fragments was discovered near Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt, and these writings have shed new light on the Gnostic belief, and convictions. Some of the important writings include, The letter of Rheginos, which stated that the resurrection was not a physical event; The Gospel according to Thomas, which has sayings attributed to Jesus; The Gospel according to Philip, which includes many sacraments, including baptism, anointing with oil and the ‘wedding chamber’. When talking about Gnostic leaders, one would mention the names, Simon Magus( the magician from Acts 8), and Irenaus, who developed the idea that Christ, fully man as well as fully God, retraced the steps of Adam, with a different result. He stated that because “Christ passed through every age of life, all humanity shares in his sanctifying work”. Although he had some theology pertaining to Mary, he based a lot of his teachings on the Scriptures
For more information: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/gnostics.html and http://www.gnosticteachings.org/