Have Yourself a Merry Little Non-Gnostic, Twoist Christmas
By Dr. Peter Jones
No turkey, no decorations or presents, no hearty meals, and most of all, no celebration of the birth of Jesus. What a miserable time of “celebration.” And yet the Gnostics of the past called themselves Christian. The Gnosticism of the second and third centuries was the greatest heresy in the history of the Church. Indeed, a Gnostic leader almost became bishop of Rome. Gnostics believed that the physical created realm was evil and only the spiritual realm was good. Like Oneist Hindus, they saw the physical world as an illusion. When Paul in 1 Timothy 4:3 warns against those forbidding marriage and abstaining from foods, he is reminding Christians that God gave us the physical delights of this world, including the exercise of our sexuality within marriage and delight in food! Rejection of these good things is advocated by those who think experiential gnosis is the way of salvation.
Do we face Gnosticism today? We do, in spades, as people go against created biology and reject God as the good Creator. According to the Bible, God the Creator is absolutely interested in what we do with our bodies.
But how does this relate to Christmas? In rejecting created things, or the “flesh” as the Gnostics would say, they rejected the New Testament understanding of the gospel. God, the Creator “appeared in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16). In 2 John 1:7 the Apostle John calls those who deny the “fleshiness” of the gospel “deceivers,” even “the anti-Christ.” If you reject God in issues of sexuality and worship, eventually you must also deny the “in-carn-ation” of God, his taking on flesh, which is the essence of the gospel and the essence of Christmas.
So have yourself a merry little, thoroughly non-Gnostic, Twoist Christmas. For “everything created by God is good,” says Paul in our passage (1 Tim. 4:4), to be enjoyed to the glory of God who brought joy to the world by taking on our flesh in the person of his Son.