SEEKERS RATHER THAN BELIEVERS
Gnostic Christians believed that questioning one's faith was
always important. To know (gnosis) Christ was to to seek a
deeper and honest meaning for one's life. This gnosis led to
wholeness in a person's relationship to God and the world.
Christ's way was a spiritual journey, encouraging persons
continually to seek God and all truth. Gnosis did not mean
secret knowledge but a vital relationship with Christ and
God. However, the early Orthodox Church, also known as the
Pre-Orthodox, which was to be supported by the
Emperor Constantine, was able with his direct involvement
to define what the true Christian was to believe about
Christ. Constantine's blessing confirmed the earlier
teachings of Bishops such as Irenaeus that those who did not
accept their church's literal interpretations of Christ-- or
questioned their beliefs --were "heretics." Understanding
Christ became limited by one narrow interpretation, and the
beliefs of this church were established--now with the power
of the state-- as the unquestionable and absolute truths of
Christianity. Over the voices of those called
Gnostics, Orthodox Christianity not only prevailed, but
has continued ever since to define Christianity, foremost, as
a belief system. The Gnostic scriptures show that there was
and is a more refreshing, honest, open, spiritual, loving, and
exciting way to be a Christian."
The gnostic style of faith is free, open, and creative. One does not have to be told how to act; particularly, what to believe. You can and should use your brain and modern knowledge. You have the ability to think for yourself. The gnostic style believes seeking God is more important than finding God by a certain dogma or belief. This web site therefore isn't about accepting Gnosticism or their beliefs (yes, some are strange), but it's purpose is to share an early and widespread style of Christian faith that can deepen, transform, and affirm the way many are indeed Christians today.
Written on the basis of this web site, I am pleased to announce that the book, The Hidden Messages of Jesus; How the Gnostic Gospels Change Christianity, by Larry A. Angus is now available at amazonbooks.com and other outlets. See more information below and at the contact page.
Until the discovery of other Gospels, the way to be Christian was simply "to believe." This Orthodox or Fundamentalist's interpretation of Christ made Christianity another religion-- to oppose others. "Believe in Christ or go to hell." "Believe literally in their chosen books as the only way to know God." "Obey the rule of their authoritarian church." In doing so, you would receive the gift of salvation. This was the orthodox message from Jesus-- to be a "believer."
In contrast, the Gnostics were "seekers." It was far more important to seek God through all kinds of knowledge rather than "just believe." They were believers in Christ, but they heard a different message from Jesus. They had beliefs, as we all do, but they did not insist they had the corner on-- or final-- truth in interpreting the world or God. Christ's message was more spiritual than religious--not bearing all the answers. The place to find God was within oneself, not in externals like beliefs, dogma, or dictates of the church. Their interpretation was that we could experience the living Christ and God, by seeking, not finalizing God. Your faith is not what you believe about Christ but your relationship with Him. Therefore, it is essential to know yourself and be touched by what the Gospel of Philip calls the transforming power of "love and light." Seeking God, because of Christ and his message, was the true act of faith. That is the gnostic style and spirit found in the exciting materials often called, the Gnostic Gospels!
International Dateline Scott Angus
Introduction to Gnostic Christianity
Gnosticschristians.com is a web site
for those who are interested in learning
about a different way to be Christian than
the traditional approach to being Christian.
This new way is inspired by those we now known as GNOSTICS,
(pronounced, "naw-stics.)" Surprisingly, at least at first, the Gnostics were members of early Christian churches. The Gnostics were not an organized denomination or even a church unto themselves, but a fairly diverse group of the earliest Christians, who because of their acceptance of other early gospels, were called by the early emerging Orthodox Church, "heretics." To be clear, this church was not the Eastern Orthodox Church formed after major disputes with the Roman Catholic Church, but was the forerunner of the Catholic Church which declared in the early second century that its beliefs were "orthodox"--or "correct" because they were precisely, without question, those of the Apostles. Although this church would become the Catholic Church, they first called themselves the Apostolic Church because there beliefs were exactly those of the Apostles.
The Gnostic scriptures, written at the same time as the New Testament, were
known to exist primarily by negative attacks in the writings of early Bishops
of the Church. These Bishops boldly declared that those who disagreed with any of their beliefs were "false teachers." Gnostic works of heresy, officially, in 367 C.E., were ordered destroyed, and they almost were!
Without the primary sources, those named Gnostics were slandered as not being true disciples; to some portrayed as not even being Christians. Throughout history they were ridiculed for denying "reality," as being absolute "dualist" and" idealists." Now, there is a new story about their strong faith and belief in a real Jesus. In spite of their faith in him, the elimination of their writings was almost successful. But thanks to some monks who hid the forbidden works, most likely originally in a cave in Egypt, near a village called Nag Hammadi, the Gnostic Gospels and writings can now speak for themselves.
In l945, fifty two texts (including such titles as The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Mary, and The Gospel of Philip) were found at the base of
a mountain cliff having at least 150 caves. Interestingly, a farmer named Muhammad Ali (al-Samman), looking for softer soil for fertilizer in the talus below one of the caves, found an earthen jar filled with thirteen books written on papyrus, bound in leather. Muhammad's mother actually burned some pages to kindle a fire, but thankfully, he decided to take them to an antiquities dealer. As had long been rumored, we now know indeed there were other Christian Gospels written as well in the early development of Christianity. Careful research has declared them authentic. Finally, after fifty years of study and translation by scholars, they are available to the general public. They raise questions, which have the potential to free Christianity from centuries of simple answers, and for many, unacceptable positions and beliefs, allowing all truth to be a part of the process of faith.
- Are you a person who thinks, beyond the twenty seven books in the New Testament, chosen by early Bishops, that other gospels and writings written in the same time period, ought to be heard?
- Are you one who questions certain articles of faith in the Apostles' Creed, such as the virgin birth and a bodily resurrection?
- Are you one who thinks religions other than Christianity may have validity?
- Do you believe women have the right to be clergy?
- Are you one who thinks your own relationship with God and Christ is more important than what the church tells you is the correct or right belief?
- Is your style of faith honestly seeking what is true about the world and God rather than blind belief?
If you answered "yes" to the questions, you could be interested in learning more about these powerful early Christian resources that were suppressed until l945. (These manuscripts now can be purchased in paperback in a collection called, The Nag Hammadi Library, edited by James M. Robinson.)
To register yourself as one who believes, seeking God , is more important than finding God by a certain dogma or belief, go to the "contact us," icon, accessed at the top of this page.
"Christ's Way Was A Spiritual Journey"
The Outback Journey--Australia Scott Angus
New information: The Hidden Messages of Jesus: How the Gnostic Gospels Change Christianity, by Larry A. Angus was published April 2012; the book is based on this web site, after five years of responses, and gives academic grounds for the relevance of the Gnostics for today.
For information and a link to the book, go to the Contact Page. Certainly, it is not essential for you to sign on to this network, but the book gives far more information and documentation. Easiest access: amazonbooks.com. Type in the name of the book. If you do order or read it, please send your comments to angusla2011@gmail, and I will respond.
You can review it free at "inside the cover" at amazon or barnesandnoble. In the book, you will learn much about the Gnostic Gospels, how and why they were ordered destroyed, who the Gnostics were, and why they were considered heretics. By demonizing them, facts are given how Bishop Irenaeus and Constantine together, but seperately, decided what true Christians had to believe, and how this laid the groundwork for many battles and even wars, not for faith, but for Christian beliefs.
These new gospels bring the unexpected news that there were early Christians who were not locked into narrow and absoloute beliefs and myths. Instead, they reveal that "gnosis" for them meant one's relationship--as in knowing another, especially Christ and God--not some secret knowledge! This knowing was led by searching for the truth--not declaring it as so many have done including those in the early church who literally put in writing that only they knew the truth of God. Faith was not a system of beliefs but foremost a spiritual journey. The book isn't about making one Gnostics, but how these hidden gospels inspire Christians to be, as the Gnostics tried to be, honest, open, loving,seekers of God.