The Gnosticism which COVID—19 reveals
Is physical worship essential to being a Christian? Or is physically gathering to worship with the church you belong to crucial and a requirement for your view of Christianity? Does a person have to obey Jesus Christ in order to be a Christian, in order to have any hope of seeing heaven and not hell?
To state the opposite: Is Christianity above all a “personal Experience?” Or it is a life/path in which Christ Jesus is King, in obedience to His commandments?
John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”
In I John and Colossians, specifically, the authors are writing to a church being devastated by a new religion, a new paradigm which, being aligned with Paganism and worldliness, was being imported into and re-framing the entirety of what it meant to be a Christian.
Gnosticism was based upon religion evolving and transcending, meaning it was constantly changing and improving. This meant that it was guru/leader led. The Leader had learned new/novel techniques and secrets, and they could impart them, thus the new Spiritual knowledge (Gnosticism)
Being Spiritual, Gnosticism DE-emphasized any commandments which were transcendent and which were moral or Bodily For example: As long as you feel close to God, you will be forgiven of your all sins, (today referred to as “brokenness”) Gnosticism denied original sin and total depravity—it taught that life was the mastery and unlocking of the inner good and finding your personal happiness. Grace is feeling Good, not living obediently. Jesus came to unlock your potential, not to save you from eternal hell by causing you to follow him.
I am amazed, but shouldn’t be, at the amount of churches and leaders who seem to have made physical worship optional, not just for the past two months, but seemingly indefinitely. The belief that a personal experience at home is just as good as gathering (and risking sickness and inconvenience) in person in a building or place.
The Video Venue home worship is simply not church. It may have been deemed a good and necessary option for a time, but it is not a replacement of the physical gathering required of Christianity. Video Venue/virtual worship, taken to it’s logical conclusion, is a replacement of Christianity. It says that I do not belong to the body of Christ, my presence is optional, The Pastor/guru comes to impart in my life good feelings and principals for living. That is enough. It is individual and autonomous. Just me and my personal Jesus.
In this My personal safety becomes the chief virtue of my life. It is scary to go to church, It might upset my emotional balance. My personal inner comforts are what matters. Don’t tell me otherwise, that is legalism and hurtful of my Holy, in-corrupted feelings.
I fear that The COVID-19 virus isn’t creating an apostasy into Gnostic self-worshiping paganism, It is a revealing of how many “confessed Christians” do not have the category of the necessity of physical worship gathering with the body of Christ, in obedience to Jesus Christ’s commandments as King. Their religion may be closer to the Gnosticism the Bible describes. It may not be not Christianity.
Hebrews 10:25 warns against this: neglecting of the physical gathering. I John warns against disobedience and not loving the brethren. I Corinthians states 5+ times that “when you gather” as the church.
The Gathering of the Church for Worship in person, may not be safe, but it is Sacred. The Assembly is a time set-apart by a Holy God to worship in Spirit and truth..preaching and proclaiming King Jesus in all of His glory (Col 1)
The Gospel Declares that Jesus Christ came bodily. He came to redeem all of us. He lived and dies and rose again bodily, not merely spiritually. There is no separation of our feelings towards Jesus and our actions in obedience towards him and our good works of love towards others. He calls us to gather and worship him as He directs in His word. This is both Faith and Repentance. In exchange we receive the assurance that he grant to those he loves who are obeying Him.
Titus 2:11-15 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.