I was chatting with a friend of mine and he made the stellar observation that liberalism is a neo-gnosticism. That is, when you talk with someone who does not believe in the inerrancy of the Scriptures nor in the physical resurrection of Jesus nor in the actual sinfulness of humanity you are talking with someone who believes he has gained a special kind of knowledge unbeknownst to the simpletons who believe the Bible.
“What is Hell?” you might ask. They might reply, “It was a social construct of the Ancient Near East that was used to explain justice and keep people in moral line.”
“Where did you get that from? It seems to be written all over the pages of my Bible…”
“Well, you see, after much study of the ANE we now know the general consensus of the various cultures. The Jewish and Christian concept of Hell was just like the culture around them…otherwise known as Sheol or Hades. Scholars agree that we should not take it as a real place with real suffering.”
What just happened? The answer was backed by scholars and a milieu of verbiage. When broken down into its parts, it really is nothing more than a ballooned argument (it looks big and imposing, but has no substance). Beware, friend, when you encounter folks who know more than their britches can hold and when they get done there ain’t boots high enough for the refuse that you’ll be wading through.
Rather than being enamored by fine sounding arguments that have the appearance of godliness, we need to be convicted to know the Bible better. The answer is not necessarily studying Dr. _______ from ________ who says that your reading is fallacious.
With the augmentation of our culture who lives as though man were the center and this gnu kind of gnosticism*, those who claim to be Christians are going to be sifted. How much greater is Paul’s admonition to his spiritual son, Timothy:
2Tim. 3:1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
* Gnosticism was a sect of Christianity that taught there was secret knowledge that could only be gained by various kinds of rituals and membership in the group.