Gnostic Doctrine

Sunday, 4 October 2020

Gnostic Sacraments

Gnostic Sacraments



The English word "sacrament" is derived indirectly from the Ecclesiastical Latin sacrāmentum, from Latin sacrō ("hallow, consecrate"), from sacer ("sacred, holy"). This in turn is derived from the Greek New Testament word "mysterion".

Concerning the Greek mysterion, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words explains: “In the [New Testament] it denotes, not the mysterious (as with the Eng. word), but that which, being outside the range of unassisted natural apprehension, can be made known only by Divine revelation, and is made known in a manner and at a time appointed by God, and to those only who are illumined by His Spirit. In the ordinary sense a mystery implies knowledge withheld; its Scriptural significance is truth revealed. Hence the terms especially associated with the subject are ‘made known,’ ‘manifested,’ ‘revealed,’ ‘preached,’ ‘understand,’ ‘dispensation.’”—1981, Vol. 3, p. 97.

The Bible does not teach that salvation is given in any religious rites.

The language surrounding ‘sacraments’ did not develop in the Church for some time. We hear of a ritual of baptism in the Christian community of the Acts of the Apostles, and of the ‘breaking of bread’ – the Eucharist (Acts 2:38, 41- 42). These celebrations were called by their name, there was no generic term for these experiences.

The master [did] everything in a mystery: baptism, chrism, eucharist, redemption, and bridal chamber.[For this reason] he said, “I have come to make [the lower] like the [upper and the] outer like the [inner, and to unite] them in that place.” [He spoke] here in symbols [and images].

Here the word mystery is musthrion 3466: μυστήριον meaning means ‘something hidden or secret’ – our word ‘mystery’.

a secret, of which initiation is necessary; in the NT: the counsels of God, once hidden but now revealed in the Gospel or some fact thereof; the Christian revelation generally; particular truths or details of the Christian revelation.

The word does not mean a "sacrament(s)"

The Lord [did] everything in a sacred secret: a baptism, and a anointing, and a eucharist, and a redemption, and a bridal chamber. [For this reason] he said, “I have come to make [the lower] like the [upper and the] outer like the [inner, and to unite] them in that place.” [He spoke] here in symbols [and images].

The Greek word musthrion, translated “sacred secret,” has reference primarily to that which is known by those who are initiated.

GPh 67:27–30:“The Lord did everything like a mystery: baptism, chrism, Eucharist, redemption and bridal chamber.”

It is clear, however, that this text does not speak about “mysteries” in the sense of sacraments, but about the hidden, symbolic meaning of the Saviour’s deeds in the world. (Baptism in the Gospel of Philip Einar Thomassen)

Sacraments were seen as symbols and images of the internal process of redemption. The Gospel of Philip put it this way, "Truth did not come into the world naked. Rather it came in prototypes and images, for the world will not receive it in any other form." (Gospel of Philip 67:9-12) Valentinians regarded their worship as purely spiritual (Heracleon 20-24, Irenaeus Against Heresies 1:21:4), with the external forms as symbolic.

Baptism is closely associated with the concept of resurrection from the dead. The person symbolically participated in the death and resurrection of Christ (Gospel of Philip 67:9-19, 69:25-26, 73:1-7). As Theodotus says, "Baptism is called death and an end of the old life . . . but it is also life according to Christ" (Excepts of Theodotus 77:1). The old sinful person dies and the new spiritual person is raised up. Cleansed of sin (Valentinian Exposition 41:21-22, Irenaeus Against Heresies 1:21:2), the person symbolically put on the perfect human being (Gospel of Philip 75:21-24) and was restored to the perfect realm (Gospel of Philip 67:9-12, Valentinian Exposition 41:29-38, Irenaeus Against Heresies 1:21:3).

Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world cannot receive truth in any other way. There is a rebirth and an image of rebirth. It is necessary to be born again truly through the image. How is it with the resurrection and the image? Through the image it must rise. The bridal chamber and the image? Through the image one must enter the truth: this is the restoration.



Cosmas writes that the sect was founded by a priest named Bogomil, but there is both controversy over what his name means, and whether it was his real name at all. Some interpret Bogomil as meaning ‘beloved of God’, while others opt for ‘worthy of God’s mercy’ and ‘one who entreats God’. Cosmas describes the Bogomils as rejecting the Old Testament and Church sacraments; the only prayer they used being the Lord’s Prayer. They did not venerate Icons or relics, while the cross was denounced as the instrument of Christ’s torture.The Church itself was seen as being in league with the devil, whom they regarded as not only the creator of the visible world, but also as Christ’s brother.Their priests were strict ascetics, abstaining from meat, wine and marriage (the gnostics by sean martin)

In the West, the heresy became known as Catharism, from the Greek word katharos, meaning ‘pure’.177 The first Cathars known in the West were discovered at Cologne in 1143, where a group of them blew their cover by arguing over a point of doctrine. Hauled up before the bishop of Cologne, it was discovered that

The Cathars told the bishop that they had ‘lain concealed from the time of the martyrs even to their own day [1143]’.178


Both the Cathars and the Bogomils completely rejected the Church and all its sacraments, regarding it as the church of Satan.The only sacrament they observed was the consolamentum, which served as baptism or, if administered on the deathbed, extreme unction. The only prayer both churches used was the Lord’s Prayer, with the Cathars substituting ‘supersubstantial bread’ for ‘daily bread’.(the gnostics by sean martin)


Both movements regarded the entity of the Church – Catholic in the West, Orthodox in the East – as the church of Satan, rejecting it utterly. Church buildings – the churches, chapels and cathedrals themselves – were likewise seen as no more holy than any other building; neither sect built any, preferring instead to meet in people’s homes, or in barns or fields.The Cross was seen as the instrument of Christ’s torture, and Bogomils and Cathars alike refused to venerate it. They interpreted the eucharist allegorically (the gnostics by sean martin)



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