Thursday, July 5, 2012

1Timothy 4:3 and The Gnostic Docetism Heresy - Keeper of Satanic teachings

by c.pio

Blatant allegation posted by friend against the Catholic Church:

The true Church established by Christ cannot be a keeper of satanic teachings: Prohibition to marry (priests) and abstain from eating meat (catholic call it Lent).

Catholic Church a keeper of satanic teachings? Really?

This is of course complete nonsense! As Dr. Marshall said on his blog, Heretics always lift singular verses from context and argue from them. This is not the Catholic way.

1Timothy 4:3
Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

Forbid to marry? – The Priestly Celibacy

Priestly celibacy is simply a matter of ecclesiastical discipline and not dogmatically proscribed.  It may be rule to some but not to other communities within the Church, this explains why there are some married Catholic priests – to name a few, the Eastern Catholic Church, former Anglican clergies who joined the Church etc.

The Catholic Priest with seven Children

Eastern Rite Catholic Priest w/ his  wife and son

Another Married Catholic Priest together w/ his family

No one is required to take a vow of celibacy; those who do, do so voluntarily. Celibacy is biblical:

Matthew 19:11–12: But he said to them, "Not everyone can accept this saying, except those to whom celibacy has been granted, because some men are celibate from birth, while some are celibate because they have been made that way by others. Still others are celibate because they have made themselves that way for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can."

Celibacy "for the sake of the kingdom of heaven" Christ said, he who is able to accept this, let him accept it; a call that is not granted to all but granted to some. Like what we have mentioned above, in reading the bible, the reader must read each verse in context, rather than in isolation. The Bible is meant to be read in its entirety, and never to be taken out of context. It is therefore clear to us that 1timothy 4:3 cannot contradict Matthew 4:3

Apostle Paul also testify that he is celibate for the sake of the kingdom of God, he even exalted himself by saying he who marries does well and those who refrains from marriage will do better.

1 Corinthians 7:8 "To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I am.

verse 38: He who marries "does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better" (1Corinthians 7:1-2, 6-9, 32-35, 38)

Some would ask, why do priest need to be removed from his ministerial office and need a written dispensation from the Holy see knowing that there is no rule in forbidding them to marry?

Answer: He needs to do so because he broke his ought/vow to God that he will accept the discipline of celibacy for the sake of God’s Kingdom

Ecclesiastes 5:4: When you make a promise to God, don't delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him.

Commanding to abstain from meats (Lent)? – The Fasting

Daniel 10:3: All that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips, and I used no fragrant lotions until those three weeks had passed.

1 Corinthians 8:13 the Apostle Paul informed us, “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.”

To save space, one article of mine already addressed this matter, here is the link

Now that we know that these teachings are not the Catholic Church, we must then go deeper to dig for the truth. We must identify what particular group whom Apostle Paul was referring to.

Gnostic Docetism heresy               

Gnostic Docetism was an error concerning the nature of Christ. This error developed out of the dualistic philosophy which viewed matter as inherently evil, that God could not be associated with matter, and that God, being perfect and infinite, could not suffer. Generally, it taught that Jesus only appeared to have a body, that he was not really incarnate, (Greek, "dokeo" = "to seem") or a denial that the Son of God really became a man and really died. – Docetai (illusionists)

They also believed that a human being is really an eternal spirit, that became trapped inside a body. Since the body is a prison, it is necessarily evil, therefore the ultimate goal of the Gnostic Docetism is to escape the body and the material world, and to reunite with the spiritual.

This foundational ground that matter as inherently evil, lead them to forbid people to marry (rejected the idea that human being (a flesh/matter) is a co-creator of God since matter create matter) and commanding them to abstain from certain foods that will nourish the body as described by Paul in 1Timothy 4:3

This heretical teaching was emerge during the end of the first century where some of the Apostle (like Paul) were still alive and indeed before Apostle John wrote his gospel!

St. Jerome wrote:

While the apostles were still surviving, while Christ's blood was still fresh in Judea, the Lord's body was asserted to be but a phantasm. [adv. Lucifer 23] 

* Phantasm: Something apparently seen but having no physical reality.

It is possible that the holder of this belief came from Christ’s followers [1 Corinthians 15:6]

After that, he was seen (as risen Christ) by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.

who believe in him but slid to heretical belief [2Timothy 4:3b] and left the Church [1John 2:19]

They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. [2Timothy 4:3b]

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us. [1John 2:18-19]

John goes out of his way to refute this heresy and to affirm the humanity and death of Christ. In his gospel he wrote:

[John 1:14] And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Truly, Christ did not assume "the appearance" of flesh, but actual flesh.

[1John 1:1] That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.

This is a recurring theme in John’s writings, where we also find:

But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water[John 19:34]

That Christ died in the flesh. John also reminds the faithful about how demonic the Docetism is, in his two epistles we read:

Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, [1 John 4:2] But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here. [1 John 4:3]

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. [2 John 7]

Some may ask: why did the Apostles and Elders go and call for a council to suppress this wrong teaching like they did in the council of Jerusalem (in addressing the issue of circumcision)?

Answer: It is impossible for them to convey another council because the persecutions on Christian communities by the Roman Empire were now started and some of the faithful go underground. (like Paul, when he wrote his epistles to Timothy he was already in prison)


In finding more about this belief, One Gnostic gospel called Gospel of Peter is a good example:

And they brought two malefactors, and crucified the Lord between them. But he kept silence, as one feeling no pain. And when they set the cross upright, they wrote thereon: This is the King of Israel. And they laid his garments before him, and divided them among themselves and cast the lot upon them. But one of those malefactors reproached them, saying: We have thus suffered for the evils which we have done; but this man which hath become the savior of men, wherein hath he injured you? And they were wroth with him, and commanded that his legs should not be broken, that so he might die in torment. Now it was noonday, and darkness prevailed over all Judea: and they were troubled and in an agony lest the sun should have set, for that he yet lived: for it is written for them that the sun should not set upon him that hath been slain (murdered). And one of them said: Give ye him to drink gall with vinegar: and they mingled it and gave him to drink: and they fulfilled all things and accomplished their sins upon their own heads. And many went about with lamps, supposing that it was night: and some fell. And the Lord cried out aloud saying: My power, my power, thou hast forsaken me. And when he had so said, he was taken up.

Frederick Fyvie Bruce said:

The docetic note in this narrative appears in the statement that Jesus, while being crucified, 'remained silent, as though he felt no pain', and in the account of his death. It carefully avoids saying that he died, preferring to say that he 'was taken up', as though he - or at least his soul or spiritual self - was 'assumed' direct from the cross to the presence of God. Then the cry of dereliction is reproduced in a form which suggests that, at that moment, his divine power left the bodily shell in which it had taken up temporary residence.

Gnostic Docetism is even found in the Koran's teaching on Jesus (viewing Christ as only a divine illuminator):

And for claiming that they killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of GOD. In fact, they never killed him, they never crucified him - they were made to think that they did. All factions who are disputing in this matter are full of doubt concerning this issue. They possess no knowledge; they only conjecture. For certain, they never killed him. [Koran 4:157]

Another Apostolic Father, Ignatius of Antioch who live during the time of Apostles, (he is the disciple of Apostle John) is clearly writing against docetics when he says,

       "He was then truly born, truly grew up, truly ate and drank, was truly      crucified, and died, and rose again." [Philippians 3]

To a friend, keeper and lovers of Felix’s Doctrine I would suggest to please study the history of Christ’s Church – the ONE, HOLY, APOSTOLIC CATHOLIC CHURCH. sorry to disappoint you :)


  1. The heresy of Gnosticism it appears on the scene at the end of the first century AD. His major exponent was Plotinus the author of the book the Eneddas (most probably I spelled wrong). Plotinus was not a good writer so Porphyry was the author of the book. Its doctrine can be taken as like that of Pythagoras: abstinence, meditation and the central core of this heresy is: that one can attain the greatest degree of sainthood by one’s own means. The grace of God has no real meaning, and Christ as most of the heresies sustain, was a great man but no divine. This doctrine was relevant at the time of Christ in the Roman Empire. To summarize my argument there are two books that deal with this heresy, the one that I have mentioned above and the book “Against the Heresies” by St. Irene us (excuse my spelling). To go in detail about the concepts and beliefs of Gnosticism is beyond of the short space we have. Suffices to say that, the battle, for the throne of heaven still in dispute until now according to them, it is worth to mention that behind any single heresy there is always a Jew.

  2. Very nice info :)

    I believe that Docetic during first century had different variation, but one thing is for sure they view matter as evil. that's why it took for the church a hundred years before it formally condemn this heretical group.

    God bless

    1. It was not matter per se because they were aware that matter was part of the very essence. They thought of matter as very heavy load to ascend to higher levels of contemplation of the spiritual realm. As I have said, in the Eneddas the Opus Magnus of Gnosticism, you may find that their view of the universe was close to the view that current scientists hold. Except that, this priesthood uses more exotics ways (very abstract math) to describe the universe. Parallel universes, liquid universes to name just a few, keep in mind that, “under this sun there is nothing new.”

  3. lol.

    you hit the nail.

    God bless once again.


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