By Akin Ojumu

Since its infancy, false teachings and erroneous beliefs have dogged Christianity. The Body of Christ have had to combat and repel the invasion of heretic doctrines right from the very beginning of the Christian faith. Two of the first notable heretic groups to assault the Church were the Judaizers and the Gnostics.

The Judaizers were a group of Jewish Christians who insisted that gentile Christians must follow the Mosaic Law and must first be circumcised – i.e., become Jewish through the ritual of a proselyte – before they could receive salvation.

Paul, in his letter to the Galatian Christians, rebuked them for believing in the Judaizers.

“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain – if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith – just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness?”(Galatians 3:1-6).

On the other hand, the Gnostics were those who believed that metaphysical experiences and attainment of esoteric knowledge were the true measure of spirituality. Gnosticism is based on a mystical, intuitive, subjective, inward, emotional approach to truth. 

In 1 Timothy 6:20-21, Paul warned Timothy about the danger of the fast-spreading gnostic teachings:

“O Timothy, guard and keep the deposit entrusted to you! Turn away from the irreverent babble and godless chatter, with the vain and empty and worldly phrases, and the subtleties and the contradictions in what is falsely called knowledge and spiritual illumination. For by making such profession some have erred (missed the mark) as regards the faith.”

Judaizers and Gnostics are satanic influencers. Those who elevate the esoteric experiences, feelings, emotions, and human philosophies above God’s written Word are unwittingly engaged in modern-day Gnosticism. To think the multitude of your religious activities guarantee you God’s favor is to fall into the trap of the Judaizers.

The moment you regard that what you purportedly heard from God is as valid as the written Word of God, you are dabbling in Gnosticism. Believing your intuitions, dreams, visions, and metaphysical experiences are legitimate spiritual guides as the Bible is to buy into gnostic mindset. Those who rely on the customs and traditions of men for direction, are full-fledged Judaizers.

When you look at the landscape of Nigeria Christianity, you can't help but find a widespread influence of the beliefs and teachings of the Judaizers and Gnostics. The telltale signs are there for all to see. Gnosticism is particularly predominant among the new generation of Christian leaders in Nigeria. 

Many of the self-styled apostles and prophets hold on to Gnostic beliefs. You know it from their erroneous teachings and braggadocio mannerisms. They are the types that routinely enjoy angelic visitations and they always have some formula on how to move the hand of God. Such is the potency of the spiritual power they possess that the mere mention of their name can wake from the dead a corpse pumped full of formalin and laying on the cold mortuary floor.

More than ever before, the time we are in calls for Believers in Christ to turn back to the Bible and tune out the modern-day Judaizers and Gnostics. No true seeker of God can quench their spiritual thirst by drinking the rancid water fetched from the well of false apostles and prophets. Faith comes and grows only by hearing the Word of God as written in the Holy Bible. You cannot grow your faith by virtue of feelings, experiences, and occurrences.

You can never go wrong if you stick with the Bible and what it says. Those who try to thread the needle between the written Word of God and anything else are bound to fall into the pit of anything else. Its a rather foolish thing to think theres a middle ground between Gods absolute truth and mans subjective opinion. Prioritizing the word of the man of God over the Word of God is a deadly thing.

You either make the Bible the compass that helps you navigate life, or you don’t. There’s no balance to strike, you are either in or you are out. Great perils await those who choose to be out.


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