Hey Dan, thanks for the response. Don't worry about the length. If you write a novel then I will read it. :-)
You have made some good points here. If it's ok with you, I'd like to focus on your thoughts about the Gnostics as I believe that they are providential to this discussion. I don't know if you're familiar with Matt Whitman on YouTube, but he interviews church leaders from many expressions of the Christian faith as a way to promote unity in the church. His most recent video was on the Anglican church (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-yVCbEGWos&t=190s). I left a comment thanking Matt for his efforts, then expressed my great distress when Communion is used as a tool for segregating Christians rather than unifying them. As I was writing about how many Christian churches use made up rules to limit access to the Lord's table, the word "Gnosticism" came to mind. Perhaps it was because I had first read your comment to me here a few days before, and if so, thank you for putting that term into my memory. Regardless, I feel like church leaders who promote human-made rules for the practice of their churches are themselves Gnostics. Perhaps not in the classic sense of the Gnostics of the first century AD, but Gnostics nonetheless with their emphasis on their own private interpretations of Scripture. Please understand that I am not opposed to anyone who would attempt to interpret Scripture using the words God gas placed there before them. What I find troubling is when those interpretations drive a wedge between us. For example, I am what most people would call a Calvinist in my interpretation of God's actions in our salvation. But for as much as I hold the doctrine of election to be true, I am certainly not going to let it impact my interest or ability to break bread with others in the name of Jesus. As long as you confess that Jesus is God Incarnate (Matt 16 and 1 John 4) then you are a part of the club no matter how much I think that your theology is wrong. To do otherwise is to lack grace as found in the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matt 18).
So maybe the word "Gnostic" is not the right word to describe church leaders today, but it certainly describes is the sentiment that I find as I dig deeper into this topic. We may have fancy confessions and church rulebooks that make all of our human judgments look official, but they do not rise to the level of Scripture and must therefore be revised or abandoned when their doctrine goes against the teachings of the Bible.0 0 0 0 0 0 0