Who were the early Christian cultists? Questions for Discussion: Lesson 2A – Chapter One “Critics and Cultists Cause Confusion” from The Story of Christian Theology by Roger Olson
- John saw the Gnostics as the main “enemies of truth”. Why? What did they propose as an alternative to the traditional theology espoused by the Apostolic Fathers?
- What is Docetism and how does it tie to Gnosticism? What were the core beliefs of the Docetists?
- What impact did Cerinthus have on development of early Christian theology?
- Elizabeth Clare Prophet is cited as a modern cult leader who tapped the Gnostic writings in formulating her message of New Age Christianity. Are there other cults you have encountered that borrow from the Gnostics or Docetists?
- What did Montanus and his followers, the Montanists, advocate theologically? Can you identify contemporary churches or cults with parallels to their theology?
- Who opposed Celsus? What do we learn from Olson about the theology Celsus advanced?
- What were the apparent inconsistencies and contradictions in the developing orthodox theology of the early Church that Celsus attacked?
- How did the Church respond to these heresies?
See Lesson 2B for Correlated Readings
Selections from the Gospel of Thomas
Bible Verses for Reflection