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

  1. 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?
  2. What is Docetism and how does it tie to Gnosticism? What were the core beliefs of the Docetists?
  3. What impact did Cerinthus have on development of early Christian theology?
  4. 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?
  5. What did Montanus and his followers, the Montanists, advocate theologically? Can you identify contemporary churches or cults with parallels to their theology?
  6. Who opposed Celsus?  What do we learn from Olson about the theology Celsus advanced?
  7. What were the apparent inconsistencies and contradictions in the developing orthodox theology of the early Church that Celsus attacked?
  8. How did the Church respond to these heresies?

See Lesson 2B for Correlated Readings

Selections from the Gospel of Thomas

Bible Verses for Reflection


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