Updated: Dec 16, 2019
It has become blatantly apparent that I must address another aspect in “church” history as it relates to sound doctrine and even the “ekklesia”. There is a bur under the saddle, if you will, which has remained even until today. Quietly festering and causing an ever-deepening infection within the Body of Messiah (Christ) and it's time to lance the wound, purge the infection, and pour in the oil and wine.
This infection began sometime just before 144CE/AD. Under the name of Marcionism, after it's central figure Marcion, we find a host of heresies that were combated by many of the early historians of the “church”. [Refer back to Part 1 to understand why I use quotations around the word church.]
Ever wonder where these phrases/ideas come from?
Old Testament and New Testament
Old Covenant and New Covenant (in Hebraic Culture of the 1st Century "New" and "Renewed" were interchangeable words)
New Testament Church
God of the Old Testament
God of the New Testament
The Old Testament Contradicts the New Testament
The New Testament Overrules the Old Testament
Law is Separate from Grace
God is vengeful and strict in the Old Testament
The God of the New Testament operates in Grace
Jesus was a "manifestation" of the Father ("God of the 'New Testament'")
Let's See if History Can Reveal the Sources to Us...
Marcion was not just any Gnostic teacher, he created his own brand of Gnosticism. Born the son of the Bishop of Sinope in Pontus. Born in 11CE/AD he grew up in “the church”. In fact, according to some historical accounts of his debates with the Holy See (diocese to which he belonged), it would seem he was also of a level at least equal to a Bishop. No layman or lowly monk/priest would have had access to such a debate environment, much less allowed to debate even if given an audience with the council. There are some indications his own father had him excommunicated which led to his denouncing of his presumably early Catholic-esque (or possibly early Eastern Orthodox/Byzantine) faith, but this cannot be verified beyond the shadow of a doubt. Other theories indicate he was introduced to Gnosticism while in Rome, as an adult, and swayed by its mystical bent. Either way, we know that he did indeed choose to leave any orthodoxy which he formerly believed and became the most influential Gnostic teacher in or about 144CE/AD and his teachings would fly in the face of orthodoxy (both early Catholic/Byzantine and the followers of The Way) for centuries to come. In fact, the historian Epiphanius testifies that in the East in A.D. 374 they (Marcionists) had deceived "a vast number of men" and were found, "not only in Rome and Italy but in Egypt, Palestine, Arabia, Syria, Cyprus, the Thebaid (all of the Nile Valley), and even in Persia". Then some 5 centuries later, it seems to have disappeared. Oddly, however, if one traces in the opposite direction in time, from the present backward, we can begin to see that Marcionism really just went underground and much was assimilated into Christendom bit by bit. Please remember the wisdom of Solomon in the "Song of Songs"*. Let's see if we can unpack some of this by starting with some generalities and then work toward some specifics.
*2:5 - Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines...
I haven't located the resources to be able to accurately place when each piece of his heretical teachings was adopted into Consensus Orthodoxy in chronological order, but I will address as many as I can with appropriate dating. Most of what I am about to write will be from the sources known by most as the early 'church fathers'. I will be drawing from the collective works of Tertullian, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Epiphanius, and others as appropriate. The point again is to focus on the heresies in general with a special emphasis on the heresies which are, in some form or another, considered Orthodoxy today. You will likely be surprised at what was considered heresy from Marcion but it is now considered part and parcel for nearly every major “Christian” organization on the planet. I'd like to ask you to watch, as this unfolds, for certain phrases which are used today but were first coined by Marcionites and other Gnostics.
Let's begin with Marcion's view of creation. In his view, all of the material world is evil and contemptible. Because of this, he created a theology which taught the material universe was created by a Demiurge, a god who gives way to fierce anger. This theory gave him what he needed to declare a separation between the “Old Testament” and “New Testament” - more this later. You see, in his doctrine, the demiurge was a god of evil judgment and giver of THE LAW and all of the “Old Testament”. Further, this demiurge duped the Israelites, who'd just been freed from slavery to Egypt, into slavery to "THE LAW". The Good God of the “New Testament” was a God of LOVE and GRACE. The “Old Testament” god of judgment brought men into strict adherence to his "LAW”, while the "New Testament" Good God brought the “LAW OF GRACE”. Before we go too far, this idea of 2 gods wasn't new to the 'Christianity' of the time of Marcion, it is known as “Dualism” and had actually been a part of heresies for centuries before Marcion; he just found a way to make it fit his theological bent in order to carry his followers into a total disregard for the “Old Testament”, which by the way IS a separation new to the time of Marcion. He invented it. Prior to Marcion's influence, there was no known or recorded separation between the “Old” and “New” Testaments of Scripture. They were just known as “Scripture” even by the Western Gentile “Church” of that day. Again, this plays well into Marcion's theology. With the separation of a god of creation (and therefore all that is evil) and a Good God who only brings LOVE, MERCY, and GRACE we can see the seedlings of a number of errant extremists' theology in the Body of Messiah today.
Eternal Security (Calvinism)
Loss of Salvation for every sin (Arminianism)
Universalism (Everyone is saved they just don't know it yet)
Hyper-Grace (a modern resurgence of hybridized Calvanism on steroids)
Antisemitism in the Body of Messiah/Christ
Dispensationalism (which eventually birthed Dominion Theology)
The Continued Separation of the Word of God (i.e. “Old” and “New” Testaments)
Separation of a presumed 2 Covenants “Old” and “New” (instead of “Renewed”)
"Oneness Pentecostal theology
more as we unpack this...
Marcion was also a fan of what is now often referred to as “The Christ Principle*”. Essentially this is a theory that Yeshua/Jesus was never here in the flesh but as the Son of the Good God “manifested” Himself as a man in order to outwit the demiurge/creator god and bring His GRACE to the people of Israel who'd been duped into accepting THE LAW. In so doing Yeshua/Jesus nailed the LAW (Torah) to the Cross and abolished it forever! He disregarded the records of Yeshua/Jesus Himself saying He did not come to abolish Torah in Matthew 5:17. He also ignores the fact that the Gospels all corroborate one another in the fact the Yeshua/Jesus was no mere spiritual manifestation, but God in the flesh! Marcion justified this with his own brand of doctrine which taught Paul was the only true Apostle. In his mind, only Paul had real revelation. Marcion was able to sway many to believe this with a simple twisting of Paul's words regarding the Law, because Marcion likely had little understanding of Torah due to his abhorrence of anything “Old Testament”. Thus his purposeful and deceptive separation of Scripture into his own early version of Dispensationalism.
By the way, while I am on this point, let me include that Marcion called his followers the “New Testament Church” because they did not believe any of the Old Testament to be of any consequence after Yeshua/Jesus “nailed the Law to the Cross”. No one seems to ever stop and ask, is that what Paul REALLY meant in Colossians 2:14?!?
"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
The reality is, the handwriting of ordinances would be like being written a citation for breaking a law today. Most people don't realize that a citation written by an officer of the law is a legal arrest, but it is known as a non-custodial arrest. In other words, you're being charged with violating a crime or statute, without being taken into custody and booked into jail. You can choose to pay the fine, thus admitting your guilt, or you can have your day in court and state your case. In Colossians 2:14 Shaul/Paul is saying, "You had charges pending and judgment was coming, but Yeshua/Jesus took your guilt with Him to the Cross, and paid the fine, so you are no longer being accused of what you were already guilty of". This is NOT about the Law of Moses / Torah / or the "Old Testament" being a thing that has been abolished, or to which we are no longer held accountable. Torah is eternal because Jesus is Torah Incarnate!
If you've read much of my material, then you know that I hate the anti-Semitic nature of things said, believed, and coming from many who claim to be a part of the Body of an Israeli/Jewish Messiah; who taught the worship of a God who made “Jews” His Covenant people (to whom we are grafted – Romans 11); who was blameless under “Jewish Law” (Torah); and still has a Covenant through which He is writing His Torah on believer's hearts as Gentiles and Jews who have accepted Him (even according to Paul himself - again in Romans 11)!
So, let's just set the record straight on this and put this to bed early on so we can see the heresies of Marcion more clearly as we proceed. Poison roots produce poison fruits. If we accept any portion of the lies Marcionism established, especially those born from his anti-Semite perspective, we are not connecting to the true vine. We are instead choosing to accept Consensus Theology in our ignorance of solid Biblical Theology and Sound Doctrine. We would also then be accepting "another Jesus" (2 Corinthians 11:4). We really must check our hearts and consult Scripture in proper context. Not as “Gentile Christians” or "Jewish Christians", but as I've already said before, by going back to Romans 11 and accepting Scripture in its Hebraic context; which is a solid root and foundation from which we can grow in Him without the Gnostic or pagan additions which have been given a pass and even integrated into what is now accepted as orthodoxy the world over.
*NOTE: another theory within the Christ Principle is that Yeshua/Jesus was flesh ONLY and the “Christ Spirit” descended upon him at his immersion by John in the Jordan River. This Christ Spirit stayed on him until his death then came upon him again to resurrect him. This removes the deity of Yeshua/Jesus in the flesh, which then nullifies our redemption because only God Himself “in the Flesh” could pay the price for humanity. This particular heretical teaching also contributed to the "Kinosis Theory" which taught that Jesus performed all of His miracles as just a man. The blame for our wretched state is squarely upon humanity's own shoulders. Marcionsim seeks to pass that blame on to a demi-god whose evil intent was passed to his creation. I find it extremely interesting that Maricon used “Old Testament” Scripture to manipulate and twist “New Testament” Scripture when and where ever it suited his need. In regard to the above he “used the story of the angels, who ate, walked, and conversed with Abraham and yet had no real human body, as an illustration of the life of Christ (Adv. Marc., III, ix)”. We see this throughout the Body of Believers today as well. Those who teach He was just a man in right relationship with God when He performed miracles, signs, and wonders have bought into at least a portion of the “Christ Principle” of traditional Gnosticism or even worse a dualist view of the nature of the Yeshua/Jesus as the God-man which embraces Marcionism. Again, ONLY God in the flesh could pay the price to renew the Abrahamic Blood Covenant which was broken and renew it for all of humanity to have access.
Today's Body of Believers isn't so terribly different from Marcion in yet another way. He cut out any and all text of Scripture which did not support his theology and doctrine. In fact, he wrote his own Gospel and kept the majority of Luke (minus the first 2 chapters because it made Jesus human AND Jewish) as the only other Gospel and added 10 of the epistles of Paul to complete the Bible for his “Church”. This was known as the "Bible of the New Testament Church".
How often do we hear any preachers or teachers today quoting from Leviticus, unless they are unwittingly quoting it by quoting a “New Testament” Scripture which is reiterating what the “Old Testament” says? How many messages do we hear about Job's “what I feared most has come upon me?”; without it leading to some homiletic expression of “the God of the New Testament brings increase?”; then finally ending with an expression of “extravagant giving leads to extravagant blessing”... While there is some truth to this, there is also a purposeful avoidance of another Biblical concept - “the LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away”!
Today, there is a calculated removal of any thoughts, precepts, or lines of teaching which do not fit within the “hyper-grace” hyperbole! The rhetoric is specifically designed to guide the listeners/attendees into a good frame of mind, and feelings of happiness or peace. None of which is bad, except it is Marcionism 101 when it is not balanced with teaching of the heart for justice and judgment of God! Even the most fundamentalist of ministries today seem to remove all that does not speak of “New Testament” mercy, grace, and above all LOVE because it comes from another god – “the god of the Old Testament”. Variants of this theology are pervasive throughout Christendom. All theology and doctrine, but those which accept the totality of Scripture, are inevitably connected to Marcionism at the root and will eventually produce poison fruit. Things like believing there is a difference between how a Jew and Gentile are required to worship, live, etc.
"'With the help of the devil Marcion has in every country contributed to blasphemy and the refusal to acknowledge the Creator of all the world as God'. He recognizes another god, who, because he is essentially greater (than the World maker or Demiurge) has done greater deeds than he (hos onta meizona ta meizona para touton pepikeni). The supreme God is hagathos, just and righteous. The good God is all love, the inferior god gives way to fierce anger. Though less than the good god, yet the just god, as world creator, has his independent sphere of activity. They are not opposed as
Ormusz and Ahriman, though the good God interferes in favour of men, for he alone is all-wise and all-powerful and loves mercy more than punishment. All men are indeed created by the Demiurge, but by special choice he elected the Jewish people as his own and thus became the god of the Jews."
- the first/earliest description of Marcion's
doctrine goes back to Justin somewhere
between 130 & 165CE/AD
I believe, without meaning to, many in the Body of Messiah/Christ are anti-Semitic in their theology, though their hearts desire nothing of anti-Semitism. Those people have been trapped/tricked/deceived/duped into believing Marcionism and its influence in the “Modern Church”. They are at odds with themselves, just as Paul warned Timothy (regarding Gnostics) in 2 Timothy 2:25 -
"In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;"
A bit more understanding of the Greek wording used in the writings of Paul. Skip to the next divider, if this is something you already know.
The Greek word for “acknowledging” is “epignosis” (ἐπίγνωσις) a composite of epi and gnosis which is the word from which we get Gnostic/Gnosticism.
Thayer Definition: epi
1) upon, on, at, by, before
2) of position, on, at, by, over, against
3) to, over, on, at, across, against
Thayer Definition: gnosis
1) precise and correct knowledge
1a) used in the NT of the knowledge of things ethical and divine
Which is akin to epi-ginosko:
1) to become thoroughly acquainted with, to know thoroughly
1a) to know accurately, know well
2) to know
2a) to recognise
2a1) by sight, hearing, of certain signs, to perceive who a person is
2b) to know, i.e. to perceive
2c) to know, i.e. to find out, ascertain
2d) to know, i.e. to understand
In proper context, it's easy to see that Shaul/Paul was referring to Shaul/Paul was referring to the Gnostics total lack of understanding of the totality of Scripture because they had no regard for (and likely never read) the “Old Testament”.
Paul spoke of those who proclaimed “another Jesus”, or “another Gospel”, or preached things which are contrary to the truths he and the other 1st Century Apostles proclaimed. He was referring to the Gnostics; those who claimed secret Gnosis/knowledge from "God".
This fits with the overall method of Marcion and so it is reasonable to equate that in this pattern of claiming secret knowledge he thought most of the “Jewish” apostles could not know because ONLY Paul had revelation; then by twisting Paul's writings to separate Jews and Gentiles, law and grace, Old and New Testaments - Marcion and other similar Gnostics created an atmosphere where their theology of dualism ("Old Testament" evil creator demi-god and "New Testament" Good God of Grace) could thrive. Not unlike the people of today, I can imagine how being in a desperate situation of sin and personal degradation, they felt they grievously [needed] a God of Grace without repercussions to disobedience of “The Law”. Improperly understanding Galatians and Romans, it could be easy for us to fall into the same trap, and most of Christendom has. Let's take a look, shall we?
In the Picture below, we can see there are two applications for the Greek "nomos" (νόμος) or "law" the key is to recognize the use of the pronoun "the". You'll notice something interesting in many academically honest translations, they italicize any words which were added to provide clarity in the English. In some places within Galatians and Romans "the" is italicized when connected to the word "law" and in other places it is not. At the time of Paul's writing to the Galatians, there was "Written Law" and "Oral Law". The Oral Law eventually became the written Talmud. I personally do not believe it is totally accurate or even fair to say that Paul was addressing the Talmud in Galatians or Romans. While it may be true in part, I believe it is far more likely he was addressing takkanot (takkanah in the singular).
Merriam-Webster defines takkanah/takkanot...
tak·ka·nah | \ täˈkä nä\
plural takkanot\ -ˌ täˈkä ˈnōtDefinition of takkanah
: a rabbinic ordinance initiating a practice not directly based on biblical authority or oral tradition and promulgated to meet the needs of the times or circumstances
In short, the takkanot are the "traditions of men" or "the words of the Sages" Yeshua/Jesus was always arguing against. He NEVER once argued any part of Torah, only the misappropriation of Torah/Law by the religious leaders, or the rules they made up which changed how the whole of Torah was understood. We're getting to understanding how the two uses of "law" are important; bear with me for just a moment longer ok?
It seems reasonable, if since every single one of Yeshua/Jesus' theological debates with the Pharisaic, Saducaic, and Scribal leaders was over a takkanah of the time, that the Apostles would still be dealing with them as well. Using this to understand Galatians/Romans greatly changes the narrative. The use of "the" where it was not in the original text makes Galatians/Romans seem anti-Torah, which plays right into the hands of Marcionism. It gives a false impression that there truly is a separation between and an "Old" and "New" Testament. Further, by examining the book of Hebrews and its mention (in English Bibles) of "Old" and "New" Covenants and this false impression becomes plausible. With one small exception. It makes the totality of Scripture, and even the words of Jesus Himself, a contradiction and therefore a total lie! A partial truth is still a whole lie and if Scripture lies to us in any one place, then it must be held to its own standard. Ya'akov/James, the half brother of Yeshua/Jesus, tells us in James 2:10
“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”
So then, either Scripture contradicts itself between "Old" and "New" Testaments and Marcion is right OR we are not understanding Scripture in a proper context. If there are changes in how YHVH, God of the Bible and Creator of all, operates now compared to how He operated in the times of the Patriarchs, then the whole of Scripture is a lie. "In Him, there is no shadow of turning", "He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever", He is a God of "renewal", etc. [see my Blog "Falling in Love on the Sabbath"]. If He started this whole thing with a rigorous set of "Laws" that no one can live up to, then He gave the recently freed children of Israel a scam. It is not an Old and New Covenant, it is the same Covenant renewed, which is why Romans 11 says the Gentiles are grafted into the Covenant through Israel. It is an inseparable bond, which Marcion twisted, until having convinced much of the religious world of his day that it did not even exist. This same heresy is pervasive throughout religious society today. I'd bet each of you can think of an example of twisting which Scripture you've witnessed with your own eyes...
Let's do a practical exercise with Galatians and Romans to see what changes, after you have a chance to review the picture below. Keep in mind what I mentioned about "law" just a few paragraphs ago.
Galatians 3:2, 5, 10, 11
2 - This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the takkanot/Talmud, or by the hearing of faith?
5 - He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the takkanot/Talmud, or by the hearing of faith?
10 - For as many as are of the works of the takkanot/Talmud are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the Torah to do them.
11 - But that no man is justified by the takkanot/Talmud in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Verse 10 is pivotal! With the use of the word “law” in proper context, we can easily identify what is really being said. A lack of this understanding by the translators and therefore also a lack of knowing how to differentiate between “law” and “Torah”, probably due to the influence Marcionism and other heretical teachings which had already been assimilated into “Church” culture, they were blinded and simply could not see the difference. Let's continue with the Romans example and see how this pans out.
Romans 7:12, 22
12 - Therefore the Torah/Law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
22 - For I delight in the Torah/Law of God after the inward man:
Was Paul schizophrenic? Did he have multiple personality disorder? Of course, not! His writings have zero contradictions with the whole of Scripture when taken into proper context. It is an improper understanding or ignorant acceptance of Marcionite teachings which make it seem there are contradictions. Now that we have dismantled the supposed separation of “Old” and “New” Testaments/Covenants let's look at some other aspects of Marcion's heresy and how it is alive and well, living integrated into modern theology and doctrine.
Interesting Quotes: From “The doctrine of the One Principle only, of which the Jewish god is a creature, was maintained by the notorious Apelles, who, though once a disciple of Marcion himself, became more of a Gnostic than of a Marcionist. He was accompanied by a girl called Philumena, a sort of clairvoyante who dabbled in magic, and who claimed frequent visions of Christ and St. Paul, appearing under the form of a boy. Tertullian calls this Philumena a prostitute, and accuses Apelles of unchastity...” -
Marcion was infamous for a change to Ephesian 3:9:
"the mystery which from the beginning of the world has been hidden from the God who created all things" (omitting en before theo)
Notice the change? It should read:
“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:”
Using such tactics in changing the Gospel of Luke and the 10 Epistles from Paul to create his “Bible of the New Testament Church”, Marcion swayed a great many people away from the God of the Bible. Many today use the same phrases he coined, but say they mean something a bit different by them; a close examination of their theology/doctrine usually shows traces of Marcionist theology. They are impregnated within the mindset of acceptance of the phrases themselves. As you've seen in Part 1 of “The Ekklesia” there is no “New Testament Church”. To say so today is to reiterate the anti-Semitic teachings of early heretics such as Marcion.
Tertullian wrote of Marcion's doctrine of salvation: “Salvation will be the attainment only of those souls which had learned his doctrine; while the body, as having been taken from the earth, is incapable of sharing in salvation. In addition to his blasphemy against God Himself, he advanced this also, truly speaking as with the mouth of the devil, and saying all things in direct opposition to the truth - i.e. that Cain, and those like him, and the Sodomites, and the Egyptians, and others like them, and, in fine, all the nations who walked in all sorts of abomination, were saved by the Lord, on His descending into Hades, and on their running unto Him, and that they welcomed Him into their kingdom. But the serpent which was in Marcion declared that Abel, and Enoch, and Noah, and those other righteous men who sprang from the patriarch Abraham, with all the prophets, and those who were pleasing to God, did not partake in salvation. For since these men, he says, knew that their God was constantly tempting them, so now they suspected that He was tempting them, and did not run to Jesus, or believe His announcement: and for this reason he declared that their souls remained in Hades.”
Concerning Baptism (Mikvah/Submersion in Water) Tertullian says of the doctrine of Marcion:
“The flesh is not, according to Marcion, immersed in the water of the sacrament, unless it be in virginity, widowhood, or celibacy, or has purchased by divorce a title to baptism, as if even generative impotents did not all receive their flesh from nuptial union. Now, such a scheme as this must no doubt involve the proscription of marriage.”
This may be in opposition to a Gnostic who reportedly was in the Jerusalem congregation and possibly even in attendance at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) under the supervision of James the Just (Ya'akov – the half brother of Yeshua/Jesus). His name was Nicos, he was a deacon in the Jerusalem congregation. He and his followers are mentioned in Revelation 2. Historians have left us a few details behind regarding the doctrine of Nicos. He believed his wife was too beautiful to be held by any one man, so he offered men of the Jerusalem congregation opportunities to have her for sexual pleasure. When such heresy was discovered, he was excommunicated, presumably using the Matthew 15:18-20 protocols. It would seem Marcion's answer to this was to make marriage “illegal” in his “New Testament Church”. An odd leap for someone who rejected the Torah and Law and who taught that being of the material world was evil because it offered no grace - in his interpretation. A contradiction to be sure. Remember what we've discussed before? A partial truth is a whole lie. Extremism in any form will often lead to error. Which is the pattern of all the extreme religious ideologies of the modern “church”, which I listed near the beginning of this chapter, whose earliest mention can be found within Marcionism even if only in an unrefined seedling form. Revelation is truly progressive, this is true for both Scriptural revelation and unScriptural revelation as well.
Of the Torah/Law Tertullian writes in opposition of Marcion's view of Torah:
“For it was not merely that he might live the natural life that God had produced man, but that he should live virtuously, that is, in relation to God and to His Law.”
In rebuttal to Marcion's teaching on the demiurge creator of the “Old Testament” being just but evil and the Good God of Grace in the “New Testament” Tertullian has this to say:
“Since, therefore, there is this union and agreement between goodness and justice, you cannot prescribe their separation. With what face will you determine the separation of your two Gods, regarding in their separate condition one as distinctively the good God, and the other as distinctively the just God? Where the just is, there also exists the good. In short, from the very first the Creator was both good and also just. And both His attributes advanced together. His goodness created, His justice arranged, the world; and in this process, it even then decreed that the world should be formed of good materials, because it took counsel with goodness. The work of justice is apparent, in the separation which was pronounced between light and darkness, between day and night, between heaven and earth, between the water above and the water beneath, between the gathering together of the sea and the mass of the dry land, between the greater lights and the lesser, between the luminaries of the day and those of the night, between the tree of knowledge of death and of life, between the world and paradise, between the aqueous and the earth-born animals. As goodness conceived all things, so did justice discriminate them. With the determination of the latter, everything was arranged and set in order. Every site and quality of the elements, their effect, motion, and state, the rise and setting of each, are the judicial determinations of the Creator. Do not suppose that His function as a judge must be defined as beginning when evil began, and so tarnish His justice with the cause of evil. By such considerations, then, do we show that this attribute advanced in company with goodness, the author of all things — worthy of being herself, too, deemed innate and natural, and not as accidentally accruing to God, inasmuch as she was found to be in Him, her Lord, the arbiter of His works.”
In Marcion's teaching of the god of the “Old Testament” being a strict god of justice and no grace, he offered as evidence the 8 days March around Jericho, with the Ark of the Covenant being carried (labor). Marcion claimed this evil god didn't even keep his own "laws" but demanded obedience nonetheless.
In answer to this Tertullian writes:
“You reproach Him with fickleness and instability for contradictions in His commandments, such as that He forbade work to be done on Sabbath-days, and yet at the siege of Jericho ordered the ark to be carried round the walls during eight days; in other words, of course, actually on a Sabbath. You do not, however, consider the law of the Sabbath: they are human works, not divine, which it prohibits. Exodus 20:9-10 For it says, Six days shall you labour, and do all your work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God: in it you shall not do any work. What work? Of course your own. The conclusion is, that from the Sabbath day He removes those works which He had before enjoined for the six days, that is, your own works; in other words, human works of daily life. Now, the carrying around of the ark is evidently not an ordinary daily duty, nor yet a human one; but a rare and a sacred work, and, as being then ordered by the direct precept of God, a divine one. And I might fully explain what this signified, were it not a tedious process to open out the forms of all the Creator's proofs, which you would, moreover, probably refuse to allow. It is more to the point, if you be confuted on plain matters by the simplicity of truth rather than curious reasoning. Thus, in the present instance, there is a clear distinction respecting the Sabbath's prohibition of human labours, not divine ones. Accordingly, the man who went and gathered sticks on the Sabbath day was punished with death. For it was his own work which he did; and this the law forbade. They, however, who on the Sabbath carried the ark round Jericho, did it with impunity. For it was not their own work, but God's, which they executed, and that too, from His express commandment.”
First and foremost let me drive home once more in this specific rebuttal that CLEARLY even the early Western Gentile “Church” recognized a 7th Day of the Week Sabbath (Shabbat) and not a Sunday 1st Day of the Week “Day of the Lord”. For more clarity on this see “Falling in Love on the Sabbath”.
Secondly, note Tertullian points out not only the error of Marcion's argument, but the lack of logic within the argument itself. Marcion's religion was fully intent on a separation between Jew and Gentile by alienating the Covenant People and removing all vestiges of the dependence ALL believers in Yeshua/Jesus have upon the foundational teachings of the “Old Testament”. Without them there is no Covenant with Israel/Jews and according to Romans 11:11 without a Covenant People who stumbled in their understanding of God's Plan, there would be no salvation for the Gentile. Also that once the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, the jealousy of the Israeli/Jew will likewise draw them in as well. It is by the struggles of most Israelis/Jews to accept Yeshua/Jesus we can be grafted in and this is how the whole world is now blessed by Israel!! Just as God promised at Mt. Horeb, but the people once again had rejected His Plan for their own plan and broke Covenant once again. It was this act which started the Universe itself on a track toward the Messiah coming “in the Flesh” as 100% God and simultaneously 100% man in order to pay the penalty for a people who mostly rejected Him, thus giving Gentiles a way in. SO many moving parts, so many millennia, so much which had to be exactly right to accomplish this... can the Good God of Grace which Marcion preached have possibly even hoped to accomplish this without Justice to balance His Grace? Can the God of the modern hyper-grace movement, which is an echo from heresy annulled centuries ago, be any more successful at this level of intricate and dynamic salvation? I believe Tertullian would say NO!
In the next chapter, we will uncover the specter of Marcion lurking in the theology and doctrine of some of the most influential preachers, teachers, and Biblical Training Institutions in America and the world. I intend to use quotes within graphics that will positively identify the speakers who are helping to perpetuate the evil heresies of the "Church's Most Successful Deceiver".
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<<<<<<< Part 10
Anti-Marcionite writers for your continued research:(Also some of the sources for this series)
(1) St. Justin the Martyr (150) refers to the Marcionites in his first Apology; he also wrote a special treatise against them. This, however, mentioned by Irenæus as Syntagma pros Markiona, is lost. Irenaeus (Haer., IV, vi, 2) quotes short passages of Justin containing the sentence: "I would not have believed the Lord Himself if He had announced any other than the Creator"; also, V, 26, 2.
(2) Irenaeus (c. 176) intended to write a special work in refutation of Marcion, but never carried out his purpose (Haer., I, 27, 4; III, 12, 13); he refers to Marcion, however, again and again in his great work against Heresies especially III-4, 2; III-27, 2; IV-38, 2 sq.; III-11, 7, 25, and 3.
(3) Rhodon (180-192) wrote a treatise against Marcion, dedicated to Callistion. It is no longer extant, but is referred to by Eusebius (Church History V.13) who gives some extracts.
(4) Tertullian, the main source of information, wrote his "Adversus Marcionem" (five books) in 207, and makes reference to Marcion in several of his works: "De Praescriptione", "De Carne Christi", "De Resurrectione Carnis", and "De Anima". His work against Apelles is lost.
(5) Pseudo-Tertullian, (possibly Commodian. See H. Waitz, "Ps. Tert. Gedicht ad M.", Darmstadt, 1901) wrote a lengthy poem against Marcion in doggerel hexameters, which is now valuable. Pseudo-Tertullian's (possibly Victorinus of Pettau) short treatise against all heresies (c. A.D. 240) is also extant.
(6) Adamantius — whether this is a real personage or only a nom de plume is uncertain. His dialogue "De Recta in Deum Fide", has often been ascribed to Origen, but it is beyond doubt that he is not the author. The work was probably composed about A.D. 300. It was originally written in Greek and translated by Rufinus. It is a refutation of Marcionism and Valentinianism. The first half is directed against Marcionism, which is defended by Megethius (who maintains three principles) and Marcus (who defends two). (Berlin ed. of the Fathers by Sande Bakhuysen, Leipzig, 1901).
(7) St. Hippolytus of Rome (c. 220) speaks of Marcion in his "Refutation of All Heresies", book VII, ch. 17-26; and X, 15)
(8) St. Epiphanius wrote his work against heresies in 374, and is the second main source of information in his Ch. xlii-xliv). He is invaluable for the reconstruction of Marcion's Bible text, as he gives 78 and 40 passages from Marcion's New Testament where it differs from ours and adds a short refutation in each instance.
(9) St. Ephraem (373) maintains in many of his writings a polemic against Marcion, as in his "Commentary on the Diatesseron" (J.R. Harris, "Fragments of Com. on Diates.", London, 1895) and in his "Metrical Sermons" (Roman ed., Vol II, 437-560, and Overbeek's Ephraem etc., Opera Selecta).
(10) Eznik, an Armenian Archpriest, or possibly Bishop of Bagrawand (478) wrote a "Refutation of the Sects", of which Book IV is a refutation of Marcion. Translated into German, J.M. Schmid, Vienna, 1900.