sermon: The Colossian Heresy and Laodiceanism
Erosion of the Faith Once Delivered
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Given 13-Jul-19; Sermon #1497; 78 minutes
Without an awareness of cyclical historical patterns, mankind will repeatedly make the same mistakes. We are now living at the end of a deteriorating cycle just as the ancient congregations of Colossae, Hierapolis and Laodicea experienced during the 40-year timeframe between Paul's admonitive letter to the Colossian Church and Jesus Christ's corrective letter to that same Church in 90 A.D. We may gain insight as to why Christ felt disgust at the Laodicean Church by considering Paul's letter to the Colossians, which shared Laodicea's socio-cultural milieu. Both congregations were prone to fall prey to fast-talking teachers, whose persuasive, plausible words drove a wedge between the true Gospel and a syncretistic admixture of philosophy, astrology, Gnosticism, Jewish mysticism, angel worship, and asceticism. These teachers were cleverly made Paul's words say exactly the opposite of what he intended. For example, they taught that Paul did away with the laws and the Holy Days. Antinomian Protestant theologians have attempted to bifurcate Colossians 1-4, glomming on to the first two chapters about the necessity of Christ, but ignoring chapters 3 and 4, which stress Christian conduct, overcoming, and morality. The popular doctrine of Eternal Security is a formula which totally disgusts Our Savior, who has called us to overcome, build character, and follow in His footsteps of righteous behavior.
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