I am telling you today that something’s never die. Something’s just hang around and continue to morph and take other forms, but the core, their center is still the same. One of those things is theological error. Irenaeus of Lyons sums up error very succinctly with this definition---- “Error, indeed is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced more true than truth itself.”
One such error that has been able to wear a myriad of dresses is that old evil theological error of Marcionism. You are thinking what? Never heard of such a thing...well, that is most likely because it is so old and took place in the middle of the second century.
Back in the early church there was this bishop named Marcion who was extremely influential in that he succeeded in establishing churches of his own to rival the Catholic Church for the next two centuries. He was labeled a heretic and was excommunicated from the Roman church around 144 AD.
What was so dangerous about this man? Well, Marcion concluded that many of the teachings of Jesus were incompatible with the actions of the God of the Old Testament. Marcion responded by developing a dualist system of belief around the year 144 AD. This dual-god notion allowed Marcion to reconcile supposed contradictions between Old Covenant theology and the Gospel message proclaimed by Jesus.
The main premise of Marcion's teachings were that the God of the Old Testament and the Jesus of the New Testament can not be reconciled. So Marcion set out to edit his own versions of the biblical books. Marcion's edited version of the Scriptures were known by The Gospel of the Lord.
Marcion did not like the picture of how the Old Testament presented God. The God of the Old Testament was wrathful and angry, and Marcion could not reconcile the God of the Old Testament with the Jesus of the New Testament, so he simply dismissed the God of the Old Testament as a Demiurge.
It seems that in some ways Marcion lives on today...maybe in another dress, but error nonetheless. How does his teaching live on today? Our modern liberal religious climate gives his error great soil to grow and take root.
The notion that God is only love, the notion that Jesus only came to show love, the notion that the primary mission and message of Jesus was to feed the poor and physically heal those who needed medical help. The notion of God punishing sin, judging sin, being angry at sin and the sinner is dismissed as some ancient tribal myth.
The next step that our modern liberal religious elite take is to edit the parts of the New Testament that does not fit in with their narrative of what God is supposed to look like. In the end we have idols that have been concocted in the depraved minds of those who reject the revelation of God throughout the whole sixty-six books of the Canon.
The liberal religious thinking of today has created a God that does not reconcile with the God that is presented in the whole of the Canon of Scripture. Their God is only love, sin never will be punished, in fact the notion of sin is dismissed as some old fashioned guilt tool used to manipulate the masses.
Let us heed the words of our old friend, Pastor J.C. Ryle:
Let us read our Bibles in private more, and with more pains and diligence. Ignorance of Scripture is the root of all error, and makes a person helpless in the hand of the devil. There is less private Bible reading, I suspect, than there was fifty years ago. I never can believe that so many men and women would have been “tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine,” some falling into skepticism, some rushing into the wildest and narrowest fanaticism, and some going over to Rome, if there had not grown up a habit of lazy, superficial, careless, perfunctory reading of God’s Word. “You do err not knowing the Scriptures” (Matt. 22:29). The Bible in the pulpit must never supersede the Bible at home