In Proposition 76, George Peters states:
“The doctrine of the Kingdom was changed under the Gnostic and Alexandrian influence.”
This is a huge and important statement that I hope Peters digs into deeper as the propositions go along. If you are not familiar with Gnosticism, the below links should prove to be helpful:
In regards to the Alexandrian School of Theology, check out the below link for more information:
If one is diligent, they can not elements of Gnosticism that have crept into theology over the years, especially when it comes to matters of the doctrine of the Kingdom. In fact, both Greek and Gnostic philosophies have notably crept into certain aspects of our theology. Furthermore, the Alexandrian School and its approach to allegory when it comes to Scripture is also apparent in the writings of theologians over the years.
The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 76 is the following:
“Another cause which operated largely to diminish the belief in the doctrine of the Kingdom was the coldness and enmity which arose between the Jewish and Gentile Christians, when they separated into parties antagonistic to each other. History conclusively shows that the peace formerly maintained between them through the wise, prudent, and conciliating conduct of the early leaders, was ultimately removed. Nothing contributed so largely to this as the removal (through Gnostic and Alexandrian influence) of the distinctive Jewish idea of the Messiahship and resultant Kingdom, the bond of faith that had united Jew and Gentile into fraternal believers. We need not enter into the saddening controversy – a mournful commentary on human frailty and passion – but one of the results arrests attention, viz.: that the Gentile Christians in their animosity to Judaism, which sought to impose its legality and ritualism, finally were carried to such an extreme that, without discriminating between what was abrogated and the things of God that remained in force, everything that savored in their estimation of Judaism was cast aside, including of course the long entertained Jewish notion of the Kingdom.”
A book I have at home which I have yet to read is The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue by James Parkes. In that book, Parkes addresses this schism between the Church and the Jews. This subject in general has been of great interest to me as I have observed an abundance of this type of attitude and approach to theology in my wanderings around social media (in particular Facebook) forum discussions. I see a lot of the type of attitude noted by Peters in those forums and in discussions with fellow believers, especially when it is mentioned at any point of the need to approach Scripture from a Hebraic standpoint. Charges of “legalism”, being a Pharisee (or Sadducee), and misunderstanding the “Age of Grace” are lobbed around at any mention of taking if anything into conversation the things of God that Peters aptly notes are still in force for believers today. Such animosity should cease as it is negatively impacting how we approach Scripture. Yes indeed the Gnostic and Alexandrian concepts have had an influence, a negative one I humbly submit. This very topic is going to be the source of future blog posts from me that will try and dig into this issue. I am pleased to see Peters bringing up this important point.