Recently I googled “Sola Scriptura verses” and I was quite surprised to see that there is yet another group out there that is attacking SS – the Gnostics (thanks, Dan Brown). At the website: snant.com/fp/archives/gnosticism-homosexuality-and-sola-scriptura/ I found the following discussion:
One can also find a frighteningly antihomosexual passage in one of the Gnostic texts, the Pistis Sophia:
“A man who hath intercourse with a male, what is his vengeance? Jesus said: The measure of the man who hath intercourse with males and of the man with whom he lieth, is the same as that of the blasphemer. When then the time is completed through the sphere, the receivers of Yaldabaçth come after their soul, and he with his forty-and-nine demons taketh vengeance on it eleven years. Thereafter they carry it to the fire-rivers and seething pitch-seas, which are full of demons with pigs faces. …] Thereafter they carry them into the outer darkness until the day of judgment when the great darkness is judged; and then they will be dissolved and destroyed.”
Now, many of the world-denying Gnostics had no problem with homosexuality, as it was a way to have intercourse without procreation, a method by which one could enjoy sexual activity without the danger of trapping a soul in the world of forms…]
Nonetheless, some so-called Gnostics have glommed onto this passage from the Pistis Sophia and use it to defend what are, in essence, teachings that those who commit homosexual acts are indeed condemned to the judgement of the rulers. If Gnosticism wishes to remain a viable spiritual path in the Modern Era, we must address certain modern issues. We cannot do so from a political context, but must do so in the light of gnosis. The issue of homosexuality is an excellent topic on which to take a stand, as Gnostics, as we can extend it to include our approach to scripture. Do we take scripture as an unchangeable whole, in which we keep the legalistic tenets as they are found?
In spite of the passage found in the Pistis Sophia, we must wholeheartedly deny antihomosexualism in any of its aspects. Gnostics are not now and never have been Sola Scriptura. We are free to agree or disagree with legalistic points of doctrine as we see fit, as long as we are guided by that inner Light of gnosis. We must be free to disagree with scripture, even with what it says about Jesus. Here’s why:
Scripture has never been the absolute centerpiece of Gnostic thought or practice. Scripture is central, yes, but is not the central arbiter of spiritual insight, which is gnosis. Gnosis doesn’t care about scripture. We accept that scripture, whether or not inspired, is fundamentally man-made, and fallible, and that allowances must be made for cultural relativism. Scripture houses living information, what Philip Dick called the plasmate, in the form of a common spiritual language, and, like a living language, is constantly evolving and changing to carry out the salvific mission of the instillment of gnosis within.
There are many fascinating things in this passage that, apparently, jump off the page for those of us Catholics whose memories are older than 2000 years but that the writer is readily oblivious to.
But what I find most interesting is the fact he is using Martin Luther’s own approach and logic to attack Sola Scriptura. He takes a point of contention, homosexuality, and uses it as leverage against what little authority scripture may have had.
He is so lost within the Protestant worldview that he does not understand that we do not get our understanding of the divinely-inspired nature (and the cannon itself) from Luther or even Scripture itself. We get it from the Church.
Based on this flawed understanding, he does not attack the “Sola” (what Catholics attack) as he is attacking “Scriptura” (which the Church defined). In a sense he is attempting to even further de-centralize the practice of faith to “make allowances for relativism” and individual points of view without any necessary reference or dependence upon “scriptures” whatsoever.
Why use scriptures at all? I suppose the answer to that question would be that they want to be able to say they at least have them. They can point to their “spiritual” collection of scriptures just like Protestants point to a completely divided and dysfunctional “church.”
This is what Catholics mean when we talk about “bulwarks of the truth.”