Supplement to Chapter 21 of One Commentary on Ephesians.

21-5:  It is easily understood when the majority of those in the body of Christ presently will not endure sound doctrine, as the renowned leaders of Bible and Theology have sold out in the words of Dr. Jones to paganism and Gnosticism.

Would say to them in the words of Hebrews 4:13–

“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”


For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.  (Hebrews 6:4-6)

Mrs. Pagels is appreciated for many reasons, not the least of which is the courage to speak in public her convictions (Take for example the new President of Baylor, it is impossible to find any public statement of faith she has made except on basketball), primarily in her writings, and to be candid about both a profession of faith at age 14 in a Billy Graham meeting and the despair for two years of leave from teaching after she lost both her son and her husband.  The fact that she was not slain in her lack of faith in God after these tragedies, tells both that she was a child of God and God was dealing gentle with her unbelief cultivated in theology and obviously a lack of prayer and Bible reading contrasted to theology.  Likewise, in her personal falling away of apostasy, it has to be explained by all that are fallen, like Jesus taught, “because sin will abound the love of many will wax cold.”  All that fall away from faith in God, Christ, and the Bible succumb the increased sin in their environments with a resulting love of first love priority for Christ, thus is first a loss of heart and emotion in the falling away before it becomes obvious in the words of Ii Timothy 4:3,4 that “they will no longer endure sound doctrine…”  What is so obvious from the books of this Harvard teacher of religion at Harvard, and no doubt in these days of paganism and Gnosticism Dr. Peter Jones speaks of is but typical of most Bible and theological departments.  Professor Pagels just has more courage to say it in public, but of course has profited handsomely in status and profits from her books in support of Gnosticism.

Gnostic Gospels were rejected in the first centuries for the same reason they must be rejected as heresy and unbelief today.  As Dr. F.F. Bruce aptly points out as usual in his book on the New Testament Canon, who wrote the book, an apostle or an associate of an apostle was prime; yet in most of the Gnostic Gospel they lie about their authorship.  Then there is the consistency of the content, and wow, as Dr. Pagels also so aptly points out point after point they contradict the rest of the New Testament beliefs on God, Christ, the church, and on and on violating all seven of the seven ONEs of Ephesians that should in all avenues of Bible study represent more than adequately the faith once for all delivered to the saints.  And even a non-scholar can easily recognize with what Pagels quotes from the Gnostic writers that then and now, they are adversaries of the faith of the Bible.  Sorry her Christian life has not been such as to know the reality of a definite supernatural being called Satan, so in her normal manner she will have to give her hasty generalization of a metaphorical Satan, and that the Gnostic writers were demonized by Christians.  {Once again, the trend of modern theology, sometimes called critical thinking, that the underdog is always right and oppressed by the big boys.}

It is easily understandable how theological professors at these large northern seminaries have bought into the special wisdom and knowledge of Gnosticism as they know, and their doctorates prove it, that they are smarter than most in the total body of Christ.  Unfortunately, they drag down our Southern Seminaries, and help with theology of paganism and gnosticism destroy some of the brightest and best young Christian men from our community churches, sort of much like what happened to the girl of 14 full of faith in Jesus and enthusiasm for the Gospel of John was led one unbeliever class to another into darkness of “an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God”.

Perhaps it is a little strong, but correct, as one online preacher writes of how people like Pagels have created a Judas Jesus.  { }

There is a problem here also. The Jesus of a liberation theology is a Jesus who serves only one group of people. The Jesus of liberation theologies is a Judas Jesus. There is a professor of religion (so-called) at Princeton University named Elaine Pagels. She has written a book about a writing called The Gospel of Thomas. This writing comes from a group of false teachers in the early church called Gnostics, but that doesn’t bother Elaine Pagels. She doesn’t like the Jesus of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. She instead prefers the Jesus of The Gospel of Thomas. She says, “Thomas’s Jesus directs each disciple to discover the light within himself.” Don’t like the Jesus of scripture? Then find your own, says Professor Pagels. The problem is this: the Jesus of Elaine Pagels and The Gospel of Thomas is a Judas Jesus.

21-6:  How foolish and unprofitable to consider today any but Paul on Gnosticism because:  (1)  Paul fought with them in the first century throughout his travels throughout the Roman world, among the Jews and the early Christians, having a personal knowledge and experience with them that cannot be duplicated today, and a steadfastness in the faith which could not be shaken by this greatest Christian other than Christ, the one chosen to write 14 of the NT books and sponsor 3 others; and (2) Trained before conversion as a lawyer of the Hebrews, this meant religious as civil law, and trained under Gamaliel of all the false theologies and philosophies of the world then, He as an apostle like Peter, James, and John received special revelations from God through the Holy Spirit to give the final Word and words on all mysteries, hidden or otherwise.

Perhaps if one briefly considers some of the many versions in different translations of the anti-gnostic verse of Colossians 2:8 both the truth of the message from God through Paul will sink in, and a realization of the true source of these unsound doctrines that turn into Christian fables, then and today.

Colossians 2:8 New International Version (NIV)

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

  1. Then and now “hollow and deceptive philosophy” has the sources of: (1) human traditions which Jesus often warned about just a few years from the Apostle Paul, those “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men”; and (2) the source is nothing less than “the elemental spiritual forces of the world”, in other words from the same Satan Mrs. Pagels must deny if her research and conclusions are to have any validity, also from Satan’s other fallen angels, not successful with gnosticism in the first two hundred years, but as sin abounded and first priority of love diminished with hundreds and thousands of years, like in about 1000 A.D.  “the seducing of spirits and doctrines of devils” drew the Roman Vatican into the falling away of continuity with Christ, and then later in about 1929 with publication of the Scofield Reference Bible, the same spirits and doctrines seduced Protestantism.
  2. Get that and do not be seduced, that is the last part, that this hollow philosophy in no way depend “on Christ”, they depend on human wisdom, teachings, and the doctrines and seducing spirits of Satan and his followers. It is only by the grace of God and faithful church fathers that Gnostics lost the battle of early church history, and for some mysterious reason we have trouble understanding, mainly however because of the freedom of man’s choice that He allowed, the same elemental powers are winning today in the world and the church.  Woe be it unto Pagels or the Jesus Seminar or any other progenitor of falsehoods about Jesus, the church, and the Heavenly Father, who assist Satan and his cohorts in this work, one of the most effective ways is to even deny the existence and work of a real supernatural power named Lucifer or Satan.

Colossians 2:8 New Living Translation (NLT)

Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.

  1. The message of Paul today and then is the same, DO NOT ALLOW the empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense of modern theology, themselves captive to Satan and human wisdom, to take you captive, a matter of putting both your heart and your mind into spiritual bondage to the world and the satanic forces of the world. Satan and his cohorts know better than any that the time is short before their ultimate destruction and being cast from Hades into the lake of fire and brimstone is near, these works of Gnosticism and Paganism are an effective and last ditch stand to take more innocents with them.
  2. Find yourself a good preacher or some good preachers in whom you find confidence because of their obvious knowledge and faithfulness to the Word of God, reminded the word of the Bible that contrast human wisdom with the Preaching of the Word: “For when the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save those that believe”.  ( I Corinthians 1:21)  Foolishness to the world then as contrasted to Jewish and Roman and Greek philosophy, now foolishness to the highest educated who have taken to their breast the criterion of human wisdom over the revealed Wisdom of God in the Bible.

Colossians 2:8-10 The Message (MSG)

Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.

  1. It is agreed that they of modern theology can dazzle you with their academic highest level of degrees and years of study, and their recognition and status of the biggest Theological Seminaries, with “their big words” and “their intellectual double talk”.
  2. You have heard of brilliant young Christian men in high school and university, like Baylor undergraduate work, faithful witnesses to Christ just like Pagels must have been in the enthusiasms of early Bible study years, that like her feel to the need for the recognition of academic status. Do not do that, as above you can through the Bible and prayer “realize the fullness of Christ”, in the title of this commentary, you can find Ultimate Integration in Christ.  Agreed this young men and women were smarter than us; however, at some point they allowed the lust of the Pride of Life to take priority over the love of God and Christ.

Colossians 2:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

  1. These are powerful human and supernatural elementary forces that we war against, and as Paul reminds us near the end of Ephesians that we are always in a war with these forces, it is an integral part of Christian life and faith. “For we war not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
  2. Our primary war is not with Pagels and the other pagans of high-class Theology, but against the demons that have seduced them, taking them captive. True, in the word of Jude, we must “contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), recognizing that these modern heathens do not have the right to belittle and distort that faith of millions from the time of Christ until now

Colossians 2:8 King James Version (KJV)

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

  1. “spoil you” is a good phrase, for most often these progenitors of modern theology desire to lead you down the path of homosexuality, feminism, and of any underdog seeming injured by either orthodoxy or sound doctrine they can find.
  2. Modern Theology with its basis in human wisdom and philosophy and a lust for academic excellence outweighing faith IS NOT AFTER CHRIST, nor is it in the ultimate integration of In Christ, although no doubt many have started out well. In the thoughts and words of Hebrews, with the age-old same problem, they have tried to advance beyond the doctrine of Christ in perverse manners, no doubt Paul when he mentioned it had the Gnostics and other Christian philosophers in mind.
  3. A thorough study of Hebrews and I John will give your insight of how to advance beyond the fundamentals of the doctrine of Christ without losing Christ as have these modern theologians. . So, the question naturally arises about what does Paul mean about moving on by leaving the Doctrine of Christ?  To answer that question, we must compare scripture with scripture in the New Testament, comparing what the Apostle John has to say about the Doctrine of Christ in II John with what Paul in stating here in Hebrews 6:1-3. Here is what we find: The Apostle Paul is saying in effect “Let us move on deeper and upward into the Doctrine of Christ and its implications for Christian Maturity without moving off of the original and fundamental Doctrine of Christ that we have already been established on along with the fundamental and underlying Doctrines like repentance, faith, and judgment. {By the way, and parenthetically, let me say that Paul does not leave behind these underlying doctrines of Christ, also, as he goes on in the chapters of Hebrews after 6:1. In fact, with another reading through the total of Hebrews, I found 47 verses in which the fundamental and underlying doctrines are mentioned, almost half of them after chapter 6.}

But look at “Doctrine of Christ” in II John 7-11 in the Moffatt translation.

Quote: “I say this, because a number of impostors have emerged in the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh; that marks the real ‘impostor’ and ‘antichrist.’ Watch yourselves: you must not lose what you have been working for, but gain your full reward. Anyone who is ‘advanced’ and will not remain by the doctrine of Christ, does not possess God: he who remains by the doctrine of Christ possesses both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not admit him to the house–do not even greet him, for he who greets him shares in his wicked work.” (II John 7-11) AMEN!

the following is sort of talking about college education in the Bible and then post graduate work in theology afterwards–

2 John 7-11 New International Version (NIV)

7 I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.

  1. It must parenthetical be stated that if you must sit under the feet of a theologian like Pagels and many other effective unbelievers, the non-integrated IN CHRIST, then not in class but in the privacy of your mind and at home, test them and their spirits according to faithfulness of the fundamentals of the faith. As you test these spirits in the admonition of the Apostle John, who by the way as pastor of the church at Ephesus dealt with the Gnostics more than any Apostles and he lived longer and cared for Mary the Mother of Jesus:  (1) test them against the unity of the spirit with the bonds of peace of the Seven Ones of Ephesians; and (2) test them against the fundamentals of Hebrews of Hebrews 6:1-3—

“Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of 1) repentance from dead works, and 2) faith toward God, of the 3) doctrine of baptisms, and of 4) laying on of hands, and of 5) resurrection of the dead, and of 6) eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.”

NOTE:  By the way as pointed out in the Learn Christ Bible Commentary, volume 4 on the book of Hebrews, Paul is not able to get away from those 6 fundamentals but continues through chapter 6 of Hebrews on them.  You are welcome to fee download a copy in PDF at  Or if you prefer a Paperback or Kindle edition then go to the author page of Jerry Vaughan McMichael on Amazon at

Colossians 2:8 New Century Version (NCV)

Be sure that no one leads you away with false and empty teaching that is only human, which comes from the ruling spirits of this world, and not from Christ.

  1. That “only human” in the NCV version is great for these PhDs and Th.Ds. are only human as Dr. R. A. Millikan, the Nobel prize winning physicists pointed out in his lecture and book of “The Evolution of Science and Religion”, so human he says that just before the discoveries of modern physics they claimed that all had been discovered in Physics and it remained for future generations to only improve the measurements. They too wrestle with Satan and the demons that seduce, they too because of a prejudice of sin and lack of priority for Christ love, succumb to the unsound doctrines of the falling away.  Yes, they are human.  Only the DOM (Deification of Man and Women) of Romans 1 and paganism keep students and followers from seeing that.
  2. “False and empty teaching” must remind you of the itching ears teachers of II Timothy 4:3,4 who after they have become intolerant toward sound doctrine, heaped up for themselves similar teachers of itching ears, after they have turned away from truth and created a vacuum that something must feel, turn toward and into Christian Fables.

Colossians 2:8 American Standard Version (ASV)

Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ

COLOSSIANS 2:8 Amplified Bible (AMP)

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception [pseudo-intellectual babble], according to the tradition [and musings] of mere men, following the elementary principles of this world, rather than following [the truth–the teachings of] Christ.

  1. Read them carefully not to be suckered in but with intellectual honesty and integrated IN CHRIST, for you will find as the Amplified version makes clear that what they are offering you is “pseudo-intellectual babble”. You may want to compare their philosophies of religion with Elton Trueblood a true believer in his “Philosophy of Religion”.
  2. Like that musings of mere men whether you consider the imaginations of the original Gnostic and pagan writers or their modern advocates for homosexuality.

Colossians 2:8 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Beware that no one distracts you or intimidates you in their attempt to lead you away from Christ’s fullness by pretending to be full of wisdom when they’re filled with endless arguments of human logic. For they operate with humanistic and clouded judgments based on the mindset of this world system, and not the anointed truths of the Anointed One.

  1. Intimidation would be what Professor Pagels and other modern theologians do to their students who naturally want to please her and for grades, and especially for the females that see in her a champion for the feminist cause.
  2. And such false and itching ears teachers of Bible are “pretending to be full of wisdom when they’re filled with endless arguments of human logic”, and further they are carried away with humanistic judgments—you will notice that at Princeton as well as teaching courses on Studies in Religion, she teaches the Humanities.
  3. Wow, the mindset of this world system, takes you make to the admonition of the Apostle John not to love the word. The “clouded judgments” reminds us of the strong delusions of Romans 1, having rejected original knowledge of God in nature and conscience, go on all manner of darkness.
  4. Oh yes, yes, and amen, the anointed truths of the Anointed One. As you integrate totally in Christ and the Christ of Ephesians and the rest of the Bible, you will be integrated yourself into the Truth of Christ who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but through Me.”

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