The Colossians Essay By: Kenneth Bernard Ridgell Instructor: Dr. Matthew Clifton Essay on Colossians Topic Heresy Date: November 7, 2011 Ridgell 2 The city of Colosse was located in the province of Phrygia; before the Christian era the city of Colosse was a principle city the Lycus Valley. Being part of a major trade route in Asia Minor from Ephesus to Miletus, the city was known for its production of textiles, especially in its purple wool.
Larger cities such as Laodicea and Hierapolis, made it a well-populated and high business area in the Lycus Valley. With great changes in the road system Laodicea became a more important trade city than Colosse. Once a great city by AD 61 Colosse suffered a great deal, an earthquake shook the city that year, Euseblus writes, and had disappeared from the literature of its day. The history of this once great city is significant in that the great Apostle Paul wrote to the church which had been established in Colosse.
False teaching had infiltrated the church and Paul’s connection with the minister (Epaphras), and others he was acquainted with had made known the danger of this teaching that would eventually destroy the faith of the Christians there, many say that Epaphras was the man who founded the church, but evidence and history show us that Paul visited the region and the major cities often. Paul writes to a specific problem affecting the church in Colosse, it is not agreed upon what exactly the problem was but there are many possibilities as scholars who have written on the subject.
The heresy often referred to as the “Colossian Heresy” has been questioned and debated as to who may have been responsible for the false teachings. Cliff Baird goes even further to say it is not necessary to conclude the existence of cohesive heresy in order to explain the facts. J. B. Lightfoot offers an interesting comment to the situation, while he does recognize the Judaizing and early Gnostic influences, he believed there was no single group or culprit responsible for the religious heresy that is taking place. Lightfoot goes on to defend his theory with the ideas that epistle shows no traces of multiple opponents being faced.
While this theory would also seem to be solid, it would still seem that there is more than a single movement taking place in Closse. As with all heresy it detracted from the person and the work of Christ. The philosophy that was being taught was based on the traditions of men; this philosophy included Greek dualisms that believe all matter was evil and that only one pure spirit was good. Paul warned the church to be on the alert of the traditions and the philosophies and religious arguments; Jewish elements as circumcision Colossians (2: 11) with Colossians (3: 11).
Rabbinical traditions, (2: 8), dietary regulations and sabbatical and festival observances (2: 16). Ridgell 3 The Gnostics were the people who were “in the know” when it came down to the deep things of God, they were the spiritual aristocracy in the church. This heresy promised people such a close union with God that they would achieve a “spiritual perfection. ” This teaching was only for those that were to have “full knowledge. ” This wisdom according to its teaching would release them from earthly things and put them in touch with heavenly things.
Paul countered the teaching by proclaiming the public and universal nature of the gospel which offers a salvation to all who would believe through faith in Christ, Colossians 1: 20. He than went on to show that all believers are complete in Christ who was Himself not only the fullness of deity in bodily form, but the fullness of salvation through whom all believers are reconciled to God. The effective power of the gospel message, a message that heralds the supremacy or preeminence, headship. And the sole sufficiency of Christ to the church, which is His body.
In this epistle we see Paul’s full portrait of Jesus Christ for one Christ is the object of the Christian’s faith Colossians (1: 4), because he is the Son of God Colossians (1:13). He is also the Redeemer (1: 14), the one who contains all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge Colossians 2: 3. The purpose in writing Colossians was to express Paul’s personal interest in the Colossians to warn them against reverting to their old pagan vices, and to counteract both the theological heresy and its practice within the church at Colosse.
We live in a world where religious confusion is ramped, just as it was in the days of the apostle Paul we are confronted with false teaching without and within the church and as the early church rejected all forms of syncretism because they were convinced that Jesus alone was God and the only way of salvation, this truth was firmly stressed. Thus, as with the early church, so the church must not tolerate the syncretism of our day. We can tolerate genuine pluralism, the idea that the religions of the world can peacefully co-exist, but not syncretism, the idea that the beliefs of various religions can be combined.
Our society wants a tolerance that accepts all beliefs. Tolerance can be defined in two ways, legal tolerance is the right for everyone to believe in whatever faith (or none at all) he wishes. This is important in our society, and we as Christians should maintain our conviction that no one should ever be coerced into believing as we do. Another legal way of tolerance is social tolerance, a commitment to respecting all men even if we directly disagree with their religion and ideas. Ridgell 4 The book of Colossians is about the supremacy of the person of Christ.
He has no equal among the religious leaders of the world religions because He and He alone is God’s Son and the way, the truth, and the life, John 14:6. Indeed He is the image of the invisible God, the sovereign and preeminent one among all. Footnote: Douglass Groothius, Confronting the New Age(InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, III; 1988), 17 Groothius, 16. Erwin W Lutzer, Christ Among Other gods, A Defense of Christ in an Age of Tolerance (Moody Press, Chicago, 1994), 22 S. Lewis Johnson, Studies in the Epistle to the Colossians, Part 1, Bibliotheca Sacra, (Dallas Theological Seminary, Vol. 118, #471, July 1961), 239