This course was the toughest course that I have taken through the seminary. Bishop Pat includes a lot of information in this class. There is a lot of information that I did not know beforehand. There is still information that I am still processing from this class.
One thing that I did not know was that Gnosticism had different schools of thought like the Persian School. I did not know that there were so many schools that were considered Gnostic. Even the term Gnosticism is new and was not used until recently. This course also taught me that some of the early Christians were probably Gnostic as well like the Apostle Paul.
Before taking this class, I had heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library but that was it. I did not know that these two important discoveries shed light on what Gnosticism was and is. The reason I found out that these documents were hidden was because the early Christian Church had persecuted Gnostics and tried to destroy all their documents and Holy Scripture.
This course also taught me that in Gnosticism, there are 7 different heavens that are guarded by Archons. With each Archon, you had to give the right password to enter into that heaven. Also, I did not know before that this planet was created by an evil Demiurge and that all things were evil. This was totally new to me. The author said that this evil Demiurge is sometimes considered Yahweh from the Old Testament.
This course also presented parallels between Gnosticism and Christianity. The fact that there is the Gospel of Thomas and other books that portray Jesus in a different light was new to me. Also, what is new to me is that Jesus might have studied Gnosticism before going on his 3 year ministry in Israel. This I did not know but would explain where Jesus was for the first 30 years of his life.
This class was very well written. There is so much information contained in this class. The Master of Gnosticism class was well written for the most part. There were a couple of lessons I did not like because the author took what appeared to me as an anti-Gnosticism view. This class will require an investment in time due to the amount of information presented and the amount of new terminology that I came across. As I said earlier, I am still processing a lot of the information and will have to go over some lessons again. This course did spark an interest in wanting to read the books that were discovered at Nag Hammadi Library and the Dead Sea Scrolls. This class is not for the light-hearted. I would recommend this course to people who are ready for a lot of information, new terminology, and have extra time to study this material.
The ULC, run by Rev. Long, has created a chaplaincy program to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials. I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.