Paul established a church in Colossae on his third missionary journey. Today this area is in Turkey. There were two prominent men in Colossae, Philemon, and Epaphus, who became Christians and were spreading the message while Paul was in Prison. Paul wrote them this letter to be read in the Church.
The trouble in Colossae was other ideas and philosophies from other religions were being introduced and put on the same level as Christianity. (pertinent to today or what!).
- Syncretism- This idea of “there are many ways to God” has been since the beginning of the Church. I have heard people say, “You have your way, and I have mine…it’s personal.” No, it is Doctrinal. Syncretism does not abandon the idea of 1 God, but it adds in other supernatural forces such as astrology and puts cult-like practices equal with Christianity.
- Mysticism –reliant on visions, angelic sightings, or supernatural experiences to improve your relationship with God was affecting the Colossians. Paul will use the terms “worship of angels” and “what he has seen” to identify this activity.
- Gnottiscims– Colossians also believed in a “higher” knowledge (Gnosticism) such as so-called scientific, archaeological, or paleontological “facts” that contradict Scripture.
- Legalism: observance of laws to win God’s love (legalism).
- Asceticism– abstaining from things to earn merit with God. Some examples are: fasting to force God’s hand, living in isolation to avoid temptation, and self-mutilation to mortify the flesh
The book of Colossians describes Christ as superior to all other teachers, faiths, and philosophies.