The Carpocrates were a Gnostic cult that developed in the first century in Alexandria, Egypt. According to Clement of
Alexandria, in Stromata 3:431, the Epistle of Jude was written specifically to counter their heresy. Tertullian (A.E. 3)
says first Carpocrates cult sprang up, then the Apostle John’s arch-enemy Cerinthus formed his cult. After his death,
Ebion added Gnostic teaching to the Jewish Ebionites, creating the Gnostic Ebionites. Victorinus, in Commentary on
the Apocalypse 11, says the Apostle John wrote 1 John to counter the teachings of Cerinthus, and that the Gnostic
schools of Valentinus, Cerinthus, and Ebion were rapidly spreading across the land. So all these heretics were in
existence in the time of Jude and John.
The Carpocrates slandered Nicolas and Matthias by saying they taught fornication is no longer wrong. They taught
people are imprisoned in a cycle of reincarnation by those evil creator angels (Compare to Scientology) and that
people can break the cycle of reincarnation only by experiencing all forms of sin and righteousness. The Carpocrates
practiced magical arts with incantations and spells and invoked the aid of subordinate demons and dream-senders.
They were well known for having voluptuous feasts which include gluttony, drunkenness, and fornication. They
taught Jesus was the son of Mary and Joseph, so there was no virgin birth. They also taught Jesus was just a man
with a pure heart because his soul was with a pure god before incarnation. Some of their adherents actually taught
they were more pure and advanced than Jesus.
They had a few unique points compared to other Gnostic cults. Their disciples had a tattoo on the back side of the
right earlobe. The ancient church fathers commented on their unique form of idolatry. They used small Idols of
Jesus, Aristotle, Pythagoras, and other people and angels, whom they said were emanations of the pure god.
(Compare to the Bahai.) They would adorn the idols with wreaths, garlands, and in other ways to honor/worship
Hippolytus AD 225
Refutation of All Heresies 7.21 – The disciples of Carpocrates make counterfeit images of Christ, alleging that
these were in existence at the time… and were fashioned by Pilate.
taken from Biblefacts.org