In the middle of the second century AD, Marcion left the church and started the Gnostic Marcionites. Marcion was a
native of Sinope on the Black Sea. He first studied with the Stoics, then became a Christian. According to Epiphanius,
as he began to apostatize, he seduced a young girl, and was excommunicated. Marcion then traveled to Rome in
hopes of being readmitted to the church. Later he joined Cerdon and another Gnostic, preaching in Rome, hoping to
create a schism in the church. Marcion’s most famous disciples were Apelles, Lucanus, Basilus, Potitus, and Blastus.
This same Blastus later caused a schism in Rome. Marcionites continued until the sixth century, principally in Egypt,
Israel, and Syria.

Marcion rejected the Old Testament and used cut up versions of Luke and some of Paul’s epistles, for Scripture. He
used the Gospel of Luke but eliminated the first four chapters and removed all references to Jesus’ divinity or any
connection with the God of the Old Testament. His canon of Scripture also contained Romans, 1st & 2nd
Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1st & 2nd Thessalonians, Philemon, and Laodiceans. All of
these were tailored to fit Marcion’s teachings. In Paul’s Epistles, he removed all references to God creating the
world, and to Jesus being God’s Son, and any predictions of Jesus’ birth. He taught the God of the Old Testament
and His prophets were evil and would be destroyed because that god was the author of sin. He also taught there are
two equal and opposite gods, one good and one evil. He taught the Law and the Gospel were so strongly different, it
proves there were two different gods. Marcion insisted there is no resurrection and removed all references in his
gospel showing Christ was the creator and the God of the Old Testament was Jesus’ father. He also removed the
genealogy of Jesus. He said Jesus was a phantom having no physical body. Marcion forbade marriage and said it was
evil. Married people could not be baptized unless they got a divorce and practiced celibacy. The Marcionites were
strongly addicted to astrology.

Other Doctrines of the Marcionites were that Jesus came to overthrow the dominion of the evil creator. Followers
needed to be baptized in order to remove sins recently committed, and women were allowed to baptize other
women. Followers must be single, widowed, or divorced before they could be baptized. They denied Christ came in
the flesh and claimed there was no salvation or resurrection of the flesh, only of the spirit. Some Marcionites
believed in the transmigration of souls. We know this teaching as reincarnation. Some Marcionites sought
martyrdom in order to escape this evil world. It was well known that Marcion tried to publish a Gospel he wrote
himself in the name of Paul.

Church teachings contrasted:

Tertullian, AD 200
Against Marcion 4.8 – Jesus was not a phantom, but had a real body.
Against Marcion 4.37 – Christ saves both body and soul. Only heretics say the body is not saved
Against Marcion 5.11 – Heretics try to say the epistle to the Ephesians is the epistle to the Laodeceans.


1. Irenaeus Against Heresies 1.27 6. Against Marcion 1.24
2. Against Heresies 4.29 7. Against Marcion 2.17
3. Tertullian Against Marcion 1.2 8. Against Marcion 3.8, 4.8
4. Against Marcion 1.18 9. Against Marcion 1.29
5. Against Marcion 1.19-20

taken from