It is an extremely popular line of thinking, by secular historians and people in general (just watch programs on Christianity on the History Channel.
), to declare that all sorts of non-Christian groups and heretics from the early period of the faith, were actually "Christians". I wish I could remember what blog it was, but I read a convert's blog who had been Evangelical Protestant, and finally came over when he actually read through the ECF's and realised that his old church and popular historic thinking on that very point, were quite wrong. There was a uniformity of belief that was challenged from the beginning by various forms of heresy and by those who wished to blend Christianity with other popular emerging beliefs, but the Fathers were consistent, and so the Church has always been, on who Jesus of Nazareth actually was.
Honestly, this is not the issue. These people are not talking at all about the Gnostics.
Nor was I. I was actually thinking more of Arianism.
1) The early Christians were persecuted that for saying that Jesus was God. They persecuted them for saying that Jesus was the messiah, for wanting to move away from the customs of Moses, and for saying that the Gentiles could be saved.
I think you may have miswrote this. Did you mean to say that they were implying that early persecution was not
due to claiming Christ's divinity, but moving away from the OT law and embracing Gentiles instead? Or did you mean that early persecution was based on both reasons?
2) Why doesn't Acts and other Early Christian writings talk about the fact that he was synonymous with God? Wouldn't that have been a huge firestorm if they had flatly said that? Wouldn't it have been shocking considering what a change in monotheism it would have been?
They did flatly say that as does scripture, from the Gospel of John to to Acts 3:15 to the NT letters with early Christian writing (St. Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, etc.) chiming in as well. They must simply be ignorant of the fact. There are plenty of examples, if you would like them.
3) "Son of God" was a title used before by other Jewish messianic preachers. It is not the same as Jesus or his followers saying that he had divine attributes or was synonymous with Yahweh.
But Jesus and His followers clearly DID said that He was the incarnation of God. Again, they are mistaken on an easily proven point.
4) There is also this verse being bandied about:
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." One guy was bringing this up and using it as a point to show that Jesus was not omniscient and, therefore, not viewed as God.
There is some diversity of opinion on the issue but I think the general understanding is that it means that only the Father will bring forth that hour on His own good time.