Jungmann, Josef A., S.J. "Chapter Ten: The Defense against Gnosticism." The Early Liturgy to the Time of Gregory the Great. (translated by Francis A. Brunner, C.S.S. R., Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1959, pp. 109-120.
According to Jungmann it is no surprise that Gnosticism would impact Christian theology, but we need to also note its impact on liturgy, though we would be less likely to assume it existed (Jungmann 1959, 109). He begins by describing paganism and Montanism as enemies of Christianity, before moving on to the role of Gnosticism.
Persecution of the pagan state rose and fell. Jungmann observes that Christians offered little resistance to persecution and that Christianity continued to grow, despite persecution (Jungmann 1959, 109).
Montanism typically claimed prophecy, rather than tradition or heirarchy, to be the leading impulse toward purification of the Church (Jungmann 1959, 110). By about 200 orthodox Christians recognized that Montanist ideas would pull the Church awy fom her foundations and result in a separatist and isolationist sect.
Gnosticism, in Jungmann's estimation, was far more dangerous. Coming from pre-Christian philosophical roots, it taught a way of salvation which could be confused with the Christian message (Jungmann 1959, 110). The resulting dualism, based on a desire for release from the material world, removed "the Supreme Deity" from all material things (Jungmann 1959, 111). Gnosticism would typically attempt to remove the material elements of Chrsitianity, rather reshaping Christian ideas into Gnostic systems.
The contempt showed for the flesh in Gnostic systems especially results in attacks on the incarnation (Jungmann 1959, 112). Jesus had to be presented as something other than God, or alternatively, as not a true human. This was an unacceeptable point of view for the Church Fathers, who fought for the full acceptance of God the Son as having a genuine human nature (Jungmann 1959, 113). Jungmann notes that this is at the same time that the Apostles' Creed was developing. Its emphasis on the real humanity of God the Son stands in opposition to Gnostic influence (Jungmann 1959, 114). Gnosticism continued to show more contempt for the material world throughout the second century.
Jungmann observes that the earliest records we have of Christian worship show a separation from materialism, local loyalties, and shows of artistry such as musical performance. However, near the end of the second century,, the concrete and material elements became more important in worship (Jungmann 1959, 115). This may well reflect a rejection of Gnostic ideas. Particularly in the Eucharist we see the emphasis on both spiritual and material elements (Jungmann 1959, 116). The offertory, particularly involving bread, wine, and prayers, becomes an essential element in liturgy, representing our offering of material elements to God (Jungmann 1959, 117).
Church architecture was also develooping through the second century. Jungmann notes that the bishop, or the celebrant, was normally placed at the central location, while the altar was not. "The altar is not an essential element in Christian worship . . . while the celebrant (bishop or priest) is. Furthermore, the celebration of the Eucharist took place only once a week, in one short hour of the Sunday. And during this hour, it was the lessons, with the appertaining prayers and the bishop's homily, which surely took the most time" (Jungmann 1959, 119). The altar, in fact, was not itself ornate, but was furnished with precious cloths, but not until the end of the "Fore-Mass." Gradually, the altar took on greater physical importance. Jungmann suggests this was a reaction to the anti-material biases of the Gnostics (Jungmann 1959, 120).