By Mary Fairchild
Esoteric Christianity is secret teaching known only to the “inner circles of Christian initiates.” The Esoteric perspective in this context means the “inner” (eso-), in the sense of the inner consciousness; the contemplative, Gnostic, wisdom perspective, as opposed to the “outer” (exo-) or Exoteric, i.e. the outer or surface or everyday consciousness.
In order to investigate the study and explanation of meduimistic phenomena the Theosophical Society was founded in New York City in 1875 by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (pictured), Henry Steel Olcott, William Quan Judge and others. After a few years Olcott and Blavatsky moved to India and established the International Headquarters at Adyar, Madras. There, by 1889, Blavatsky wrote “Key to Theosophy” which included the society’s following objectives:
1.To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, colour, or creed.
2.To promote the study of Aryan and other Scriptures, of the World’s religion and sciences, and to vindicate the importance of old Asiatic literature, namely, of the Brahmanical, Buddhist, and Zoroastrian philosophies.
3.To investigate the hidden mysteries of Nature under every aspect possible, and the psychic and spiritual powers latent in man especially. (p. 39, Key to Theosophy)
4. Although Blavatsky and Annie Besant are said to have told a group of Theosophical students that the real purpose of establishing the Society was to prepare humanity for the reception of the World Teacher when he appeared again on earth, in Blavatsky’s own writings, she never used the term “World Teacher.”
Annie Beasant later took over after the death of Bavatsky. In Beasant’s book, “Esoteric Christianity,” she claimed that her purpose was to throw some light on the “deep truths underlying Christianity.” She was a psychic and the founder of the Arcane School. She adopted the Spiritualist practice of mediumship and her school promoted a program set forth by beings she channeled called the “Great White Brotherhood,” a group of spiritual masters that included a Tibetan teacher.
Alice Bailey was responsible for popularizing the terms “New Age” and the “Age of Aquarius.” She believed in karma and reincarnation as well as some aspects of Christianity. She, and psychic Edgar Cayce, set the standard for New Age channelers and described a world populated by disincarnate spirits, spirit guides, devas, and angels.
The late American psychic Edgar Cayce, directed by a spirit guide, claims, “Know self and ye would know the occult (33443-1).” “Each spirit, each manifestation of Life is One, and a manifestation either in this, that or the other sphere…or space of development towards the knowledge, …the conception of the One—Him—I Am Jehovah—Yah—All One!” (262-32) In conclusion, in the manifestation of all force, power, motion, vibration,…is in its essence of One Force. (Frejer, B. Ernest, “The Edgar Cayce Companion,” 1995, Barnes & Noble, Inc.)
Edgar Cayce continues, “…changes are coming, this may be sure—an evolution, or revolution, in the ideas of religious thought. The basis of it for the world will eventually come out of Russia; not Communism, no!—but rather that which is the basis of same, as Christ taught—His kind of Communism.” Cayce describes occult forces as the application of unseen or unfelt laws to the physical or material life…(4185-2).
Esoteric Christianity is secret teaching known only to the “inner circles of Christian initiates.” The Esoteric perspective in this context means the “inner” (eso-), in the sense of the inner consciousness; the contemplative, Gnostic, wisdom perspective, as opposed to the “outer” (exo-) or Exoteric, i.e. the outer or surface or everyday consciousness.
Esoteric and Exoteric are the two basic ways of looking at reality – the intuitive and the rational. In the early days it was carefully hidden from the masses of ordinary ignorant converts. “Inner Christianity” had adopted the secret wisdom of the ancients, handed down from generation to generation.
Anna Bonus Kingsford used chloroform to alter her consciousness to open up to the underworld so that she could work through dreams and magic. She and her companion, Edward Maitland, identified “The spiritual alchemy” of the gnostic and Hermetic teaching of the early Christian world along with the wisdom of the Neoplatonist philosophers and Muslim Sufis. In the 1880s they founded the “Hermetic Society” and had close contact with Theosophist Madame Blavatsky and the “Order of the Golden Dawn.” Hermeticism
The Second Great Awakening (1800-1830) was also a time of spurred interest in many alternatives to Christianity. The “psychic highway” followed the Erie Canal through New York west of the Catskills and the Adirondack Mountains. Rochester and Utica became known as the “Burned-over District” as religious revivals spread across the district. The Burned Over District Early Mormonism was started there as well as Spiritualism, which eventually developed in different directions. During the years from 1812-1860, a “hothouse” atmosphere surfaced for social experimentation and religious creativity. As our country moved into commercial greatness, crowded cities staged popular speakers and held demonstrations were political and religious ideas were exchanged.
Western Civilization has largely been shaped by the esoteric philosophies of secret societies working through the influence of members in strategic political positions. Most secret societies are based on the basic philosophy of deism which is based on human reason rather than revelation (Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, Illuminsim, etc.). They all plan to establish a one-world society based on human reason and personal freedom. A democracy can be easily changed into a world society, especially if wars can be used to persuade the masses to seek safety and peace in a world federation of states.
Many gnostic churches began to spring up in France and England and Edward Schuris’ 1889 book, “The Great Initiates,” stated that there is a similarity of the teachings of all the major religions and their founders. He suggested that Jesus of Nazareth had been trained by the unorthodox Jewish sect of the Essenes and was subsequently initiated into the mysteries of Ancient Egypt. Ecclesia Gnostica ; The Esoteric Perspective: The Estoteric Perspective
Theosophists and anthroposophy became well established throughout Western Europe and in the United States through Waldorf Schools. Waldorf Schools integrate sensual experience of art and music with more traditional curricula to nourish children’s bodies and minds. The Theosophical Society became successfully institutionalized in the early twentieth century and published books devoted to promoting esoteric knowledge and Asian religious thought.
The Anthroposophical movement, which was started by former Theosophist Rudolph Steiner through his 1911 book “The Submerged Continents of Atlantis and Lemuria,” blended Rosicrucian (today’s Freemasons), Christian, Theosophical, and occult thought and stressed the natural accessibility of divine wisdom. Schools of Theosophy ; Rudolph Steiner and Anthroposophy ; Wheaton’s Theosophical Society: America’s Headquarters
“The World Council of Churches (WCC) is the broadest and most inclusive among the many organized expressions of the modern ecumenical movement, a movement whose goal is Christian unity….For its member churches, the WCC is a unique space: one in which they can reflect, speak, act, worship and work together, challenge and support each other, share and debate with each other. As members of this fellowship, WCC member churches:- are called to the goal of visible unity in one faith and one Eucharistic fellowship.” “Eucharistic” is a Catholic term, however, and a priest must perform the mystical ceremony for the Eurcharist which is said to actually create the real body of Christ for a continual sacrifice.
The Theosophical Society(National Headquarters in Wheaton, IL, pictured) is composed of individuals united by their approval of its objects, by their dedication to promoting brotherhood, and by their efforts to foster religious and racial understanding. They hold that truth should be sought by study, by reflection, by service, and not imposed by authority as a dogma.
The three declared Objects of the Theosophical Society are:
1. To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color.
2. To encourage the comparative study of religion, philosophy, and science.
3. To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in humanity.
A picture of Henry S. Olcott, co-founder of the Theosophical Society, is displayed in the library at the Wheaton, Illinois, headquarters. The goal of ancient pagan mysteries has been to unite mankind to ensure the survival of the human race and eliminate the fear of war, poverty, sickness, and all the elements that comprise God’s curse upon mankind. The ancient mystery religions, known in general as “Theosophy,” are paganism, witchcraft, humanism, and secular society. They plan to blend science and religion to create a universal brotherhood of man under a one-world state. To the esoterists (deists, theosophists), Christianity is anathema and Christians must be converted to accept all religious expressions. Through aberrant teachings, they comprise a networking system of individuals and groups.
Constantine was the first ecumenist who merged Christianity with paganism. The signs of our day indicate that the formation of the last united religious system is very near. Ecumenism in the Middle East is in the process of making churches more open. It is also an attempt to bring the church, the synagogue, and the mosque closer to one another. It is a vision of one god for all of the faiths. In the fall of 1985, a meeting was held between parliamentarians from five continents and spiritual leaders from Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity that was to initiate a dialogue on issues of global survival. The new coalition named itself “The Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders of Human Survival.” The global forum participant US congressman contended more directly that we need to merge the ethical and the practical, the political and the priest, the sacred and the secular.
The 1988 gathering was hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury who is the head of the church of England. It was attended by Mother Teresa, Dalai Lama, UN secretary general, and many others. It was stated that we are learning that we are all interdependent in spiritual matters, that there is a certain incompleteness in each of our traditions, and that some claims about the exclusiveness of the church have to be renounced in the name of a new and larger vision of unity. All religions were believed to have only a portion of the truth, but none of them have the complete truth. The exclusiveness of the church that has been proclaimed for two thousand years as having the only gospel that saves people must be renounced for the sake of a larger vision of unity. The only group that was singled out as a problem in this conference, which included shamans, medicine men, and rainforest rituals, was against those fundamentalist, narrow-minded Christians who believe that the current global situation is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. They don’t want to hear anymore about the coming of the end of the world and that it has no place in “authentic” religious awareness. Christians are outcasts.
The New Age Movement will be the glue that will cause these religions to adhere to one another. It is an ingenious application of the ancient Babylonian mysticism: the rebirth of pagan mystery religion. the three characteristics of the New Age Movement are monism, pantheism, and the deity of man. Monism is the belief that everything is one. The universe, this world, man, plants, we are all just waves in the cosmic ocean. Pantheism is the belief that “all is god and god is all.” That is different from what the Bible teaches about omnipresence. The Bible teaches that God is omnipresent, He is everywhere at once at the same time. The Bible does not say that God is everything, He is separate from that which He has created. Pantheism says He is everything and everything is god.
Deity of man–if everything is one, and everything is god, then you and I are god too. The heart of the New Age Movement is that man needs to rediscover his divinity; to be enlightened (Babylonian mysticism). The cosmic process that’s going on, the New Age Movement will tell you, is as a result of two great eternal principles; the principles of rebirth and the cause and effect. The principle of rebirth is reincarnation. The principle of cause and effect is called karma. How ever you live now sets up opportunities or possibilities in the next life. If you live a life that is bad you will suffer in you next life because of it.
The goal is to live a life that is so virtuous and to finally realize your own deity so that you will not be reincarnated again but you will join a hierarchy called the ascended masters. This is where the great delusion comes in. The New Age Movement will reinterpret all of the doctrines of the major world religions. They will start first of all with the ascended masters, the ones who have gone on and have become part of the cosmic consciousness, they are in fact from the spiritual realm guiding humanity right now. They are benevolent and trying to help us to understand our deity. It is a case of spiritual evolution and we are heading toward that day when the whole planet is going to realize this and a new age is coming. When they appear at times to people, or talk to people through channeling, they call themselves divas—the Scriptures call them demons. They claim that there is a person called “the christ.” Not Jesus Christ. That person is the head of the ascended masters. He is the great one. He has entered history at different times. He indwelled Nimrod, Krishna, Jesus, and Mohammed. Jesus was one who was simply very near to becoming part of the ascended masters and “the christ” came upon him and indwelled him. They say Jesus was only trying to teach us to understand our own deity. They believe all religions contain some insights into this ageless wisdom. But only a portion, no religion has all of it and christ (Satan) has promised one day to usher in that new age. They believe that when he comes he will fulfill the predictions of all of the religions. We only have a limited understanding of this they say.
Syncretism, ecumenism, and unity in diversity are biblically impossible. Although occult literature calls the “New World Order” a “Golden Age,” the Bible describes it as a time of sorrow. The act of unifying underlies all of occultism. The dangers of trying to gain control over society should be self evident. Under the new world view, national sovereignty will be unjustifiable. National sovereignty is the right of each individual nation to act as an individual nation, making its own laws and executing its own laws among its people. To the internationalist, national sovereignty is the epitome of global selfishness. Nations need to share their wealth and resources with other nations to eliminate present problems of other countries. To the new world advocate, there is no other viable alternative to the future survival of civilization than of a new global community under a common leadership!
Theosophist Foster Bailey, husband of Alice Bailey, refers to Hitler’s role as Satan’s disciple in his book “The Plan”: “Another approved hierarchical project is the uniting of the nations of Europe into one cooperating peaceful community… One attempt was to begin by uniting the peoples living in the Rhine River Valley using that river as a binding factor. It was an attempt by a disciple but it did not work. Now another attempt is in full swing, namely the…. European Common Market.” Identical to the New Age Movement of today, the Nazi worldview also grew out of the same occultic root: Theosophy. In fact, the New Age Movement could easily bring forth another Adolf Hitler as well as another holocaust.
Joseph Carr, in his book “The Twisted Cross,” exposes that the Nazi’s worshipped pagan gods and the gestapo conducted mystery initiation rites and swore blood oaths to Satan, and the top Nazi leaders were dedicated students of the black magic arts and witchcraft. The Nazis also believed in evolution, karma, and reincarnation, which are all New Age concepts (Hunt, “Occult Invasion”). The SS did send scientists and medical men to Tibet in 1938 … the same men who would come back and authorize horrific experiments in the death camps. Himmler did send an SS officer to search for the Holy Grail. And Hitler did read a lot of occult literature while penniless and starving in Vienna. The History Channel: Secret Societies ; Heeding Bible Prophecy: Secret Societies
“Nazi Prophecies” will go some way towards explaining the intellectual atmosphere and social context in which all this occult obfuscation took place. It goes even further, though, with commentators such as Nancy Snow and Marla Stone who speak about the ability of Hitler to control the masses through violence and intimidation, and how societies are often guided onto a path they would not consciously choose if they thought they actually had a choice.” TV Preview: Nazi Prophecies on the History Channel
Nature religion is a religion of ritual. It is a universal religion and it is ecumenical. Practicing witch Patricia Telesco and Amrican Indian Don Two Eagles Waterhawk write of uniting all of mankind into a greater community which we are all a part of: The Earth and Her People. In their book “Sacred Beat,” they believe that as we all come together we grow and transform the coming together of the “All” in community will round out the whole. The “All” is the totality of our diversity and harmony of will and thought that creates the “potential” to raise the direct power for the good of the “All.” To the Indian tribal religions, the unity of life is manifested in the existence of the tribal community, for it is only in the tribal community that any Indian religions have relevance. Ecumenical Sacred Mesa
“The scientific culture no longer has a God that is independent of nature. We share a common master, Gaia.” We are not to dominate nature as taught in the Bible, but we are to become co creators with nature in a life sustaining way. Breathing techniques, biofeedback, and meditation will allow our organism to be ‘released.’ Our revolution is not just for us, but for our children, for the generations of living being to come,” claims Rosemary Radford Ruether, a professor of theology and author of “Gaia & God.” She concludes that spirituality and corporate liturgies will symbolize and express our “altered consciousness” and that this can be brought through the streets in protest marches and demonstrations. Not only does she promote “public liturgies” that can be sought through the arts of music and dance as a model of “transformed consciousness,” but that we have to “think globally because we are all interdependent.” Weeding the Earth~Gene Veith ; Infanticide: A Natural ‘Weeding -out Process Necessary to Preserving the Species” (p.24, “Expose of the New Age)
The Roman Catholic Church is at the forefront of this movement to unite religions, specifically Pope John Paul. The World Council of Churches promotes church unity and the unity of the human family. Rome curses those who hold to “justification of faith alone.” She teaches that grace is conferred continually through her sacraments. This makes a place for her as a necessary means through which inner righteousness is given (1994 Catechism: “Justification is conferred in baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy.”) Inner righteousness is located in the person, not Christ, and it can be lost and may need to be conferred again and again. Rome uses conferred justification to claim that the work of her sacraments is the work of the Holy Spirit: “Sacramental grace is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament.” Sacraments replace Jesus Christ. Catholic Answers
The New Community (worldview):
1) Patriarchal (Father God) to —–Matriarchal (Mother Earth—Gaia)
2) Hierarchical Leadership to —–“Decentralized”—Totalitarian in a Crisis
3) Accountability to God to —–Accountability to fellow man/earth
In the “Amazing and Accurate Expose’ of the New Age by a Secular Jew” by Tim and Barbara Aho, a threat to Judaism is exposed that is presented by the Lubavitcher/Kabbalist Movement, which is Jewish mysticism derived from the same Chaldean source as the New Age. Not only is the New Age explained thoroughly, but the genocical plan which has been determind for the Jews. Attention is made specifically to the fact that the average Jewish/Christian conservative believes that the New Age/New World Order conspiracy is extrinsic to orthodox Judaism and Christianity, and fails to discern the infiltration of his respective religion/government by the false prophets of evangelicalism who are part and parcel of the very conspiracy. Expose of the New Age
According to the false “Gospel in the Stars,” the Church Age will transition into an Age of the Spirit. The occult refers to the pre-flood era as the Golden Age. This Golden Age/Age of the Spirit will be ushered in by monastics. Not only are the Gnostics preparing and making plans for the Golden Age, but Reformed Protestants and Roman Catholics are promoting Amillennialism. This false Milennium is attempting to return mankind to the pagan pre-flood society called Atlantis, known as the Golden Age, the Age of Aquarius, Age of Michael, New Age or Age of the Spirit. According to the Scriptures, it will be halted by the Lord Jesus Christ after 3 1/2 years, following the near destruction of mankind and planet earth. At this time Satan will be released for the final deception. Heeding Bible Prophecy: The New Age ;http://watch.pair.com/zodiac.html
In Revelation 3:16 God reveals his disgust with those who compromise in the Church when He says, “I will spit you out of my mouth.” The lukewarm church will cease to be God’s witness on earth and the church will only continue until the end of the church age. At the end of the church age true born again believers will be raptured into heaven, marking its end, after which, follows the seven-year Tribulation period.
“And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up” (Matt.13:4).
Some seeds fell beside the road and birds came and devoured them. Later, Jesus says it is the demons who come and take the Word from the heart so they cannot be productive.
“Which indeed is the least of all seeds; but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof”(Matt.13:32).
This plant that is going to be planted is smaller than all of the other seeds, but when it is fully grown it is larger than the other garden plants and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air can come and nest in its branches. This is Christendom today, those denominations that profess to be Christian, yet we see the demonic—just as the Lord predicted would occur. That whole body of Christendom will go all the way into the Babylonian system once the true church is removed because all that will be left is the demonic.
“Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therin” (Hebrews 13: 8, 9).
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. …It there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed. For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2 John 9-11; KJV)
The true Christian Church will never convert to the world’s system. During the first century the apostles were still alive in the church and actively spreading the Gospel. This church loved the Lord and one another, and it showed. The early church separated themselves from the evils of the world system. This is God’s ideal for the church; every effort to unite the church and the world system is opposed to God’s mind and must end in confusion.
The church at Ephesus was commended for its works, labor, patience, and faithfulness to sound doctrine. It was not deceived by false doctrine, false teachers, nor did it quit when there was opposition. Church discipline was practiced and the believers could not bear those that were evil. They also knew that Jesus Christ was the true head of the church and would not tolerate leaders becoming spiritual lords.
To the true overcomers, a remnant of believers who faithfully loved the Lord, the Lord promised to reward them. But some believers began to prize worldly prestize more highly than their relationship with the Lord. Paul warned that the church would be threatened by the self-centered within its midst. These teachers would try to gain a following for themselves.
“I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.” Acts 20:29
The church was “desirable” when the Lord held the stars in his hands and controlled its ministry. But as the hearts of believers moved away from God, Christ called for the church to “return to its first love.” The Lord rebuked the church for its waning love. Their motives became duty rather than faith, hope, and love.
Genuine love for God shows itself in how we act. We need to have a daily vibrant relationship with Him. We need to confess our sin and ask for His help in our daily lives. We need to confess our sin and ask for his help in our daily lives. Christ said that if the church at Ephesus would not repent and return to its first love, the Lord would remove its “candlestick.” When they did not repent they ceased to be a testimony for Christ. To the overcomers, the Lord promised the privilege of eating of the tree of life in god’s eternal home.
CHURCH HISTORY: AD 100-300–During these two centuries much of the church was hated, outlawed, and persecuted. Often believers met in caves and other hidden places. From about A.D. 100 with Emperor Nero until A.D. 312, the church experienced ten periods of intense persecution at the hands of Roman emperors. Diocletian was the last. Christians were hunted down, arrested, tortured, burned alive and fed to hungry lions. Roman citizens gathered as spectators at a sporting event to see the lions turned loose on Christian families.
By the middle of the second century, Christians in Rome began secretly meeting together in catacombs for fellowship and worship. Some of the Jewish believers were actually representatives of Satan. They belonged to Satan’s assembly (synagogue). The Judaising Movement that came into the early church, the mixing of the law with grace, was the leaven of Galatianism that substitued works (keeping the law) for grace. Likely, these deceivers were false teachers who insisted that gentiles had to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses to be saved and have fellowship with God.
Satan would use human authorities to bombard the believers. They would be jailed, severely abused, and martyred for ten periods of intense persecution. Jesus promised a crown of life to every believer who remained loyal to him and was martyred for his sake. Smyrna has the same linguistic root as “myrrh,” and embalming plant. The myrrh plant had to be crushed in order to emit its sweet fragrance. The church at Smyrna was a persecuted church; under the crush of persecution, it emitted a sweet fragrance to the Lord. Often the Christians lost their employment and the church was poor. Smyrna was a spiritually rich, poor church, whereas the last of the seven churches, Laodicea, was a poor, rich church.
CHURCH HISTORY: AD 300-500–Satan was considered at the seat of the throne in Rome. Christians had experienced many satanic attacks through roman rulers. During the Smyrna period, Satan tried to stamp out the church by persecution; now Satan changed his tactics from persecution to infiltration in the church. Constantine has a vision and believes he now should fight for Christianity and issues the Edict of Toleration which granted freedom to all religions in the empire.
Constantine’s patronage did what Diocletian’s persecution could not do–it corrupted the church from within. Giving her hand in marriage to the world that had crucified Christ, she never really repented. A faithful minority of believers in the fourth and fifth centuries helped formulate the church creeds during this period. Christian thinkers eloquently defended the great doctrines of the Bible that were challenged during this period.
Arius, a leader in the church in Alexandria, Egypt, began to teach that Jesus was neither God nor man. He believed Jesus was a demi-god, a being halfway between god and man. According to Arius, Jesus Christ was a created being who was a different essence than the Father. Jehovah Witnesses teach this view today–that Jesus is not the eternal Son of God but merely a being created by God. Fortunately, an African hermit presented the deity of Christ so forcefully that crowds proclaimed Jesus was God.
The Council of Nicea, held in AD 325, is known for this great declaration of faith. The doctrine of Arianism did not die; it gained popularity. When Constantine’s son became emperor he favored the Arians so much that they grew strong enough to persecute those who believed in the deity of Christ. They closed the orthodox churches in Alexandria, Egypt, exiled the leaders, and hired soldiers to beat and kill faithful worshipers. Unwittingly and unknowingly, the church surrendered its doctrinal and spiritual independence tot he oversight of the state as emperor Constantine presided over the council and paid the taxes.
It became popular to profess to be a “Christian.” Many joined for political and personal economic gain. Filled with the unsaved, worship services opened up to images (idols) in their heathen temples. Statues of the apostles, Mary, and other biblical characters were brought into the Christian places of worship. Ornate pagan rituals and superstition mixed with Christianity and dominated the Thyatira church (Catholic church of the Middle Ages).
“Nikolaitan” means rulers over the people. Those who held the doctrine of the Nicolaitans believed and taught that the clergy should be elevated above the lay people. They built religious hierarchy to rule over the people of the church. As the fifth century closed, instead of bowing to the authority of Scripture to determine biblical doctrine, bishops were deciding what doctrine the people should believe, and the church was worldly and imperial with church leaders ruling over the people.
Emperors and political leaders meddled in church matters and rising the system of hierarchy of church fathers prepared the church for religious, pagan sacraments and superstition. Constantine ended persecution in the church but he brought in changes that ended the purity of the church. The Pergamos church church no longer condemned marriages with heathen, nor sexual immorality, nor corrupt relationships with those who sacrificed to idols. The church members tolerated those members who followed the doctrine of Balaam (Rev. 2:14).
Balaam was the Old Testament false prophet who led Israel into morally corrupt alliances with the heathen Moabites (Numbers 22-25). Balaamism is worldliness—Christians mixing in unholy fellowship with this age.
The problem of the church of Ephesus had been lovelessness—they left their first love.
The problem with the church of Pergamos was laxity—they were broadminded and tolerant toward the Balaamites when they needed to use discipline and separate themselves from them.
The persecuted church of Smyrna had anxiously looked for Christ’s return, but Constantine elevated the church leaders to such high positions in government that this world’s system looked good to believers, and they largely forgot about Christ’s return. Church leaders took on civic functions, as well as spiritual responsibilities, joining the church and government. This put the church under control of the ruling powers and for he next 1,500 years the church remained under the control of political parties until the United States of America declared by law that the political state could not have jurisdiction over church matters.
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Today, Willow Creek Community Church provides spiritual direction for thousands of churches worldwide. From Willow Creek’s beginnings, modern marketing techniques were used in order to draw and hold large numbers of people BY MEETING THEIR FELT NEEDS. Although they claimed to be Protestant, their dream has been to “affect change in the community and the world.” Sadly, rather than biblical separation they have purposefully mixed “unbelievers with believers” in worship services, small groups, and ministry. Subtly, the dialectical process has successfully moved many believers away from their original position of “moral absolutism” as this non-denominational church turned interdenominational without saying a word.
On the back of his 2003 book “A Glimpse of Jesus: A Stranger to Self-Hatred,” both Bill Hybels & John Ortberg praise Manning for his work and Bill Hybels comments “I attempt to read everything Manning writes.” Former Catholic priest/present Catholic mystic, Brennan Manning combines Eastern mysticism, psychology, the New Age movement, liberation theology, Catholicism and Protestantism. Manning regularly meditates (centering prayer) and reports having many visions and encounters with God. According to Manning, “EVERYONE IS SAVED,” and we need to “OVERCOME OUR PSYCHOLOGICAL FOG AND REALIZE IT.”
To the contemplative, the biblical view that all are lost and that only when a person trusts Jesus Christ as Savior he passes from death to life (John 5:24) does not apply. Mystical Bible
Crucial biblical truths, such as sin and forgiveness, are reinterpreted in the light of therapy. Visualization and meditation techniques as well as acupuncture and massage are used to unblock and release energy for healing. In this shift from orthodox to alternative methods, a sudden conversion experience or rift between the old and new self is said to set into motion a healing trajectory that results in major life changes, such as choosing a new profession. The conversion event sets in motion a second type of healing experience, which is a long processes of self-transformation which involves profoundly attuning one’s sense of self and place in the world.
During “vision night 2005,” Bill Hybels mistakenly referred to 1 Corinthians 12:1 where he taught that the Corinthians were struggling with being ignorant by “avoiding spiritual gifts,” when, in actuality, the passage clearly speaks of an abuse of the spiritual gifts. Although the Corinthians were very enthusiastic about faith and they were very dynamic, Paul says they were also very carnal.
This same ignorance of the truth and fleshly wisdom that they were walking in brought tremendous confusion concerning the area of spiritual manifestations or spiritual gifts. For the Corinthians, in their pre-Christian life, they grew up in the center of pagan mystery religions. It was very typical of the pagan mystery religions to be EXPERIENCE ORIENTED TO THE EXTREME. In fact they had a word “ecstasis,” which described a trance-like state that they valued highly as perhaps the greatest religious experience that you could have. We get the word “ecstasy” from it.
The Priestesses there(picture from Manly Hall’s “The Secret Teachings of All Ages”) the “Oracles of Delphi,” were women who went into these trances and began to speak in this gibberish and they were said to be in communication with the gods.
In Corinthians 3:1, Paul says, “Brethren, I cannot speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ”—clearly to fleshly people.
The Corinthians were behaving and judging by the world’s criteria—what the world considered successful. They were looking for experiences–some of the from their former lives.
They were being deceived by Satan and were following a number of lies. One lie was that of following after certain men instead of following after the Word of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. An experience may “look” very religious and very mysterious and maybe even of divine origin—and yet it is not by that judged truly from God. It must be subject to the Word.
Books on spiritual gifts by C. Peter Wagner highlight the top shelf of the “spiritual formation” aisle in Willow Creek’s bookstore that promote signs and wonders and healing. C. Peter Wagner, who was an expert on church growth and a strong proponent of signs and wonders is said to have especially impacted Vineyard’s John Wimber and he soon concluded that the Gospel was largely ineffective unless accompanied by signs and wonders. Wimber and C. Peter Wagner co-authored a signs and wonders class that was taken globally. Pastors trained in Wimber’s methodology operate the Promise Keepers movement.
It is important to understand the Dispensational distinctives of God in the subject of the ministries of the Holy Spirit. New revelation for the church age ceased with the completion of the Bible. God has given us the “truth” He wanted to communicate to us and He is no longer doing that (Eph. 2:20). The apostles and the prophets laid a foundation for the church in their ministry and these letters that are in the New Testament are part of that foundation, part of their ministry.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10