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Tags: Church Growth, Church Growth Movement, Church growth consultants, worship leader, conservative, liberal, Conservative Christian, Conservative Christian theology, Evangelical, evangelism, post modern church, modernism, praise and worship, hymns, hymn singing, New Worship, Gnosticism, Gnostic, Early Church, Gospel of John, Philip Lee, Be Unto Your Name, Michael Horton, The Agony of Deceit, Hindu, Meditation
This knowledge of God is called gnosis and
is the basis of Gnosticism. Gnosticism was a heresy that ultimately sought to undermine
The philosophy of Gnosticism sought to
Ancient Gnostics claimed that they had secret revelation that was kept from the church in general. It was knowledge that would only be revealed to the truly spiritual. Rather than admitting that Jesus was God come in the flesh, they emphasized the resurrected spiritual Jesus. The Apostle John recognized the Gnostic heresy in his day and penned the Gospel of John in order to confront it. Therefore he wrote, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (Jn 1:1, 14 MKJV) And then he furthered: By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. (I Jn 4:2-3a MKJV) For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. (II Jn 1:7 MKJV)
Though their philosophies were defeated by
According to contemporary writer Philip Lee, Gnosticism has returned for the same purpose that it had during the early church to disfigure Christianity. To the Gnostic the knowledge of God is all about turning away from this world. Even as they do, contemporary Gnostics are seeking to change the world.
In their dualistic attempt to turn away from the world, modern so-called Christian Gnostics end out distorting Scripture and devaluing man as a result. Hence, it is with Gnosticism in mind that the contemporary praise song Be Unto Your Name states, We are a vapor, You are eternal. In contrast the scriptures declare: For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. (James 4:14b MKJV) The Bible instructs that this present life will one day end, but we will live forever. The Gnostic sees our very existence as something that vanishes as it is gulped up by eternity. Thus we are a vapor.
In the attempt to magnify the Lord, the message becomes: All we are is dust in the wind. But is our God so insignificant that we have to become small so that He can become big? Do we have to become nothing so that He can be something? Apparently many Gnostics in the body of Christ today believe this is so and so they reach up to heaven while turning their backs on the physical realm that they have learned to despise.
Michael Horton explained in The Agony of Deceit, Gnosticism is marked by dualism in which the world is divided between spiritual (good) and material or physical (bad) realms. Thus, Gnosticism emphasizes the spiritual realm to the denigration or exclusion of the natural realm. Reason, earthly passions, or other elements that make us human are dismissed as corrupt. In that the spiritual is seen as being divine, it is regarded as the only genuine good aspect of our being. The spirit realm is regarded as being closer to God; consequently, the more one moves into the physical or natural realm, the further one moves from God himself.
Worship for the Eastern mind is seen as the leap into this other world to experience that divine state of being in the here and now. It is seen as an experiential jump into your final incarnated state of being God where the mysteries of God are revealed. It is an escape from the world into god-hood, at least for the time being to look for the god within.
Peter Jones writes in Spirit Wars: Spiritual understanding through intuition and meditation is the only way to salvation. Such insight comes through a non-rational, mystical experience of seeing oneself as the center of a circle that has no boundaries. From the center of its own limitless universe the self necessarily reigns supreme! The experience is engendered in the fast track through drugs or, in the safer lane, through time-honored (Hindu) meditation. Rightly practiced, such meditation enables the mind/soul to be disconnected from the limitations of the body. In the experience of this knowledge (gnosis) of the self as connected to the whole and thus divine, there occurs the liberating paradigm shift through which redemption of the self and the planet becomes possible. The experience, though antithetical to the Creators designs, and therefore ultimately noxious, nevertheless produces a profound sense of release and liberation, a bogus virtual redemption. In the triumph of mind over matter, as the mind empties itself of all thought, human beings realize their divinity.
The path of meditation is to look inward to this divine god that the pagan believes he is. With that in mind two leading feminist Catholic Nuns wrote: We cannot seek God as an object separate from our world, outside our lived experience, . . God is experienced not so much as a separate being, but God is sensed as the deepest dimension of our being. What we find is not god ourselves. . . The process of self-knowledge is the process of knowing God. God, who has been imprinted in our minds as a transcendent absolute, must somehow be recovered in an epiphany of immanence, of divine self-revelation.
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