Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Roots of Christian Mysticism: True vs False

Biblical Illumination (True Mysticism) 
It contends that all believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and thus are in a position to be enlightened directly by Him. There is one complete revelation given [the 66 canonical books of the Bible], and that the illuminating work of the Spirit will be confined to the unveiling of the Scriptures to the mind and heart.
False Mysticism and It's Origin
False mysticism ignores the statement found in Jude 1:3, that there is a faith or system of belief "once delivered unto the saints," and that when the Spirit is promised to "guide into all truth" (John 16:13), it is only the truth contained in the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 2:9,10).  There is a unique knowledge of the mysteries or sacred secrets of God according to those who are taught (1 John 2:27) by the Spirit of God, but the sacred secrets are already contained in the text of the Bible. [1]

In Late Antiquity, Hermetism (a form of the occult) emerged in parallel with Gnosticism, Neoplatonism and early Christianity, "characterized by a resistance to the dominance of either pure rationality or doctrinal faith." Once Hermeticism was no longer endorsed by the Christian Church it was driven underground and a number of Hermetic societies were formed. The Western esoteric tradition is now heavily steeped in Hermeticism. The work of such writers as Pico Della Mirandola, who believed that meditation and magic are the keys to self-transformation, attempted to reconcile Jewish Kabbalah and Christian mysticism, brought Hermeticism into a context more easily understood by Europeans in the Renaissance. [2]

The Hermetic Qabalah draws on a great many influences, most notably: Jewish Kabbalah, Western astrology, Alchemy, pagan religions, especially Egyptian and Greco-Roman, neoplatonism, gnosticism, the Enochian system of angelic magic of John Dee and Edward Kelley, hermeticism, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, tantra and the symbolism of the tarot. Hermetic Qabalah differs from the Jewish form in being a more admittedly syncretic system, however it shares many concepts with Jewish Kabbalah.

In later years, during the long years of Roman Catholic domination, things became progressively less biblical and more mystical, with the common people sunk into either traditions or superstitions.

Without the plain teaching of the Bible to keep them straight, religious people sought ways to find God that conformed to the Church's dogma, but introduced some form of personal release from sin and shame. It was a situation absolutely wide open for Gnosticism. This was attractive to hermits first, then the monks and nuns of the Middle Ages. They spent hours in meditation seeking enlightenment. They practiced mortification of the flesh, trying to spiritualize their existence by retreating from the world, in which knowledge of the true self and the true secret doctrines is attained by a mystical experience of the divine. [3]

The scriptures refer to this in Colossians:
"Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind…These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh." Col. 2:18-23
Examples of Mystical Rites 
~Catholic mysticism, with trances states, levitation and visions of angels. ~New Age mysticism, meditation, trances, sleep and sensory deprivation, etc. 
~Yoga, chanting, dancing, - tribal rites. 
~Rock music, other forms of trance-inducing music, disco-dancing, head-banging, shaking.. 
~Drugs, especially hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD 
~Apparitions, visions, encounters with aliens from UFO’s 
~Prolonged fasting and prayer, with meditation.
~And now by the Toronto Blessing. - The TB uses many of these techniques! In churches where the Toronto ~Blessing and its offshoots are practiced, people are led to the very same type of hypnotic trance states, catalepsy, and other physiological conditions that would be familiar to those studying tribal rituals. They are (whether they know it or not) copying the gnostics in seeking spiritual transformation by mystical rituals.

"Enlightenment" is sought, where those who have moved on to higher levels pass on the secret doctrines to lower initiates.
"O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babble and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge--by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith." 1 Tim 6:20-21
Illuminism proposes that man, and ultimately mankind, can free himself from the curse of the Fall by gaining revelation knowledge, secret wisdom, known only to higher, or ascended masters who can teach this to you. Disciples often have to undergo initiation in order to become worthy to receive this.

Examples of Illuminism  
~ Mystery cults such as the Egyptian, (the worship of Isis, the veiled goddess) ~And also Greek Mystery religions 
~Freemasonry and orders such: EG Templars, Rosicrucians, Priory of Zion 
~Alchemy and the search for the Grail

In the book, "A Dictionary of Alchemy" by Mark Haeffner, he says this:
"Alchemical roots go back to primitive mythology; and its adepts treated alchemy as both a scientific, experimental tradition and a mystic wisdom tradition in which there was a confluence of gnostic ideas about man and nature. Alchemy always has a strong element of magic and of mysticism. The experimental physical aspect seems to be an introduction to mystic, magical secrets about the transformation of the spirit."
~ Also in New Age Theosophy, based on Madame Blavatsky and Alice Bailey.
~ Later, found in the doctrines of "New Thought" which led to Christian Science and Word of Faith doctrines.

The Hallmark of the Toronto Blessing
They believe that the written Word is for the old age and we must pass on into a spiritual age in which our knowledge comes by prophecies, dreams, visions, trances, etc.This seeking after the hidden wisdom, the inner light that transforms, is Gnosticism.

The leaders of the Latter-Rain revival soon discovered that Illuminism brought new revelations that went beyond the scriptures of old: A letter in the archives of the Assembly of God written by George Hawtin, says this:
"Soon we found that the familiar doctrines previously taught and the subjects studied had a strange sense of being removed from us, as though they had become past truth instead of present truth."
The cry of the Toronto leadership is "God is bigger than His Word." They say: "Don’t put God in a box; don't limit Him to His revealed will for mankind; God can do anything He wants, even contradict His own written word."

If you dare to look at your Bible to check out Toronto, you are derided and rebuked - you are just a book person, you don’t have the new revelation.

This is also how the teachings of the Latter Rain came about - through prophecies, visions, revelations, words that people heard inwardly and that were elevated to a higher place than the written word of God.

False Christian Mysticism
At the same time it is taught that mystical encounter is needed. Devotees must get the anointing that opens the inner eye. Doubters are encouraged not to analyse the Blessing in advance, but simply receive the anointing regardless. When they do so, it will open them up to the inner meaning it contains. They will be "converted" to the new thinking by the anointing.

So by means of ecstatic trance states and the power of spiritual encounters, a mystical union with the divine, you can rise above this mortal realm into an altered state; - this is true whether you are a Christian or not -the anointing 'works' whether you are saved or not saved. Whether Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic, Pentecostal - it doesn’t matter, this power will zap you and open your mind to the new paradigm. You will be changed! You will see things differently! [3]

Signs and Wonders
According to Scripture, Jesus said there would be an increase in the last days, not to ‘vindicate and authenticate the gospel’ but rather to deceive the elect:

"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great and ; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Matt. 24:24 [Mark 13:22; Luke 21:8]  "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. . .Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders." II Thess. 2:3,9  "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." I Tim. 4:1

"...for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty." Rev. 16:14 
Jesus also said that "a wicked and adulterous generation seeks a sign" and gave a most sobering warning: "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in they name? and in they name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matt. 7:22-23 [4]

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