Contemporary Expressions of GNOSTIC CHRISTOLOGY
The following passages bring important warnings, basically stating
that in the days prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ,
deceptions will be common — Mt. 24:4,5,11,23,24; II Thes.
2:3,9,10-12; I Tim. 4:1-3; II Tim. 4:3; and, in support of the
specific warning from John concerning the spirit and message of
antichrist, I John 2:18-23 and 4:1-3. It is this particular false
teaching concerning Christ upon which we will focus in this handout.
This cultural phenomenon is nothing short of awesome, for multiple
reasons! Read on.
The New Gnostic / Neo-Gnostic movement is now a part of
mainstream culture. I hope we clearly discern the most recent
expressions of this old but dangerous lie—popularly reintroduced
through the New Age Movement in the 1970s and 1980s. This is not a
passing fad within culture. These ideas persist (and flourish) today.
These Neo-Gnostic DOCTRINES, even on the most basic issues, are now
wide spread and widely embraced. Below is one definition (that)
contemporary expressions of this movement offer concerning “Christ.”
Please note how well the I John passages apply!
A comparison between the Christ of the Bible and the Christ
of Gnosticism is mind-boggling. In practically every category
(e.g. – position about Being—ontology, accomplishments, etc.), the
New Age or Gnostic Christ is exactly opposite that of the Biblical
Christ. The following examples only scratch the surface.
Differences concerning the “Being” of Christ (Who He/It is in essence).
Even in this most basic category, you will notice we had to
distinguish between “He” and “It.” This is because the Gnostic or
New Age Christ is defined not as a person, but as a thing, a force, an
attitude of mind, an all-present energy throughout the entire
universe. Here’s how a few who could be classified to fall within the
Neo-Gnostic movement define Christ.
Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 – 1952), a very influential Hindu prophet
who was very instrumental in spreading Hindu philosophy in America and
whose writings have been foundational to many New Age writers,
expresses this faulty view of Christ in his book, Man’s Eternal Quest
(pp. 334 – 336):
“… We are a part of the divine Christ Consciousness present in all
creation. Each individual intelligence is a part of that vast Christ
intelligence. … Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Babaji – all are Christs.
They had expanded their consciousness to receive Christ Consciousness.
St. John declared: ‘As many as received him [the Christ Consciousness
that was manifested in Jesus], to them gave he power to become sons of
God.’ … You do not imagine it, you feel it – this love that Jesus,
Krishna, all of the great ones manifested – this universal
intelligence and love which is called Christ Consciousness.”
Norman Paulsen, in his book, Christ Consciousness, states that all who
posses Christ Consciousness share some basic common beliefs.
“All cases of Christ Consciousness basically state the same facts: (1)
The vision of the incredible brilliance, much akin to our own physical
sun; (2) The face-to-face meeting with a divine intelligence which
permeates the whole vessel of the creation; (3) The absolute knowing
that one is immortal and that any further pursuit of salvation is
unnecessary, as one already has it; (4) The elimination of the sense
of sin, and the full understanding of the law of cause and effect
which binds thoughts and images together in the creation.” (pg. xxvii)
David Spangler, one of the early Neo-Gnostic (or New Age) prophets to
those in the “Christian” west, gives this fascinating
description—definition if you will—concerning Christ in his book,
Reflections On The Christ.
“What is the Christ? Within all life there exists a quality, an
energy, which has as its basic characteristic irresistible growth,
irresistible and inevitable expression of divinity. It is a quality
which says that whatever form I am encased in I will not be held
prisoner by that form, but I will transform it into a greater form. I
will use all life, all experiences as stepping stones to greater
revelations of divinity. The Christ is the basic evolutionary force
within creation.” (pg. 13; emphasis ours)
Differences concerning the “Ministry” of Christ (What He/It has done).
Here again, every basic action of the Christ of Gnosticism is twisted
into something radically different than the work of the Biblical
Christ. While many authors could be cited, David Spangler’s
Reflections On The Christ will serve our purposes here because he
targets some of the most basic and important events in the life of Christ.
Concerning the birth of Christ, Spangler writes:
“The true birth of the Christ was not the birth of Jesus. Jesus was
an individual who himself had to recapitulate certain stages. … He had
to in his consciousness touch this Christ pattern. … When he [Jesus]
became awakened [tapped into the Christ pattern] there was sufficient
power generated with the race itself to lift that awakened state still
further. It made it possible for him then to become the Anointed
One, for there to be in this case the reverse action of what happened
with Buddha, a
downward pull in which the Christ, or this cosmic force literally
entered the vehicles of Jesus and took them over, and used
those vehicles as a means of making a very important link with the
Earth. The word ‘Christos’ referred to the Anointed
One. This is exactly what happened; he was anointed with this cosmic
power. He became the incarnation of this power on Earth. This being
the actual birth of the Christ, Jesus had to manifest his own Christ
consciousness before this could occur, because there has to be this
resonating link.” (pg. 6)
Once again, the man Jesus is separated from the Christ! This is one
of the basic indicators of the spirit of antichrist, for I John
2:22,23 and 4:2,3 specifically state,
“Who is a liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is
antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son
does not have the Father either. … 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. And this is the spirit of the
Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the
Spangler continues, this time addressing the death of Christ:
“…This is really the true crucifixion. It was not so much the hanging
Jesus on the physical cross, but it was the entry of the cosmic
Christ into the physical, etheric, mental, emotional energy patterns
of the planetary body itself. From that point onward the Christ was
no longer an educative force standing outside the planet, beckoning
evolution forward. It became a very powerful force operative
within the very structure of the planet itself, on really the lowest
level, that is, right down to the nuclear levels, atomic
levels.” (pg. 7)
I hope you are not belittling the false messages above! While they
do sound off the wall, you would be saddened by how many people
embrace these doctrines of Christ today – many of them actually
believing they are Christ; some having stated the very warning of
Matthew 24:5 to me. “I am the Christ,” they have exuberantly
testified. Some years ago I sat down and wept after having just made
contact with one of the New Age (once again, very similar to
Gnosticism in many respects) students with whom I had been sharing for
three years. It was so overwhelming that I had a hard time getting
through the Bible study on Truth Foundations the next hour. Why?
Because Sean was in such a state of confusion concerning the channeled
revela-tion that he and Kendra had bought into that I had a difficult
time even following what he was trying to say. It’s so sad!
We are in the concluding times of the end—just before our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ will return in glory. There are many false
christs, false teachers and major deceptions everywhere! Are we
discerning our day and the expressions of antichrist today—e.g., the
many expressions of false christology? Are we mentally prepared for
the days ahead when the people of the world who embrace this spirit of
antichrist will no longer endure / put up with sound doctrine … and
those who proclaim it?
One concluding thought:
Erwin Lutzer writes in his book, CHRIST Among Other gods: A Defense of
Christ in An Age of Tolerance, “The New Age [and one could surely
include the Neo-Gnostic movement within this group] has taken the
Christ of the New Testament and sculptured Him (with verbal hammer and
chisel) into a completely new image which is to their liking. This
new sculpture is able to sit on the same display shelf with the
sculptures of Buddha, Krishna, and other holy men. The tools used to
remake Christ into this image are,
discovering ‘hidden writings’ that purport to contain the
long-lost truths of the cosmic Christ;
transferring primary allegiance from Scriptural revelations to new
revelations received through
channelers and psychics; and,
developing an esoteric system of interpreting the Bible that
enables the reader to seek hidden
meanings so Jesus can be made to appear as a New Age evangelist.”
(pg. 116; bracket comment ours)
Truth Foundations are of eternal significance! Truth matters, on this
topic, eternally so.
At the same time these epistemological tools are being offered as
substitute sources which speak contrary to the historical, Biblical
Jesus, other efforts on other fronts are attacking the very source
from which the true revelation concerning Jesus Christ comes—namely,
the Word of God, the Bible. For example, the Jesus Seminar scholars,
especially promoted by the secular media (interesting, isn’t it?),
continue to “deceive,” or, being more politically correct, “shape the
perspectives of many.” Some of the Gnostic scholars of our day,
promoted by media, including big-screen efforts like Stigmata and The
Da Vinci Code, are also making a huge cultural impact toward
redefining the Biblical Christ of history. But on what firm grounds
do they do so?
What a day in which to live! May we persist in His Truths which alone
set free. Let’s remember our Truth Foundations.
“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which
is Jesus Christ.” (I Cor. 3:11; NKJV)
“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall
know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31b, 32;
“Jesus said to him [Thomas], ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ ” (John 14:6; NKJV).
Later in this same Gospel, Thomas responded in worship as he fell to
his knees and said (after seeing the resurrected Christ), “My Lord and
my God!” Surely this is not the same individual who wrote the Gospel
For more information, please visit www.truthfoundations.com