The following blog post was originally posted here: The New Gnostics …war on the Saints pt 11
And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen (I John 5:19-21)
Certain men, rejecting the truth, are introducing among us false stories and vain genealogies, which serve rather to controversies, as the apostle said,25 than to God’s work of building up in the faith. By their craftily constructed rhetoric they lead astray the minds of the inexperienced, and take them captive, corrupting the oracles of the Lord, and being evil expounders of what was well spoken. For they upset many, leading them away by the pretense of knowledge from Him who constituted and ordered the universe, as if they had something higher and greater to show them than the God who made the heaven and the earth and all that is in them. By skillful language they artfully attract the simple-minded into their kind of inquiry, and then crudely destroy them by working up their blasphemous and impious view about the Demiurge. Nor can their simple bearers distinguish the lie from the truth.
For their error is not displayed as what it is, lest it should be stripped naked and shown up; it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, and made to seem truer than the truth itself to the inexperienced because of the outer appearance.(Introduction to Irenaeus’s “Against All Heresies”)
I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.(I John 2:21)
The church is undergoing perhaps her final assault from within, as she has been beset with a new wave of gnostics, who have come in pretty much the same character as the ancient ones that Irenaeus described in the quote above.
What is a “Gnostic”? A Gnostic is a “Knowing One”. Gnostics redefined the knowledge of God, what it means to know and communicate with God. They were elitists who sought “deeper knowledge” than that revealed in the gospel.Gnostics deposed doctrine, dismissing it as mere head knowledge.
They held forth a “salvation” which was self realization, rather than rescue through the blood of Jesus from the wrath of a Holy God. That self realization wasn’t for every christian, only the elite, who are let in on the secret knowledge.
Once again there is the appeal of a “secret knowledge” available to “elite” Christians, the so called “Secrets of the Kingdom” available to the initiated. The same attacks are being launched on “Dogma” also. The “dry dusty doctrines of another day” are being jettisoned by the new Gnostics, in favor of “New Revelation” , or “Present Truth”.
We see also the same hatred and rejection of the God of the Old Testament, the lack of teaching of the Law and Prophets, the history of Israel and its application to the church.
Gnostics influenced me early in my walk with Jesus. I was given a pack of Kenneth Copeland and Hagin teachings, and entered into the “deep revelations”, of the “Word Faith” heresy, where I learned such “revelations” as the following; that the believer is just as much an incarnation as Jesus was, and that faith is a force, (not doctrines) and that we all could learn to use the laws of faith to get what we need. ( If this was true, we wouldn’t need God, we would simply learn the “laws of faith” and control it like the force. )
The deepest darkest core of the gnostic teaching was that we believers are in “God’s class of being”, in other words, “We are little gods” who just don’t realize it yet.
According to the modern gnostics,Jesus himself was a man of Faith, upon whom came the Holy Spirit. He knew all of the “laws of faith” which was why He could die on the cross. Anyone could do so if they had the same “Revelation knowledge” as Jesus.
One current gnostic is the very popular Word Faith preacher Kenneth Copeland. Here is a sampling of some of his teaching.
Kenneth Copeland (What Satan Saw on the Day of Pentecost, audiotape #BCC-19, side 1)
“Every prophet that walked the face of the earth under the Abrahamic covenant could have paid the price if it were a physical death only. When He said ‘It is finished’ on that cross, He was not speaking of the plan of redemption. The plan of redemption had just begun; there were still three days and three nights to be gone through.”
Kenneth Copeland (What Happened from the Cross to the Throne, 1990, audiotape #02-0017, side 2)
“The Spirit of God spoke to me and He said, “Son, realize this. Now follow me in this and don’t let your tradition trip you up.” He said, “Think this way — a twice-born man whipped Satan in his own domain.” And I threw my Bible down… like that. I said, “What?” He said, “A born-again man defeated Satan, the firstborn of many brethren defeated him.” He said, “You are the very image, the very copy of that one.” I said, “Goodness, gracious sakes alive!” And I began to see what had gone on in there, and I said, “Well now you don’t mean, you couldn’t dare mean, that I could have done the same thing?” He said, “Oh yeah, if you’d had the knowledge of the Word of God that He did, you could have done the same thing, ’cause you’re a reborn man too.”
Kenneth Copeland (Substitution and Identification, 1989, tape #00-0202, side 2)
What blasphemy! A whole generation of christians have been swept away and corrupted on the deepest level by accepting this evil man and his demonic teachings.
John Wimber was a Quaker, who came into the Charismatic movement, became a teacher of “Church Growth” and eventually taught a famous coarse at fuller Seminary,MC510 “Signs,Wonders, and Church Growth” which launched a signs and wonders movement, spreading gnostic teachings throughout the earth. Eventually this movement becme the Vineyard fellowship.
Of interest for this book is how Wimber taught that a “Paradigm Shift”in thinking was necessary to bring the church into “Power Evangelism”.
Wimber, Kraft, White and Williams, as well as many other Third Wave teachers, have been calling for a “paradigm shift” for some time now…. A paradigm shift is a total exchange of your world view! …What is the shift? It is from a primarily Western, rational, logical, objective point of view to an Eastern, subjective, experiential paradigm. Haven’t we been subtly taught over the years, that the Western mind set is cold, calculated, rational, based on just the observable facts? On the other hand, allegedly, the Eastern is mystical, from the heart, and based on experience?
Wimber teaches, “We must remember always that the Bible was written in the Middle East, not with rational assumption, that we bring to it as we try to understand it, but with an experiential assumption.” I interpret him to be saying that the Bible is not so much an objective book, but a subjective one. Not so much for understanding God mentally, but for experiencing Him intimately.
In another tape, Wimber explains: “You tell someone from the Far or Middle East that cotton only grows in warm semi-arid climates. England is cold and wet. [Ask them] Does cotton grow in England? The answer you’ll get is, ‘I don’t know, I haven’t been to England.’”11 Or, “I can’t say unless I’ve been there, (experience).” This is the new paradigm, a down playing of doctrine or “head knowledge” in favour of mystical experience. Another variation of this is, “God is bigger than His written word,” translated, God wants to bring you into experiences that aren’t in the limits of scripture. Just knowing God “doctrinally” is not sufficient, you now must have self authenticating experiences. All of these attitudes are the end result of the New Paradigm. This is the shift from primarily objective, to subjective thinking in our approach to truth!(Weighed And Found Wanting;putting the Toronto Blessing in Context)
Perhaps the premier proponent of gnosticism in the Evangelical and Charismatic Church these days is Pastor Bill Johnson of Bethel Assembly, in Redding, California. Johnson’s church is the current version of the “Toronto Airport Vineyard, Brownesville Assembly of God,” pilgrimage site, where people influenced by gnosticism come to ‘experience God’.
Through the church and most notably through the ‘worship team’, a popular rock band called “Jesus Culture” Bethel Assembly reaches hundreds of thousands with it’s gnostic message of anti doctrinal, experience based, new age emulating power evangelism.
I believe Bethel literally represents the final stages of the apostasy, the slide into the Occult which I wrote about in my revised version of my book,“Beware the New Prophets” ,
Here is an example of this redefinition of Christianity and the Knowledge of God in occult terms promoted by gnostics such as those associated with Bethel. From an article in a magazine called “The Christian Post” entitled Bethel Responds to Christian Tarot Cards Controversy;
The 8,000-member church in Redding was accused of working with a Melbourne, Australia-based group known as Christalignment, which claims to have worked with many churches in that country to do such readings, but Bethel responded by saying that Christalignment is not formally affiliated with Bethel and nor does it use “Christian tarot cards.”
Bethel admitted the leaders of Christalignment, Ken and Jenny Hodge, are connected with several of their church members as the Hodges are the parents to church evangelist Ben Fitzgerald, and said the church leaders “have a value for what they are seeking to accomplish.”
“They (Christalignment) stand in agreement with the Scriptures that all occult practices (like tarot cards) have no place in the Kingdom and should not be used,” Bethel said in a statement.
Christ Alignment staff describe themselves as “trained spiritual consultants,” and say on their website that they “draw from the same divine energy of the Christ spirit.”
“We practice a form of supernatural healing that flows from the universal presence of the Christ. We draw from the same divine energy of the Christ spirit, as ancient followers did and operate only out of the third heaven realm to gain insight and revelation,” they say.
Satan has seduced large segments of the professing church, into gnosticism and the occult. Like Saul, in the last desperate hours of his life, some have gone into darkness, seeking power and a “Word” of comfort, having already rejected the Word.
To purchase Pastor Bill Randle’s book, “A Sword on the Land: The Muslim World in Bible Prophecy”, please visit: http://www.aswordontheland.com/buy/