"THE NEW THING" by Tricia Tillin
Part One: THE GNOSTIC KEY
INTRODUCTION: The Need to Grasp the Overall Picture
We have a situation today where most of the world and much of the Church is heading straight into the antichrist delusion. That is a bold statement, as well as a BALD statement, and it will need much fleshing out before you can see it as true. But starting from that premise, my task as a watchman is not only to alert you to what is happening, but also to give you the tools for understanding the apostasy, so that you can avoid falling into the devils snare yourself.
The task of any watchman is to alert to danger; but unless you can grasp the fact sufficiently to arm yourself against harm, you will not benefit from any warning. God wants you to survive. He does not want you to fall - that is why he appoints watchmen to sound the trumpet of alarm, and also why he offers you the tools for understanding the danger.
There are so many different aspects of this deception that we can only focus on one or two at a time. But in writing here, I want to make you see how wide this antichrist agenda is, and what it involves. I want the scales to fall from your eyes, and for you to say, "I SEE it now"
I want you to see the foundational errors that lead to all these things - to thus to have the keys to understanding what is to come.
THE KEY IS THAT THE ANTICHRIST DOCTRINE IS BASICALLY A GNOSTIC ONE:
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist [2 Jn 1:7]
Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. [I Jn 4:2-3]
At first sight, these verses look so familiar that we ignore them. But God has taken the trouble to tell us plainly in His Word just WHAT is the spirit of antichrist. This is what we need to know. In what sort of spirit will the antichrist come, and how will he appear, and what will be his doctrine? If we know this, we can avoid it.
I believe John - or the Holy Spirit speaking through John - was identifying for us the spirit, the essential nature and being, of antichrist both at that time and eventually when he is embodied in a human body in the future. So this is a valuable verse because it tells us what is the spirit of antichrist.
The "Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church" defines gnosticism thus:
A religious movement in which central importance was attached to the gnosis, or revelation knowledge, of God and of the origin and destiny of mankind. The source of this special gnosis or knowledge was held to be either the Apostles from whom it was derived by a secret tradition, or by a direct revelation.
GNOSIS is a Greek work that means knowledge, in particular, "Revelation knowledge", hidden truths that are revealed supernaturally to the initiate. The Gnostics of old had certain central beliefs and these are now coming to the surface again today.
Characteristic of the gnostic teaching was that the material creation was antagonistic to what is truly spiritual, but that each man had a spark or seed of the divine substance within. Through the secret doctrines and the rites associated with them, this divine spark might be rescued from its evil material environment and be reunited with the divine.
Gnosticism existed before the time of Christ's birth, but afterwards there were Christian Gnostics. They explained the phenomenon of Jesus Christ in this way:
Now we see what John was speaking of in his letter. It is the antichrist spirit who denies that Jesus is come in the flesh. The antichrist and his followers seek redemption (that is, spiritual transformation) by means of a spirit-being and by becoming a spirit-being!
Bible-believing Christians do not look to a mere spirit-being for salvation. We look to a Man who bled and died, in reality, in agony, upon a wooden cross. We do not receive redemption from a spiritual emanation that infuses us with "revelation" from some unknowable Supreme Being out there! We have a Saviour, the sacrificed Lamb of God, who died in our place, rose again as a flesh and bones person, who ever lives to intercede for us! Jesus is very REAL! If you met him today you could place your finger in the nail scars of His hand, just as Thomas did years ago. He is no "it", he's not a spirit, but a real (but divine) Man.
How did so-called "christian" Gnostics deal with scripture, and the reality of God Almighty?
Links With Masonry
It may already have dawned on some reading this that Masonry enshrines a lot of the old Gnostic teaching. Their god is also called the Architect of the Universe, at least in the lower orders. Those who "progress" by initiation into the darker secrets discover that the TRUE Masonic god is the light-bringer, or Lucifer, who (they believe) enlightens all with divine knowledge.The word that the Greeks used to describe the fallen creator-god was DEMI-URGOS, which meant a craftsman, a maker, an author, and since this being had made the universe he was the maker or architect of the physical creation. Lower Masonic orders are allowed to worship this Being and obey his laws, but the higher initiates purge themselves of such ignorant notions and come into relationship with a spiritual being in a spiritual reality. This is where the supernatural takes over!
However, as we shall see, today we have a new gnostic awakening that is taking place all over the Christian Church!! It is being called "renewal" and even "transformation" and it is as far from scriptural redemption as the gnostic doctrine of old. Once you grasp the enormity of this, you will never be the same. You will also be prepared to withstand the antichrist deception that will overtake the entire world shortly.
How Gnostics Dealt with The Material World:
Gnostics had a problem in that they were undeniably living in fleshy bodies, and on a physical earth! This did not fit with their ideals of spiritual transformation. They had to subdue the flesh, and they did this in one of two ways:
(1) Asceticism - Some would renounce all things of the flesh, such as marriage and procreation. They adopted ultra strict diets, embraced very harsh regimes of living, and denied themselves every earthly comfort. Like the later Catholic monks and nuns, they mortified the flesh in all kinds of unpleasant and extreme ways. They did so in order to liberate their divine spark, and rise to the spiritual level.
The Bible speaks of this sort of self-mortification, condemning it:
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; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.[1 Tim 4:1-3]
(2) Licentiousness (or, Libertinism) - Other Gnostics held that because the world is evil and their bodies were fallen, it did not matter what they did. They considered the Old Testament law as the fallen gods snare to entrap them in this world, so they were a-moral- they accepted no laws. While the former group became the "saints" of Christian mythology, the latter lawless group has evolved into satanists who break the law deliberately. Satanists openly worship Lucifer and believe, like the Gnostics, that the God of the Old Testament is repressive and despotic.
Of course the Bible condemns both groups, and it speaks of the lawless in this way:
Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While theypromise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.[2 Pet 2:13, 18-19]
TWO WAYS OF ACHIEVING
The essence of Gnosticism is that the inner spirit of humanity must be liberated from a world that is basically deceptive, oppressive, and evil. How this could be achieved was a bit of a problem, but eventually two main ways of attaining spiritual transformation were developed. They were (a) MYSTICISM and (b) ILLUMINISM.
In which knowledge of the true self and the true secret doctrines is attained by a mystical experience of the divine. 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:
in which "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 gainingrevelation knowledge, secret wisdom, known only to higher, or ascended masterswho can teach this to you.Disciples often have to undergo initiation in order to become worthy to receive this.
EXAMPLES OF ILLUMINISM:
In the book, "A Dictionary of Alchemy" by Mark Haeffner, he says this:
"The old view of alchemists as seeking after the elixir of life, or touchstone for transmuting metals into gold is totally inadequate. 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."
WORD OF FAITH TEACHINGS
This latter statement, about Word of Faith teaching, may startle and worry some readers who are not altogether familiar with the doctrine. However, although there is no space for a full analysis, it can be shown that Word of Faith does hold to gnosticism in some degree:
THE NEW AGE DOCTRINES
It is easy to see where new-agers get their beliefs, because all the doctrines of Gnosticism are there. Gnosticism of old is basically the same as the modern New-Age Movement, and teaches spiritual evolution and god consciousness in the same way.
TORONTO IS A SYNTHESIS OF BOTH ILLUMINISM AND MYSTICISM!
BUT NOW, for the first time, we have a movement that combines both elements of Gnosticism! The Toronto experience utilises both the doctrine and the mystical experiences of the gnostics.
WHY DO THEY ASK FOR 'MORE'?
Jesus Christ came to SATISFY. He offered the water that, once tasted, would leave the disciple completely sated, no longer thirsty and hungry for "more".Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)
It's a pity people don't sing the old songs. In days gone by we really knew how to proclaim our satisfaction in our all-sufficient Lord. For instance, who remembers
"I'm feeding on the Living Bread
Knowing Jesus is in fact the ONLY way on earth to know contentment, and spiritual satisfaction.
"Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness" (Ps 107:8-9)
Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. (Isa 55:2)
Illuministic, gnostic religion preaches a never-ending journey wherein the initiate has to attain higher and higher levels of spiritual knowledge and perfection, ever straining to achieve transformation and renewal, but somehow always falling just short of the goal.
Gnostic religion, like the Toronto Blessing, is at best a temporary spiritual "high", but is just one step on a long ladder that never reaches an end. Jesus Christ said, "never thirst again" but the Toronto leadership says "More! More!"
TORONTO AND BROWNSVILLE
It has now been firmly established that many of the teachings and practises of the Toronto movement have the Latter Rain movement as their foundation. However, there are differences. Whereas the Latter Rain pioneers taught that fullness and transformation was achieved as an eschatological event, Rodney Howard Browne and others teach that it can be attained by both illuminism and mysticism:
Rodney-Howard-Browne, initiator of the Toronto Blessing, and a Word-of-Faith believer, writes this in his booklet (The Coming Revival, pg. 23)
"The power of God is not going to flow through those that have a theory; it's going to flow through those who have revelation" (ILLUMINISM)
In a video tape aired on TBN in May 1994, Rodney Howard-Browne laid hands on a woman and encouraged her to
"Step over, step over, step over, step over into the realm of the supernatural. Step over out of the realm of reason into the realm of glory." (MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE)
The hallmark of the Toronto Blessing has become:
(A) ILLUMINISM - 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:"Dont put God in a box; dont limit him to his revealed will for mankind; God can do anything he wants, even contradict his own written word".
The eldership of one British church justified their adopting the Toronto blessing by saying: "We must have church growth - we must have revival - the Bible has failed us; so now we must have the Spirit, the new anointing to do the work".
If you dare to look at your Bible to check out Toronto, you are derided and rebuked - you are just a book person, you dont 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.
(B) 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, and 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 doesnt matter, this power will zap you and open your mind to the new paradigm. You will be changed! You will see things differently!
DISCARDING THE OLD PARADIGM
There are so-called prophecies and words from God that call for a radical change in thinking, a new way, a new thing - a break from the old paradigm and a new thinking for a new paradigm:
This prophecy was sent From: "Barry C. Linville" to the New Wine Vineyard Bulletin Board:
"Change...change...change! Your ways are old ways, your thoughts are old thoughts, your prayers are old prayers, your cries are old cries, your worship is old worship, your way of doing church is an old way of doing church. Renewal is not pouring new energy into old ways; it is bringing new ways. Let Me change you...let Me change you inside and out. Let go of yourself! Let me have you! I don't want a little bit at a time, I want all of you, NOW!Desire change! Desire it because it is what I am doing in you! Hunger and thirst for my changing in you. You must change! I cannot equip you unless you change. Remember, this is a wholesale, not a partial, change. Don't focus on equipping...it is not time for equipping...it is time for change! You will not be used in the harvest unless you change."
Thus, the present revival, involving the powers of Toronto, Pensacola and similar experiences, is basically a gnostic one. But if you recall the point at which we started, it was shown from scripture that the ANTICHRIST doctrine is basically GNOSTIC in nature. We could therefore conclude, as many already have, that the spirit of antichrist is the one behind the supernatural experience loosed at Toronto!
THE ASCENDING PATH: The Ladder That Leads to Heaven
Gnostic illumination achieved by esoteric knowledge is often portrayed as an ascending path up the mountain of enlightenment:It is called in many religions, the ladder. Disciples rise step by step through higher revelations, discarding the inferior teachings of the lower initiates along the way.
In the works of St. John of the Cross,a Roman Catholic mystic, we find an elaborate drawing of Mount Carmel, the Mount of Perfection that symbolises the ascent to mystical union with God on the top of the mount.
Eastern mysticism often portrays spiritual life as an arduous ascent of the mountain - Hinduism for example.
The pyramids of Egypt, and the Aztec temples were artificial mountains in and on which the gods were worshipped.
Glastonbury, a pagan site in the British Isles, is a high mound with an ascending path. To this day pilgrims of all kinds - including some Christian groups - go out to ascend the path to the summit of Glastonbury, symbolising their ascending path to the divine.
THE HORDES OF HELL ARE MARCHING: Rick Joyners Mountain
Despite the obviously unscriptural nature of this esoteric ascent up the symbolic mountain, Rick Joyner has presented a vision of his own ascent in his (now) four-part vision printed in successive issues of his Journal: The Morning Star. The entire vision was published in a book called "The Final Quest".
In this vision he says he ascends different levels of a huge mountain accompanied by an army of warriors warring against evil. On the way he discovers treasures, and doors leading to secrets that will revolutionise his Christian life. It is a masterpiece of gnostic teaching.
He even meets an angel called WISDOM, who teaches him to rise to the third heaven. To personify "wisdom" as a god or goddess has ever been the forte of the gnostic religions. Christians, too, are not blameless. "Sophia" the Greek word for wisdom was adored by some, and the church of Santa Sophia (Holy Wisdom) was built in Constantinople in the 6th century. Remembering that the gnostic ascent is to discover the christ-spirit within, read this quote from the vision. Wisdom tells him:
"You are still lacking something very important. You must yet have a great revelation of the King. Even though you have climbed to the top of the mountain, and received from every truth along the way, and even though you have stood in the Garden of God, tasted of His unconditional love, and have seen His Son many times now, you still only understand a part of the whole counsel of God, and that only superficially."
Yet the Word of God tells us another story. It says that, with the Holy Spirit as our Guide, we know all things. We do not need to discover inner wisdom by some esoteric route.
But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 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 Jn 2:20-21
His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 2 Pet 1:3
This supposed angel of God goes on to tell Rick Joyner that Christ dwells within him, like the divine spark of the gnostics.
"The Lord dwells within you. You have taught this many times, but now you must live it, for you have eaten of the Tree of Life." The angel then began to lead me back to the gate [out of the Garden of Paradise]. I protested that I did not want to leave. Looking surprised, the angel took me by the shoulders and looked me in the eyes. That is when I recognized him as the angel, Wisdom. "You never have to leave this garden. This garden is in your heart because the Creator Himself is within you" (The inner christ)
Yet when we look in occult literature, we find the self-same teachings. This extract from "The Secret of the Illuminati" by Elizabeth Van Buren, a famous occultist, illustrates the point:
"The Mystery Religion is the One from which all the great religions of the world have obtained their basis, though not the dogmas which were added later. More important than any other teaching is the one that states that only by his own efforts can man attain to Paradise, for this holy place is within himself."
RESTORING THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS
Rick Joyner later sees a great cloud of white eagles.These turn out to be a great company of prophets that comes to support and teach the warriors. They began landing on the mountain, taking their place on every level beside the companies of warriors. Later on his special eagle gives him objects that make him more spiritual. Joyner asks who the eagles are:
"You want to know who we are. We are the hidden prophets who have been kept for this hour. We are the eyes of those who have been given the divinely powerful weapons. We have been shown all that the Lord is doing, and all that the enemy is planning against you. We have scoured the earth and together we know all that needs to be known for the battle."
But again, from "The Secret of the Illuminati" by Elizabeth Van Buren, occultist:
"Shamash (a Semitic god) was Captain of the Eagles, so was Shu (his Egyptian counterpart) Commander of the Eagles. Shu, like Shamash, was consciousness, pure thought which can soar higher than any eagle or hawk into the far reaches of space".
ASCENDED MASTERS: The Apostles And Prophets Of The Latter Rain
The doctrines of gnosticism are taught by a ruling caste, an elite who have ascended above the mere mental realm and who possess the wisdom of the ancients - new agers calls them Ascended Masters.
The Latter Rain calls them the Apostles and Prophets, but they have the same end in view - a teaching of the hidden secrets of God, the revelations that will lead us to liberation. In the case of the Latter Rain and toronto teachings, these "masters" are the conduits through which the anointing flows, as well as the verbal mouthpieces of the hidden wisdom. Thus they become both guru and shaman at once.
The Whistler Mountain Meetings
Rick Joyner's mountain trek took the form of a vision, but recently, Christians have literally been going up mountains to wait on the power of God for this inner revelation to come to pass that will take them to a higher spiritual level - or as they say - "take them beyond the veil".
From June 28th to July 2nd 1995 there was a"Gathering of the Nations In His Holy Presence" at Whistler Mountain Resort, BC. and the organisers announced that it would be used by the Lord to "kickoff the second stage of the awakening."
Whistler notorious for its eagles
Bob Jones, notorious leader of the Kansas City Prophets, and at one time removed from the public platform because of his sexual indiscretions and bizarre sayings, is one of the key participants in the Whistler Gatherings. Before the event, Jones said that "this will be a gathering of the eagles in the Kingdom" Interestingly, within a week, over 4000 eagles were gathered at an airport close to Whistler (so many that there were concerns about aircraft operational safety). This was such an extremely unusual event that the CBC and CTV networks in Canada featured it in their newscasts. It was seen as a confirmation in the natural of the significance of the Gathering in the spirit.
Some quotes from promotional literature:
It is believed that the Lord will release the Apostolic and Prophetic Mantles upon those gathered. This will take the Awakening into the Prophetic stage
Our bold confidence is that the Holy Spirit will remove the veil from our minds so that: "We all with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord " (II Cor. 3:18)
Notice that the promoters did not dare to finish off this scripture quote, perhaps because it too blatantly displayed the organiser's belief in the glorification of Christians on earth, before the Second Coming of Christ. (A latter-rain belief.) The entire quote is:
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord".
EDEN: THE ROOT OF GNOSTIC DOCTRINE
THE TWO TREES
In the Garden were not one but two trees. These can be described as Jesus, the Tree of Life, and Satan the Tree of False Wisdom.
Jesus is the Tree of Life, for He is the Truth, He is the Life. The Life is IN THE SON. Eternal life is not in Man. Therefore we need to be united to the Son in order to know true life.
The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil represents Satan, the enemy of God and Man. Satan preaches that you can know wisdom and life in yourself, apart from God. Satan possesses a kind of wisdom - the hidden knowledge, or gnosis, that enlightens mankind to his own divinity, that gives man power to rule over his own life, over others lives, over his planet and eventually over the universe.The life of Jesus submits to God the Father, and therefore also defers to other people. The life of satan is selfish life. It is rebellion and domination.GOD AND HIS SON ARE WISDOM PERSONIFIED:
Lucifer, the light-bringer, offers illumination to open the eyes of the soul and give inner light, enlightenment
"For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.(Gen 3:5)
Looking at scripture, we can see that, indeed, the eyes of Adam and Eve WERE opened, but at what price!
Gen 3:7 -And the eyes of them both were opened, andthey knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Their eyes WERE opened (satan can tell the truth!!) and they DID have knowledge - he was correct! But Adam and Eve knew they were naked. They were living in guilt, ashamed, sin-conscious and fearful. Then came lies, hypocrisy, pretense, loss of relationship with God, and judgement, and death. However, Adam and Eve DID eat the fruit,- so secret wisdom is still available to Man.
The Results of Knowledge
Just as the Lord had warned, tasting the hidden wisdom of Lucifer meant spiritual death. The light of God in man's spirit died out, and left an empty and bitter darkness in its place. Communion with God, that brought satisfaction, was ended. Now man has a soul that is seeking for meaning and life, but without God.Man is still trying to mend the damage that Luciferic wisdom brought to himself and the world, but the methods are doomed to failure, because they are not according to God's will. The Fall has brought a universal sense of division, rejection, loss, and insecurity. Thus mankind is chasing after a remedy that will bring the perfection of Eden back into his life.
Transformation for both man and his world is the aim of many or most religions today. Especially in 20th century religion, the main effort is to "Heal the World" and achieve universal love, harmonyandpeace with justice for all. These are the conditions that we knew in Edenic perfection - they can NEVER be known again, outside God. Even so, new-agers, and even some Christians, chase this elusive dream.
In order to overcome our sense of loss, and the loneliness of life on this planet without God, religions try to end wars and bring down personal and national barriers. They promote forgiveness, repentance and reconciliation between nations and cultures - all good things, but unobtainable. Man is fallen and under judgement. He can do nothing to save himself.
The only practical way to achieve a transformation is by domination. Dictators like Hitler control the masses by indoctrination, subjugation, or threats. In Hitler's case, he hoped to bring about a thousand years of peace. Alternatively, schemes like the Babel tower project attempt to unite the world through false religion and a common purpose. This is what the New Age is all about.
The Spiritual Fallout from Eden
True spiritual life is knowing Jesus Christ as Saviour and being born again. Our spirits are alive to truth and wisdom only through Jesus Christ - for in him is life. Satan on the other hand promises spiritual energy and power, and the means to rule others, and ourselves, a method of achieving spiritual transformation without submission to God. Satans way proposes that you can "know yourself" in such a way that you can set yourself free and experience the bliss of 'nirvana'- union with the sublime, the eternal.
Becoming one with the "whole" is what satan offers us in order to heal the longing we have, because of our separation. However the downside is that, given a substitute, people will no longer seek after God. I would suggest that Toronto seekers are being sold short. They are being offered a quick-fix solution to their problems without a true, lasting, sound, sincere and scriptural relationship with God.
THE GNOSTIC DOCTRINES IN LATER HISTORY
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 at least some form of personal release from sin and shame.It was a situation absolutely wide open for gnosticism, for firstly the hermits, then the monks and nuns of the middle ages spent hours in meditation seeking enlightenment. They practised mortification of the flesh, trying to spiritualise their existence by retreating from the world.
Teresa of Avila (1515-82)
This well-known and now rediscovered lady was the Spanish founder of the religious order of the Barefoot Carmelites. In 1555, after many years marked by serious illness and increasingly rigorous religious exercises, she experienced a profound awakening, involving visions of Jesus Christ, hell, angels, and demons.This eventually involved a "mystic Sacred Marriage" in which Teresa experienced divine union with Jesus, (as she believed) with blissful sensations, manifestations, levitation, and trances. Teresa of Avila is now being promoted through the Toronto movement as an example of one who experienced manifestations of the Spirit, though it is much more likely that she fell in love with a deceiving spirit. Teresa never abandoned the teachings of the Catholic Church.
John of The Cross, (1542-91)
St. John was a Spanish mystic and poet. He experienced what he felt was an awakening of the spirit by renunciation of the world and flesh. He, like Teresa, thought he had achieved "Union with the Divine". The themes of his poetry concentrate on the reconciliation of human beings with God through a series of mystical steps that begin with self-communion, and renunciation of the distractions of the world. One of his books was called: "Living Flame of Love".
The French Prophets or Camisards of 17th and 18th Centuries
The Camisards (from the French dialect word camisa, "shirt"), was a name applied to the French Huguenot (Protestant) peasants of the Cévennes mountain region of France whorose in rebellion in 1702 against King Louis 14th. The Camisards, so called because of the black smocks they wore during night raids, had sought refuge in the Cévennes after Louis 14th in 1685 had revoked the religious freedom granted to them by the Edict of Nantes. Though not all were violent, a portion of the Camisards conducted guerrilla warfare from mountain strongholds against the royal troops. Roman Catholic churches were burned, and their priests were killed or forced to flee.
However, they saw themselves as a prophetic group, a millennial manifestation, bringing in the kingdom of God on earth. They experienced many spiritual manifestations similar to the Toronto believers. Here is a description of their prophetic power:
"The first occurrence [of revolt] grew out of the prophetic utterance of a ten year old girl...she called for repentance...soon children all over the Cevennes were seized by the spirit and prophesied. Children as young as three were known to have exhorted the people in religious discourses. Adults, too, were seized by the spirit and spoke in tongues - their physical actions were quite excessive. They fell backwards with the body extended at full length on the ground, their bodies went through contortions including heaving of the chest and inflation of the stomach - afterwards they would prophesy, exhorting the people to repent and denounce the RC Church" (Quotes from various historical sources)
This sounds familiar to us. The manifestations are identical to those seen under the Toronto spirit. Was this of God? Plainly not. For all the exhortations to denounce the Catholic Church, the result was to stir up rebellion, armed warfare and bloodshed. Hardly the work of the true Spirit of God.
The book "Occult Theocracy" by Lady Queenborough quotes sources who call the Camisards "theomaniacs" and says:
"It is certain that all the armed troops never took to the field except at the instance of some inspired celebrity. And it is certain that the words of the prophets were listened to as if they had emanated from the mouth of the Holy Spirit; that the inspirations from them habitually decided either the life or death of the Catholics who fell into their power"
This means, the spirit motivating the inspired prophets decided your fate according to prophecy! If you were a Catholic, this spirit could inspire somebody to kill you! The above account goes on to state that the same person would be both a prophet and an army commander.
The Camisards were early "Restorationists". They believed the Church would be triumphant over the world system and would reign in power in the endtimes. They were calling in their prophecies for Christians to rise up like a mighty man and to defeat their enemies, in their case by killing the priests and burning down their churches!They felt they had a right to do that. They believed God have given them the authority to defeat their enemies! This is a sort of Liberation Theology that you see in Africa today. Its OK to kill people as long as its in a good cause.
The group known to us as the Shakers was influenced both by the Quakers and the Camisards. They give us a good example of a group who had plenty of physical and spiritual manifestations, but entirely the wrong doctrine! They were led by Mother Ann Lee, who believed she was the second coming of Christ as a female principle.
The Shakers began as a sect first heard of about 1750 in Great Britain. They were then called the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Coming. The first leaders were ex-Quakers James Wardley (or Wardlaw), a tailor, and Jane his wife, dropouts from the Society of Friends who had come under the influence of the "French Prophets." (The Camisards)
In 1774, Ann Lee of Manchester, England, introduced the sect in the United States, having been influenced by both the Quakers and the Camisards. She was known as Mother Ann Lee to her followers. She taught that the Church was in the endtimes; the gifts of the Spirit were being restored; and she had been sent by God to set up a millennial rule, which would lead to Christian perfection.
The group organised themselves into close communities that held property in common, practised asceticism, and honoured celibacy above marriage. (Gnostic beliefs)
They experienced tongues, healing, visions, prophecies, and all sort of manifestations. However, as can be seen from their beliefs, they were heretical. (It is interesting to note how many times throughout history a deceiving spirit has tried to introduce the ideas of restoration to an earthly millennial perfectionism.)
The Friends were the followers of George Fox, an English lay preacher who in about 1647 began to preach the doctrine of "Christ within"; this concept later developed as the idea of the "inner light." (It was not just Christ!).Quakers thought that the Divine Spark of God exists in everyone. Thus all persons may receive revelation if they try.
Quaker meetings are intended to help members to feel God's presence as a guiding spirit in their lives, not to read the Word. Early Quakers also experienced spiritual manifestations, which is how they got their name. They shook as the spirit of revelation hit them. Quakers like many other gnostic cults practised withdrawal from this evil world (asceticism) and they emphasised simplicity in dress, manners, and speech.
John Wimber came from Quakerism. Is this why he has traces of the belief in the supremacy of the inner revelation over and above the written word? In his book, "Power Evangelism", Wimber explains:
"God uses our experiences to show us more fully what He teaches us in scripture, many times toppling or altering elements of our theology and world view".
From "Testing The Fruit Of The Vineyard" By John Goodwin, Former Pastor of Calvary Chapel San Jose , who travelled extensively with John Wimber:
It is a common statement of Wimber's that "God is greater than His word" This means two things. First, that there is essential truth in extra-biblical sources, and secondly that the phenomena experienced by attendees of Vineyard seminars and church services do not need to be validated by Scripture. They could, according to Wimber, contradict God's Word and still be "from the Lord"(3).
A fact sheet on the Vineyard, published by Christian Research Institute (CRI) states:
"There appears to be little emphasis on teaching the Bible per se. This lack stands in contrast to the very strong Bible teaching at Calvary Chapel, a church with which The Vineyard was once associated . . .. While Bible teaching is not emphasized enough, the role of experience in the Christian life appears to be somewhat over-emphasized. People in the Vineyard frequently seem to be willing to allow their spiritual experiences be self-authenticating".
THE NEW THING IS THE KEY
One of the common strands holding together all these sects, cults and movements is their belief that God has initiated a NEW THING through them. A "new wave" or a "new teaching" has been launched following gnostic revelations.The Latter Rain Movement was just the same. It was launched on supposed revelations from the Spirit that introduced new doctrine, and sought to overthrow the old order with a "New Order" leading to perfection and fulness on earth, with dominion for the Church.
Toronto is not a new phenomenon! Most of these sects believed God was doing a new thing through them. In Part Two we will develop this theme and show just how Toronto is using hidden wisdom and mystical experiences to set up the Church for their New Order. People are changing, just as the prophecy demanded. People are undergoing a "paradigm shift" in their beliefs. The old views are now hackneyed, and the "new thing" is what we must all adopt.
John Wimber wrote in the introduction to "Signs and Wonders & Church Growth", (1985, published by the Vineyard Ministries International) :"at this date, January 1985, we have had in excess of 700 students take the course at Fuller Seminary school of world missions. The results have been astounding. Better than 90 percent of these students have indicated a paradigm shift in which they are now ministering in an altered world view."
© 1997 Tricia Tillin of Banner Ministries. All rights reserved. Cross+Word Website: http://www.banner.org.uk/ This document is the property of its author and is not to be displayed on other websites, redistributed, sold, reprinted, or reproduced in printed or in any other format without permission. Websites may link to this article, if they provide proper title and author information. One copy may be downloaded, stored and/or printed for personal research. All spelling and phraseology is UK English.