Gnosticism, as it is today
A Reader Reports:
Five years ago, we were at a loss to
understand the paranormal manifestations that were permeating the Chrarismatic
Movement via the Toronto Blessing. Our first perception that this was a New Age
phenomenon came while viewing Alan Morrison's excellent video series: Toronto:
Blessing or Curse? Formerly a New Ager, but now a minister of the Gospel, Rev.
Morrison was able to explain as could few other Christians, the occult manifestations
we were witnessing in the Laughing Revival. The Lord has since then employed Alan's
past experience in the New Age movement, his subsequent conversion to Christ and
ministerial devotion to the study and exposition of sound doctrine to enlighten
many believers as to the real root of this pseudo-revival.
Rev. Morrison began posting a series of messages on the deteriorating state of
affairs within the Pentecostal/Charismatic pseudo-revival. For the edification
of those who may not subscribe to Rev. Morrison's very informative e-mail list,
a few of these messages will be posted by us. Although we are not cessationists
-- that is, we have no indication from Scripture that the gifts of the Holy Spirit
as described in I Corinthians 12-14 ceased with the Apostolic period -- the "spirit"
which is manifesting itself throughout the Pentecostal/Charismatic pseudo-revival
is of a different order altogether than the "Holy" Spirit. We believe that one
need only to study the relevant chapters in I Corinthians to recognize the very
From: Alan Morrison AM@diakrisis.org
To: Diakrisis Mailing List
Subject: Preaching the New Gnosticism
I am grateful for all your responses to the mock "examination"
questions I posed the other day. I feel privileged to be in the company of such
a discerning group of people. I do intend to publish your answers in a composite
mail shortly. But in the meantime, may I be permitted a few comments myself?
I hesitate before writing this. I do not believe it is right for believers
to go round trashing each other, or gossiping about each other, or undermining
one another's reputations. But when people of international reputation and (more
importantly) global influence are going around the world preaching what is manifestly
false teaching, and taking so many people in with their particular style of deception,
this needs exposing for what it is. This man has had numerous opportunities to
stop doing this. Many have personally approached him; and I am informed that he
reads any articles he can which are critical of his message. All to no avail.
I mentioned two particular sermons in my previous mail on the subject.
The general opinion of all the hearers (mainly pastors) at the gathering I attended
where these sermons were preached was that these were superb, inspiring messages.
How come, then, that I alone in that gathering (apparently) am overwhelmingly
convinced that they are a total travesty of Scripture exegesis? Should I, a solitary
little man of no repute, defer to the otherwise unanimous view of older and wiser
men that these messages were superb? Never! I am to defer to God's truth rather
than the fashions of men. I have the words of William of Ockham (1285-1347) ringing
in my ears:
"In matters of faith and science I am more impressed by
one evident reason or by one authoritative passage of Holy Scripture correctly
understood than by the chorus of mankind. I am not ashamed to be convinced of
truth. In fact, to have truth victorious over me I consider the most useful thing
for me. But I never want to be defeated by the multitude. It may, indeed, be read
in the sacred utterances that the multitude, as a rule, errs, and that very often
one solitary man may put all the rest to flight."
This is the framework
in which we are operating today. It seems that what passes as "truth" or "the
work of God" for the vast majority of professing Christians today is regarded
as nonsense by a considerably smaller number. And that considerably smaller number
could begin to doubt itself and even its own sanity, when faced by the fact that
all the "highly respected" and "internationally acclaimed" teachers and writers
in the Christian scene today belong to that majority. The smaller number which
thinks it is nonsense is mostly made up of insignificant little believers such
as myself, with hardly any influence at all in the wider Christian scene. My friends,
we should not be deterred by that. This is the way it has always been. One only
has to look at the way that Gnosticism spread through the churches in the second
and third centuries after Christ. Church historian A.M. Renwick has noted that
"by the beginning of the third century A.D. most of the intellectual Christian
congregations throughout the Roman empire were to some degree affected by Gnosticism"
[writing in G.W. Bromiley, ed., The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia,
Eerdmans, 1982, Vol.2, p.484].
If one wishes to look for a doctrine
which could "seduce the elect" (if that was possible), one need look no further
than Gnosticism. Its fundamental tenets have never had any difficulty seducing
the vast numbers of professing Christians who, because of an over-reliance on
human wisdom and subjective experience, find themselves unable to rest in the
simplicity of the Gospel. As Robert Law puts it in his brilliant commentary on
"Of all the forces with which Christianity had to do battle
for its career as the universal religion -- whether Jewish legalism, pagan superstition,
Greek speculation or Roman imperialism -- none, perhaps, placed it in sharper
hazard than Gnosticism, that strange, obscure movement, partly intellectual, partly
fanatical, which, in the second century, spread with the swiftness of an epidemic
over the Church from Syria to Gaul" [Robert Law, The Tests of Life: A Study of
the First Epistle of St. John, T. & T. Clark, 1909, p.26].
today we have a New Gnosticism which has "spread with the swiftness of an epidemic
over the Church" from Korea to the U.S.A. In earthly terms, Gnosticism began in
Eden when the fruit of the tree of knowledge (gnosis) was disobediently eaten.
It was sparked off by the hubristic question "Hath God said...?" and it found
its expression in the realisation that this was "a tree to be desired to make
one wise" (Gen. 3:6). What God had given Adam and Eve was not good enough for
them. They wanted more. They wanted to be zapped with something more than what
God had allotted to them. It is no different today. The vast majority of professing
Christians are not satisfied with the simplicity which is in Christ. They are
not happy to walk merely by faith. They want to walk "by sight". They want AN
When I was a hippy, ordinary consciousness was never good
enough; so the New Agers were forever running around trying to get "zapped". That
was Gnosticism. Now that I am a Christian, the Evangelicals, Charismatics and
Pentecostals are not satisfied with "ordinary" Christian consciousness; so they
are forever running around trying to get "zapped". That, too, is Gnosticism.
New Agers, modern Evangelicals, Charismatics and Pentecostals always want
to know if I have received the full initiation yet -- your "Baptism in the Spirit".
Have you entered an altered state of consciousness yet and "got it"? You'll know
you've "got it" once you've "got it". But you have to get it, or you are not living
the full Gospel Christian life. It is not enough to be converted. It starts off
with wanting "more" -- something over and above what God has allotted. It is the
And this is the framework of the two sermons I mentioned to
you last week. They represent the worst case of isogesis that I have ever encountered.
"Exegesis" is when you pull out of the text what is really there and put it in
its context in the Word. That is what good preaching is based on. "Isogesis" is
when you read into the text whatever suits your motives and you can then pull
the whole thing out of its true context. That is what bad preaching is based on.
It is how heresies and cults are founded.
When the Lord Jesus told
the Sadducees that they erred, "not knowing the Scriptures or the power of God"
(Matt.22:29), he was not providing us with a unity programme to bring together
so-called Charismatics and so-called non-Charismatics. (I say "so-called" because
the truth is that ALL believers are charismatic in the sense that they have all
been grace-gifted by God. The title has merely been seized upon by a sectarian
group and applied only to them, in true Gnostic fashion).
Jesus used the term "the power of God" here to refer specifically to His Resurrection.
It was because the Sadducees were rationalists that they did not believe in the
supernatural power of God to perform such a thing. However, the preacher used
this text to justify his position that there are many Christians who are ONLY
into the Scriptures but not into the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. This
is an entirely false premise. Just because Bible-based Christians resist falling
(often literally!) for a false experience does not mean that they dismiss the
supernatural workings of the Holy Spirit. Far from it! What a deception it is
when faithful believers are scolded for resisting the Holy Spirit when they are
stalwartly resisting a counterfeit work of satan!
As for the other
message about the contrast between Saul and David, I can only gasp at the farcical
liberty taken by the preacher in his application. He was clearly saying that David
represents those who are God's true anointed ones, i.e. who have "The Anointing"
(such as the sorcerer Rodney Howard-Browne and fortune-teller Paul Cain), while
Saul represents the non-Charismatic people of yesteryear -- the has-beens who
are only into the Bible.
The preacher said we should get behind today's
and tomorrow's men rather than yesterday's men. But I would question whether we
should "get behind" men at all. Surely the problems in the Church today -- such
as those caused by RHB and PC -- have come about precisely because people have
followed men instead of God! And here's an irony: the Saul-David contrast actually
works AGAINST what this preacher was teaching. Saul was the people's choice. The
vast majority followed him and wanted him as king. He was feted. He was popular.
David was God's choice but had to live in obscurity with a small band of
nonentities. However, the kind of personalities advocated by the preacher are
feted people who are followed by the majority of professing Christians today,
whereas those who resist the Neo-Evangelical-Charismatic-Pentecostal onslaught
are comparatively few and live in obscurity. Whom, then, do Saul and David REALLY
represent? Saul was the popular king, but he was an unbeliever who had an evil
spirit. It is the Rodney Howard-Brownes of this world who are the real "yesterday's
men" because they are peddling a pre-Christian paganism!
And to keep
bleating on about a "revival" being just around the corner is the height of stupidity.
This nonsense has been prophesied from people in the Charismatic sect for years
now. And where is evidence of even a glimmer of it? Quite apart from the fact
that the Bible shows things will get worse and worse, one only has to look around
and see that what these people call revival is quite the reverse -- it is apostasy!
(If you want more evidence about the folly of these phoney "revival" prophecies,
go to http://web.ukonline.co.uk/crn/page5.html to see an account directly related
to the preacher of these two messages.)
"Thus saith the LORD of hosts,
Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you
vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the
LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have
peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own
heart, no evil shall come upon you. (Jer.23:16)
My friends, I cannot
think of anything more fitting to describe the two messages I heard from this
preacher about the Sadducees and Saul than the word CRAP. This word comes from
a Middle English word meaning "chaff", and is related to the Middle Dutch word
krappe, from krappen, to tear off. In other words, it's a load of old rubbish
that should really just float off into the wind and not find a landing place in
gullible Christian hearts! It is akin to the "skubalon" (Phil.3:8) which was the
word Paul gave to his pre-Christian credentials. Strongs defines "skubalon" as
"any refuse, such as the excrement of animals, offscourings, rubbish, dregs, things
worthless and detestable". How so many hundreds and thousands of people can be
taken in by such crap is quite beyond me -- unless one sees it as a preparatory
precursor to the events of 2 Thess.2:11. Surely this is mind-control par excellence.
In fact, my opinion of the preacher is that he is preaching HIMSELF rather
than the Word of God. I watched the way that he works. He is a master of vanity,
manipulation and mind-control. While I was listening, I thought that the techniques
he used to get people to eat out of his hand could have been straight out of the
kind of motivational book one reads such as "How to Win Friends and Influence
People" by Dale Carnegie.
Imagine my amazement when, during an unguarded
moment in a later sermon, this preacher did confess that he admired things in
that book; and he said that even though it wasn't written as a Christian book,
it contained much wisdom that Christians could utilise! Classic methods of audience
control were used. He told numerous jokes that bore no relation to his subject.
Laughter makes Alpha brain waves and releases pleasure-giving endorphins -- a
good way to win friends and influence people. He played on people's emotions and
used "effects" in order to convince his hearers of his credibility. I've seen
it all before in many contexts. It is crap. I yawned repeatedly.
think that this man has been entirely deceived by experiential occurrences and
is being mightily used by the powers of darkness to prepare the false church to
enter the developing New World Order. He seemed to be very impressed by the fact
that certain men -- such as Paul Cain -- can tell him all about himself when he
meets them for the first time. He thinks that means they must be from God. In
that case, all the gypsies, wizards and witches that I have met in my life must
also be from God. And so must Sai Baba! Friends, this is not Christianity, it
is sorcery! Angel of light stuff. This preacher goes round the world regularly
recounting -- as if it were an authenticating credential -- his alleged experience
when the glory of God filled his car and he had a direct experience of the throneroom
of heaven and heard Jesus interceding for him, saying to the Father "Is he ready
for it?", to which the Father replied, "Yes, give it to him" (or words to that
effect). Let me tell you this: When Paul the Apostle heard things in heaven (2
Cor.12:1ff), he received a nasty thorn in the flesh to ensure that he would keep
his mouth shut about his spiritual experiences.
To talk about them
is a serious symptom of pride. Yet these modern-day "visionaries" go all over
the world bragging about their experiences to try and gain credibility among men
-- to make themselves appear super-spiritual. But I do not believe that these
experiences are from God. If they were from God, these people would not be running
round the world advocating such obviously unchristian practices as those performed
by RHB etc. Heavenly experience makes you a preacher of Christ, not a peddler
of apostasy. Anyone, of any religion or none, can have a "peak experience". Ask
Well, friends, I could say a lot more on this subject.
But it is now almost 3 'o clock in the morning, and I am weary in body and soul.
This subject is very close to my heart. I used up a lot of shoe leather in Germany
last week as I walked and walked through the day and night, crying out to the
Lord to show me how to respond. I am sorry that I have had to be so outspoken
here; but I have seen too many casualties of the New Gnosticism to be gracious
about it anymore. Each new day convinces me that the Neo-Evangelical-Pentecostal-Charismatic
religious movement is part of the Great Apostasy, preparing the church (the false
church, which is the majority of professing Christians) for the ultimate deception
-- which surely cannot be far off now.
How many years till the parousia
of the man of sin? One? Two? Five? Fortunately, that too is in God's timing, when
it will be He who removes the restraints. But until that time comes (and beyond!),
let us resist the Saulist hogwash which the mass of people seem to want, but which
we know is really a pleasant-tasting poison. To do so will bring great wrath down
upon our heads. May the Lord protect us and use us to defend and proclaim the
Gospel of the grace of God in truth.
Yours, in the cause of God and
TO OPENING PAGE OF THE JOURNAL
TO SERMONS AND BIBLE STUDIES
TO WAR ROOM