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.

Recently, 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 profound dissimilarities.


From: Alan Morrison
To: Diakrisis Mailing List
Subject: Preaching the New Gnosticism

Dear Friends:

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 First John:

"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].

And 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 EXPERIENCE.

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 Gnosis.

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).

The Lord 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 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.

I 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 Abraham Maslow.

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 truth,

Diakrisis International