Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Esoteric Presbyterianism

A certain minister in good standing with my presbytery has a church member who actively promulgates (in writing, lectures, etc.) the following doctrines:
  • The infinite and eternal Godhead manifests through a cascading hierarchy of divine entities, energies, and laws. The divine entities include the Solar and Planetary Logoi, Sanat Kumara, the archangels and angels, the Hierarchy of Masters, and ourselves. A cosmic entity of even greater power and consciousness than the Solar Logos is associated with the star groups: Ursa Major, Sirius, and the Pleides (sic; Pleiades, ed.).
  • At every level the divine force is expressed first through a triplicity and then a septenary. The triplicity is referred to in Christianity as the Trinity. The septenary consists of the seven rays. Together, the triplicity and septenary can be compared with the ten sephiroth of the Kaballah.
  • The Christ--the World Teacher--is the head of the Hierarchy of Masters and the embodiment of divine love on Earth. Two thousand years ago the Christ overshadowed the Master Jesus to create the "historic Christ."
  • The Hierarchy of Masters owes its origin to an impulse from the star Sirius, which forms the heart center of the cosmic entity mentioned above.
  • The great dramas of human history, such as the life of the Historical Christ, are part of a larger story that also includes the world's myths and legends.
I'm left shaking my head in wonder that a Presbyterian minister endorses this stuff without any mention that the whole idea of "emanations" from the "pleroma" of the Godhead is nothing more than a rehashing of the Gnostic heresy. (No news yet as to whether this guy is the new Sunday School Supervisor.)

I understand the fascination with mystical and esoteric thought. In fact, I did an independent study in Jewish Mysticism while an undergrad, and further work on Merkabah Mysticism in a class on Apocalyptic Literature in seminary. But to broadcast approvingly with no guidance as to where it crosses the line and steps outside of Biblical Christianity - especially on a blog that's part of one's teaching ministry - seems rather...incomplete.

Don't get me wrong. I like John as a person. We have a tremendous amount of stuff in common. He's a damn-decent human being. But that doesn't stop me from being critical of heresy - and this one is full of it.


Stushie said...

I'm with you on this, Chris. This stuff is a load of baloney and nothing to do with Presbyterianism.

John seems to attract an eclectic bunch of eccentric people. It may become his Achilles Heel one day.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, nellie!

What IS that stuff?

Would all of that make even a Gnostic cringe? :(

Talk about an unregenerate mind! The whole problem is that our denomination has too many churches that wink at this kind of stuff.

Mark Dever will not allow a member to join his church without their being able to give a clear definition of 'the Gospel' him. This is how he not only teaches real Christian truth but also to make sure that church memebers are really born again.

We could learn a thing or two from that!

Stan said...

Could it be that the "certain minister in good standing" (who openly and repeatedly denies the fundamental doctrines affirmed by the PCUSA) shouldn't be "in good standing" with your presbytery? Is it possible that, if this is indeed the case, the errors would propogate?

I don't know. From what I've seen, while the PCUSA purports to believe one thing, it sure doesn't seem to mind if any of its pastors disagrees. If "whatever" is their doctrine, then "whatever" will be their product.

Chris said...

I was thinking this guy should be his PJC heresy trial lawyer.

Chris said...


I've barked up that tree. The EP said that since he wasn't doing anything contrary to our constitution, he could believe what he wanted.

I have no idea how you maintain unity - or even coherence - with that kind of standard. Especially when Paul told a young pastor to: "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." (1 Tim. 4:16)

will spotts said...

At a guess, I'd say it's theosophy. Oddly, the closest thing to the direct opposite of Christianity I can think of.

Stushie said...

Sadly, he's now added to the controversy by stating that he believes Christ's body decayed like any other human being's - see his blog for Easter Sunday.