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)
We have been establishing the consequences of the subtle displacement of the True Christ, who has come and remains in the flesh, the incarnate God man, which the apostles says “we have handled”, and who is the Word of Life.
What have the gnostics replaced him with? A Spiritualized Christ, a wafer which represents Christ, a disembodied anointing, which anyone with “revelation Knowledge” can also assume onto themselves, a “presence” which bestows “manifestations” such as gold dust, feathers and jewels upon congregations who seek it, or an eroticized vision of a “lovesick” Saviour , or perhaps an anointing which induces congregations to lose their inhibitions, causing “drunkenness in the Spirit”.
I have seen all of the above and more, proclaimed as some kind of coming of “Christ” in Pentecostal and even Evangelical circles.Obviously this is the moving of the Spirit of AntiChrist.
What do you get when you worship a spiritualized Christ? You bear the fruit of fake righteousness, spiritual positioning but which does not ever war with the actual sin in our members. We also receive a dose of “spiritualized Love, but which makes no concrete demands in the actual world. The gnostics are “lovesick” for the LORD, and they swoon over their love for the whole world, such love would never oppose sin or rebellion, it is almost universalistic, assuring one and all that they can be and even are saved by God’s “unconditional love”.
If there is a “Spiritualized Christ” an a “spiritualized Righteousness” as well as a “Spiritualized Love”, there also must be a “Spiritualized Truth”.
I now realize what the Christian Theologian Francis Schaeffer meant when he called for the restoration of “True Truth”. He saw the gnostics moving through the mainstream churches in the 1960’s and succumbing to a postmodern concept of Truth, which would prove to be the destruction of those very churches.
The “new Truth” of the gnostics was (and is) subjective and relative. Personal revelation was accorded just as much credibility as scripture, in fact it eventually began to count for more.
I have long decried this very tendency ion Pentecostal and Evangelical churches, to demean “dogma”, “doctrine” and even “theology”, as being dead and lifeless compared to experience, especially mystical experience.
This is why thousands flock to “teachers” such as Todd Bentley who scarcely even open a Bible. They will fill auditoriums listening to such discussing their personal revelations, mystical experiences, Angelic visitations and flattering prophecies promising revival, power and victory. This is the “New Truth”, who is to say it isn’t?
Rick Joyner was one of the pioneering gnostics, who wrote books which were not expositions, or even testimonies, but rather accounts of his spiritual experiences, ascending to Heaven, visiting with the Angel “Wisdom” meeting Peter, Paul, seeing jesus and interviewing(in Heaven) the false prophet William Branham! These books became hot best sellers, going on for hundreds of pages of fantastic visions and revelations.
Irenaeus warned of deceivers who would be such communicators that their writings would seem to be “Truer than truth itself”!
These same men denigrate doctrine, they make fun of it , calling it “old dogma”, “rules and regulations” , “bondage” and “religion, “Head knowledge” as opposed to “heart knowledge”(another name for subjective revelation). One of these deceivers, Tommy Tenney even called the Bible “dusty old love letters” implying that the scripture has little more than sentimental value but the real issue os “What is God saying today?”. Of course you must resort to these new Gnostics to find out what God’s latest “word” is.
So many who sit in church find themselves with this empty, vapid and fluid concept of Truth after years of listening to gnostic teaching, without even realizing it.
I mentioned to one young man who had been raised in a gnostic church and who was considered spiritual, that I had recently written a book on Bible Prophecy. His reply was “I love it when those people come to our church and give out prophetic Words, I am a great Believer in ‘the prophetic'”. That was his concept of Prophecy!
But man cannot live on such straw, he must have truth!
This is also why so many Christians have no problem anymore with Gnostic novels such as the Shack, which is a parable presenting God himself as a black woman with scars in her hands, and who calls herself Papa. Why not? Who is to say that the author isn’t ‘reaching people’ by this fable?
There is no longer a defense against Romanism, as evidenced by the Pope of the Roman Church, (the arch enemy of all who believe in salvation by grace alone, among other things) being received by Pentecostal and Charismatic leaders.
Romanism fits well with the new kind of Truth, for the Mass is not centered around the Word,(i.e. teaching) but is an ethereal experience in itself, with the visual splendor of the surroundings, the statues, windows, priestly vestments, incense, and of course the center of the experience, the Priestcraft , saying “this is my body , and this is my blood” to turn the wafer into Jesus Christ himself! Who needs a ‘homily’?
The Pentecostals had a saying, which at one time sounded right to me, but now I see the utter folly and rebellion of it, it went like this,“The man with the experience, is never at the mercy of the man with a doctrine”.
What then is the remedy to this fallacy? True Truth. We must discard the postmodern, highly subjective, mythical concept of Truth which has been implanted ion the church by the gnostics.
What is Christian doctrine after all? It is the body of Truth! To denigrate doctrine is to make fun of and belittle Truth.Jesus is the Truth! To love Jesus is to Love the Truth! Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them through thy Word for thy Word is Truth“.
Truth with a capitol “T”, is absolute, and objective, a Revelation from the God of Truth, and which conforms to reality. Real Truth isn’t just “our Truth”, it is of necessity universal, it applies to all and in every situation.
The Son of God has come and given us an understanding…this is the True God and eternal life.Christian doctrine isn’t just a “spiritual revelation” for Christians only, it is absolute and universal Truth, a Revelation from the God of reality!
“It is written…” is an authoritative declaration, Jesus invoked it in his great trial in the wilderness against the Devil. Think of the approach the Son of God incarnate had to scripture, compared to the gnostics and their dismissal of “dogma”. When Jesus said it is written and quoted Deuteronomy, He was saying to the tempter, I am not speaking out of my own name and experience, I come against you as a man under a greater authority, for the Word of God is Truth!