Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Biblical Christianity" vs esoteric Christianity

Let's examine in some plain English the beliefs that divide "churchians" from true seekers.

Book by Jacob Needleman, "Lost Christianity."
This is from the reviews:

This book challenges the reader to re-think almost everything they understand about
"lost" Christianity. Needleman does not present another work on Gnosticism,
Christian contemplation, esoteric teachings, or hidden gospels; instead he indicates
that a change of heart (an almost ontological change, and not merely one in thought
and emotion) is necessary for even the most rudimentary Christian teachings to take
root and become REAL in a person's lived experience.

His main premise is that Christianity has lost any real means of spiritualy transforming
people. That the methods that teach us the "how to" have been lost or
replaced with emotional indulgance pretending to be spirituality. As Needleman says
"all real religions produce results." The inability for mainstream Chrisitian
chruches to do that and even keep members is a sobering reminder that something
has gone wrong within western Christianity.

There are other two books that can be useful, Putting on the Mind of Christ by Jim
Marion and and Magus of Strovolos by Daskalos.

This is from the reviews. First a "churchian":

Misguided Christianity, February 6, 2008
Jim Marion has obviously put a lot of work in this book. However, I find his argument
unconvincing. He uses a lot of "handwaving" explanations to support his
ideas, including presenting "scientific" ideas that have no basis or proof
behind them and grossly misinterpreting Biblical scripture.
In fact, I would argue that Jim Marion is not a Christian at all, but rather a
Gnostic (*********only through inner, psychological development can one attain true
knowledge and thus be saved********) with splashes of postmodern and Buddhist ideals.

I base this on comments such as
"no one will save us but ourselves" (pg 263),

sin is overcome when we become psychologically whole (pg 240),

Jesus did not do everything needed for our salvation on the cross (pg 227),

among others. Jim can certainly believe whatever he wants and I think this is an
interesting book for a mature Christian to examine. However, I believe this book
is quite dangerous for the new Christian believer, who may not be able to identify
or understand the pervasiveness of this clearly non-Christian (i.e. non-Biblical)
viewpoint posing as Christianity.


Review from someone who thinks a little bit more:

This book is one of the greatest books I've read for a while. Jim's complete
lack of dogmatism and

****** emphasis on the Kingdom of Heaven that is here and now is very uplifting.
One of the best parts of the book is Jim's explanation for

****** the need of everyone of us to seek the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth in
our lifetime. If we don't do it now we literally have to go through the pain
and suffering associated with life until we finally have grown in spiritual awareness
and have attained the Christ's consciousness.

**** That theorem marks a profound departure from traditional christianity that
in its more vulgar and fundamental forms teaches that one can only reach salvation
through Jesus and through the church.

Quite early on Jim Marion completely does away with the traditional churchs insistence
on dogmas and its long-winded list of thou-shalt-nots and thou-art-sinnful. For
this reason Jim may appear subversive in more fundamentalists quarters.
"Putting on the Mind of Christ" allows man to be on par with Jesus by
permitting man to also reach the Christ consciousness.

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