An Examination of Kingdom-, Dominion-,
and Latter Rain Theology
An Apologetics Index research resource
An Examination of Kingdom Theology - Part 2/3
The Major Christian Doctrines
The major Christian doctrines - the deity of Christ; His Virgin Birth, His sacrifice for sin, His Resurrection, and His Second Coming - can be made to fit perfectly well into the theosophical model of religion. But their aberrant interpretations of these basic doctrines, unless openly stated, will escape the average Christian and deceive him into placing his trust where he ought not. As we look at these doctrines from the standpoint of theosophy as opposed to that of Scripture, some may find our expositions of interest; others will no doubt find them tedious and may wish to pass over them. I've included them for purposes of documentation, and to demonstrate how esotericists might use certain terminology to convince Christians - even Christian teachers - that they are brethren in Christ, specially "anointed" to teach new revelations. I should add that it is not these interpretations of essential doctrines with which I am concerned (any mature Christian would reject them at the outset), but the inroads into the Church of other teachings based on these interpretations. Though there are few in the Church proper who would agree with these interpretations, many have bought the rest of the package which is bringing many in the Church into damnable heresies. These are offered as a warning to learn as much as possible what a teacher believes before accepting what he says.The Deity of Christ
Theosophists would agree that Jesus is divine. But then so are all men, if not actually at least potentially. It is therefore not inconsistent for theosophists to speak of Jesus as "Son of God," "God in the flesh," "truly God and truly man," and use similar "Christian-sounding" phrases implying His deity. Nevertheless, whereas Christians believe that God became man (exclusively in the person of Jesus), theosophists believe that a man named Jesus became a god. To most theosophists, Jesus was one of many men who displayed an exceptional expression of the divine nature. They include Him among such notables as Confucius, Buddha, and Mohammed. To some, however, Jesus was unique among all men in His expression of the divine nature; they would say that no one has ever attained His status of spiritual enlightenment. However, they also believe that all men and women have the potential to reach that same degree of spiritual enlightenment, i.e., to be equal with Jesus. Some even go so far as to say that, theoretically at least, we have the potential to be greater than He, by further mastering the spiritual laws of Nature to do good for mankind. Jesus' uniqueness, to them, lies not in His person as the Word of God incarnate, but in His particular anointing as "the Christ" to bring enlightenment and truth for His time in history, just as Buddha and Mohammed did for their eras. Though it is believed that there are exceptional "Christs" for different stages of man's evolutionary journey, we may all become expressions of the "Christ principle" and thus achieve divinity. Theosophists, therefore, have no problem with calling Jesus the "Son of God." As John H. Dewey, the leading apostle of "Christian" Theosophy during the previous turn of the century stated:The Virgin Birth
The law of FAITH as announced by Jesus and exemplified in his life, is the supreme law and method of all divine realization for man.
That he was fully and absolutely human, the veritable "Son of man," no sane mind will deny. That he was also fully and absolutely divine, the veritable "Son of God," we with equal positiveness claim and affirm.
This incarnation of the Divine in Jesus, however, but reveals and demonstrates the innate capacity of our common humanity as the offspring of God, for receiving into its unfolding life the full Spirit of the Father, and becoming divine, as illustrated in the life of our great Exemplar [Jesus].
The manifestation of God in one man [Jesus], demonstrates the possibility of a like demonstration in all men.Masonic, Rosicrucian, and Mormon temples - were they bandied about only among theosophists seated around their tables of discussion - they would pose no genuine threat to the Church. But we are now hearing from prominent teachers in the Christian media that man was created with a divine nature which was lost due to the introduction of sin. By being born again by the Spirit of God we lose our sin nature and regain our divine nature.(61) There is no such teaching in Scripture. Rather, it is based upon a theosophical interpretation of II Peter 1:4 which, properly understood, tells us no more than that the believer in Jesus Christ is a partaker of the divine nature through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But it is the divine nature of the Holy Spirit, not ourselves, to which Peter was referring. The quality of divinity belongs exclusively to God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. As the Word of God incarnate, Jesus is divine, as is the Holy Spirit through whom God accomplishes His purposes. The First Commandment of God is, "I am the Lord thy God....Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:2-3). Some may beg the question by stating that the word "before" qualifies the statement to mean only that Jehovah is the God who must come first. But the historically accepted meaning from the context is that we are to have no other gods in His presence: none are to be before His face. Yet many Christians today have bought the lie that they themselves are gods, and perfectly legitimate ones at that, whereas God has stated that there are no other gods besides Himself (Deuteronomy 4:35). Therefore, whenever the Scriptures speak of other gods, they are speaking of false gods: demons, idols or men (Christian or non-Christian) who attempt to usurp the rightful position of Jehovah.
The various schools of theosophy generally deny the doctrine of the Virgin Birth of Jesus. However, in an attempt to spiritualize what the Scriptures plainly state as applicable to the physical - i.e., that Jesus was born of a virgin woman by the power of the Holy Spirit - there are those who might say they accept the idea of the virgin birth. But their affirmation would be qualified within their minds in the following manner:Atonement
...[Jesus' virgin birth] was originally a highly mystical and philosophical teaching, which became in time a theologic dogma and legend....It is a mystical or symbolic tenet referring to the birth of the Christ in man from the virgin-part of one's being, i.e., from the spiritual or highest portions of man's constitution. It also has a cosmical significance - the Virgin-Mother of Space giving birth through the Child, the Cosmic Logos, to her multitudes of children of various kinds. There are thus two aspects of this mystical or symbolical doctrine: there is, first, the Cosmical Virgin, and, second, there is the mystical 'virgin-birth' of an initiate. An initiate is one 'reborn,' or, as the saying goes, 'born a second time.' He is not born of course in initiation from a physical father and mother, for his body is born in the usual manner, but in initiation, the 'new man,' the inner man, the Christ-man, is born 'from himself' because of his bringing out or unfolding into active manifestation the divinity within him and over-enlightening him; and his 'Virgin-Mother' is that part of himself which is the root of his being, the spiritual soul in its spotless and unstained purity. From the Virgin or Spiritual Soul is born the human Christ or the human Buddha, without admixture of extrinsic elements of any kind, and without other means than the man's own yearnings and strivings to become the god within himself. The Christian Church has interpreted these very mystical doctrines physically and thus has largely lost the far nobler and really profound symbolic sense....Gnosticism based on salvation through knowledge springing up in our midst. Paul warned of such in II Corinthians 11:3:
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear [agree] with him.In light of today's deceptions, we would be wise to see that the meanings applied by teachers to the doctrines of the Church are clearly stated, and backed up by the whole of Scripture.
As in many other Christian doctrines, Jesus' death as atonement for sin is given an entirely different meaning by esotericists from that stated in Scripture. As Christians we believe that Jesus' blood is the element that cleanses us from sin, provided we come to God in faith and allow Him to apply that blood to our own lives. As God incarnate and sinless - the only begotten Son of God - only Jesus could pay the price for our sins. No one else's suffering and/or death as a vicarious sacrifice has any merit with God. The esotericist, however, holds a different view:The Resurrection
If a man loves another greatly, can he not save his friend from future sorrow by taking upon himself his friend's karman [consequences of actions destined to follow from reincarnation to reincarnation]? The question is purely academic in a way, because when the last word is said, the karman of the friend is the friend himself, and therefore the answer in general is comprised of an emphatic negative; nevertheless, there is a possibility, not indeed of taking upon oneself the friend's karman, but of shouldering by means of a powerful will and a high intelligence directed to that end, a certain portion, be it large or small, of the consequences which in the normal course of Nature, with heavy and perhaps crushing effect, would fall upon the friend. The secret in such a situation lies in allying one's own life intimately with the life of the one whose heavy karman it is thus hoped to aid in carrying or exhausting... In those cases where such noble and altruistic action be taken for the benefit of all that lives or for the results which it is hoped will benefit a large portion of mankind, it is a Buddha-like thing to do, it is a Christ-like thing.
This doctrine of vicarious substitution, both in form and spirit, is diametrically opposed to the positive teachings of Jesus, which makes righteousness itself salvation, obedience to the righteous law of God in the doing of the Father's will in the personal and social life.... These authoritative words of the Christ, with the whole Sermon on the Mount, from which they are taken, and the full tenor of all his teaching most unmistakably emphasize the 'doing' of the Father's will, and unity with him in a righteous life, as the only salvation possible or desirable for mankind, while not a precept or parable of his can be brought to sustain in the slightest degree this doctrine of substitution; as though it were possible for the absolute justice and goodness of the All-Father to demand or accept the punishment of the innocent for the guilty, or could impute the righteousness of the sinless to the sinner, or accept any as righteous who are not really so. But as righteousness of life is secured only through personal obedience to the law of right, no man can become righteous before God, except by his own act of obedience. If this were possible in the economy of God, then the very idea of justice would be a delusion and a sham, and the thought and talk of a changeless moral order a pitiable and unmeaning farce. Surely salvation from sin in this life, by lifting man above the power of temptation, as promised by the Christ, and exemplified in his own life, would prevent all consequences of sin in this world or any other. And this is the only salvation worthy of the name. How is this to be accomplished but by the perfection of human life itself, through the unfolding and bringing forth of the divine or spiritual nature in that life.
The casting out of devils and reforming the vicious, the reclaiming of drunkards and restoration of the insane to soberness and reason, giving strength to the weak and courage to the lowly and disheartened, and working not after the law of a carnal commandment but after the power of an endless life," for the universal emancipation, enlightenment and uplifting of mankind, become the easy and true work of life. Man then becomes one in spirit and purpose with the divine, and is led, governed and crowned with wisdom, sympathy and power. It is the Christ or God-anointed life; the true at-one-ment of man with God, the human with the Divine, Christianity as Christ taught and lived it.
...when man has thus learned to specifically direct the force of life in the control of the elements in his own organism, he may then accumulate power within himself to master and control the elements and forces of the world outside himself; but as this is to be acquired through cooperation with divine power, he can attain absolute control over himself and that which is below only by first becoming at-one with the Divine, which is within and above him.
This esoteric view of "at-one-ment" - coming into the expression of godhood in order to control the elements of nature - is a major tenet of mind science. Though expressed in different terms, it has crept into the Church through the Positive Confession teachings which declare that man is a god, and "faith is a force" that God used to create the universe, and that anyone can use for his own purposes.
The Resurrection of Jesus following His death as sacrifice for our sins is a primary focus of the Christian faith. For if He had not been resurrected we would still be lost in our sins (I Corinthians 15:12-26). The esotericist does not believe in resurrection, but in reincarnation - the evolutionary process by which souls are allegedly perfected by working out their karmic consequences from one lifetime to another. Yet the term "resurrection" does find its way into esoteric philosophy, specifically in relation to reincarnation, and its use can be misleading:The Second Coming
No sane man, it is to be supposed, today can or does believe that the physical body, as regards its physical elements - or rather when once its elements have been returned to earth - shall be gathered together again into one component and perfect whole at some future period which Christians call the Judgment Day; when the 'last trump' shall be sounded, according to the quaint imagery of older times....Yet back of this idea of the 'resurrection of the body' there actually is a most beautiful truth or fact of Nature. This truth may be expressed in two forms; or, as the mathematicians say, it is expressible in both a general and in a special case. This special case involves a mystery - a teaching of the ancient Mysteries; but hinted at, it might be phrased thus: When a man has received his final degree of initiation he is said to be 'raised' to Masterhood in the same physical body. This point need not be elaborated further here. The general case, however, is to be explained by the reassembling of the life-atoms in the manner described in preceding paragraphs. These life-atoms are man's own offspring, at least most of those which build man's constitution are; inbuilt into his body during the physical life which he leads on Earth, although they are not derivative from outside but spring forth from within himself. Therefore they are psycho-magnetically attracted back to the Reimbodying Ego on its return journey to the new earth-life, and the Reimbodying Ego can no more avoid or escape receiving these life-atoms again into itself than it can avoid or escape being itself. To it they are again drawn because out from it they formerly went. They too, these life-atoms, during the Reimbodying Ego's term of devachanic rest and peace, have had their own wonderful adventures - adventures in the different spheres and on the different planes of the seven globes of the planetary chain; and thus when the 'descending' individual or Reimbodying Ego reaches the grades of our physical plane, and the baby-body is finally born, its growth thereafter is assured by and through and because of the aforesaid magnetic attractions and repulsions, and by the body's receiving into it and expulsion from it of these its former life-atoms. These are continuously attracted to and built into the physical body, as it passes from babyhood into childhood into youth, and from youth into manhood - the very life-atoms which had made the Reimbodying Ego's physical body on Earth in the last earth-life. Thus it is that the body of the former earth-life is resurrected - is 'arisen.'Hebrews 9:27-28). Jesus died only once; and we will die only once. There is no reincarnation by which we may eventually attain spiritual perfection through works of our righteousness. It is only the precious blood of Jesus that cleanses us from sin and provides for our salvation if we trust in Him by faith.
On April 25, 1982, many were surprised by the appearance of full-page ads in some twenty major newspapers worldwide, proclaiming that "THE CHRIST IS NOW HERE."(69) These ads, placed by a New Age organization known as Tara Center, declared that the Christ had come to lead mankind into an era of peace and brotherhood. The Christ, according to these ads, is Lord Maitreya, an Ascended Master whose message of hope was, and still is, conveyed by an Englishman named Benjamin Creme (Krehm). Creme contends that Maitreya had embodied himself somewhere in the Himalayas, and is currently living in London awaiting the opportune moment to emerge and be recognized by the population of the world as the Christ for the New Age.(70) Maitreya is said to be the embodiment of the aspirations of the world's major religions. According to the newspaper ads, "He is known to Christians as 'the Christ,' to Hindus as 'Krishna,' to Jews as 'the Messiah,' to Moslems as 'Imam Mahdi,' and to Buddhists as 'the fifth Buddha.'" The Christ for the New Age is not Jesus. Jesus, it seems, has been reincarnated and will stand with Lord Maitreya to convince Christians that they, along with the rest of humanity, must follow their new spiritual leader.(71) While Maitreya waits in the wings for the consciousness of humanity to be sufficiently raised to make us worthy to receive him, the resultant media exposure has fanned an interest among many who are expectantly awaiting a "man of peace" to come along and solve the world's ills. Creme claims that the emergence of Maitreya as "the Christ" will be validated by demonstrations of miracles, signs, and wonders.(72) In Matthew 24:24 Jesus warned of such demonstrations of power by God's enemies:An Esoteric 'Statement of Faith'
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.Whether or not Maitreya really exists no one can say at this time, but we can learn from this that when the esotericist speaks of the Second Coming, it is certain that he is not speaking of Jesus' Second Coming. He is speaking of the coming of "the Christ" for the New Age. According to Creme and other New Agers, Jesus was the Christ for the age of Pisces, and Maitreya is the Christ for our age, the age of Aquarius.(73) This is to be the "Golden Age" of utopian bliss to begin around the turn of the century. It is the New Agers' version of the millennium - the Kingdom Age - run by men who have attained godhood. Since the office of "Christ" is not considered by esotericists to be exclusive to Jesus, they do not affirm 'His' Second Coming. Rather, they make mention of the "Coming of Christ," or even "Second Coming of Christ." This is because they separate the "Christ 'principle'" from the 'person' of Jesus, and apply it to all men. In the broad sense, therefore, they teach that the "Second Coming" of "Christ" will take place through the raising of humanity's consciousness to the point where a significant number will believe that 'they' are the embodiment of the Second Coming. Then the world will be prepared to receive the "Christ" who will lead the nations into the New Age of peace and brotherhood. The central figure of the "Spiritual Hierarchy" (the "Ascended Masters") will represent the full manifestation of the office of Christ for that age. In Dominion Theology, this teaching has a parallel which states that the Church is the "ongoing incarnation" of God. Yes, Jesus is Christ, but so is the Church as the body of Christ. Therefore, the Church is Christ.(74)
A clear definition of terms is essential for a proper understanding of the theological stance of those who teach us. Though holding erroneous interpretations of any or all the doctrines represented, one may make a declaration of faith like this:
I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, true God and true man, God incarnate, virgin born, that His death was an atonement for my sins, that he has been resurrected, and that Christ is coming again.And on the basis of this confession, that person may gain the confidence of Christians to fill their minds with other teachings that will sway them from the truth essential to their salvation. The teachers with which we deal in this study might not be theosophists on these important points of doctrine, but there is sufficient evidence to suggest that they have been infected by esoteric philosophies, possibly by having been exposed to wolves in sheep's clothing themselves. The various schools of theosophy that grew out of the Gnostic traditions and other apostate "Christian" sects have found their way into the Christian media, greatly diluting the strength of the true Gospel and polluting the thinking of many in the Church. Some Christians, perceiving themselves spiritually-minded, have fallen for the lie that they can become gods. But this is not spiritual-mindedness; it is carnal-mindedness, demonstrating a lack of understanding of the basic premise upon which the battle between God and Satan rages.
- Footnotes -
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