Mysticism, Gnosticism & the Occult

Relevant topics: The Occult & The Postmodern Church & The Changing Church & Purpose-Driven Church

See also Mysticism & Global Mind Change | From Gnostic Roots to Occult Revival

Definition of Mysticism: (Encyclopedia): "A wide range of perspectives occur among spiritual traditions and beliefs which embrace direct experiential knowledge of God."

November 2007

Iraq's Mandaeans: "Shi'ite clerics in Iraq have issued fatwas against the Mandaeans [see Gnosticism], deeming they are not 'People of the Book' and therefore not considered worthy of 'protection': right to life in exchange for subjugation and payment (Sura 9:29). ...

     "As totally un-protected non-Muslims, Iraq's Sabian Mandaeans are amongst the most endangered and vulnerable people in Iraq.... The Mandaeans do not have co-religionists in Turkey, Syria or Jordan to assist them, shelter them or care for them in their distress.... Jordan closed its borders two years ago due to the difficulties it was having coping with the influx of refugees. Then on 15 October 2007 Syria closed its borders." See From Gnostic Roots to Occult Revival

According to Scholastic News, 1990, "The first Thanksgiving feasts were harvest festivals. People gathered to celebrate successful harvests and to thank the Earth for its fruits." (Distributed to about half of U.S. elementary schools) 

October 2007

Reinventing the Human as a Cosmological Being Brian Swimme [This announcement for a September conference is now outdated, but I leave it for you to see. It fits the warning in Mysticism & Global Mind Change and offers a glimpse of the beliefs spreading among the UN and "scientific" elites]

     "We are no longer able to think of ourselves simply as democrats, or Americans, or Buddhists, or lawyers, or mechanics. We are all these things but we are also, in a most fundamental sense, cosmological beings. In this workshop, we will explore this truth, and in doing so, find ourselves reinventing the human at the species level.

     "Biography: Dr. Swimme... received his Ph.D. (1978) from the University of Oregon specializing in gravitational dynamics, mathematical cosmology and singularity theory. Dr. Swimme lectures worldwide and has presented at conferences sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The World Bank, UNESCO, The United Nations Millennium Peace Summit...." See Mysticism & Global Mind Change and Al Gore's Vision of Global Salvation

September 2007

Christians are mixed up -- in mysticism: "Christians are being lured into 'Christian yoga' by promises of good health. Sure, it's a tad New Age, but what's the big deal? I mean, everyone's doin' it, so it's a good thing…right? Does that kind of logic not make your blood boil? Affixing a new handle to an ancient Hindu practice may make it palatable for the Christian consumer, but it doesn't change the fact that offering yoga in a Christian setting is unacceptable. You cannot separate yoga from the Hindu religious system.... 'Classical yoga is intended to put one into an altered state of consciousness. Believers who think they're 'just exercising' are being swept into a counterfeit religion.'" See A Twist of Faith

February 2006

The Secret -- Christianity or New Age: "...two of the promoters of The Secret appeared for the second time on the Oprah show. For the discerning, what spewed from the mouths of these two men, Michael Beckwith and James Ray, was New Age. One lady, identifying herself as a Christian, spoke about her unease with the seeming focus of The Secret. She was quickly shot down by Beckwith and Ray and by Oprah Winfrey, claiming that she, too, was a Christian. After all, if Oprah Winfrey is a Christian and supports The Secret, isn’t that endorsement enough for all Christians?" See A New Mask for an Ancient Secret

November 2006

New Age Leader Comes to Rick Warren's Defense -- 'Meditation' is Common Ground: "The headline read, 'Faith leaders deserve a shot at creating peace on earth.' The author of the article was defending Rick Warren.... But this article was written by someone who does not defend conservative Christians. On the contrary, she stands for beliefs that are opposed to biblical Christianity. Her name is Marianne Williamson. ...She is currently part of a growing effort in Washington DC to convince the US government to open a Department of Peace.

      "Respected figures like Walter Cronkite work with Marianne Williamson in this effort, and New Age leader Barbara Marx Hubbard is a co-visionary of Williamson's peace plan. Williamson became popular, largely through the Oprah show, when Williamson wrote a book... based on the New Age classic A Course in Miracles." See A Twist of Faith, Chapter 5

October 2006

Christian Camps and Retreat Centers - Often Havens for Contemplative: "Emergent proponent, author, and speaker Tony Campolo is one of the keynote speakers at this year's Christian Camping and Conference Association Convention (CCCA). Formerly called Christian Camping International, CCCA is the largest representative organization for Christian camps in the United States.... The theme, 'Rebirth of a Notion,' will be the basis for exploring how Christian camp leaders can benefit from returning to the philosophical roots of camping, while discovering how to retool for the future."


Jesus Camp, film reveals the mystical and the militant, not Biblical Christianity: "Concerns and criticisms are coming from both secular and evangelical sides. New Age website, Spirituality and Practice, while saying the film is important because of what it reveals, calls the movie 'scary' and suggests that this accurately represents conservative Christianity....

    "...these kids are being introduced to mysticism that is becoming increasingly indicative of Dominionist-type thinking. In essence, there is a union of mysticism and militancy taking place.

    " scene [in the Jesus Camp trailer shows] a young boy laying on the floor, shaking and convulsing. ...  And in our research we have been able to show the strong connection between Kundalini and what is called Soaking Prayer (...promoted by Kids in Ministry International." See Toying with Death & See Chart: Five Types of Religions

May 2006

The Da Vinci Code and The Gospel of Judas: "Not since the early years of Christianity has our faith been under such an all-out assault. In rapid succession books, films, and critical essays are being released in a seemingly coordinated effort to redefine the person of Jesus Christ and to cast doubt upon his divine purpose. First, The Da Vinci Code book and resulting movie, and now The Gospel of Judas; all of which are being propped up by a massive volume of secondary writings and sources rooted mainly in Gnosticism and the occult. Why are these heresies coming to the forefront now? Who is driving these attacks? And, what do they hope to accomplish? The answers to these questions will become clear as we probe a little deeper." See Movie Magic and Unconscious Learning


Refuting The Gospel of Judas: "Claim: There were many forms of Christianity in the early Church, and Gnosticism was one of them.
     Counter: ...Gnosticism was never considered to be Christian by the early Church. It was a form of occult mysticism that embraced pantheistic concepts. Together with Rome’s imperial paganism, it represented Satan’s foremost attempt to oppose and eradicate Christianity during the first through the fourth centuries. Jesus assured that there was only one truth but many pathways leading to destruction.... He passionately warned his followers about horrific deception and false prophets who would attack the truth."


Gimmie Yoga, a Burger and Fries: "While standing in line to order a Number 3 meal at the local McDonalds®, I noticed an interesting new promotion that is taking place. They now have Adult Happy Meal. This is pretty cool because the kids always got some pretty neat toys. The adult meal also comes with a prize, but I was kind of shocked when I found out what it is… a DVD on Yoga....

    "Your exclusive McDonald's® Yourself!Fitness® Yoga DVD offers four different 15 minute workouts to help improve your mood and your energy level. You can customize your Yoga workout by choosing a language, difficulty level and your area of focus – flexibility, stress relief, balance or strength." See Yoga and Holistic Health

April 2006

Are you kissing goats for God? "Nashville's Channel 2 recently broadcast a controversial segment about local churches that were actually encouraging their members to read Dan Brown's blasphemous book, The Da Vinci Code. In their online article's closing paragraph, they had this to say:
     "'...You might think pastors would discourage people from reading the book and seeing the movie, but at some churches, like the People's Church of Franklin, pastors are encouraging their members to read the book, not because they think it'll build their faith, but because they think it's an opportunity to tell people what really happened.'
     "Did you catch that? Reading the Da Vinci Code, not the Bible, mind you, will provide Christians with 'an opportunity to tell people what really happened;' as if to say, one must digest devilish lies for the chance to speak Divine truth. How's THAT for serpent logic?"
See Emerging 'Christianity' - From Gnostic Roots to Occult Revival

December 2005

 Pastors and priests are facing ever more empty pews in 2006: "Members prefer experience of God to dogmas, creeds.... And where are spiritually hungry Christians going? 'There are a whole lot of gurus' out there, says Maurice Boutin.... 'Eastern religions are blossoming very much in all areas of societies ... the new age movement, astrology and necromancy (witchcraft)....

    "'...people don't really want to be told anymore the same old (thing) if it contradicts what their mind and as well as their heart tells them.' People 'don't want talk about God — they want God,' says Harpur [author of occult books]. They don't want creeds or dogmas — 'they want experience.'" [12-17-05] See The Rising World Religion

November 2005

 From "Silence" to Sorcery: "...when I performed Transcendental Meditation the goal was to silence my thoughts or in other words to shut off the internal dialogue going on inside my mind. ... However, you cannot turn off the inner dialogue by simply wishing it to be so. We cannot stop thinking without a method. The method used to turn off our minds involves a repetition of a word or a 'mantra'. Mantra means 'liberated from thought'. However, it is not the word that is important, it is the repetition that silences one's thoughts." See Esoteric Christianity

What did Henri Nouwen really believe? "I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God's house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God." (Sabbatical Journey, page 51) See Salvation

Christian Leaders help usher in interspirituality: "Kay Warren endorses Henri Nouwen's book, In the Name of Jesus."    "Kay Warren - '[I]t hits at the heart of the minister ... I highlighted almost every word.'

    "Henri Nouwen - 'Through the discipline of contemplative prayer, Christian leaders have to learn to listen to the voice of love.... For Christian leadership to be truly fruitful in the future, a movement from the moral to the mystical is required." See The Rising World Religion  


Contemplative Kids: "This slower part of the brain is where affective reactions to decisions and relationships take place. It is also the center for compassion and emotional behaviors. This may explain why slow, thoughtful reflection is central to so many spiritual disciplines, and why a reflective space may be more conducive for children to 'fall in love' with God. ... Our priority must be the formation of children through face to face encounters with the living God."

     "Face to face" through contemplative practices? What happened to God's work in human hearts through His Word and Spirit? See What Is Transformation?


Youth Specialties President Declares, 'Christianity is an Eastern Religion' : "Mark Oestreicher, president of Youth Specialties (an organization that officially partnered with mega Christian publisher Zondervan in 2003), has declared Christianity to be an eastern religion. Youth Specialties has been promoting eastern religion/New Age practices (yoga, labyrinths, contemplative prayer) into their national youth and pastor's conferences....'Christianity IS an eastern religion. It has all its roots in the East! It's a bit baffling to me that people lose sight of this, and insist on creating a false separation between eastern religions and (apparently) western Christianity." ...

    "On Yoga: "[Y]oga is really just about stretching and slowing down. Sure, yoga, I suppose, could focus on Hindi [Hindu] or Buddhist gods or something - but it can also focus on Christ."


     The next two links illustrate the growing union between the "emerging church" and traditional Hindu practices. Notice the oxymorons -- the blend of Christian words and occultism:


Yoga practice blends exercise, spirituality: "Yahweh Yoga has been created to bring the significant health and fitness benefits of yoga to all denominations of believers in Jesus Christ. All faiths, ages and fitness levels are welcome.

     "Yahweh Yoga emphasizes Christ and His strength, power and grace in us through movement and exercise....

     "Yahweh Yoga teachers are the only Certified Christian Yoga Teachers in Arizona. Trained and certified by the prestigious Our Lady of Lourdes Institute of Wellness... the only accredited Christ-centered yoga institute in the country and registered with the Yoga Alliance...." See the next link:


Occult. Yoga Alliance: "Mission To lead the Yoga Community, set standards, foster integrity, provide resources and uphold the teachings of yoga....

      Meet The Board: David has been interested in yoga and Eastern philosophy since the 1960's.... Shakta Kaur, R.Y.T., is co-owner of Kundalini Yoga in the Loop.... Gyandev McCord is a co-founder.... He is Director of Ananda Yoga and the Ananda Yoga Teacher Training programs worldwide.... a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda." See Yoga and Holistic Health

September 2005

Bohemian Grove Employee Blows the Whistle on Inside Events: "Described as the 'Greatest Men's Party on Earth,' the members of the Bohemian Club and international elites have been gathering in their redwoods for over 100 years. Regular visitors include the Bushes, Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, Newt Gingrich, whilst past luminaries have included Former Presidents Regan and Nixon, together BEFORE they had even taken office.... [P]ast luminaries have included Former Presidents Regan and Nixon, together BEFORE they had even taken office....

      "The most famous ritual that occurs at the Grove every year is the Symbolic Pagan Worship of Molech – the ‘god’ of Child Sacrifice. ... [P]olitical figureheads from around the world attend this sacrifice ceremony. German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt wrote of his fondness for the Grove ceremonies in his Biography 'Men and Power'.... Former President Richard Nixon is on record questioning the activities at the Grove, making reference to the debase, decadent attitude as well as the homosexual activity there." See A Twist of Faith - Chapter 7

May 2005

Islam and Christianity Reach the Same God During Mystical Experiences : "According to Tony Campolo, in his book Speaking My Mind, he has several suggestions for Christians - the bottom line is he believes we need to 'redefine ourselves,'... 'recast our opinions,' and 'entertain the possibility that we might be in error' about particular issues. He says we need to stop being so stubborn.... What are those issues he speaks of? They are everything from mysticism to homosexuality and an array of other changes we need to make in our attitudes, behaviors and ideas.

     "....he believes, 'mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam.' He asks and then later answers the question, 'Could they (Islamic Sufis) have encountered the same God we do in our Christian mysticism?' His answer - of course!" See Re-Inventing the Church, Part 1

March 2005

Evangelical Leaders Promote New Age and Eastern Spiritual Practices: "In what appears to be a sweeping phenomenon, Christian leaders are embracing practices and a new spirituality that borrows from Eastern mysticism and New Age philosophy. The changes are taking place worldwide and involve many of the most popular evangelical leaders including Rick Warren, Brian McLaren, Richard Foster, Tony Campolo, and Eugene Peterson." See New Age Terms in the Church and America's Spiritual Slide

February 2005

Mysticism: a Way of the Past, the Wave of the Future: "The legacy of both of these [Purpose- and Market-Driven] movements will not be that the church discovered new ways of worship, or new methodologies to replace the outdated. Instead, I fear that they will be remembered by future generations for their undermining of the authority of Scripture. ...

     "It is not that everything the church growth experts and PDL espouses is wrong; it is that the authority for what the church now believes has shifted. It has shifted from the infallible Scriptures to psychological and sociological experts, opinions of the masses, trends of the moment and the philosophy of pragmatism. This shift has been subtle, which has made it all the more dangerous. Few have bothered to deny the Bible itself, they just misquote it, abuse its meaning, force their opinion on it, and if necessary mistranslate it to give the appearance that the Scriptures are backing their claims." See A Twist of Faith, Chapter 2

November 2004

(From Rick Warren's Brian McLaren: the story we find ourselves in: "Interdependence, though imbedded in nature, is foreign to the Western individualism so ingrained in American (U.S.) Christianity. That's why McLaren's 'new kind of Christian' often uses words like 'journey' and 'conversation' to describe Christian life beyond the postmodern divide....

    "'Brian has moved beyond simple deconstruction and stone-throwing to a much more productive combination of healthy critique along with future-thinking and praxis,' says Mark Oestreicher of Youth Specialties." The next article is from the popular magazine started by Youth Specialties:


Contemplative Prayer Practices: "Every book on CPP [Contemplative Prayer Practices] I've ever read talks about deep breathing. Interestingly, while this is the most physical aspect of CPP, spiritually it's the most suspect. ...

     "Ignatian Contemplation: A form of prayer used by Saint Ignatius of Loyola incorporating the imagination. There are a number of different exercises associated with Ignatian contemplation, but there are two I teach frequently. The first is connected to sacred reading, and simply put is visualizing the situation of a Biblical text with you in it.....

     "The point of a labyrinth is to journey to the center of a spiral pattern traced on the ground and journey back out again. While walking through the pathway in the labyrinth, participants are encouraged to ask God to speak to them in the walking. ..

October 2004

Spiritual Formation Covenant Groups: "Participants will put into action the disciplines that up to now, many have only studied. Some of the practices that will be explored are: lectio devina, the labyrinth, journaling, dream interpretation, centering prayer, fasting, and silence. This group will work toward developing the inner life. Locations will vary from week to week." See The Labyrinth

September 2004

Opponents united in protest against 'pilgrim' Madonna: "Madonna was due to arrive in Israel last night on a five-day pilgrimage to practise her new-found faith, Kabbalah, an ancient form of Jewish mysticism. But she has already achieved the rare feat of uniting both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict in opposition. ... More than 1,000 police officers serving in one of the most demanding security environments in the world have been drafted in to protect the singer, her family and more than 2,000 participants from the Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Centre for one of the biggest worldwide gatherings of Kabbalists. Madonna has adopted the Hebrew name Esther, a biblical heroine who saved the Israelites. She now wears a red thread on her wrist to ward off the evil eye.... Her latest concert tour was called 'Re-Invention.'" See Kabbalah and Popular Occultism


Contemporary Christian Divination: "Jose Silva taught that the kingdom of God was within us and that we needed to get into an alpha brain wave level and our right brain hemispheres to unlock the powers of the kingdom of God. Silva is the founder of the Silva Mind Control method that boasted 6 million followers in the 1980’s....

     "Kelsey, who learned his version of Christian mysticism by integrating many diverse religious practices with the depth psychology of Carl Jung, claimed that below our rational consciousness lays a whole inner world where one meets the 'Other.' The problem is that when people learn techniques to access this inner realm beyond the conscious mind, they often meet horrible forces of darkness ....

    "Richard Foster laments the lack of 'living masters' and claims that people are turning to Eastern meditation because the church has 'abrogated the field.' If Foster was right when he wrote that in 1978, he should be very encouraged now because today the church is awash in mystical practices. Some of the most popular Christian authors promote mystical practices from the middle ages....

     "Kelsey shares his understanding of Jung’s thinking: 'The task of dream interpretation, according to Jung, is that of learning a strange language with many nuances, of learning to understand the symbolic communications of the unconscious – the language of art, literature, mythology, and folklore.... Jung believed that the unconscious is connected to a larger spiritual reality, a 'collective unconscious.'" See The Goddess in Every Person?

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