Jesus: The Illumined Illuminator

By Marsha West

Contemporary Christianity is following “every wind of doctrine” in spite of the fact that the Bible warns about taking this route. Self-professed Christ followers no longer “endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Tim. 4:3).

Regrettably, many believers have embraced neo-Gnosticism.

One of the many obstacles the first century Church faced was Gnosticism, a heresy that held that salvation was only available to those who possessed the hidden truths of Christ. explains Gnosticism thusly:

Christian Gnosticism is the belief that one must have a “gnosis” (from Greek “Gnosko,” to know) or inner knowledge which is mystical knowledge obtained only after one has been properly initiated. Only a few can possess this mystical knowledge, limiting the number of those “in the know”. … Gnosticism today seems to provide a lot of the form and color for the New Age portrait of Jesus where Jesus is seen as the illumined Illuminator: one who serves as a cosmic catalyst for others’ awakening. As such it is as false and heretical as the Gnosticism of the first century and needs to be roundly condemned for the heresy that it is.

Let’s face it. Being “in the know” gives a person an exaggerated feeling of self-importance. Even mature believers, who should know better, are seeking the so-called hidden truths of Christ.  How does one go about uncovering these “truths”?  By way of Catholic mysticism, which has its roots in Gnosticism.

A decade ago who would have dreamed that scores of evangelicals would even consider being involved in monastic disciplines.  One such discipline evangelicals have borrowed is contemplative or centering prayer.  This meditative practice was introduced by the Desert Fathers. It entails going to a quiet place to clear one’s mind of all outside interference so that God’s voice can be heard. But in order to connect with God on a deeper level the practitioner must repeat a word (mantra) over and over until he/she falls into an altered state of consciousness.  Once this is achieved the practitioner will allegedly feel God’s presence and then seek His guidance.

Evangelicals also participate in Lectio Divina or divine reading.  Lectio Divina involves Scripture reading, meditation and prayer. Its purpose is to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of the scriptures.

Christians have been initiated into monastic mysticism through reading the books of priests such as William Meninger, Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, Brennan Manning, Henri Nouwen and Brother Lawrence.  Likewise, Richard Foster and Dallas Willard are driving evangelicals into Catholic mysticism.

The Apostle Paul warned the Body of Christ about the Gnostics. He told them “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Cor. 6:14).

Clearly, God does not wish His people to involve themselves in any sort of unrighteousness. Yet many Christians are participating in the very things God condemns. They’re not going to God for their marching orders; instead they’re participating in practices found in false religions. Endeavoring to seek God on a deeper level they’re falling into sin.

Christians have got to start taking the Bible seriously. Scripture teaches that Satan and his minions are highly intelligent beings with supernatural powers. What is more, Satan comes to us as an angel of light. (2 Cor. 11:14). Hence, undiscerning, biblically illiterate believers are easily bamboozled.

So here’s the bottom line: Neo-Gnosticism is evil. Christian that involves themselves in practices that stem from unscriptural practices, such as the ones described above, will not find a deeper spiritual experience with God. In fact, just the opposite will result.


The Gnostic Gospel—Dr. Peter Jones’ lecture

Psalm 46:10 Does Not Teach Centering/Contemplative Prayer—Pastor Ken Silva


Spiritual Formation


Copyright by Marsha West, 2012. All rights reserved.