Originally appeared in Tabletalk Magazine
The New Age turns a major Christian problem into a piece of cake. If every one is God then each person’s will is “God’s will.” Seeking guidance has never been easier. Just ask your [divine] self! Fortunately, most Christians realize that discerning God’s will is more complicated than that. Nevertheless, this New Age philosophy is all around us, and is seeping into the Church. To be fore–warned is to be fore–armed, like hearing fore when you are about to be hit by a golf ball!
Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, a well–known Christian egalitarian feminist, has just come out. In her Sensuous Spirituality: Out from Fundamentalism (1992), she re–affirms herself as “an evangelical lesbian feminist.” If the reader is puzzled by this association of adjectives, Christianity Today is not. In its December 14, 1992, issue, where this new book is mentioned, she is still called an “evangelical author.” Mollenkott also comes out – “from Fundamentalism.” We could quibble about the differences, but one thing is certain. Evangelicalism shares with Fundamentalism the same Christian fundamentals – which Mollenkott clearly does not. In particular, her way of seeking guidance is light years removed from classic Evangelical teaching on the will of God. She asks:
So how does a fundamentalist who believes she is essentially and totally depraved become transformed into a person who knows she is an innocent spiritual being who is temporarily having human experiences? The answer is: through a long and gradual process involving the study of hermeneutics; a great deal of dreaming and learning to interpret those dreams; extensive journaling; psychological use of the I Ching and the Tarot to learn something about the movement of my unconscious mind; agonizing struggles with A Course in Miracles; studying the works of Paul Norman Tuttle; reading up on the hermetic tradition and on spiritual healing; much pondering of great theological poets like John Milton and Emily Dickinson;…
You would not win a prize guessing the number one item on the Evangelical list of principles for guidance – the meditation of Holy Scripture. It is not number one here. Mollenkott’s move away from orthodox Christianity is revealed in the following account. “Recently, ” she says, “I was talking with someone who is still in the fundamentalist fold…who stresses…that the `divine plan’ or `God’s timeless message’ is revealed in the Bible.”( p.168). Our “Evangelical” author defines what she calls “fundamentalist confidence,” and rejects it. “I refer to the `certainty’ that there are no contradictions in the biblical text, that there is a chapter and verse for every problem, that God is clearly and definitively revealed in the Bible…” (p.170). She does believe in the inspiration of Scripture, but again, it is not the Evangelical view. “I believe,” she says, “that the Bible and other great religious texts [emphasis added] are inspired in a very profound sense.”
If Scripture is ultimately mute and purely relative, no wonder Mollenkott turns elsewhere – to I Ching, a pagan Chinese form of divination using sticks developed by Confucius; to Tarot cards, “fortune–telling by the use of cards….each card based on an occult symbol and given an occult interpretation”; to A Course in Miracles, a major New Age text, which is claims to be a revelation of Jesus granted to a Jewish atheist psychiatrist, Helen Schucman. This “Jesus” tells Dr. Schucman [among other things] that sin is an illusion; to the writings of Paul Tuttle, an interpreter of A Course; to “the hermetic tradition,” esoteric literature generally associated with Gnosticism and the occult – altogether a heady New Age brew!
All this has produced enlightenment. She calls it “one distinct `holy instant’ [a notion taken from A Course, as she admits] when my basic perception of myself flipped into a different mode. Prior to that “holy instant,” I had inched my way from believing myself totally depraved (although redeemed by God’s grace) to believing myself a basically decent human being who was having some lovely spiritual experiences. But one day while I was meditating, I experienced a reality that was even better than that: like my Elder Brother, Jesus, I am a sinless Self travelling through eternity and temporarily having human experiences in a body known as Virginia Ramey Mollenkott….Perhaps my Self has been on earth before in other bodies, perhaps not.”
This coming to the knowledge of the self as divine, [what the ancient Gnostic heretics called gnosis], has bestowed on Mollenkott a great confidence in her own ability to find guidance through meditative and divinatory techniques. Mollenkott centers her mind, closes her eyes and listens for the Spirit to reply. When answers come, she begins to write. “Usually the words,” she explains, “pour onto the page very rapidly.” Mollenkott cites the answers from the Spirit, introducing them with the phrase, “I was told.” Such a process sounds similar to the one happening to Ken Carey, a New Age prophet. Carey describes “a spirit being” that provoked in him “an amazing stream of consciousness” so that in the space of ten days he had produced 350 double–spaced pages of prophecies concerning the coming New Age of Aquarius. Interestingly, Mollenkott asks aloud concerning the origin of the answers she receives. “Do they come from my own wisdom, tapped because I am relaxed and focused? Do they come `supernaturally,’ from my guardian angel, a Spirit Guide, the Holy Spirit, or Jesus, or God’s Self? It certainly seems to me as if they come from a `supernatural’ Source.”
The spirit entity tells Ken Carey:
A chain reaction in human understanding resulting in planetary awakening could…occur at any time….Your awakening, when complete, will signal a distinct new evolutionary phase, with new ground rules and wholly altered creative conditions (Starseed, 29)
Among other things, I was told, (by the “Spirit”), A great shift in consciousness is occurring in the world, and you are part of that shift…
Such spirituality goes off the Evangelical chart. This is a different spirit than the one speaking to the Church for the last 2000 years. Even Mollenkott hesitates. “I am aware that some of my readers may be thinking that I have deserted Christianity in favor of the new metaphysics [read New Age – author]. But I would ask them this: can you be certain that I am not being drawn back to the essence of what Jesus actually believed, lived, and taught?” (p.26). But such a Jesus is only conceivable in the light of her new Bible study methods (where nothing is certain) and the New Age illumination of her “spirit’s” revelations.
This new–look Spirit–inspired guidance involves a major reversal of the Christian faith, in particular:
- the rejection of biblical eschatology and “traditional Christianity’s emphasis on sin, guilt, and retribution; instead, we are empowered toward co–creatorship, welcomed to continual renewal on a continuous Great Non–Judgment Day”;
- the institution of “a different set of (situation) ethics…for feminists and womanists and les–bi–gay people…living in occupied territory (i.e., heterosexual patriarchy)” whose “subversive” program brings about “the New Humanity…of the Christ Herself”;
- the development of a breathtaking array of spiritual technologies, among which: Hindu–inspired Quantum Healing, where one “sinks vertically” into the center of our selves, into “pure, infinite consciousness”; “joining an alternative spirituality group such as a witches’ coven, A Course in Miracles study group, or a twelve–step group”;
- the justification of radical pro–choice sexual freedom; including abortion and numerous forms of alternate sexual expression. “I have no objection,” declares Mollenkott, “to the casual sharing of sexual pleasure….I dare not condemn those who engage in promiscuous or easy sexual encounters.” She considers this an area of “Christian liberty” where each person must “ask our Inner Teacher, the Holy Spirit, what action or attitude is appropriate.”
This is not guidance. This is license – license to kill, license to pervert the structures of God’s creation, license to trample on the commandments of God’s holy and just Law. The “Christian” Gnostic heretics of the early centuries already promoted this kind of “liberation,” thereby threatening the very survival of the true Gospel. The threat is even more serious today. Such spirituality has already significantly infiltrated liberal churches and theologies. But now it is promoted, whether deliberately or carelessly, as “Evangelical.”
As Christians seek for guidance, we should also warn our fellow believers, and especially our children, what guidance is not. We have not seen the end of the matter. Indeed, I believe we are only seeing its beginning. For Mollenkott’s program fits like a hand in an old glove with the new “ground rules” for the planetary awakening of the Age of Aquarius that the “spirit entities in the eternal fields of light” reveal to growing legions of New Age channelers like Ken Carey. The spirit of false prophecy, of bogus guidance is in the land. Let the Church beware.