Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Willis Harman proposed Gnostic "science" for the evangelical future

In his 1979 consultation with leading evangelicals (see previous post), Willis Harman advocated for the validity of “subjective experience” in the psychic world, which could become subject to “the same sort of open, free, publicly validated search for empirical truth.”

Harman "was invited to come up to the Institute for Noetic Sciences" in 1977 (http://twm.co.nz/Harm_bio.html) where he served as president until shortly before his death. This organization was dedicated to creating a paradigm shift in what constitutes science and truth. This group's purpose was to market the paranormal psychic as if it were hard science, and to mainstream the occult into the culture.

Harman clearly had this intent as he challenged evangelical leaders to reconsider" the "outmoded 'warfare between science and religion'...." He stated:

“This new ‘noetic’ science would eliminate the apparent contradiction between the experiential understanding of Hindu, Moslem, and Christian. For the first time in history we see emerging a growing, progressively funded body of empirically established experience about man’s inner life – particularly about the perennial wisdom of the great religious traditions and Gnostic groups. For the first time there is hope that this knowledge can become, not a secret repeatedly lost in dogmatization and institutionalization, or degenerating into manifold varieties of cultism and occultism, but the living heritage of all mankind.” (p. 37)

A margin note on this same page indicates that the “root of the word ‘noetic’ is the same as for the words gnosis, diagnosis, agnostic, and knowledge; it refers to intuitive knowing. Williams James used the term in The Varieties of Religious Experience in defining mysticism.”

What is Gnosticism?

“The doctrinal core of Gnosticism is basically a form of mystical religious or philosophical doctrines which other adherents and some early Christian sects spread and which the early Church leaders vehemently rejected as heresy. Believers in Gnosticism are called Gnostics. The word ‘Gnostic’ is derived from the Greek word gnostiko or gnosis (inner mystic knowledge). The Gnostics believe that ‘gnosis’ is subjective (internally perceived by the mind or feelings) knowledge of the divine element or spark in every man that needs to be discovered to be known. They believe the divine spark originally came from the ‘realm of light’ (totally alienated from the world and the flesh), and is resident in the soul of man and is held there in captivity by the flesh (a product of demons). The only way to release the divine spark is through divine ‘revelation knowledge,’ experienced within the spirit. Also they believe that only when the unconscious spirit in man is awakened by revelation from the ‘realm of light can he come to know his real self – the god within.” (From Travers and Jewel van der Merwe, Strange Fire: The Rise of Gnosticism in the Church, posted at http://www.discernment-ministries.org/StrangeFire1.htm, p. 12.) [emphasis added]

The late Dr. Francis Schaeffer warned about this encroaching Gnosticism in his book, The New Super-Spirituality (Crossway, 1972).

"...[W]e surely must again speak against the new Platonic super-spirituality, for it is a weakening of full biblical Christianity.... [O]ne of the identifying marks is the incorrect biblical exegesis of 1 Corinthians 1,2.... The 1 Corinthians passage is a rejection of the incipient gnosticism (a salvation by knowledge) and of worldly wisdom (humanistic or rationalistic), in contrast to the knowledge that God has given us by revelation. Paul rejects both autonomous intellectualism and autonomous contemplation. In other words, it is autonomous humanistic wisdom versus revelation which is intended here."

As we watch the rapid rise and widespread acceptance of a mystical neo-evangelicalism, one can only wonder if this is the ultimate result of the Gnostic leaven of Willis Harman introduced to an evangelical Consultation of leaders back in 1979.

The Truth:

“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4,5)

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” (2 Peter 2:1)

Tomorrow – find out who attended this Consultation!