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Gnosticism, spiritual warfare

and pride. 

 

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I would like to pass on this article by Mary D. Valentine  who wrote to Discernment-Ministries.

 

 

 

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  A Rotten Apple

 

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Mary Diane Valentine, PhD

 

 

 

Thank you for your archived newsletters. These have been very helpful in discerning my own deceptions. Of course, I am concerned about others but I am cleaning up my own house.

In January 2003 I attended a meeting where James Goll was preaching and selling his teaching tapes. I did not know very much about him or the group he associated with. Charismatic Christian seemed okay to me. It was at this meeting I was asking God to show me discerning of spirits. This request has since led me through a maze of overlapping tunnels into the darkness of my own deceptions about some Christian teachings I had embraced. I didn’t know it at the time but that prayer would bring me into a light I hadn’t seen for many years.

As I questioned different spiritual happenings and teachings I had previously accepted, I aggravated a number of my Christian buddies, prayer partners for many years. These relationships had sustained me in times of struggle but also held me captive to false assumptions about the charismatic life. I lost a friend over the “gold dust.” She had this phenomenon and wanted me to accept this as something from the Lord. I hadn’t really known anyone who had this and at first thought it was all right. I studied the Scriptures and could not rationalize this to be God’s work even though it sounded so good. To my knowledge, she still has this manifestation although I sent her the biblical rationale for why this could not be God’s way. It’s been a cool relationship since. I aggravated a whole audience of Charisma devotees when I wrote a letter about the Narnia films and how I argued these to be from the dark side. Charisma disagreed. Well, I didn’t know those people so that wasn’t so bad. But I lost others along the way as well.

I don’t want to go over each situation of a deception revealed in this although I will mention the spirit of Jezebel. I’d heard these teachings for many years and it’s another popular latter rain thing. I don’t know exactly how it fits into their theological paradigm, but when I did a word study, I found no spirit of Jezebel, only behaviors. These are behaviors no Christian should desire and we should be observant if others are behaving like Jezebel. It came to me that as charismatics or Pentecostals, we should be careful what we call a spirit otherwise we will find ourselves in wrong teaching, what I later learned as the Gnostic Christian area. The search for the spirit of Jezebel and finding none helped me continue questioning. I had cast aside the generational curse thing and the binding and loosing formulas in prior years along with other skewed interpretations of Scripture. The process has been several years in the making.

It’s been since this last August that the veil on Gnosticism has really lifted. Yes, I had seen quite a bit and knew the spiritual harlotry I had been involved in but something else was not clear. That is how I found your site – I did a search on Google about spiritual warfare.

Before searching out the validity of warfare teachings, I was in a situation of trying to discover why things were not happening in my life. I reasoned it was because I was in warfare, that I was not getting my prayers answered. My spiritual friends prayed and agreed. We went into warfare for months with many manifestations and confirmations I might add.

Thinking can drive us into deception, but also lead us out. I had several nagging questions that kept coming to me. Why didn’t Paul or Peter have to pray this way to get things to happen? Why is it now we learn of this? Why aren’t people having victory if this really works?

When I started pursuing answers, it’s so obvious to me now. I had been living in the wrong paradigms here. These were Gnostic ones but I hadn’t understood what the Gnostic teachings were really about. I had been duped by the Gnostic paradigmatic world I was choosing to be in. Of course, I couldn’t see the difference then. I had on the Gnostic glasses and viewed the Gnostic Christian teachings as “the norm.” In communication theory this is called cognitive dissonance, meaning any information that contradicts what you already know or believe becomes discarded because you don’t want to be in dissonance or inner conflict with yourself. Because I was experiencing cognitive dissonance, I was not able to see how deep into the Gnosticism belief system I had gone. Although I was wearing a milder prescription of Gnostic glasses since I had seen some of the deceptive teachings, I hadn’t come totally away from the Gnostic Christians. When I got the revelation about the spiritual warfare teaching errors, the Gnostic glasses fell off entirely. I no longer experienced any cognitive dissonance in studying the deceptions surrounding this popular teaching on spiritual warfare. I no longer sense oppression like I did before and it’s such a relief to know I am not going to have to be under a condemnation over the warfare routine. And it is a routine, much like the formulas of the word-faith movement.

Your archived newsletters have helped me understand the subtleties in these false teachings. Although I had thought I had gotten rid of extra biblical teachings with regard to the Third Wave, Latter Rain group, I realized this was part of that whole rotten apple I had been eating. I still had the apple in hand when I believed I was to participate in the spiritual warfare regimen. I am reading through your archived newsletters. I have checked out other sources as well to confirm what I now see so clearly.

In closing, I offer these thoughts. My sense of the problems I had stemmed from two sources. One was a lack of a good foundation to rightly discern the gifts of the Spirit along with the Word of God and the other was my indomitable pride. I liked being puffed up with the idea that I was called for something very special. I had received many prophecies about my position in the Body of Christ. I like position; I was in the elite group. I like being elite; that was my pride showing off. I wanted to be spiritual and with the spiritual ones. More pride. I wanted insider knowledge on what God was doing. I wanted to be anointed and that was pride. I sure believed I could conquer any foe out there because God was on my side. And I wanted my own way with God. All this comes to my desire for power and I see that now. My weakness of pride was a pull, like the force of gravity, toward the Gnostic Christians. These teachings fed my weakness and desire to be elite, have power and be “in the know.” None of that sounds like a humble servant, nor was I.

To me, knowing the weakness of how I got there is equally important to understanding the false teachings. If I had not experienced the weakness problem, I doubt I would have taken one bite of the rotten apple – the latter rain teachings. For me, it’s been more than finding out truth but repenting of my pride and all the things involved in it. And I’m not afraid of saying that publicly.

In my diet of rotten apple teachings, I did not feed myself enough truth from the word of God. I ate lies, which fed my pride and not my soul. 1 Peter 4:14 gives me biblical authority over the false Gnostic teachings. “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” I now know I don’t have to go seeking the glory because it rests on me. That itself speaks volumes to my soul. Very simply, the appeal of the truths of God in the Scripture is much more comforting and freeing than any peel on that rotten apple.

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