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Scriptures say,

“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons…” 1Timothy 4:1

What one believes often determines the state of their mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. One of the reasons why the church is so sick is because of the New Thought/Occult/New Age/Gnostic teachings that is being spread by the Prosperity or Word of Faith Movement. The C3 Movement is apart of this movement, teaching these doctrine of demons.

Ouroboros

As you read this article, you may start to recollect or recognise elements in the teachings of Phil Pringle and other famous pastors within the movement. We will be relying on this article so that people can identify when Pringle, other C3 teachers or Pringle’s associates outside his movement preach these pagan doctrines.

First, we need to understand what some of these doctrines of demons (elemental spirits) are. We encourage you to read this in relation to what the Apostle Paul Paul teaches in Romans 1:18-32 (emphasis mine):

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen…

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done… Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

‘Epistemology’ is a theory about the nature of knowledge: how one gains knowledge and how much can be known. [1]

Epistemology /ɨˌpɪstɨˈmɒlədʒi/ (from Greek ἐπιστήμη (epistēmē), meaning “knowledge, science”, and λόγος (logos), meaning “study of”) is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope (limitations) of knowledge. It addresses the questions: What is knowledge? How is knowledge acquired? How do we know what we know? [2]

Faith, ethics and philosophy are interconnected. The outworking of philosophy reveals the morals or ethics of the philosophical structure within communities. This is why it is important we carefully sift through many philosophies today and reject the dangerous ones. Bad philosophies can really damage us and our communities. Here are a few to start with: Deism, dualism and deification; mysticism and fideism.

Deism is the metaphysical world view that the universe is governed by impersonal, spiritual laws rather than a personal, sovereign God.[3]

Dualism is the metaphysical view of reality that the spiritual realm and the physical realm are mutually exclusive and even opposed to one another. [4]Dualism is the belief  that all of reality is reducible to just two opposite principles, with little or nothing in between: light versus darkness, spirit versus matter, good versus evil, etc. [5]

Deification is the metaphysical view that salvation entails man becoming God.[6]

Mysticism is a system of belief that attempts to perceive spiritual reality apart from objective, verifiable facts. It seeks truth through feelings, intuition, and other internal senses. Objective data is usually disregarded as mysticism derives it’s authority from within. Spontaneous feeling becomes more significant than objective fact. Intuition outweighs reason. An internal awareness superseds external reality.

Unfortunately, mysticism is at the heart of modern existentialism. [7]

Philosophies like dualism, mysticism and deification can all be traced back to pagan Greece. Some can be traced back further still. While dualism is still prevailing in today’s culture, we can find it’s roots in zoroastrianism.

GNOSTICISM

One of the oldest and slipperiest manmade/demonic doctrines is gnosticism. GotQuestions defines and warns the dangers of gnosticism well,

Naturally, the connection between Bible reading and prayer is one to be encouraged; they should always go together. However, the dangers inherent in this kind of practice, and its astonishing similarity to transcendental meditation and other dangerous rituals, should be carefully considered. It has the potential to become, and often does become, a pursuit of mystical experience where the goal is to empty and free the mind and empower oneself. The Christian, on the other hand, uses the Scriptures to pursue the knowledge of God, wisdom, and holiness through the objective meaning of the text with the aim of transforming the mind according to truth. God said His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6), not for lack of mystical, personal encounters with Him.

Those who take this supernatural approach to the text can disconnect it from its context and natural meaning and use it in a subjective, individualistic, experiential, even name-it-and-claim-it way for which it was never intended. Here is where lectio and gnosticism dovetail into one. Christian gnosticism is the belief that one must have a “gnosis” (from Greek Gnosko, “to know”) or mystical, inner 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.” Naturally, the idea of having inside information is very appealing and makes the “knower” feel important, special and unique in that he/she has a special experience with God that no one else has. The “knower” believes that the masses are not in possession of spiritual knowledge and only the truly “enlightened” can experience God. Thus, the reintroduction of contemplative, or centering, prayer—a meditative practice where the focus is on having a mystical experience with God—into the Church. Contemplative prayer is similar to the meditative exercises used in Eastern religions and New Age cults and has no basis whatsoever in the Bible, although the contemplative pray-ers do use the Bible as a starting point.

Further, the dangers inherent in opening our minds and listening for voices should be obvious. The contemplative pray-ers are so eager to hear something—anything—that they can lose the objectivity needed to discern between God’s voice, their own thoughts, and the infiltration of demons into their minds. Satan and his minions are always eager for inroads into the minds of the unsuspecting, and to open our minds in such ways is to invite disaster. We must never forget that Satan is ever on the prowl, seeking to devour our souls (1 Peter 5:8) and can appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), whispering his deceptive lies into our open and willing minds.

Finally, the attack on the sufficiency of Scripture is a clear distinctive of lectio divina. Where the Bible claims to be all we need to live the Christian life (2 Timothy 3:16), lectio’s adherents deny that. Those who practice “conversational” prayers, seeking a special revelation from God, are asking Him to bypass what He has already revealed to mankind, as though He would now renege on all His promises concerning His eternal Word. Psalm 19:7-14 contains the definitive statement about the sufficiency of Scripture. It is “perfect, reviving the soul”; it is “right, rejoicing the heart”; it is “pure, enlightening the eyes”; it is “true” and “righteous altogether”; and it is “more desirable than gold.” If God meant all that He said in this psalm, there is no need for additional revelation, and to ask Him for one is to deny what He has already revealed.

The Old and New Testaments are words from God to be studied, meditated upon, prayed over, and memorized for the knowledge and objective meaning they contain and the authority from God they carry, and not for the mystical experience or feeling of personal power and inner peace they may stimulate. Sound knowledge comes first; then the lasting kind of experience and peace comes as a byproduct of knowing and communing with God rightly. As long as a person takes this view of the Bible and prayer, he/she is engaging in the same kind of meditation and prayer that Bible-believing followers of Christ have always commended.  [8]

Bear this understanding in mind as you sift through the teachings at any C3 Church you go too. We are living in deceptive times. Heed the warnings of our Apostle Paul:

“If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the bodybut are of no value against fleshly indulgence.” Colossians 2:20-23

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1. McConnell, D. 1988. A Different Gospel, pg. 105.
2. Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology, (Accessed 12/12/11).
3. McConnell, D. 1988. A Different Gospel, pg. 45.
4. McConnell, D. 1988. A Different Gospel, pg. 45.
5. McConnell, D. 1988. A Different Gospel, pg. 105.
6. McConnell, D. 1988. A Different Gospel, pg. 45.
7. MacArthur, J. 1992. Charismatic Chaos, pg. 35.
8. GOT QUESTIONS, Question: “What is Lectio Divina?”, http://www.gotquestions.org/lectio-divina.html, (ACCESSED 15/03/12).