In the essay, "The Paganization of Biblical Studies," Dr. Peter Jones, Professor of New Testament at Westminster Seminary in Escondido, Calif., identifies liberalism and/or progressivism as a form of neo-Gnostic paganism, or mystical pantheism.
Though Gnosticism emerged in ancient Babylon during the Jewish exile and eventually developed a 'Christian' variant, neo-Gnostic 'Christianity' first developed in 19th century Germany. Its first real manifestation was at the University in Tubingen where an apostate Christian theologian named Ferdinand Baur (1792-1860) had formed a school of theology which would raise questions about the Christian faith, a tactic designed to undermine its status as the fount of truth and moral law through destructive criticism. Among areas which came under attack were the person of Jesus Christ, the Genesis account of creation ex nihilo, the fall and nature of sin, the authority of the Bible, the way of spiritual salvation, apostolic tradition and Church doctrine.
By far the most heretical and destructive incursion into divine truth was the neo-Gnostic assertion of the immanence of God at the expense of His transcendence (separateness from His creation) so that the personal Creator becomes an impersonal expression of an evolving cosmic process.
Neo-Gnostic 'Christianity' has absorbed and radically reinvented and inverted the Bible, thus Peter Jones describes the essence of liberalism throughout its history as the importation,
"...into the church via the use of Christian terminology...the various historic expressions of pagan notions, in particular, the denial of God's transcendence. In this sense, the first "liberals" were the Gnostics. Certainly a form of Gnosticism, sometimes called proto-Gnosticism is behind the denial of the incarnation in the Johannine epistles, and of the resurrection in the early and later Paulines. Interestingly, the Liberals of the modern period have had a great admiration for the proto-Gnostics, in particular, Marcion. In A.D. 150, Marcion, a theologian from Pontus in Asia Minor, was excommunicated from the Church in Rome for heretical teaching. He dismissed God the Creator, the Old Testament, the Mosaic law, and three of the gospels. From the few epistles of Paul that he accepted, he expunged Old Testament quotations and claimed to worship the "alien god" behind the God of Scripture." (Dr. Peter Jones, 2007, truthxchange.com)
Dave Doveton, Canon theologian and Director of the Training Centre for Ministries and Community in the Anglican Diocese of Mauritius holds that the Gnostic temptation is at the root of every Christian error and heresy:
"In gnosis everything is the intellectual self-production of the individual." Gnosis is the pretension of a self-redemption of man "who does not need the intervention of the Other of (One) on High, that is the intervention of God." (The Episcopal Church: the Way of Baalam, Dave Doveton...False Teachers and the re-appearance of ancient Gnostic beliefs, reviewed by David W. Virtue, virtueonline.org, March 28, 2011)
In "The Pagan Temptation," the Catholic philosopher and historian, Thomas Molnar (1921–2010), writes that the gnostic pagan temptation is never very far from a civilization organized by the Christian religion because what paganism and the occult promise is self-created, deified humanity whose soul is "no longer touched by God." (The Pagan Temptation, p. 3)
The atheist claims there is no living God "up above" (in the third heaven) and that matter or energy in motion is all there is. This view, however, has already been eclipsed by the thinking of neo-Gnostic mystical pantheists such as Hartford Seminary professor of liturgy worship and spirituality, Miriam Therese Winter. Winter teaches:
"Our Mother who is within us we celebrate your many names. Your wisdom come. Your will be done, unfolding from the depths within us..." (ibid, Dave Doveton, virtueonline.org)
Thomas Molnar writes that the idea that "Our Mother who is within us" or perhaps a "divine spark" within us or maybe "world spirit," "One Spirit," "spirit of the age," "Spirit" "Christ consciousness," "deepest self," "Universal Mind," or "divine essence" is the spontaneous bent,
"...of the archaic mind which predominated in most parts of the world and which threatens to prevail once more in our time the temptation. to identify God and self, to recognize in the soul a divine substance, indeed the seat of divinity." ("The Gnostic Tradition and Renaissance Occultism," Thomas Molnar, The Journal of Christian Reconstruction, Vol.1, No.2, 112, 1974)
Now that the supernatural Triune God "up above" is dead in the hearts of millions of Westerners, man's mandate in the gnostic-pagan process of conscious evolution depends upon the initiative of man, said the mystical pantheist heretic Teilhard de Chardin. Christians should not fear the process of evolution because it only brings them inexorably into "oneness" or "convergence" with the impersonal, omni-gendered divine substance, Monad, Spirit or Universal Mind:
"Though frightened for a moment by evolution, the Christian now perceives that what it offers him is nothing but a magnificent means of feeling more at one with God...In a spiritually converging world, the "Christic" energy acquires an urgency and intensity of another order altogether." (Genesis, Creation, and Early Man, Fr. Seraphim Rose, p. 590)
Dave Doveton says the Gnostic pagan tendency places gnosis and/or inner knowing---intellectual pride, personal feelings and mystical experience---above clear scriptural teaching, and this tendency is behind the decisions of the Episcopal Church to permit the 'blessing' of same sex unions. In other words, said Doveton, gnosis can overturn the,
"....pervasive, absolute and strong biblical prohibition of same-gender sexual relations which has been interpreted as such and upheld by the church for two millennia..." (ibid, virtueonline.org
The Gnostic paganization of Biblical studies can be summarized thusly:
1. The Gnostic doctrine of the migration and/or evolutionary progress of the soul results in spiritual elitism
2. Gnostic influence reduces faith to inner knowing and feelings
3. The Gnostic idea of salvation is similar to forms of Hinduism and Buddhism calling for absorption into the One Substance
4. Gnostics believe that man's problem is not sin but ignorance
5. For the Gnostic, the problem is not 'original sin' but the captivity of divine spirit in the material body
6. For Katherine Jefferts Schori, 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States, Jesus, or Teilhard's 'Christus energy," is not the Incarnate Word but the route to the impersonal God for Christians.
7. Since evolution implies continuous change, becoming, and/or progress, Gnostic pagans claim that there is nothing immutable about the authority of Holy Scripture. Holy Scripture and by extension the traditional church are subject to change because everything is infused with impersonal divine spirit in continuous process of change, therefore Holy Scripture, truth, moral law and tradition live and evolve and must in fact be changed as their purpose is to express the inner knowing and feelings of each new generation.
8. Because feelings and inner knowing are 'divine' Gnosticism is bound up with victimhood. This enables anyone with hurt feelings or gnosis to both claim the high moral ground and invent various 'identities' which demand not only special privileges (i.e., 'gay' marriage) and protection (i.e., safe spaces, hate crime laws, speech codes) but immunity from critique.
9.Gnostics regard "consciousness" - individual (state of mind) and collective social as of primary importance. This mystical pantheist notion is expressed repeatedly in Gnostic pagan writings in terms such as "immanence", "consciousness raising," the "world spirit", "the One Spirit," "the spirit of the age," "the Spirit" "oneness" "Christ consciousness" "we are the world" "collective consciousness" and other like terms. Since this "spirit" is always evolving and changing with the dominant ideas of the age not only must religion change but behavior, no matter how criminal, decadent, rebellious, and obscene is of secondary importance.
10. For many churchmen in the Episcopal Church sin is not a breach of right behavior but rather, "sin lies not in the specific actions but in the context and intention with which it is performed and received."
When Atlanta pastor Louie Giglio was effectively disinvited from delivering an inaugural prayer at President Obama's second inauguration and was replaced by 'gay affirming' Rev. Dr. Luis Leon, Dr. Albert Mohler noted that America has begun a new chapter in its downward spiraling moral revolution.
From now on said Mohler, if you believe in and teach God's Revelation and Christian truth you will be required to offer public repentance and evidence of having 'evolved' on the issue in question:
"This is what is now openly demanded of Christians today. If you want to avoid being thrown off the program, you had better learn to evolve fast, and repent in public." (The Giglio Imbroglio---the Public Inauguration of a New Moral McCarthyism, Albert Mohler, Jan. 10, 2013, AlbertMohler.com)
Dr. Peter Jones warns that we are in the presence of a powerful pagan/Gnostic theological agenda, claiming to be spanking new, objective, scientific, and Christian but is in fact both Godless and as old as the hills:
"It is my belief that this trend in biblical studies is part of the setting in place of a pagan reconstruction of human culture for the planetary era. Gnosis in one form or another is expected to become the main expression of secular religion in the new millennium. In order to equip the Church for this new age, the scientific study of Gnosticism is vital." (The Paganization of Biblical Studies, Peter Jones)