by Travers and Jewel van der Merwe
Chapter 5: The "Elite" Concept
No matter how we view Gnosticism, it is always an elitist faith. Each
member esteems himself superior to heaven (no wonder the "Gnostic Christian"
shows no interest in heaven or the personal return of Christ). Only the
"elite" (the subjectively illuminated ones) can achieve godhood.
All evidence of the writings of the Gnostics leads to an egocentric
direction which is a religious life with self as the object of its devotion.
It is a form of narcissism with an escape from the real world into a world
of myth and fantasy where no absolutes, parameters or judgements apply.
This is why "spiritual warfare" as promulgated today has such an appeal
to many. The imagination is titillated as the "spirit realm" is unveiled,
and excited warriors find they can do battle with creatures of the netherworld.
The essence of a "Gnostic" is a life-long journey into self. His
(imaginary) pursuit is perfection, immortality, godhood and an "elite"
form of godliness that sets him apart from the flesh and the world and
takes him into the "unknown".
There are certain groups of Christians that fall into the category of
"elitism" notwithstanding their affiliations. They use the same catch phrases:
"Come out of your man-made systems", "Denominational walls are breaking
down", and "Christians need to be 'delivered' from 'Spirits of Religion'
and sound doctrine". The guilty groups are primarily among the Charismatics.
They go by many names and sometimes no name at all. We spot them by the
teachers that are involved and by similarities in their teachings. There
may be some variations among the different groups; however the common denominator
that ties them together is the "elitism" concept. This is set out as follows:
God is forming an overcoming company within the body of Christ
called, among other names, "The Manchild Company", etc. (Revelation 12:5).
The Manchild is the true church. Those that are the real Christians are
the Overcomers (Revelation 2 & 3) and are becoming more and more perfected
so that they will be able to drive Satan from the world. This must be done
before Jesus can return. They believe that the church is not ready for
the coming of the Lord. They are not looking for His imminent coming. They
believe that Christ must come TO His Church before He comes FOR His Church.
All do not necessarily use this terminology, but the premises are the
same. The language is becoming increasingly militant as the "Army of God",
"Gideon's Army", or "Joel's Army" take shape. A common thread is that they
are expecting a "New Order": "In all revolutions there are noisy and dangerous
times as the OLD ORDER is replaced by the new . . . after the dust settles,
we can proceed to build the beautiful kingdom that the Lord has purposed
from the foundations of the world", says Vinson Synan, one of the leaders
of A.D.2000. [Fulness, Jan-Feb 1990, Vinson Synan, p. 24]
Gary North, a leader of the Reconstructionists, proclaims:
We are now witnessing the beginning of a true paradigm shift . .
. the Christian community in the United States has at last begun to adopt
the intellectual foundations of a new world view, and this is always the
first step in the replacement of a dying civilization which is based on
a dying world view . . . the rotten wood is ready for burning, and a new
civilization is being prepared to replace it. [Dominion and Common Grace,
The Biblical Basis of Progress, Gary North.]
It all has such a spiritual sounding ring. One of the modern day prophets,
Paul Cain, calls this elitism the "inner court experience". He announces
joyfully that there is an empty place on Jesus' bosom for thos who can
"enter in". The problem with this "elitism" theory is that Christians are
to enter into the "inner court" of God, not by the way of the Cross, through
faith, but through a subjective experience of a "nirvana" experience.
A Manifest Son adherent says:
But the purpose of God reaches from before the foundation of the
world. It plans the transplanting of his sons and his daughters. It plans
the creation of a NEW ORDER (the elite) on the earth and thus it transplanted
celestial children to a physical world. It brought them forth into being
in the bodies of the Adamic race. [Tape recording by William Swift]
A "prophet" from the Kansas City Fellowship in an interview session
in 1988 proclaims that the Lord looked at him and said, "I have called
the best of every blood line in earth unto this generation . . . I have
elected to bring them forth in this generation . . . the ELECT GENERATION.
[Bob Jones transcribed from 1988 tapes]
This "New Breed" does not believe in the Rapture eschatology. According
to Rick Joyner, one of the "Prophets":
. . .the doctrine of the Rapture was a great and effective ruse
of the enemy to implant in the Church a retreat mentality . . . already
this yoke has been cast off by the majority in the advancing church, and
it will soon be cast off by all. [The Harvest, Rick Joyner]
The Scripture, Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken
and the other left. (Luke 17:34-36) is being construed to mean that
the imperfect one shall be taken (removed from the earth) and the perfect
one left. Since the Elite (The Manifest Sons) are being perfected on earth,
the true Church is to become The Christ - the ongoing Incarnation of Christ.
Therefore, the Church as "The Christ" is empowered to drive all demons
from the earth, perfect the Church and establish the Elect's reign. The
emphasis is always on the super spiritual race rather than on the person,
Jesus Christ. One well known teacher summed it up as follows: "It is time
to take him (Jesus) off and move up into the place God has ordained for
This is heresy in its diabolic essence.
The Foremost Danger in Elitism
The foremost danger in these divisive teachings is that Jesus Christ
is removed from His high place as God the Son, to the level of all the
sons of God. The sons of God are moved up to Christ's place. The truth
of the humanity of Christ is taken to an extreme. This is one of Satan's
chief ways to discredit and finally destroy God's Word - to add to His
message by pushing it to the extreme. History shows that the worst danger
in Gnosticism, especially in the concept of elitism, is its inherent propensity
to extremism. Given free reign, it inevitably leads to moral, political
and spiritual extremism.
An immediate case in point is its extremist abuse of the Scriptures.
Gnosticism has a notorious reputation for riding roughshod over the Scriptures
then adding and subtracting in pursuit of extreme religious ideals. Revelation
22:19 clearly reveals what happens to anyone who adds to God's Word.
And if any man shall take away from the Words of the book of
this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and
out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
The new Elite doctrine undermines the message of evangelism. Everyone
is just where he is supposed to be - where God wants him at that time.
Recruits for the movement are not obtained from the ranks of the unsaved,
but are plucked off one or two at a time from Christian groups by phrases
like "Wouldn't you like to learn new, deep truths?", "Have you entered
in?", "Come into the inner court", or "Surely, you want to move on with
God?". These phrases stir spiritual pride and elitism in most, as well
as a sense of inferiority or feeling of being unspiritual if we do not
understand and want to participate. Everyone else seems to understand,
why not us? Spiritual pride comes to those who think they understand and
are part of the "New Thing" because they have these "new deeper truths"
and the rest are just poor babes.
The Restoration Movement has had a profound impact on the Charismatic
movement. With the new call to "unity" with no regard to doctrine, the
influence is flooding all aspects of evangelical Christianity. Restorationism
presents a great challenge to conservative Biblical interpretations and
is successful because it appears to be more "spiritual". This "spirituality"
actually causes a deterioration, becomes divisive and splits churches.
A spiritual "elitism" is formed. Others who do not get into the same "deep
revelations" of the hidden meanings of Scriptures are left out and made
to feel that they are not "spiritual".
Elitism Undermines the Word of God
The new and yet old elite doctrine that has suddenly burst forth in
the church is in actuality the brain child of New Age Christian Gnostics.
Many of them do not even realise they are "Gnostics". At the expense of
God's Word, the Scriptures are spiritualised to illustrate "The Church"
(as they define it) as a special "breed" of God's people.
The Bible is perceived as a symbolic book. As a result of symbolic
interpretations, preposterous thoughts and blatant cultish concepts have
emerged. Rejecting the literal sense of the Word allows the Scriptures
to be interpreted and applied indiscriminately. For example, 2 Corinthians
3:6 (The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life) is allegorised
to mean the Scriptures is a dead letter without the Spirit. However, that
is not what the Apostle Paul is saying. Paul is making a difference between
the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The old brought death whereas the
new as a life-giving spirit.
To the mind of the Gnostic, the true meaning of the Scriptures appears
only when they are allegorised or spiritualised. Unless this rule is applied,
the Scriptures remain a dead letter. By this non-literal method of interpretation,
the neo-Gnostics have spiritualised themselves into being "Sons" equal
with Christ and part of the "elite order" in the Church.
Immortality for the Elite
This teaching is becoming more widespread as popular circuit "Prophets"
proclaim in Kansas City
. . . There is a ministry after the five-fold called the ministry
of perfection - the Melchisedek Priesthood . . . your children will be
moving into the ministries of Perfection . . . coming into that Divine
Nature of Jesus Christ . . . they themselves will be that generation that's
raised up to put death itself underneath their feet . . . because the Lord
Jesus is worthy to be lifted up by a church that has reached the full maturity
of the GOD-MAN! [Bob Jones, (Kansas City Fellowship) transcribed from 1988
Those who are overcomers believe they will never be sick or die and
they will be here when Christ returns. They believe they are now living
in the prophetic time when the Church is being restored and perfected by
the five-fold ministries (apostles, prophets, etc.). The Elite (Overcomers)
are now in the process of putting on immortality, perfection and godhood
and taking dominion of the earth. The Church is about to birth the Man-child
- the Sons of God, the incarnation of Christ and brotherhood of Christ.
The essence of this concept is pure Gnosticism and actually accords
with the following New Age thought (Gnosticism):
The real object of man's life on earth is primarily his self-improvement
and his own ultimate perfection. This perfecting process depends upon the
attainment of unity within himself, a harmonising between his physical
and spiritual forces; the unity of human with the Divine nature, which
is the essence and, in a spiritual sense, the NEW BIRTH. This perfection,
or unity, becomes a STATE of the Soul, a degree of being, a SENSING and
FEELING rather than a mere belief. This condition or state of being is
possible only through the development of the divine nature of man from
WITHIN himself and is the result of a process by which whatever is evil
and unworthy is transmuted, i.e. changed or SUBLIMATED into the higher
or spiritual entity - IT IS A BECOMING; the change from the purely animal-human
to the human-Divine.
The second object of man's life on earth is to lead other men VIA
the same path so that ultimately all men shall have developed and brought
into manifestation and activity this same nature and thus will God's church
or universal Brotherhood become an established fact. [The Sons of God by
R. Swinburnbe Clymer, Published by The Philosophical Publishing Company
Secret Coming for the Elite
The neo-Gnostic believes the manifestation of the Sons of God comes
about in a secret inner coming of Christ TO some Christians which would
transform them into "Overcomers". "Christ should visit the saints . . .
and minister His life 'in secret' before He is openly manifest." [The Feast
of Tabernacles, George Warnock, Springfield, MO - Bill Britton, 1951, pp
108]. In doing this they reject the literal resurrection and Rapture (the
personal coming of Jesus Christ FOR His Church). It is interesting to note
they will acknowledge Christ is coming, but His coming is off in the future.
The emphasis is not on Christ's soon appearance but on the great "power"
or "new anointing" that is to be manifest in the Church. Again, a subtle
change of emphasis.