Friday, March 23, 2007

The Deep Politics of God (Part Eight): The CNP, Dominionism, and the Ted Haggard Scandal


The Deep Politics of God (Part Eight): The CNP, Dominionism, and the Ted Haggard Scandal

By Phillip Collins and Paul Collins

Manufacturing Messiahs: Engineering Another Christ

Of course, the engineering of a new religion stipulates the engineering of a new Messiah. The religious engineers of Dominionism are acutely aware of this necessity. Thus, they have re-sculpted Jesus Christ according to somewhat Jacobin designs. The Dominionist conceives a Jesus that more readily conforms to his or her hegemonic aspirations. Suddenly, Jesus becomes a political dissident, a radical revolutionary, and a sociopolitical Utopian. While some Dominionists still profess a faith in Christ as their personal Savior, their postmillennial eschatology portrays the Second Coming as some sort of political coup. Thus, the Dominionist subordinates the spirit to the flesh and, in so doing, transforms Jesus into the equivalent of a Lenin or a Marx.

Such religious engineering is nothing new. For many years, occult secret societies have proffered their own "esoteric Christ." Adam Weishaupt’s infamous Illuminati, which provided a working model for almost all contemporary subversive socialist groups, is an exemplary case in point. The Illuminist conception of Christ was purely socialistic in character. Weishaupt himself claimed that " if Jesus preaches contempt of riches, He wishes to teach us the reasonable use of them and prepare for the community of goods introduced by Him" (Webster, Secret Societies and Subversive Movements, no pagination). This sounds more like Marxism made flesh, not the Word made flesh. Of course, all of the stated goals of the Illuminati virtually mirrored the objectives presented in the Communist Manifesto. Numerous researchers have demonstrated the ideological continuum binding Illuminism and communism. Reiterating their arguments is not the purpose of this article. What is important to understand is that the religious engineering projects of subversive organizations like the Illuminati and its communist progenies paved the way for Dominionism’s re-conceptualization of Jesus Christ.

Like the Dominionist Christ, the Illuminist Christ was a totally secular Messiah. His mission was a political one, not a spiritual one. In regards to Jesus, Weishaupt states:

The secret preserved through the Disciplinam Arcani, and the aim appearing through all His words and deeds, is to give back to men their original liberty and equality. . . . Now one can understand how far Jesus was the Redeemer and Saviour of the world. (Webster, Secret Societies and Subversive Movements, no pagination)

In keeping with his esoteric heritage, Weishaupt’s Christ was an obscurantist and a secret teacher of older occult doctrines:

No one . . . has so cleverly concealed the high meaning of His teaching, and no one finally has so surely and easily directed men on to the path of freedom as our great master Jesus of Nazareth. This secret meaning and natural consequence of His teaching He hid completely, for Jesus had a secret doctrine, as we see in more than one place of the Scriptures. (Webster, Secret Societies and Subversive Movements, no pagination)

As a product of the Enlightenment, the Illuminati exhibited the same sort of scientism that was characteristic of that period. In accordance with their strident scientific materialism, Weishaupt and his fellow Illuminists presented a Christ that was bereft of any supernatural qualities. The Illuminist Christ was a technocratic Avatar that preached a Gnostic gospel of self-salvation. This doctrine of self-salvation held aloft human reason and the cognitive powers of man as the new incarnation of revelatory knowledge, a scientistic version of gnosis so-to-speak. John Robison explains:

Jesus Christ is represented as the enemy of superstitious observances, and the assertor of the Empire of Reason and of Brotherly love, and his death and memory as dear to mankind. This evidently paves the way for Weishaupt's Christianity. (No pagination)

Weishaupt’s Illuminist colleague, Baron von Knigge, reiterates this scientistic portrait of Jesus:

"Jesus Christ established no new Religion; he would only set Religion and Reason in their ancient rights. For this purpose he would unite men in a common bond. He would fit them for this by spreading a just morality, by enlightening the understanding, and by assisting the mind to shake off all prejudices. He would teach all men, in the first place, to govern themselves. Rulers would then be needless, and equality and liberty would take place without any revolution, by the natural and gentle operation of reason and expediency. This great Teacher allows himself to explain every part of the Bible in conformity to these purposes; and he forbids all wrangling among his scholars, because every man may there find a reasonable application to his peculiar doctrines. Let this be true or false, it does not signify. This was a simple Religion, and it was so far inspired; but the minds of his hearers were not fitted for receiving these doctrines. I told you, says he, but you could not bear it. Many therefore were called, but few were chosen." (Qutd. In Robison, no pagination)

Clearly, the Illuminist Christ was antithetical to the Biblical Christ. Yet, because of the Illuminati’s ostensibly Christian rhetoric, sincere Believers were lured into membership. Commenting on the Illuminati’s Christian veneer, Baron von Knigge states:

"it will appear that we are the only true Christians. We shall now be in a condition to say a few words to Priests and Princes. I have so contrived things, that I would admit even Popes and Kings, after the trials which I have prefixed; and they would be glad to be of the Order." (Qutd. In Robison, no pagination)

Of course, the Illuminati had a hotly debated, yet historically documented relationship with Freemasonry. Like the Illuminati, the Lodge promoted its own Masonic Christ. Thirty-third degree Mason Albert Pike states:

Behold the object, the end, the result, of the great speculation and logomachies of antiquity; the ultimate annihilation of evil, and restoration of Man to his first estate, by a Redeemer, a Masayah, a Christos, the incarnate Word, Reason, or Power of Diety. (274)

The astute reader will immediately notice the capital M in "Man," connoting humanity’s intrinsic divinity. Being a god was humanity’s "first estate." Thus, the Masonic messiah is not the transcendent Creator incarnated as Jesus Christ. Instead, Masonry posits that the messiah is within Man himself. According to Masonic doctrine, humanity’s cognizance of its innate divinity is integral to achieving apotheosis. Pike recapitulates:

Thus self-consciousness leads us to consciousness of God, and at last to consciousness of an infinite God. That is the highest evidence of our own existence and it is the highest evidence of His. (709)

As for the early Christians who believed that Jesus was the transcendent God clothed in flesh, Pike derisively portrays them as superstitious simpletons:

The dunces who led primitive Christianity astray, by substituting faith for science, reverie for experience, the fantastic for the reality; and the inquisitors who for so many ages waged against Magism a war of extermination, have succeeded in shrouding in darkness the ancient discoveries of the human mind; so that we now grope in the dark to find again the key of the phenomena of nature. (732)

Pike’s reprimand concerning Christianity’s substitution of faith for science betrays Masonry’s scientistic proclivities. Earlier in human history, such scientistic belief was less powerful. Yet, the Enlightenment edified this anthropocentric religion and, eventually, it even infected Christian thought. This influence is made evident by the doctrine of cessationism. Cessationism promotes a "rationalistic, Enlightenment-era, unbiblical notion of ‘miracles’" ("Cessationism," no pagination). Cessationism rejects the miraculous and supernatural elements of Christianity, contending that such spiritual gifts were reserved for the Church’s distant past (no pagination). John MacArthur is one of the foremost evangelists of this spiritually dead and eviscerated "gospel" (no pagination). Essentially, cessationism offers a Christianity with only enough spiritual elements to marginally placate the intrinsic human need for God and all of the rationalism necessary to keep one from having to make any uncomfortable "leaps of faith." Bear in mind that God is a supra-rational entity and, as such, has never required the affirmation of man’s finite rational mind.

A strand of cessationist thought runs through Dominionism’s postmillennial eschatology. In cessationism, the Believer is presented with a deistic Christianity. Either unwilling to or incapable of exercising His powers in the affairs of man, the cessationist God is tantamount to an absentee landlord. Likewise, the Dominionist Christ is either unwilling to or incapable of establishing His own kingdom. Thus, it is the Dominionist’s duty to make "His Kingdom come." In true neo-Gnostic fashion, the Dominionist must redirect his or her complete attention towards the ontological plane of the physical universe. After all, the corrupted creation must be transformed before the Dominionist Christ can reappear. Dominionism merely reiaterates the dictum of communism, fascism, and other strains of secular Gnosticism: "We must save ourselves!"

It is true that some Dominionists are not purely cessationists. In fact, some Dominionists are also charismatics. According to Sarah Leslie, the Dominionist recruitment strategy operates in a "dialectical fashion," targeting both charismatics and nominal denominations (no pagination). However, the postmillenial eschatology of Dominionism exhibits the same sort of deistic overtones that are prevalent within cessationism. Both the Dominionist and the cessationist proffer an absentee landlord as God. The logical conclusion of such deistic thinking is that the Lord will not move. Instead, the hand of man must move. Such a conclusion is not too far from the contentions of earlier sociopolitical Utopians. Many sociopolitical Utopians were either deists or outright atheists. Convinced that God was either an incomprehensible irrelevancy or just plain fantasy, these political radicals promoted a "heaven" of their own. That "heaven" could only be obtained through revolution. In this sense, Dominionism is merely a continuation of the older secular Gnostic crusades for a novus ordo seclorum.

Religious engineering within the Christian community continues. The vision of a new Christ who will affirm the neo-Gnostic suppositions of sociopolitical Utopians has resulted in the emergence of several pseudo-Christian cults. Jeffrey Sharlet infiltrated one such group, ominously named the Family (a shared appellation with the Charles Manson cult). In an article in Harper’s magazine, Sharlet revealed some disturbing aspects of this group. While the group consistently invokes the name of Jesus, Christian is "a term they deride as too narrow for the world they are building in Christ’s honor. . ." ("Jesus Plus Nothing," 53). Sharlet elaborates:

. . .the Family reject the label "Christian." Their faith and their practice seemed closer to a perverted sort of Buddhism, their God outside "the truth," their Christ everywhere and nowhere at once, His commands phrased as questions, His will as simple to divine as one’s own desires. And what the Family desired. . .was power, worldly power, with which Christ’s kingdom can be built. . .("Jesus Plus Nothing," 63)

It is obvious that the Family’s notion of Christ’s kingdom breaks drastically with the Biblical concept. The concept of an Eschaton within this ontological plane is inherently Gnostic. In fact, Family members consistently reiterate the neo- Gnostic mandate to immanentize the Eschaton. David Coe, son of the cult’s current leader, tells other members that they "are here to learn how to rule the world" (59). Such statements are redolent of Gnostic thinking. Likewise, the Christ being sculpted by the Family’s religious engineers is inherently Gnostic. No longer is He the Savior and Redeemer of humanity. Instead, He is a nebulous and ambiguous icon whose features are being re-configured according to the template of sociopolitical Utopianism.

To understand the Family’s conception of Christ’s kingdom, one must examine its founder, Abraham Vereide. Sharlet introduces this enigmatic character:

The Family was founded in April 1935 by Abraham Vereide, a Norwegian immigrant who made his living as a traveling preacher. One night, while lying in bed fretting about socialists, Wobblies, and a Swedish Communist who, he was sure, planned to bring Seattle under the control of Moscow, Vereide received a visitation: a voice, and a light in the dark, bright and blinding. ("Jesus Plus Nothing," 61)

Mimicking Joseph Smith, Vereide attributed his ideas to a divine encounter. These ideas would be presented under an anticommunist label, obviously manipulating justifiable fears of the communist threat to civilization. However, Vereide’s goal could not be described as Christian. Sharlet writes: "In 1944, Vereide has foreseen what he called ‘the new world order’" ("Jesus Plus Nothing," 61). The "new world order" is a term originating with and tossed about in several elitist circles seeking to establish some form of world government. It is a catch phrase for a world system best described by Donald McAlvany, himself a CNP member:

A world government, by its highly centralized nature, would be socialistic; would be accompanied by redistribution of wealth; strict regimentation; and would incorporate severe limitations on freedom of movement, freedom of worship, private property rights, free speech, the right to publish, and other basic freedoms. (287)

For many Christians, this system would resemble the kingdom of antichrist described in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation. However, many are duped by the group’s "Christian" exterior. Its ranks include the influential and powerful:

The Family is, in its own words, an "invisible" association, though its membership has always consisted mostly of public men. Senators Don Nickles (R., Okla.), Charles Grassley (R., Iowa), Pete Domenici (R., N. Mex.), John Ensign (R., Nev.), James Inhofe (R. Okla.), Bill Nelson (D., Fla.), and Conrad Burns (R., Mont.) are referred to as "members," as are Representatives Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), Frank Wolf (R., Va.), Joseph Pitts (R., Pa.), Zach Wamp (R., Tenn.), and Bart Stupak (D., Mich.). (Sharlet 54)

The Family has also formed prayer groups that have given them access to the halls of power:

Regular prayer groups have met in the Pentagon and at the Department of Defense, and the Family has traditionally fostered strong ties with businessmen in the oil and aerospace industries. (Sharlet, "Jesus Plus One," 54)

Members of the controlled conservative movement seem to make up the Family’s unsuspecting prey. It is the organization behind the congressional sponsored National Prayer Breakfast held every February in Washington D.C. (Sharlet , "Jesus Plus Nothing," 54). Sharlet continues:

. . .the breakfast is regarded by the Family as merely a tool in a larger purpose: to recruit the powerful attendees into smaller, more frequent prayer meetings, where they can "meet Jesus man to man." ("Jesus Plus Nothing," 54)

The Jesus encountered by the Family’s new recruits is hardly the Jesus one reads about in Scripture. The religious engineering within these neo-Gnostic circles continues. At the risk of sounding slightly alarmist, the results are becoming increasingly prophetic in nature. Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who is connected to the CNP through Gary Bauer, Jerry Falwell, the LaHayes, and others, is one case in point. As was previously mentioned, Moon claimed that Jesus’ mission was an utter failure. However, Moon has not allowed this messianic void to be left empty. In Christ’s place, Moon has presented a substitute… himself. Washington Post journalists Charles Babington and Alan Cooperman elaborate:

At the March 23 ceremony in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) wore white gloves and carried a pillow holding an ornate crown that was placed on Moon's head. The Korean-born businessman and religious leader then delivered a long speech saying he was "sent to Earth . . . to save the world's six billion people. . . . Emperors, kings and presidents . . . have declared to all Heaven and Earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent." (No pagination)

According to Moon, Jesus is no longer the judge of both the living and the dead. In addition to being humanity’s Savior, Moon purports to be the Advocate for the "spirit world" as well. In fact, Moon boasts that his message has already saved many of those who are dead, including some of history’s most notorious totalitarians. Babington and Cooperman explain:

Moon has claimed to have spoken in "the spirit world" with all deceased U.S. presidents, Jesus, Moses, Mohammed and others. At the March 23 event, he said: "The founders of five great religions and many other leaders in the spirit world, including even Communist leaders such as Marx and Lenin . . . and dictators such as Hitler and Stalin, have found strength in my teachings, mended their ways and been reborn as new persons." (No pagination)

Moon’s claims are vintage Gnostic. According to the Gnostic myth, The Hypostasis of the Archons, Jesus Christ was little more than a mere "type" of a coming "perfect man" (Raschke 27). In this revisionist context, Jesus is only a "teacher and an exemplar, to show others the path to illumination," thus paving the way for the "Gnostic adept" (27-28). Ominously enough, the myth also alleges that Jesus’ forerunner was none other than the serpent. The book of Revelation clearly identifies the serpent as the Devil. However, the Hypostasis claims that the serpent was actually an "incognito savior" sent by the so-called "High God" to liberate man from Jehovah, who is "rudely caricatured in this tale as the ‘Arrogant archon’" (27). Over the years, several candidates have attempted to fill the position of the long-awaited "Gnostic adept." The claimants have come from many esoteric corners. Simon the Magician, Mani of the Manicheans, Jacob Frank of the Frankists, and Lord Maitreya of the New Age movement are just a few. All of them have reiterated the message of the serpent: "Ye shall be as gods." Reverend Sun Myung Moon is merely the latest claimant in this ongoing chain of deceivers.

On more than one occasion, Jesus and His disciples warned of many false Christs entering the world. Jesus foresaw a protracted conflict between several counterfeit Messiahs and Himself. This ongoing war is foreshadowed by the events in the book of Genesis. Shortly after the serpent’s deception in Eden and mankind’s subsequent fall, the Lord revealed his plan of salvation for humanity: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel" (Genesis 3:15). Encapsulated within this prognostication is a vivid portrait of Jesus Christ, who is the divinely implanted seed of the woman, defeating the seed of the serpent. The victory of Calvary would be followed by a series of conflicts between the true Savior and several counterfeit Messiahs. Researcher John Daniel elaborates:

Through the "seed" of woman, God would provide a Redeemer. The serpent, representing Satan, would also have a "seed," a counterfeit redeemer. Conflict would break out between the serpent’s seed and the woman’s seed. (102)

Therefore, the new "seed" of the serpent could be a succession of false messiahs. Such a succession would probably culminate with a final counterfeit Christ. Of course, this last anti-Christ would be vanquished with the return of the Lord’s true Messiah. Daniel explains:

To understand how this conflict between God and Satan is to be played out in human history, we must consider the key Hebrew words in the statement, "he [Christ] shall bruise your [the serpent’s] head, and you shall bruise his heel." The Hebrew primitive root word for heel means to "supplant, circumvent, or trip up." It suggests that the Serpent or Satan shall set up a religion which becomes a stumbling block to supplant or circumvent the plan of God for our redemption; the Adversary will attempt as well to "trip up," or "circumvent" the Redeemer. The Redeemer, on the other hand, would bruise the head of the serpent. The Hebrew word for head means "ruler," and the word for bruise means "overwhelm." In other words, Satan is the "head" or "ruler" of this present world, but in the end Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, shall ultimately bruise, or "overwhelm" Satan (Rev. 19:11-20:15). (102)

As the messianic conveyor belt of religious engineering continues to grind, the resulting Saviors will only grow more and more unfamiliar to the eyes of the believer. Portrayed as more of a sociopolitical Utopian than a spiritual Savior, the Dominionist Christ exemplifies this reality. It comes as little surprise that Jesus admonished, "Many shall come in my name."

In the ninth installment of this ongoing investigation, we shall examine the anti-concept of "fundamentalism" and its role in the criminalizing of Christianity.

Link To Part 7

Sources Cited

All sources will be presented in the twelfth and final installment of this series.



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