How could an obscure offshoot of a minor Semitic tribal religion leave behind such an amazingbody of literature? Who could write something like the Sermon on the Mount? or the openingpassage of the Gospel of John? or the 13
chapter of First Corinthians? What esoteric commun-ity could produce a document like The Revelation of Jesus Christ? What kind of reading publicrequired devotional material like Romans and Hebrews? What myth-maker could create afigure like Jesus of Nazareth?And how did such fathomless sublimity degenerate into the inanity of organized religion? Howdid a literature that has inspired the highest and holiest of human thought for two millennia atthe same time produce that which is more debased and benighted than the lowest productionsof paganism?It began in the second century when a schism developed between the Gnostics and the CargoCult that we no
w call “Orthodox,” “Catholic,”
“Historic” or “Patr
My purpose is not to prove that Christ and the Apostles were Gnostics, nor to advocate
Gnosticism (as if what the religious world needs is another “ism”
). In fact, I will favor the terms
“mystic” and “mysticism”
over “Gnostic” and “
not out of any desire to distancemyself from the Gnostic
or to maintain good credit with the orthodox: on thecontrary, I would rather be a
along with Marcion, Bogomil, Jacob Boehme and WilliamBlake than
alongside Tertullian, Augustine, Luther and Calvin.
is afar-reaching term that comprises all experiences of direct spiritual perception, of whichGnosticism is a type.A mystic is one who experiences unmediated communion with the Divine, direct revelationfrom Creator to Creature. The early Christians, whether Gnostic, Petrine, Pauline, or Johanninewere mystics, and mysticism is the foremost characteristic in all their writings.Th
mission was not to spread a new religion, but to preach Christ. (1 Cor. 2:2)They had no ideology to promote; they had a Savior to proclaim.
Repent, and be baptizedevery one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive thegift of the Holy Ghost.
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times ofrefreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
and he shall send Jesus Christ.”
They did not offer a “plan of salvation,” they led people to a Person, “Jesus Christ, w
homhaving not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joyunspeakable and full of glory. (1 Peter 1:7-8)One did not become a Christian by joining the church, but by experiencing the miracle of thenew birth. (John 3)