Review: Principalities and Powers (Montgomery)

Montgomery, John Warwick.

This is the best mature Evangelical treatment on the subject. Conservative evangelicalism faces a schizophrenia on this topic. On one hand, they know that the demonic and occultic exist because the Bible says so and modern experience is becoming almost overwhelming. On the other hand, they tend to write this off as charismatic kookiness and with the view that spiritual gifts have ceased today, they really don’t know what to make of this indisputable phenomenon.

Principalities And Powers; The World Of The Occult by John Warwick Montgomery

Montgomery approaches with a relatively open mind. He resists the urge to write off all of the paranormal as demonic. He introduces a key distinction: we must separate the fact from the interpretation of that fact. He also points out where individuals find themselves with ESP-like abilities in situations that are neither angelic nor demonic.

He does move his analysis into the occult, however. He gives a brilliant summary of the history of occultism and Cabalism. He has a fascinating analysis of how to interpret “ghosts” (for lack of a better word). All the while he remains faithful to biblical revelation on the afterlife.

He ends with a humorous, if quite interesting, fictional short story of a liberal minister who becomes convinced of the demonic.

Texe Marrs’ Book of New Age Cults

The title of this book is not *New Age Cults and Religions.* Rather, it is *Texe Marrs Book of New Age Cults and Religions.* The author thought you should know that. It reads like a mini-encyclopedia. Marrs is not a sophisticated thinker by any stretch, but to his credit, he is bold and willing to connect the dots (whether they are there or not). I enjoyed it.

He does a good job in showing while there are thousands of New Age movements, they all roughly hover around Hindu pantheism (with Gnostic and Tibetan Buddhist elements thrown in). Indeed, there are repeating themes throughout the book. One is the “Maritrea” figure (I have no clue on the actual spelling). There is even overlap between M. and the Jehovah’s Witness.

The book, while informative, is often lurid. Some of the more revealing:
*Joseph Smith was a Freemason.
*The Lucis Trust is involved in the highest levels of American government and business (circa 1990).
*We can place Alice Bailey and Swami Vivekananda as leading early pioneers.
*Almost all New Age religions preach One World Government. That’s not too concerning until we see some at the top of world governments (Lucis Trust –> United Nations).

Criticisms:

~Marrs’s dispensationalism is usually under control, but every now and then it breaks look–as when he equates Moon-ism with Dominion Theology (326).
~He comes close to guilt-by-association regarding rejecting modern-day Israel. Be careful you don’t align with Armstrong’s Church of God (337)

Review: Trance-formation

Cathy O’Brien has the unfortunate (though not the most unfortunate thing to ever happen to her) of not being believed by even the conspiracy theory community.  I’m more sympathetic to her story than most, but I will push back on some facts.

Here is the “tl;dr” version.  She was sexually abused by her father from the earliest age and then prostituted out to various high-ranking officials.  During that time the CIA used their MK-Ultra tactics on her.  The mind-control programmed her brain to deliver messages, etc in the guise of sexual favors to diplomats, presidents, and the like.

While the above is evil and satanic, there is nothing of disbelief.  Of course the CIA does stuff like that.  I think what gets most people is when she starts naming names.  Here are the villains, and after each name I will say how believable it is:

  • Ronald Reagan.  I’m not sure on this one.  On one hand, his wife consorted with witches, and O’Brien admits Reagan never personally harmed her and that Reagan himself was outranked by Deep State agents Cheney and George H.W. Bush.
  • Cheney and Bush Sr.  Easily believable.  Only the most Boomercon Neocon thinks Cheney is a good guy.
  • Country Music stars. Undecided.  According to her Merle Haggard was a CIA informant.  Perhaps, but I don’t think he was sober enough to be reliable.  While I have doubts about the actual singers, the country music industry does provide a pipeline of CIA/cocaine activity.   Nashville is a powerful hub.

A Caution

This book is only for the most mature reader, and even then one needs to guard himself with prayer and probably fasting.  I knew going in how evil the CIA is, and I knew what MK-ULTRA involved, but even then I wasn’t prepared.

Now for some basic notes on the book:

Mind-control practices within the occult groups (according to survivors adjudged credible and law enforcement officials) have been accredited with bridging the gap between applied science and Shamanism” (Philips and O’Brien 4).

Some of these were close to home for me.

O’Brien: “Cox demanded I become a Mormon in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This was to “prove” that Satan was everywhere-particularly in the Monroe, Louisiana Mormon church where he led occult ritual” (104)

That’s about 8 minutes from my house.  Another one was where he serial-killer/Satanist Handler lived in Chatham, LA, where a lot of witchcraft activity happens in those swamps (that’s about 25 minutes from my house; that claim is more or less accurate, though the occult activity moved about 60 miles northeast from Chatham since then).

O’Brien mentions that she was forced to participate in the Bohemian Grove.  She doesn’t make as much of it as Alex Jones does.  It happened.  Happens.

Factual Inaccuracies

The only factual problem I had was her claim that La. Senator Bennett Johnson told her he was their on the “Philadelphia Experiment” in 1943.  While I certainly believe the Philadelphia Experiment is real, I don’t think Johnson was there.  Johnson was born in 1932.  This would have made him 11 years old. Unlikely he would be privy to a top-secret project.

Unless he actually went back in time in the experiment, but that raises time-travel paradoxes I don’t want to get into.

Responding to the critics

Critics of the book list several counter-factual problems with O’Brien’s account.  We’ll see which ones hold water:

  1. Why didn’t the government sue them for libel?  My guess is that the Govt probably didn’t need to.  The real evidence was destroyed.  Further, you don’t want this to go to court.  While the govt would win (because the system is rigged), people will start asking questions.
  2. Why didn’t the CIA kill them?  This is a good objection.  As documented the CIA certainly tried.  I suppose by the mid-1990s with Libya, Serbia, and Iraq happening, the CIA had bigger fish to fry.  We had to transport cocaine and jihadis to Bosnia.
  3. Do you have any proof about Reagan et al?  This is the kicker.  The charges against Bush and Cheney are believable, if not common sense.  Reagan is a bit different. I’m undecided.

Yet I wonder….

Numerous children go missing every year in Washington DC.  Some of this is simply human evil.  Yet why is it higher in the Washington DC area?

Everyone wants to quote Ephesians 6 about the nature of our spiritual warfare.  And then they get nervous when I point out the dark patterns in American politicsAnd then they get nervous when I point out the dark patterns in American politics.

Further Research:

Origins and techniques of Monarch Mind Control.

The first famous Mind Control Slave.

 

You Might be a Hyper Preterist

You Might Be A Hyper-Preterist

By Paul Manata

 I now bring you: you might be a hyper-preterist.


1. When you hurt your back playing golf and your buddies look at you and say, “you got a bum glorified body, didn’t you?,” you might be a hyper-preterist.

2. If after lusting after a Playboy Playmate you go and teach that we were definitively sanctified in 70 AD, you might be a hyper-preterist.

3. If you say you take the time texts seriously but you don’t hold that 1 John was written at 11:00 p.m. on 69 AD since it says, “we know it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18), you might be a hyper-preterist.

4. If you say that people weren’t regenerate until 70 AD but it was already not yet, and then you read passages which speak of the saints loving God and his law (which the unregenerate cannot do), you might be a hyper-preterist.

5. If you think 70 AD was the most important event in history, rather than the cross, you might be a hyper-preterist.

6. If you have Gnostic tendencies, you might be a hyper-preterist.

7. If you’ve never read Calvin, Hodge, Warfield, Edwards, Turretin, Witsius, Owen, Murray, Van Til, Vos, et al, you might be a hyper-preterist.

8. If you’ve read them, and the every other Christian position on the resurrection and the second advent, and you say they’re all wrong and you’re all correct, you might be a hyper-preterist.

9. If you think you’re reformed and hold that God has elected a certain number of people to everlasting life, but yet you think the earth will last forever with people entering into the city, for eternity, you might be a hyper-preterist.

10. If you have a blank look on your face, with glassy eyes, you might be a hyper-preterist.

11. If your family members need to hire people to “get you out,” you might be a hyper-preterist.

12. If your position leads to the position that Jesus needed regeneration since he was resurrected, you might be a hyper-preterist.

13. If you get kicked out of every church you go to, you might be a hyper-preterist.

14. If your creed is that you have no creed, you might be a hyper-preterist.

15. If you say that “the end of ALL things is at hand” (1 Peter 4:7) means ALL things, but the fulfillment of EVERY vision without delay (Ez. 12:21-28) does not mean EVERY vision, you might be a hyper-preterist.

16. If your teaching is gangrenous, you might be a hyper-preterist.

17. If you still take the lord’s supper even though one reason it was to be taken was in order to “proclaim His death until He comes,” you might be a hyper-preterist.

18. If you constantly bombard people with e-mails, you might be a hyper-preterist.

19. If your previous theological bents have been other heretical positions (i.e., the Church of Christ’s), you might be a hyper-preterist.

20. If you make yourself feel better by saying, at one time people thought the reformers were heretics, you might be a hyper-preterist.

21. If your two favorite sayings are: (1)Reformed and always reforming and (2) sola scriptura, even though you misrepresent what those mean, you might be a hyper-preterist.

22. If you live in Florida, you might be a hyper-preterist.

23. If you’re a fan of “New Covenant Theology,” you might be a hyper-preterist.

24. If you think Jesus will kick it with Enoch and Elijah for eternity while the rest of us will float around as disembodied spirits after we phsyically die, you might be a hyper-preterist.

25. If you think that we’ll still sin after we die since definitive sanctification has already occurred, you might be a hyper-preterist.

26. If you think that God will live in eternity with active sinners, forever, you might be a hyper-preterist.

27. If you have no education, you might be a hyper-preterist.

28. If you only focus on eschatology, you might be a hyper-preterist.

29. If you can’t get off the milk and chew some meat, you might be a hyper-preterist.

30. If you deny Christ’s full work of redemption (e.g., the phsyical He made good also needs redemption), you might be a hyper-preterist.

31. If you think that Don Preston “is the man” because he rambles off basic two-premiss syllogisms, you might be a hyper-preterist.

32. If this is the new heavens and earth and you have your glorified body, and upon realizing this if you’re not depressed and feeling cheated, you might be a hyper-preterist.

33. If you’ve had to define what a Christian is and this definition lets just about any wacko into the camp, you might be a hyper-preterist.

 

Review: Boa, Cults and World Religions

This is a handy reference for anyone who needs a quick response to the myriad of cultic and occultic movements today. It is persuasively argued, well-written, and very concise.

Eastern Religions

Boa gives a basic summary of the major Eastern religions, including historical overviews and their internal contradictions. It’s rather short but that’s probably the purpose. The reader will be aware of the basic tenets but should supplement his reading with more substantial works. Of interest, however, and Boa only hints this in passing, is that Eastern religion really can’t make sense of the dialectic between monism and dualism.

Pseudo-Christian Groups

The meat of the book, seen in substantially longer chapters, deals with pseudo-Christian groups (Mormons, JWs, Seventh Dayers, etc). The reason is obvious: you are more likely to run across a Mormon than a Shinto or Jainist. And these chapters are outstanding. One problem in Boa’s approach, though: he claims that one cannot divide the moral law from the ceremonial law (121), but says Christians are under the law of Christ (which includes 9 out of 10 commandments). I understand why he is saying this in response to SDA, but it is a dangerous, if not faulty approach.

It is interesting to note that many of these bizarre groups got off the ground in the mid 19th century to early 20th century. Uniting them seems to be a bastardized, primitive version of Hegelianism mixed with revival fervor. Think of Absolute Idealism as imagined by a high school sophomore.

Criticism

The most brilliant part of the book was its dealing with the occult. It was far more substantial in terms of argumentation than the other sections. My problem is that Boa did not connect the dots between the various occultic systems. They are not accidentally related. The larger connection or network is hermeticism. Boa alludes to hermeticism quite frequently, but he seems to see it as a generic synonym for any one teaching.

Hermeticism, by contrast, is very consistent and specific where it matters (granted, much New Agey occultism practiced by Hollywood is generic nonsense, but that’s another story). Hermeticism has roots in ancient Egypt and Babylon. It is built on specific numerologies, which often manifest themselves in the aforementioned systems.

In fact, we can take the argument a step further. The godly emperor St Justinian the Great smashed hermeticism in the mouth when he shut down several neo-platonic and Pythagorean Academies. It is no great supposition to believe that these hermetic movements went underground.  After they were eradicated we can see (or suppose) hermeticism to have gone underground again only to arise with either the Freemasons or the Illuminati (I speak of the Bavarian Illuminati established by Adam Weisshaupt and not the Sex Cult of Hollywood Rappers Today).

I am not ready to say who was the primary influence–Freemasons or Illuminati. I suppose it really doesn’t matter for practical purposes. What we can say of these two movements (and I leave aside guys like the MI-6 agent Alastair Crowley for the moment) is that they gave Hermeticism a quasi-institutional vehicle in which to move forward.

Of course, I really didn’t expect Boa to go into all of that when each chapter is only a few pages long.

Other criticisms

The section on Madame Blavatsky probably should have been placed in the Occult section instead of the Pseudo-Christian cults. Blavatsky claimed to have received messages from “Serapis,” (no doubt she did, though Serapis is likely a demon). Further, Boa just gave surface-level responses when Blavatsky’s Gnosticism is easy prey to a full-orbed Patristic attack.

Review: Unholy Spirits

Interesting historical review of 20th century occultism practiced by the secular establishment. I knew that the CIA and KGB conducted paranormal tests on their victims. North provides a bit more documentation than do others.  The running thesis is that occultism is simply the latest stage of humanism:  it is the promise that men shall be as gods.  North explains that many of these New Age techniques seek to do an end-run around man as created being.  For the godly man, time is not evil.  It is limited and under the curse, but it also provides the conditions for planning for the future and building wealth.

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Societies that reject this worldview cannot progress. North writes: “It is a fact that only by means of Western science has a centuries-long period of constant improvement of skills, equipment, and treatment been maintained. Scientific progress, which was originally grounded on the Christian ideas of providence, progress, and the subduing of the earth to the glory of a pre-eminently rational and personal God, was exponentially increased by the social and intellectual aftermath of the Reformation.  The idea that men can increase their control over nature by an ever-increasing division of labor, including intellectual labor, is at the heart of Western progress (247).

Conclusion: By personalizing the techniques of healing, primitive societies have in principle abandoned the idea of medical, economic, or any other kind of progress through more impersonal organizations of human talent (248).

Much of the book is dated but the general idea is sound.  In fact, it’s a very well-written book.  It narrates and evaluates “testimonies” (giving the book an anecdotal feel at times).  We end with this urgent call:

“The fact that Western man counts the cost accurately, i.e., can calculate the weight of each burden, enables him to reduce the burden through effective planning, discipline, and above all, capital formation. The socialist or communist, who affirms the religion of the occult – that the limits of scarcity are not natural, but are man-created – is less rational, cannot calculate economically, and threatens economic productivity whenever he takes over the reigns of political power (348)

Perennialism and Cthonic forces

Although I had tended to see Julius Evola as something of a pagan, he did make some good points on “mysticism.”  One of the most dangerous things one can do is “open yourself to the beyond,” or let your reason go.  This opens the self to “cthonic forces.” This isn’t good.  It is descending to the lower levels.  You become less god-like and more bestial.

This sheds some light on demon possession.

This also explains a problem that arose in the 4th Political Theory.  Unlike the racist Western liberal, we believe each culture has its own Dasein, its mode of existing that doesn’t have to be determined by NATO and the World Bank.  Since each culture is finite and no one has a God’s-eye view on history, then there is a legitimate motion in each culture.

So far so good, but here are some problems.  What about widow-immolation in Hindu India?  What about female circumcision in Muslim Africa?  Is not our revulsion and, yea moral duty to stop it a form of Western hegemony?

Maybe.  But it doesn’t have to be Western hegemony.  Ancient Israel, by no means a Western Enlightenment outpost, condemned similar practices.  Whether Ba’al was a hypostasized god is beside the point. Those who worshiped him descended to cthonic levels and were violently opposed by the prophets.

One can probably find similar actions in other ancient societies.  So Perennialism offers a model of opposing cthonic practices but not from a standpoint of Western Liberalism.

The recons flee defeated on Christology

Here’s the context behind my recent post on Rushdoony.  I participated on a facebook thread where several kinist-reconstructionists were attacking Eastern Orthodoxy.  That put me in an odd decision, for I, too, have criticized EO.  But their arguments were just bad.  Like if people used these in a debate with a formidable EO apologist, they would get massacred and people would probably leave (rightly) for EO.

So I went to play Devil’s Advocate.  I did this for several reasons. Outside of selected texts from Rushdoony and Van Til, recons read little to nothing outside their own tradition. And also given the current evangelical debacle on the Trinity, I want to show that we should spend more time on Patristics questions than getting angry about big gubbment. So I asked the question:

Isn’t Rushdoony a Nestorian because he separated the flesh of Christ from the worship due to the Divine Person?

Correct Answer: Yes.  Rushdoony said that and Ephesus condemned that.

And this point there answers revolved around several charges:

  1. You are a monophysite for accusing us of nestorianism.
  2. Rushdoony didn’t say there were two dudes in Jesus.
  3. Nestorius didn’t really believe that because Harold OJ Brown said he didn’t.
  4. If you disagree with (3) then that’s just your opinion.

I’m just glad it was me and not Jay Dyer or Perry Robinson.  It would have been a massacre of colossal proportions.  So let’s look at the charges.

~1. I asked them repeatedly to prove where I mixed the two natures of Christ.  No answer.
~2. Never said he did, but that’s not the problem with Nestorianism. Until John Robbins and Gordon Clark, no one thought Nestorius posited two dudes in Jesus.
~3. Brown was a great guy and a fine ethicist.  He just wasn’t a patristic scholar and the guys I referenced (McGuckin et al) have read the original texts from Nestorius and Theodore of Mopsuestia.  Nestorianism posits two acting agents in Jesus.  Not two dudes in Jesus.  It also separates the Person of Jesus, which is what Cyril condemned and what Rushdoony did.
~4. So I asked them to show where my reading of Nestorian sources was wrong and why a non-specialist has them right.  No answer.

So here is what the debate looked like:

Jacob Aitken Okay, tired of defense. Now on the offense: Did Rushdoony worship Nestorian Jesus?

Recon 1: No. Jesus died in His Manhood, not His Godhood. Just like He slept in His Manhood, but not in Godhood.

Jacob Aitken But did not Rushdoony say that you must separate the flesh of Christ from his deity? He writes,

 

<<But the Council made it clear that only God could be worshipped; not even Christ’s humanity could be worshipped, but only His deity. The humanity of Christ is not nor ever could be deified” (Foundations, 41).>>

 

This is precisely what the 3rd Council rejected, as Cyril notes., “he Only-begotten Son, to be honored with one-adoration together with his own flesh.”” Rushdoony unwittingly quoted this on p. 40. But even Berkhof cndemns Rushdoony (not by name) on this point. This means that the human nature of Christ, from the very first moment of its existence, was adorned with all kinds of rich gifts, as for instance…the grace and glory of being united to the dinive nature of the Logos, also called the gratia emenentiae, by which the human nature is elevated high above all creatures, and even becomes an object of adoration…[that’s deification, as we say] (p. 324)

Recon 2.. have you read Harold O. J. Brown’s “Heresies?” He offers a different take on Nestorianism.

Jacob Aitken. Long ago. Prof Brown was my ethics prof. I understand what he is getting at, but the modern understanding of what Nestorius taught is fairly well established. He believed in two-acting subjects in the incarnation. Cyril and the Christian faith believed in one acting agent.

Recon 1. Did Jesus sleep in His Godhood?

Jacob Aitken Question doesn’t make sense. The divine person slept. You can’t abstract the natures, which is what Rushdoony did. And for what it is worth, that’s also Reformed Christology, too.

Recon 2: I think charges of Nestorianism are going to be forever the complaint of those who nestle in Eutychianism.  And Brown tells us that Nestorious was falsely charged though some of his followers may have been guilty of the charge.

Jacob Aitken And with all due respect to my professor, he is incorrect. Nestorius taught two acting agents in the Incarnation. He held that the hypostasis was the synthesis of two prosopa.

Recon 2: Says you. I’ll stick with Brown’s assessment.

Me: Well, it is what every scholar on NEstorius and Cyril says. I don’t know what else to tell you. Brown was a genius at ethics but he is no Patristics scholar. That doesn’t mean the scholars are right. But if someone labors hard in Syriac and such,t hen they probably are.

Recon 2Shrug ^ … you don’t come to truth by counting “scholar” noses.

Jacob Aitken No, but by examining the documents, which is what McGuckin et al have done.

Recon 2: Come on … I shouldn’t even have to type this. Scholars differ and disagree upon examining the texts. It’s why this game is so fun.

Jacob And if you can point out where McGuckin and Fairbairn interpreted the texts incorrectly, and where Brown interpreted the same texts correctly, then I’m open to revision.

Recon 2 I’ll get right on that. Nothing else on my calendar except to rescue a facebook thread.

Jacob: rescue the thread or don’t. You are the one that asserted something. You can back it up or not.

Recon 3:  Jacob: aye, but there is a direct correlation in your wavering between Eutychianism and Reformed theology. Perhaps you can’t perceive it, but it is there. Has much learning made thee mad?

MeWEll, then point it out to me. Because I don’t see you really keeping up with te arguments. Where have I posited a mixing of the natures? Be specific.

Recon 3You might be surprised, but this thread isn’t all I had planned for today. Trying to multitask a bit here. Hyperfocused individuals aren’t the most productive ones, I’ve noticed.

MeYou are the one that accused me of flirting with a heresy.

Recon 3Yeah, well, reading 1,000 books a month, a body has a tendency to float in between doctrines. Ever read Lovecraft? Most of his protagonists were destroyed by their lust for knowledge as well.

Jacob Aitken So I take it you can’t back up your insinuations?

Recon 3Hey, you were the one who came on this thread as an EO apologist, Jacob. If the shoe fits…

JacobSo, no, then?

The rest of the debate is glossing WCF 8, but doesn’t add anything new to the discussion.

On the Russian evangelism law

I find myself in an odd position.  I am in the reformational tradition (though I am not a 5 Point Calvinist) yet in the internet world I am known as a Russian supporter.  So what do I make of Russia’s new law to forbid evangelizing outside of church?  Sounds Draconian, right?  Here are my thoughts:

  1. I don’t think it was entirely necessary.  Russian Orthodox have little to fear from low-church evangelicals.  Historically, Russia has been ham-handed and incompetent in its dealings with counter-religious movements.
  2. Something like this law has been on the books for years.
  3. Scientology is a big-time CIA front, and this law is primarily designed at shutting down Scientology (which is illegal in Germany, btw).
  4. No country, even in our enlightened West, grants full religious liberty to its people.  In America a church has two options:  register with the IRS and get tax exempt status, or pay taxes.  If you choose the latter, you have a degree of freedom.  You can criticize politicians during election season and you won’t have to marry gays in 2018 (yeah, it’s coming but keep attacking Russia for taking away freedom).  If you choose the former you are tax exempt but fundamentally neutered on politics.