Sunday, March 11, 2007

Definition of "another level" as used by Christians

Definitions and criticism of some teachings found in the "word faith" movement.

Definition:
This is the idea that there are several levels at which a person can expereince a relationship with God. It is possible to move through these levels towards greater knowledge of God and greater spiritual enlightenment. For example, the initial level would be someone who had put their faith in Christ. The second level would be someone who has received the holy spirit. The third level would be those who have an even more intimate relationship with God and have overcome any problems in their life. This list is not exhaustive, but the underlying idea is that it is possible for some people to be closer to the divine than others. In this way it draws on teachings from the holiness churches and ideas from the catholic tradition. It is generally suggested that once you are in the next level you will not be able to go back down to a lower one. Often there is some sort of initiation involved (formal or informal) to get to the next level, often involving an act of faith, sometimes donating money to a particular ministry.

Criticism:
Whilst some people are clearly closer to God than others there is no idea of a definable progression given in the bible. The bible is clear that faith in Jesus is sufficient for salvation and that the evidence of that faith is the fruit of the holy spirit (seen in good works). There is no suggestion of hidden knowledge or hidden experience only available to a few who have been exalted. That idea came much later in Gnosticism.

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