Esoteric Christianity is said to be a version of Christianity which can only be understood by those who have acquired secret knowledge. Supposedly, only a small number of people ever achieve this kind of enlightenment which believes say is the only way to crack the code of the Bible and truly know God.
Purveyors of this pseudo-Christianity are usually theosophists, gnostics, Rosicrucians and other New Age/occult enthusiasts. They assert that Christianity is a mystery religion in which there are esoteric practices that the general public is not aware of and which can only be understood by a select group of believers.
The teachings of esoteric Christianity are heretical, such as what this follower claims on his website:
“About 25-30 C.E. a mystical teacher named Jesus began to tell people about a spiritual realm in which the person who would be leader must be a servant of all. He spoke of a definite re-birth into a Higher Consciousness. Jesus indicated that his message consisted of a public (exoteric) message for all the people and an advanced (esoteric) teaching reserved for initiates.”
Those of us who follow the “outer religion” of Christianity, such as belonging and adhering to the teachings of the Catholic Church, are exoteric Christians. On the other hand, esoteric Christians focus on an “inner religion” which leads them to develop their minds and wills until “the Christ Within” is born in them.
In other words, it’s very much in line with the New Age belief that we are all gods who need to develop our inner divinity.
Many believers in esoteric Christianity take this even further, such as Richard Smoley, who asserts in his article entitled “The Future of Esoteric Christianity” that religious authorities are deliberately ambivalent toward any kind of awakening to esoteric Christianity in their congregations because “An individual with his or her own direct contact with spiritual realities is less likely to need the priests . . . “
He goes on to reflect on the various astrological “ages” of the world (another New Age construct) such as the Age of Aries when God required blood sacrifice of animals. In the age of Pisces, which is the time of Christ, it was the blood sacrifice of Jesus that appeased God.
“Why, after all, should God, having become irked at the human race because someone ate a piece of fruit six thousand years ago, feel the need to send a part of himself down to earth and have it tortured to death as a way of making it up to himself?” Smoley asks.
Instead of clinging to this exoteric Christianity, Smoley posits that “the human race is ready for something different, something, we may hope, that is more advanced and more pronounced” than the death of Christ 'to appease a peevish and self-important deity. . .'”
These ideas are obviously heretical, as well as being outlandish, but they are also very telling. Too many people have tossed out the real Jesus and the Church He founded on earth for strange substitutions such as this one.
Could this be because we are not doing enough to reveal His grandeur to our non-practicing brothers and sisters?
Confused about whether or not some new prayer or practice is Christian? The Learn to Discern Compendium will teach you all you need to know to determine if it's New Age or Christian.