Livergood's esoterism: Take 2

Discussion in 'Theology' started by Thomas, Mar 5, 2009.

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  1. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    For Nick's benefit, I have detailed precisely (where possible) the errors contained within Livergood's assertions regarding Christianity.

    Point 1:
    The implication here being there was no teaching of Jesus as God before the fourth century ... not in the Gospels, nor the letters of Paul, nor the non-canonical documents, nor the writings of the fathers: Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Papius, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen ...

    The fact that the Church was liturgical, and sacramental, and eucharistic, is in itself sufficient proof that, from the very first day, the message was that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and co-equal in all things with the Father:
    "And he is before all, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he may hold the primacy: Because in him, it hath well pleased the Father, that all fullness should dwell; And through him to reconcile all things unto himself, making peace through the blood of his cross, both as to the things that are on earth, and the things that are in heaven."

    It is inconceivable that the first Christians, drawn from the Jews, would pray to anyone but God. The fact therefore, that their liturgical celebrations focussed on Christ, clearly signifies their belief that Son and the Father are One.

    (I am willing to accept that Livergood in his ignorance does not understand the usage of the term 'Kurios' (Lord) with respect to Jesus Christ, but even so the claims and assertion's of Jesus' divinity is evident. Such ignorance would seem to be in accord with his general ignorance of Christian doctrine generally)

    So this assertion is factually wrong. I leave it to the reader to determine whether it's an error or a lie.

    +++

    Point 2:
    I shall not address Paul, as being too easy, I shall not address Marcion, as he was wrong on many points, so to refer just to Clement and Origen, 'favourites' of these pseudo-esoterists:

    "Now, O you, my children, our Instructor (Jesus Christ) is like His Father God, whose son He is, sinless, blameless, and with a soul devoid of passion; God in the form of man, stainless, the minister of His Father's will, the Word who is God, who is in the Father, who is at the Father's right hand, and with the form of God is God."
    Clement of Alexandria, Pedagogus, I, 2, 1.
    italics my emphasis

    "The Lord ministers all good and all help, both as man and as God: as God, forgiving our sins; and as man, training us not to sin."
    Ibid. I, 3, 1.

    So this assertion is factually wrong. I leave it to the reader to determine whether it's an error or a lie.
    +++

    Point 3:
    "Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled." Matthew 5:17-18

    "Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets."
    Matthew 22:36; Mark 12:29 ...

    "But he answering, said to them: Well did Isaias prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and precepts of men. For leaving the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, the washing of pots and of cups: and many other things you do like to these. And he said to them: Well do you make void the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition. "
    Mark 7:6-9.

    So this assertion is factually wrong. I leave it to the reader to determine whether it's an error or a lie.

    +++

    Here's three points to be going on with. Pick any one you like, but please address the issue at hand, by responding to the point, not by evasive and sentimental statements/appeals to so-called esoterica, or ad hominems.

    I suggest you tackle just one point to begin with.

    Thomas
     
  2. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Thomas

    A Son of God is not God. They are two distinctly different levels of being. The Son is in the image of the Father that manifests within time and space in contrast to the Father outside of time and space. Only the Father is good:


    The son is similar to the Father in the sense of having a unified trinity within. However, being within the necessary imperfection of Creation created by the process of involution, the Son does not have the "good" of the Father.

    Jesus' level of being is of a good far beyond that of fallen man on earth but below the "good" of the Father. The Father is the source of both involution and evolution so the way to the Father for Man on earth means necessarily rising through the level of being of the son.

    Jesus as the Son incarnates on our level of being as a mystical teacher for the purpose of serving Man's conscious awakening. He is not relating from ignorance or theory but rather from the reality of his "being.

    "
    If one understands this, they understand the virgin birth and why a very special and rare quality was necessary to receive it just as a necessary rare quality is required for a man to give birth to himself - his soul. Assuming that Jesus is God just prevents someone from appreciating the great depth of universal purpose including the purposes of the Son and of Man through actualizing his potential.

    There is nothing wrong with praying to the good in order to establish a connection and receive the help of grace. But to do so without fantasy and with the inner sincerity necessary needs the heart that the Son cleans. That is the reson for Christianity and the New Covenant as we know it. We need the Son to purify the heart by inviting the work of the Spirit.

    We need the mystical teacher to teach us how to open ourselves to the help of the Spirit or as Metropolitan Anthony said: to become vulnerable. We cannot do it as we are or through blind faith in secular expressions. Doing so often leads to cults or other natural results of blind faith the results of which are often far worse then if a person had never become involved such as the sexual perversions common in the secular church through its inability even to be able to communicate something meaningful to a fourteen year old girl about sex and her body.
     
  3. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    If Jesus is "our instructor" why then is he not a mystical teacher and sinless in the form of man.

    As inner unity yes but a son of god is not the Godhead:

     
  4. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    What does it mean to fulfill the law? From the esoteric perspective it means to be able to achieve the quality of being, the "good" that the law alludes to.

    The idea here is if people continue to follow it, they will awaken to the depth of human meaning and purpose. It is like asking what does it mean to fulfill the requirements of practicing the piano? To fulfill it means to be able to play the piano. The "Good" is the goal of the law so to fulfill the law is to actualize the good - to be able to play ourselves just as we can become able to play the piano. To be able to play ourselves rather then continue as the "wretched man" means to have achieved the Kingdom:

    Esoteric Christianity, Dwight Ott - alternative Christianity

    Where the law could no longer serve its essential purpose because of our fallen nature, Jesus enabled conscious help to heal the heart making the goal of the law possible
    I don't deny this is a product of the "good." The point is that we cannot do it. That is why we become hypocrites. We cover up our helplessness.

    Esoteric Christianity is concerned with the conscious quality of the moment -the quality of "now." The more it elevates in a person, the more capable they are of being human and expressing the "good" as a natural extension of their developing "being."
    This is very ancient knowledge. It is soul knowledge that predates the law. That is why it is a perennial tradition and not concerned with the secular power of the church. As a Perennial tradition Christianity doesn't teach us anything new but rather helps us to remember what has been forgotten. Once we remember, everything else can gradually fall into place.
     
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Nick —
    That may well be your interpretation, but that's not the point. To defend Livergood you have to show that's what Church believed and taught. You have shown no evidence of that, so Livergood is still wrong until you can show otherwise.

    You and Livergood may well choose to refute the Incarnation, but to repeat the text from Clement, Head of the Catechetical School in Alexandria, Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is God, without question:
    "The Lord ministers all good and all help, both as man and as God: as God, forgiving our sins; and as man, training us not to sin."
    Pedagogus I, 3, 1.

    +++

    Again, your doctrine, never Christian doctrine — it was refuted wherever it appeared, the gnostics and the Arians, for example.

    Take Irenaeus Adversus Haereses, for example.

    The Son is eternally with the Father (John 1:1), and was before creation, so not subject to any cosmological conditioning, other than by His own choice, hence the esoteric doctrine of kenosis (Philippians 2:7).

    So you haven't addressed the issue — Livergood is either mistaken or lying about the claims he makes for 'Esoteric Christianity'.

    Thomas
     
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't understand — never said He wasn't — just that's not all He is.

    Re mystical teacher:
    "Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began" Romans 16:25

    "And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all [these] things are done in parables" Mark 4:11.

    Careful reading will clearly indicate that Jesus not only instructs in the Mysteries of God, He is the Mystery made flesh.

    Re without sin:
    "For we have not a high priest, who can not have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin" Hebrews 4:15.

    +++

    Then the unity is not 'inner' is it, but only external, indeed a moral unity (like two people agrreing to the same principle)?

    So you contradict yourself.

    You are also claiming that Eckhart was a heretic who denied the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity — not even his accusers said that, and I rather think they would have pressed that point, if they thought there was any truth in it.

    It's also useful to cite where ther trext comes from, not just the author. I have all eckhart's workds, and it's useful to read texts in context of the whole. Too often people grab a 'soundbite' and assume it means one thing, when a fuller reading signifies something else.

    So you haven't addressed the issue — Livergood is either mistaken or lying about the claims he makes for 'Esoteric Christianity'.

    Thomas
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Nick —
    Well, at least you realise Livergood is completely wrong on Point 3 then — but I don't see how or why you consider your definition, which is a statement of the obvious, to be esoteric?

    And the rest of your post is immaterial to the argument — if my points stand, then the whole construct you call 'esoteric Christianity' collapses.

    Quoting Ott doesn't help, it's no good trying to switch horses midstream. We can deal with Ott in due course.

    But back to the main issue:
    My contention is that Livergood's 'esoteric Christianity' is a tissue of assumptions, errors and perhaps, deliberate falsehoods.

    I've cited three instances. You've agreed one, and have yet to respond to the other two.

    Thomas
     
  8. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Thomas

    Apparently your definition of "refuted" is that which doesn't agree with you.

    Nothing is refuted. If you are going to clam Jesus as God, then you have to explain why Jesus called only the Father good and denied he was the good. Next you would have to tell me why Jesus on the cross said in Matthew 27:

    You defend "beliefs" and like the church of today becomes indignant toward those that question the obvious. But instead of being indignant IMO it is much better to ponder the question rather then defend blind belief. As usual, the lady is right:

    Defending beliefs just destroys our potential for new eyes and ears.

    So then what does Meister Eckhart mean by the Father giving birth to the son?

    The problem isn't with Livergood. You are so caught up in defense that you haven't experienced this perspective. What should invite self questioning on your part only invites denial and assertions of refutation as though you have experienced the depth of the great mysteries.

    Of course it is inner. The son has an inner unity A plant has inner unity - an inner life as well as an external life. They are in balance. That is what we lack. We are a plurality. Man's name is legion. From the point of view of human "being" potential, we are "fallen." As such the inner man and outer man are in conflict. But as you know the lilies of the field are not. Their external life is the natural extension of their "being" Consequently they are superior to Solomon in all his glory. The Son then has a higher quality of inner unity - of "being" or "isness"

    No. Eckhart understood the reality of the Trinity. He also knew that the Father gives birth to the son. It seems like a contradiction until as Simone said you can seek to experience it as a door rather then just deny.

    He only appears mistaken because you haven't experienced the limitations of your beliefs and what they deny you.

    Remember that esoteric refers to the "inner" in contrast to exoteric which refers to the "outer" man. From this perspective the good doesn't refer to what we DO as in secularism but we ARE in relation to the quality of our "being."

    Esoteric Christianity is about the quality of the moment rather then cultural acceptance..



    Esoteric Christianity strives to raise the quality of now by raising the quality of our "being."




    And I contend that your defensive posture makes it impossible for you to appreciate the depth of Christianity. IMO you defend the secular church at the cost of being open to the depth of Christianity.


    She understood Christianity and the purpose of the crucifixion. This quality of understanding that compels her to live her life in accordance with a profound depth of understanding means far more to me then the power plays of the modern church. At least politics is more honest and doesn't claim to be what it is not.
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Nick —

    No I don't. If you choose not to believe it, that's your choice.

    What you, Livergood and Ott insist upon however, are outrageous and spurious claims for which you can offer no proof nor evidence. I have shown where your sources are wrong ... you seem unable to respond.

    Ad hominem. Poor show, Nick.

    Indignant? Not really ... amused, I suppose. You accuse me of 'blind faith' when I can furnish evidence for every claim I make. You, on the other hand, insist on a belief with no substance nor evidence, and which you cannot even argue a defence ... I really think 'blind faith' is your problem, not mine.

    A man once said to me, the fault we see in others is in fact in ourselves ... I think you're seething with indignation, and you assume I am.

    Then address the issues, rather than practicing every means of avoidance.

    Eckhart understood the Trinity as the Revelation of God in Three Persons ... you dispute the divinity of the Son.

    Ad hominem and pointless.

    I contend, for example, that you're defending your own delusion and refusing to open your eyes to the ample evidence of your error ... see? Get's us nowhere. Better to stick to the point than make jibes at your opponent.

    Here's a question: Are you ever going to address the points raised directly, or consistently seek to avoid them?

    Thomas
     
  10. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    I have answered them. You just prefer to deny answers through belief.

    Esoteric Christianity is about re-birth as taught by jesus and actualized by Jesus. A church should unite the esoteric understanding with the exoteric. It should include people having awakened to help others in their awakening. it should function as Jacob's staircase where a certain lineage exists that consciously connects the highest church members with the source which is the Christ. But having been secularized, the church only exists at the exoteric level where the goal of understanding is replaced by blind belief. The goal of freedom from attachment is changed into an attachment to a secular church. The esoteric understanding is hidden within and protected by certain people that do understand something but it cannot function as an esoteric school.
     
  11. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry, I must have missed it. For my sake then, can we just go over:

    Point 2:
    I posted this from Clement himself:
    "... (Jesus Christ) is like His Father God ... and with the form of God is God."
    Clement of Alexandria, Pedagogus, I, 2, 1.

    "The Lord ministers all good and all help, both as man and as God: as God, forgiving our sins; and as man, training us not to sin."
    Ibid. I, 3, 1.

    So my assertion is that Livergood is factually wrong — Clement did view Jesus Christ as God.

    Am I right, or am I wrong? Can you show me the text where Clement says Jesus is not God.

    Thomas
     
  12. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    This is hard to explain without cosmolgy. But if you remember how Meister Eckhart distinguished between god and the Godhead, it is the same idea. God is in the form of the Godhead just as low C on the piano is in the form of High C. They are the same but at different levels of vibratory reality. Consequently, as Meister Eckhart explains, the Godhead is continually giving birth to the Son. But if we remember that the the Absolute is also three, both the Father son relationship exists in creation simultaneously with the Trinity as one outside time and space
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Then you need to demonstrate that idea, in Clement's own words.

    What Eckhart thought is immaterial, the question is what was generally believed circa the year 200, not what one person thought a thousand years later. Eckhart ideas are not necessarily doctrine, nor are they necessarily original, but they are open to misinterpretation, as can be read to support pantheism, in which case he is in error with regard to the Deposit of Faith.

    Personally, I keep Eckhart in line with his master, the Blessed Albertus Magnus, who was more precise both as a philosopher and a theologian, and who provided the founding data of many of the Meister's speculations.

    But all this is by the by ...


    No, that's not it at all — you're stretching the analogy too far, a common misconception. Its worth remembering that whatever analogy of the Trinity one can come up with, it is always an analogy, and the analogy never fits the Trinity exactly.

    The Godhead is the Trinity-in-Itself. There is no Godhead distinct from the Trinity, that would imply four Gods. Nor is there any 'real' or 'substantial' (in the metaphysical sense) difference between Father and Son and Spirit, as the terms 'father' and 'son' infer an order of external relation.

    Which would make the Godhead 'father', wouldn't it, by virtue of its action of eternally begetting the Son. So by your terms, Godhead and Father are the same.

    Godhead and Son are the same. Godhead and Holy Spirit are the same.

    Yes, One is Three, Three is One...

    Of course, because creation reflect its creator.

    Creation is Trinity-shaped, because the Creator is Trinity. And that's the Godhead ... the Godhead is Trinity, the Trinity is the Godhead.

    So Clement is right, he saw Jesus Christ is God.

    And so you have demonstrated Livergood is flat wrong.

    So now we have Livergood wrong on all three points (which is nothing more than what I said) as this also carries point 1, that from the very beginning, the Church held Jesus Christ to be God, the Incarnate Son of the Father.

    Thomas
     
  14. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    It is clear that Jesus Christ is LIKE his Father God similar in form.

    Form isn't how we define form from our phenomenal plane of existence. Form means a unified inner unity of three forces just as the Godhead we call Trinity. I cannot see how you can read anything else into it.

    The Godhead both as one and three is outside creation. The manifestation of God's will within creation is a diminished quality of being that includes the level of "Son.". This is why we distinguish between God and LORD God in Genesis. You refuse to be open to the scale of creation. Yet if you want to understand the relationship between heaven and earth, re-birth, and what if means for thy will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, you will have to become open to it.

    Why not be less concerned with right and wrong and become open to understanding how they are reconciled.
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    An error is an error. A lie is a lie. No amount of sophistry will alter that.

    When you acknowledge that Livergood is wrong, then we can be reconciled. If not, supply evidence to show he is right.

    Thomas
     
  16. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    The only meaningful evidence can come through your efforts to "know thyself" which you refuse in favor of blind belief.
     
  17. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd rather my blind faith in truth, than your eyes-wide-shut faith in fantasy.

    Thomas
     
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