By Thomas King
THE DEADLY HERESY OF “RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD” AND THE SUFI NATURE THEREOF
Abraham walked with God, thus he had a true relationship with Him; and if your relationship is like his, then rightly you are blessed. But his relationship was not one of a selfish individualism, or an indulgence to the ego, rather it was in which he was a light shining in the darkness, to convince mortals to look up to the heavens and find God, and join the illuminating flame of divine wisdom. When the Disciples asked Christ, “Teach us to pray,” the Holy One began the prayer, not with “my Father,” but “Our Father,” showing that the Faith is a relationship, but one focused on gathering the world together under the Holy Trinity, and not on an individualistic level.
There is a pervading heresy that has infected the Church today, particularly the Protestant Evangelical churches, of “It is all about your relationship with God/Jesus. Nothing else matters.” This heresy has harmed many Christians and has virtually made many into Sufis unawares. To begin with, the promoters of this heresy often state: “Religion is unimportant. God hates religion. It is all about relationship.” These very same people have no qualms getting into bed with all manner of antichrists such as New Agers, cultists, Muslims, leftists, anarchists, Communists, neo-pagans, sodomites and other wicked characters.
A number of these characters even go so far as to promote or overlook outright heresies and denial of Christ our God. Speaking from personal experience, I remember being in a church filled with such people. Whenever I spoke strongly against the Watchtower heresy which denies Christ as God and denies every cardinal doctrine of the Christian Faith, I was touted as “being religious” and “judgmental” and that all that matters is a “relationship with God/Christ” and suggested that some of these outright heretics are even in that “relationship” strata. This was not only the case in one Evangelical church but many.
To these deceived souls we must say this: “And what kind of a relationship are you looking for? A feel good relationship? A relationship with a false Christ?” The Blessed St. Paul spoke clearly of heretics that would preach “another Jesus”, “another gospel” which was foreign to what the Apostolic Church had received. In fact, He even goes so far as to state of such: “let him be accursed”. That is “anathema” in the Greek. (II Corinthians 11:4, 13; Galatians 1:8, 9). Do these heretics want a relationship with the false Jesus that is a satanic reproduction? Or do they want the Jesus of Holy Scripture and the Apostles that is fully God and fully Man and is both Saviour and Judge? St. John in his epistle stated the following:
“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also….Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error….Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him….For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one….And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” (I John 2:22,23; 4:1-6; 5:1, 7, 20).
A correct relationship begins with having the correct God, the correct Jesus and the correct Spirit. The fatal heresy of “relationship centrists” is that they want a relationship without truth and want a Jesus or God of their own making. They have been best manifested by the heresies espoused in the disgusting book called The Shack by William P Young, whereby the whole of the Holy Trinity is mocked and even a disgusting statement is made by the entity purporting to be God stating that he does not care about morality or any standards. This sort of heresy has been warned about by Orthodoxy and is best described with a Russian word that has no direct equivalent in English: “prelest-прелесть ”.
“Prelest” comes from the Greek word: “Plani-πλάνη” and at the root of the meaning of this word in Russian is “cajolery, charm and seduction”. At the root of it is the demonic or the satanic seeking to deceive men and to damn their souls. It involves self-delusion that obviously plays on the emotions and feelings but also includes and often involves false visions, dreams and even miracles. In the history of the Church, there were many incidents of this sort but thankfully, a number of the victims of this managed to recover and stop themselves from entering total deception and damnation at the end. This story from the life of one the Saints in the Church best illustrates this clearly.
A certain monk in the 11th century in Russia against the advice of his abbot, went into total solitary life in a cave. Whilst there, he met a manifestation that posed as “the Lord” that had sent “an angel” to pray in his place and that he needed not to pray but to only read books and that people would come to be taught by him. He would not only see this angel praying in his place but he even manifested so-called “gifts of the Spirit” (not much different from many in today’s Charismatic Churches) and was even able to give “prophecies”, some of which came true. However, what was noticeable was that he could unexpectedly quote from the Old Testament but had an aversion to the New Testament.
A number of the fathers from his monastery noticed this and through much prayer and fasting, they drove out the demonic entities involved and subsequently, all these abilities to perform prophecies, miracles and even recitation of Scripture, which even Satan could do, disappeared. He was restored to sanity and eventually became St. Nicetas.
If even a monk in the Orthodox Church, the Church of the Apostles, could suffer a bout of prelest, how much more could anyone else in any other church for that matter?! Do many of the Protestants/Evangelicals really believe that they can be exempt from such demonic attack? Are they so prideful that they forget what St. Paul warned about: “For if a man think himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” (Galatians 6:3)?
How many times have I heard from many Evangelicals where I came from, this saying: “I have been a Christian for many years now. This [sin or heresy] will not affect me.”? All this is coming from the same crowd who state that “It is all about relationship with God/Christ”. This is the very thing St. Paul warned against: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (I Corinthians 10:12). This applies not only to Evangelicals/Protestants but even more so to Orthodox and Catholics, as partakers of the Apostolic Church. St. Ignatius Brianchianinov gave this warning to his spiritual children in the Russian Orthodox Church: “If there is an expectation of grace within you – beware, you are in a dangerous state! Prelest exists already in self-conceit, in considering oneself worthy, in the very expectation of grace.” (Wanderer, Works Vol. 2.)
Many of these Evangelicals in question believe that they are in such a state of grace that they are incapable of deception and even sin. In fact, it is noteworthy that sin doesn’t even disturb them due to their overemphasis on “relationship” to the point of neglect. This is not much different from the heresiarch Martin Luther, the father of the godless Reformation, who taught: “Be a sinner and sin boldly”. It was due to the Orthodox Church teaching on prelest that I was able to see through the deceptions amongst Evangelicals and thus head towards Orthodoxy.
These same heresiarchs that espouse the relationship heresy are abounding everywhere in the Western world. In fact, there is virtually no difference between the likes of Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Derek Prince and others with their self esteem heresies and that of the New Agers and godless celebrity talk show hosts such as Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil, Whoopi Goldberg, etc. All of this began with the “relationship heresy” and supposing that because everything was about “relationship”, one did not have to care whether they sinned or not and other evils. In fact, all because of the teaching of “relationship heresy”, these people will be damned to hell, if unrepentant and will have the Lord telling them “I never knew you. Depart from me ye workers of iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).
The “relationship heresy” crowd will always state that they have led people to Christ, that they have done many wonderful works in the name of Christ, that they have taught and preached too. What a very gross shock it will be for many of these people to discover that the Lord Jesus Christ will tell them to depart from them into a damnable eternity since they rejected His teachings, the teachings of His Apostles Whom He Commissioned and the whole counsel of God in short.
They will be the first to decry someone that exposes sin and heresy and opposes some son of Satan. They will always insult that person as a “Pharisee” (Obviously not understanding what our Lord was condemning them over and instead applying it to someone who hates evil and opposes it); “religious person with no heart” (They forget that the word “religion” and “religious” is used in the positive in Holy Scripture as in James 1:26, 27); “a legalist” (Again misapplied since someone who opposes evil is not a person that believes in excessive rules and regulations); “lacking in grace” (Since when did grace become a cloke of maliciousness, which St. Peter warned against. I Peter 2:16) and even “un-Christian” (When they are defining Christian by the standards of humanism not the teachings of Christ and His Apostles)?
I can tell you this from personal experience in many Evangelical/Protestant Churches. I remember warning one lady who was reading Watchtower material and who came from Hillsong Church, telling me when I tried to warn her about the dangers of the Watchtower and the heresies of the Jehovah’s Witnesses: “I have been a Christian for many years. I won’t be so easily affected. You are sounding too religious!” So if being “religious” is defined by standing for Christ and His Truth against heresy, then I will have to say to such people: “If I am religious, then you are an irreverent anarchist that has no fear of God nor regard His Truth.”
Perhaps you are asking me how this “relationship heresy” has made people into Sufis. Please notice the following traits in Sufis:
1) Emphasis on union with God through dance, poetry, music.-This particular practice is what made the Sufis for a period of time appear “heretical” according to orthodox Islam but was eventually accepted and used as the means to promote Islam. Sadly, many Evangelical churches today are no different in that regards.
2) Disregard for Orthodoxy, especially Christian Orthodoxy-To the Sufi, doctrine was immaterial and especially Christian doctrine was seen as abhorrent. In the modern day Evangelical churches, there is almost a disdain for upholding Christian Orthodoxy to the point of being touted as a “Pharisee”, “religious” ,etc.
3) Treating sin lightly in the name of the grace of God-Sufis were not only known for overlooking sin but also being partakers in sins such as sodomy, pedastry and so on. All this was done for the “grace of Allah” and “love of Allah”. Sadly, the Evangelical Churches have this trend to the point of tolerating sodomite clergy, sodomite fellowships, and any attempt to uphold the standards of Scripture is met with contempt. I know, they have even termed me “Christian extremist” for so doing.
4) Neglect of being any sort of salt and light in the world to the point of individualising everything-Sufis were not only known for withdrawing from the world but encouraging others to neglect their families, governments, and so on, all for the cause of seeking union with Allah. However, they had no qualms with wicked rulers and wicked people in power. Once again, this is a noticeable trait amongst Evangelical Churches. Many of them even overemphasize the “sovereignty and grace” of God to the point of neglecting teaching and practice on issues such as family, government, morals, etc. Should this not disturb a sincere Christian?
5) Promotion of “inter-faith” dialogue but attacking Orthodox Christianity as “extremist” and “bigoted”-Amongst the promoters of such heretical filth was a Sheikh Kabbani, a Sufi imam, that was called to the White House and was even promoted by the likes of Rick Warren. It is the same Sheikh Kabbani that stated that the Islamic Jesus “Isa”, would return to destroy the Cross and make Jews and Christians accept Islam. Even more tragic is that we have wicked church hierarchs, particularly from the Protestant side and many apostate Western Catholic clergy, promoting such “inter-faith” filth with the religion of Antichrist. Let us not forget that the apostate “World Council of Churches” was set up by a anarchist Protestant, Martin Niemoeller, and wanted unity without the Truth being the centre. World Council of Churches is nothing more than an organisation of Antichrist that is Satan’s masterpiece mocking true Christian unity. Sadly, Orthodox Churches got involved too but thankfully, a number of Orthodox Churches have withdrawn from such a modernistic, Communist creation. These same people have no qualms promoting “inter-faith” dialogue with Muslims too.
“Relationship with God” heresy is a deadly virus that has neutralised many Christian Churches morally and spiritually to the point whereby most churches have lost their salt and have become willing accomplices of the Antichrist. It is this heresy that has more in line with Sufism, than with Orthodox Christianity, that is causing many sincere but deluded people into falling into a state of pride, delusional thinking and demonic deception. Satan has used this Sufi type heresy combined with godless Reformation thinking to create lukewarm Christians at best and total enemies of the Truth at worst. (Galatians 4:16).
It is because of this heresy that we have the likes of the World Council of Churches, Emergent Church, Chrislam, Prosperity Gospel preachers, the likes of disgusting heretics like Tony Campolo and numerous heresies.
It is another form of the Nicolatine heresy that Christ stated he hates (Apocalypse/Revelation 2:6) and which St. Irenaeus of Lyons, the direct disciple of St. John and St. Polycarp, warned about whereby the practitioners of this heresy would presume on the grace of God to cover their sins and wickedness, all because they believed it was all about having a “relationship with God” that mattered more than anything else. The same crowd of “relationship with God” heretics would happily treat Rumi (a Sufi poet from the 12th century), as inspired as the Apostles as they have treated Luther to be the equivalent.
In a word, it is “prelest” or demonic deception that causes one to have a god or “Christ” of their own making which has led to some very dangerous heresies and cults, Islam being the most obvious example of it. Not only has this phenomenon created heresies and cults, but ultimately has led to Christians being morally and spiritually neutralised to the point of being no different than atheists and New Agers towards the Truth and towards the Law of God as practiced in every facet of life, be it family, church and government.
I wish to conclude with a true story that sadly occurred in one of the Evangelical Churches. There was a pastor of an Assemblies of God Church that emphasised teaching about “always getting in touch with God” and being in “a relationship with God” to the point that he encouraged others to seek some of the “gifts of the Spirit” without obviously understanding what they were really seeking for. There was a constant call for “seeking the Spirit” and “hearing the direct voice of God”. Over time, 2 spiritual tragedies occurred. The first was allowing a Uniting Church (Australian equivalent of United Methodists in USA) minister to come into the congregation and preach not only about false “love” for God and “love” for the wicked, and even encouraged him to lead the congregation into “speaking in tongues”. However, the greatest tragedy of it, was that when this particular Uniting Church minister was questioned on his actual beliefs regarding Christ, he denied openly the virgin birth of Christ as well as His Deity. The Assemblies of God minister was shocked but instead of admitting he was wrong, he continued further in error and ended up causing his congregation to divide whilst he himself fell into both the grave heresy of universalism and also fell into infidelity. One heresy can lead further into other heresies even to the point of destroying a person.
May God cause the Christian reader regardless of denomination to wake up and to discard this heresy. We seek a relationship with the real God that is Triune and because of this, we seek to be constantly guided by His unchanging Truth and Doctrines which He passed on to the Apostles and Fathers.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. Both now and forever and unto the ages upon ages. Amen.