I have restrained myself thus far from equating Trichotomy with Gnosticism, but now I must restrain myself no longer. For those who are unfamiliar with Church history, Trichotomy was toyed with by thinkers around the fringes of Christianity in the 2nd and 3rd Centuries. It was basically rejected monolithically by orthodox theologians as a speculative Greek philosophical notion rather than a biblical teaching. It was the Gnostics who adhered to this tri-partite division of man into body, soul and spirit. Just to clarify what we’re saying, Gnostics were heretics who claimed to have access to secret knowledge that only those who were initiated into their “mysteries” could learn. Gnosticism is generally defined as the belief and/or practice of attaining 'secret knowledge.' The word derives from the Greek 'gnosis' which means knowledge. More specifically Gnosticism is communion with God without means. Many of the screwball teachings I described in the previous post are Gnostic. How so? They do not derive from Scripture. So how did their purveyors come by them? By an appeal to a personal, private, secret revelation from God. This is what I meant by "communion with God without means." It is an attempt to deal directly with God without Christ the Mediator and without Word and Sacrament.
Now you may say to me, "People in the Bible communed with God without means, didn't they?" On the whole, no they didn't. Yes, there were instances of this, but they were few and far between. Moreover these people were called Prophets and Apostles. The direct unmediated revelation they received was intended by God to be added to the canon of Scripture. God never dealt with anyone in this way except to expand the canon of Scripture. God alone can do this. And once Revelation was completed, this is no longer a live option since God Himself places a curse on anyone who would dare add to the canon. Gnosticism places one above the Prophets and Apostle since their revelations are intended, not to be added to the canon, but for personal, private edification. Gnosticism claims to receive revelations intended only for the recipient. This make the Gnostic greater than Apostles and Prophets. And it makes Scripture superfluous.
Benny Hinn, as well as many other Charismatics, teaches (or at least he taught this at one time) that Christ underwent spiritual death. Kenneth Copeland amplifies this further by saying that when Christ bore our sins, He died spiritually and was born again in hell. Now I am not going to refute this idiocy here. But let me note something important relating to our subject. Hinn did not come by this teaching through serious study of Scripture. Nobody could. Nor did he arrive at his 9-person trinity from meditating on the Scriptures. Nobody could. No, these were direct revelations to him from God, so he claims. He has since backpedaled on some of his more egregious heretical teachings. But that is not enough. If I once believed something because I misunderstood Scripture and now I no longer believe it, well and good. This is growth. But this is not true in Hinn's case. He did not, according to his own claims, misunderstand Scripture. No, he claims to have received these blasphemous teachings directly by divine revelation. So a mea culpa is not really an option for him, especially since he still claims to receive doctrine in this manner.
Hinn, of course, is an extreme example. But that is precisely my point. We now have 'Evangelicals' like Richard Foster, Dallas Willard and Scott Hodge advocating the unscriptural, mystic, pantheist 'contemplative prayer' of the medieval Roman Catholic mystics. The numbers of men advocating, or at least courting these practices, is steadily growing. At its core, it is Eastern mysticism - which as I have repeatedly asserted, is inherently pantheistic. It has more in common with Jedi religion than Christianity. One is encouraged to quiet the soul and clear the mind of all thought. This is Satanic. Nowhere in Scripture are we taught to empty our minds of all thought so that we can commune with God. This is more Hinduism than Christianity.