What is the true meaning of this celebrated title: “the
Many Far Eastern and New Age groups differentiate between
the man, Jesus, and 'the Christ.' Dr. Ernest Holmes, founder of the
United Church of Religious Science, stressed:
"Christ is the reality of every man, his
true inner self."1
"Christ is Universal Idea …the Higher Self."2
"Christ is the embodiment of divine Sonship which has come, with
varying degrees of power, to all people…Christ is a Universal
Presence…There is no one particular man predestined to become the
Christ. We must understand that Christ is not a person, but a
Principle…As the human gives way to the Divine, in all people, they
become the Christ."3
George Trevelyan explained the related idea that,
"Esoteric Christianity sees Jesus as the human vehicle for the Cosmic
Being of the Christ."4 If this notion
is correct, Jesus is demoted to the position of a mere Way-Shower, a
Revealer of Mysteries, a Divine Prototype. He is no more than a fellow human
being who gave us an excellent example to emulate, that we too might walk in
our own 'Christhood.' Believers of this view insist that the 'Christ
nature' can be accessed even by those who do not accept Jesus as Lord of
their lives. This theory is based on three main assumptions.
(1) The first assumption is that all human beings
have a divine essence. The Bible does not teach that all men are expressions
of God, possessing an inward 'spark of divinity.' It rather explains
that men, though made in the image of God, are presently separated from God
because of his transcendence and our inherited 'fallen state.' Isaiah
59:2 also warns, "your iniquities have separated you from
your God." During the experience of salvation, sins are washed away.
Christians are then placed in a mystical union with Christ. The Spirit of
Christ dwells within them. There is never a point, though, where they
actually become God or become Christ, anymore than the tea becomes the cream
when the two are mixed together.
(2) The second assumption is that all human beings
are, fully and spiritually, children of God. A more thorough examination of
this point is found in a later section. In one sense, ALL human beings ARE
children of God after the creation. Jesus often indiscriminately addressed
large crowds of people with general statements such as, "Your Father
knows the things you have need of before you ask him." (Matthew 6:8)
In a spiritual, technical sense, however, only those who receive Jesus into
their hearts literally, supernaturally become the "children of
God"—through the experience of being "born again." (See
John 1:12–13.) This experience alone grants full access into
the divine family.
Those who have not yet partaken of this experience may be
passionate lovers of God and sincere seekers of truth (and I have certainly
met many beautiful non-Christians who fit this description). Unfortunately,
though, they do not yet possess the indwelling of the true Spirit of God. In
attempting to access the 'Christ nature,' at best, they succeed
in responding to their conscience (that inward sense of what is morally
right or wrong) or tapping into the latent power of the fallen human soul
(which, of itself, can result in positive character development in a person's
life). At worst, they often inadvertently come under the influence of
deceptive, demonic entities who provide counterfeit spiritual experiences in
order to mislead those who are spiritually gullible. (Please read the Part 4
article titled, What really is the "kundalini"?) This does
not negate the sincerity of individual seekers toward God, nor their
importance and value in his sight. God intensely loves all who inhabit this
world and his deepest desire is to bring them all into a vital and real
relationship with himself.
(3) The third assumption is that there is a distinct
difference between Jesus and "the Christ." Advocates of this
viewpoint believe there was a certain point where Jesus, the human, received
an awakening of the Christ nature. However, the angel announced the birth of
Jesus to the shepherds saying, "There is born to you this day in the
city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11,
emphasis by author) Notice the angel did not say he would become the
Christ or that he was one of many Christs.
When the anointing of the Holy Spirit descended on him at
his water baptism, Jesus did not 'become' the Christ. He was merely
empowered to function 'as' the Christ. Even at his birth he was titled
this way. Later when Jesus asked his disciples to identify who he was, Peter
responded, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus did not correct Peter for identifying him as the singular and only
Christ. Quite the contrary, he informed this soon-to-be apostle that he was
a blessed individual, because this revelation had come to him from the
Father. (See Matthew 16:16–18.)
The word "Christ" (Christos) is the
Greek equivalent of the Hebrew "Messiah" (Mashiyach) both
of which mean "the Anointed One." All true Christians receive an
anointing from God, which is a specific application of the Holy Spirit to
their lives in order to perform a certain God-ordained task. Thus, they
become 'the anointed of the Lord' (Heb. mashiyach, Gr. chrio)
but only in a subordinate sense. (See 2 Corinthians 1:21, 1 John 2:27.)
Believers represent the Christ, they take on the nature
of Christ, they become part of the body of Christ, but they never replace
the Christ (Jesus) in his supreme position or match him in greatness. He is
the "Anointed One" over a family of "anointed ones" who
represent him in this world. If we yield our lives to Jesus' Lordship we
may receive of the "anointing" (the power of the Holy Spirit to
accomplish God's purposes), but it all flows from Jesus to his followers.
This gift is not available to seekers any other way. Neither is it a latent
potential that can be awakened in anyone and everyone, regardless of whether
or not there is a discipleship commitment to Jesus.
As writer, Kenneth L. Woodward, pointed out in a recent
Newsweek article, this is an "unbridgeable difference" between the
Buddhist and Christian worldview:
"A Christian can never become Christ, while
the aim of every serious Buddhist is to achieve Buddhahood
Jesus, the Christ, is the One who always has been and
always will be—the eternal Word, the Son of the Living God, inseparably
and infinitely a member of the Triune Godhead (a position no other human
being could ever claim). The personality of Jesus and the personality of the
Christ were not two different things. They are one and the same. We must be
careful to identify him correctly. One writer warns, "Faith in a
counterfeit Christ will yield a counterfeit salvation."6
1 Ernest Holmes, What Religious Science
Teaches (Los Angeles, California: Science of Mind Publications, 1975) p.
2 Ibid., p. 55.
3 Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind (New York: Mind
(New York: R.M McBride and Co., 1938, New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putman,
a member of Penguin Putnam Penguin Putnam, Inc., rev. and enl. ed., 1966) p.
359 (page citation is to reprint edition).
4 George Trevelyan, Operation Redemption: A Vision of
Hope in an Age of Turmoil (Walpole, New Hampshire: Stillpoint, 1985) p.
5 Kenneth L. Woodard, "The Other Jesus,"
Newsweek Magazine (March 27, 2000) p. 60.
6 Ron Rhodes, The Counterfeit Christ of the New Age
Movement, p. 168.