For several years, I have received emails from a prophetic resource website that is very popular with Charismatics. Usually, two articles a day from that website drop in my inbox. A few days ago (around the beginning of January), one particular article shocked me.
The title of the article is “Christ is All Things.” Though the author does not use far eastern or New Age terminology, he promotes the doctrine of either pantheism (the material universe is an emanation of God / God is all and all is God) or its subtler modification, panentheism (everything contains a spark of divinity / God is in all and all is in God). He claims that this is something Paul upholds in his writings, basing his idea on the CEB (Common English Bible) version of Colossians 3:11, “Christ is all things and in all people.”
The author proposes that the traditional evangelical view of the “born again” experience is wrong (the idea that Jesus comes to live within a person’s heart when He is invited to be Lord and Savior).
Instead, he falsely asserts, “Everyone has Christ in them. This would include Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, and everyone else. No one is separated from Christ at birth. At birth, everyone is born with Christ within them.” He also maintains, “Because creation has been made through Christ, Christ is in all creation, and the whole creation emanates with and reflects Christ. This includes humanity as well.”
I shook my head in unbelief that such a heretical idea would be so blatantly promoted on a website endorsed by many respected Charismatic leaders (most if not all of whom, I believe, would completely disagree with this viewpoint). This kind of talk is a repackaging of the New Age “Christ Principle” I promoted as a yoga teacher back in 1970—the borrowed Hindu belief of a “spark of divinity”—the light of divine consciousness within all human beings (false beliefs I discarded when Jesus became Lord of my life).
One major mistake the author made was taking Colossians 3:11 out of its surrounding text (which is not proper exegesis, but its opposite, eisegesis). Let me quote the two verses that come before it:
Do not lie one to another, since you have put off the old nature with its deeds, and have embraced the new nature, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who created it, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. (Colossians 3:9-11)
When presented contextually, it becomes clear that Paul is not referring to all of humanity, but only those who are part of the true church of the living God. He is emphasizing that all who have “put on the new nature”—in other words, all who have been born again and become new creations in Christ—share an equal standing in the sight of God. The nationality, race, level of prosperity or social status of individual Christians matters little. The ground is level at the cross. “Christ is all and in all.” In other words, all who are truly saved by the washing of Jesus’s blood of Jesus and the indwelling of His Spirit are equally important, equally loved, and equally righteous in God’s sight.
When Paul said, “Christ is all,” he was not promoting pantheism—the idea that the universe is an emanation of God, so everything has a divine essence at its core. To think so is absurd, because such an assumption is not in agreement with the whole of Scripture. He was merely highlighting the preeminence of the Son of God—like any one of us saying, “It not about church buildings, and choirs, and sermons—it’s all about Jesus!” As the Contemporary English Version puts it, “Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us”—but once again, “all of us” refers to the true church, not the world as a whole.
Besides, if all people from the beginning of time have been born with Christ inside of them, why did Jesus pray in John 17:26 for this to happen at some point in the future (which was answered with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost)—and why did He preface that prayer with the exclusive statement, “I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me. For they are Yours” (Jn. 17:9)? Wouldn’t it be more logical to say, “The whole human race is yours, Father.” Also, why would Paul later suggest “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” if He was already there? (Eph. 3:17).
In closing, I should mention two things.
First, it is not my normal practice to name specific persons or ministries when opposing false ideas, and for that reason I have left that kind of information out of this article. I assume that even those in error doctrinally sincerely love God and sincerely feel that they are right in their viewpoint.
Second, I contacted both the author and the owner/manager of the website concerning the grave error promoted in this article. The author was kind, but unreceptive about changing his stance; the owner was gracious, and told me he would check the article, but nothing was ever done. So now I am taking this issue to the church, even as Jesus taught us to do (Matthew 18:17).
Why? Because many who respect that website could potentially be swayed to believe a heretical doctrine that could completely derail them spiritually.
So be careful, saints of God! Not everything you read is right. Make sure it aligns with the Bible.