The term “Christ Consciousness” is a common buzz word in New Age and Occult circles. It is understood as a self-achieved level of spiritual enlightenment. Christians may find it difficult to explain the difference between having the mind of Christ, through the indwelling of His Holy spirit, and this false concept, but the difference is stark and we must be cautious of attempting to find “common ground” with it.
The Christ Consciousness Lie – by Natalina (abridged – bold added)
To much of the non-Christian world, Jesus is dangerous. If He lived, and if He died, and if He rose again – this creates a conundrum for non-Christians. Some focus their time trying (and failing) to prove that He never existed, or that if He did exist, He surely was not God. However, with ample evidence that He indeed did live, that He was indeed crucified, and He was, in fact, resurrected…. some have adopted an entirely different approach to undermining Jesus Christ. Rather than deny His existence, they have attempted to redefine His purpose, and have created a designer guru-Christ – one who was really no different than you or I… just more “in tune” with his spirituality.
This is the most common thread throughout the New Age paganism that we see today. It is a mish-mosh of Hinduism, Buddhism, neo-Paganism, and gnosticism. And while it sounds to some like a revolutionary sort of “Age of Aquarius” philosophy of Oneness and enlightenment, it really is based upon that lie of old, “Ye shall be as gods.” (Gen. 3-5)
The philosophy of Christ Consciousness is based upon the belief that Jesus was a god, but not God. He can be looked to as an inspiration, and His spiritual status is something we can all achieve. The idea is that human beings spend their lifetime evolving toward the level of Spirit. This Spirit level is the New Age concept of god. It is an intangible cosmic… something… that we can all tap into.
There are two main ways that Jesus is understood in this capacity. The most common belief is that Jesus was a man of flesh, born as you and I were, who was able through diligent study and focus to achieve the highest state of Spirit, and thus was able to manipulate natural laws to perform miracles. These folks will be quick to say that Jesus was not wrong to call Himself God, because anyone who achieves such a high state of spiritual enlightenment has tapped into the god-source, and is, in fact, god.
The other concept is that Jesus was an ascended master. That he was sent to Earth to act as a guide, along with other ascended masters throughout time, including Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed, et al. These ascended masters came here for the purpose of teaching mere mortals how to transcend our humanity, break the mortal coil, and become like them through a process of ascension, which once again means that we must reach the pinnacle of Spirit. Both philosophies lead to the same end.
Not every New Ager is required to believe or embrace Jesus… but for those who do, they will refer to the highest state of spiritual awareness as being “Christed.” They will have united with the source of Creation, thus making themselves god.
Popular website “I AM University” (the I AM stands for Integrated Ascended Master), which was founded by influential guru Dr. Joshua David Stone, says it must more plainly:
The Christ consciousness is not just for Christians. The Christ consciousness, the Buddha consciousness, the Krishna consciousness, God consciousness, and the consciousness of all religions are all the same thing. Many people have a lot of negative programming behind their religious upbringing. It is important here not to get caught up in the words, or semantics. It is also important to understand that whatever religion, or spiritual path you are on, I suggest you keep it.
The new religion of the future is the one that honors and recognizes all religions and all spiritual paths, for they all lead to the same place.
I have received a number of messages from New Age practitioners who have attempted to “prove” to me that their belief system is not so different than mine. They maintain that they adhere to the principles that Jesus taught. They claim that Jesus taught exactly what they teach and believe.
They have said,
“Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is within you. Therefore, he admits that we’re all gods in our hearts having access to the cosmos and the heavens.”
What they miss here is obvious to those of us with a deeper understanding of scripture. In Luke 17:21, Jesus does say
“Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Of course, that is the KJV translation and we cannot fault non-believers for not understanding it without context. The ESV translation of this same verse says,
“nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” (emphasis mine).
Part of what Jesus is explaining to the Pharisees here is that God Himself was already among them; in that Jesus is God. Further, because they did not believe, they could not “see” this. In John 3:3 Jesus says,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
This has not stopped gurus of the New Age from perverting the words of Jesus for their own philosophy. One of the most prominent New Age poobahs of our time is Eckhart Tolle. His book “A New Earth” was brought to the world’s attention by self appointed spiritual diva, Oprah Winfrey (Winfrey is also responsible for bringing “The Secret” to soccer moms and average Joes the world over: Law of Attraction: A New Age Practice in the Modern Christian Church )
Jesus said ‘the kingdom of heaven is within you.’
I think if he lived nowadays, instead of ‘kingdom,’ he would have said, ‘dimension.’ And ‘heaven’ refers to a sense of vastness or spaciousness. So if we retranslate the words of Jesus into modern terms [it would be] ‘the dimension of spaciousness is within you.’
And then Jesus said — when they asked him, ‘Where is the kingdom of heaven and when is it going to come?’ — he said, ‘The kingdom of heaven does not come with signs to be perceived. You cannot say, ah, it’s over here or look, it’s over there, for I tell you the kingdom of heaven is within you.’
These words of Jesus were also usurped and re-defined by practitioners of Transcendental Meditation. At the official blog of the TM movement, we find this:
Jesus was once asked when the kingdom of God would come. The kingdom of God, Jesus replied, is not something people will be able to see and point to. Then came these striking words: “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)
With these words, Jesus gave voice to a teaching that is universal and timeless. Look into every great religious, spiritual, and wisdom tradition, and we find the same precept — that life’s ultimate truth, its ultimate treasure, lies within us.
As Jesus made unambiguously clear, we can experience this inner treasure — and no experience could be more valuable. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” he declared, “and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). From this interior plane of life, he is saying, we will gain all that is needful.
[T]he New Age concept of divinity is that all power, knowledge, and spiritual potential lies within us. There is no external source, no higher power, other than what already exists inside of a human being. It is our purpose in life to tap in to this source of divinity that we… shall be… as gods.
Another portion of scripture that this movement will often use to justify its connection with Christ is 1 Corinthians 2:16. They use this as their “proof” that Jesus was nothing but a mahatma of universal oneness.
“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.*
Having “the mind of Christ” is entirely different than the claim that we ARE Christ. What Paul means here is that as believers, we can identify with Christ. Through the Holy Spirit, we are able to understand God’s plan for us and for the world.
My point here is this: Many religious and spiritual movements invoke the name of Christ in an attempt to add legitimacy to their own twisted beliefs. Remember, in the Biblical accounts of Jesus’ temptation, Satan proves that even he knows the word of God, and attempts to use it for his own benefit (Luke 4:9-13). Do not be misled by those who use the name of Jesus to try to tempt you. You must be grounded in the Word and Truth so that you can discern when lies are being told.
*Question: “How can I have the mind of Christ?”
Answer: In 1 Corinthians 2:16, Paul quotes Isaiah 40:13 and then makes a statement concerning all believers: “We have the mind of Christ.” Having the mind of Christ means sharing the plan, purpose, and perspective of Christ, and it is something that all believers possess.
Having the mind of Christ means we understand God’s plan in the world—to bring glory to Himself, restore creation to its original splendor, and provide salvation for sinners. It means we identify with Christ’s purpose “to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). It means we share Jesus’ perspective of humility and obedience (Philippians 2:5-8), compassion (Matthew 9:36), and prayerful dependence on God (Luke 5:16).
In the verses leading up to 1 Corinthians 2:16, we note some truths concerning the mind of Christ:
1) The mind of Christ stands in sharp contrast to the wisdom of man (verses 5-6).
2) The mind of Christ involves wisdom from God, once hidden but now revealed (verse 7).
3) The mind of Christ is given to believers through the Spirit of God (verses 10-12).
4) The mind of Christ cannot be understood by those without the Spirit (verse 14).
5) The mind of Christ gives believers discernment in spiritual matters (verse 15).
In order to have the mind of Christ, one must first have saving faith in Christ (John 1:12; 1 John 5:1).
After salvation, the believer lives a life under God’s influence.
The Holy Spirit indwells and enlightens the believer, infusing him with wisdom—the mind of Christ.
The believer bears a responsibility to yield to the Spirit’s leading (Ephesians 4:30) and to allow the Spirit to transform and renew his mind (Romans 12:1-2).
Recommended Resource: The Mind of Christ by T.W. Hunt