Monday, November 27, 2006

How Old Is Your Church?

Lutheran founded by Martin Luther, an ex-monk of the Catholic Church, in the year 1517.
Church of England founded by King Henry VIII in 1534 because the Pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to re-marry.
founded by John Knox in Scotland in 1560.
founded by Robert Brown in Holland in 1582.
Protestant Episcopalian
branch of the Church of England founded by Samuel Senbury in the American colonies in the 17th century.
founded by John Smyth in Amsterdam in 1606.
Dutch Reformed Church
founded by Michelis Jones New York in 1628.
founded by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1774.
(Latter Day Saints) founded by Joseph Smith in Palmyra, New York, in 1829.
Salvation Army founded by William Booth in London in 1865.
Christian Scientist
founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879.
Nazarene, Pentecostal, Gospel Holiness Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, and hundreds of other new sects founded within the past hundred years.
Roman Catholic founded in 1054 when the Pope of Rome broke away from the other four Apostolic Patriarchates (which include Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem), by tampering with the Original Creed of the Church, and considering himself to be infallible. Thus, Roman Catholic is 1,000 years old.
Orthodox Christian founded in the year 33 by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It has not changed since that time. The Orthodox Church is now almost 2,000 years old. And it is for this reason, that Orthodoxy, the Church of the Apostles and the Fathers is considered the true "one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church."
[Notes edited from an article by Rev. Dr. Miltiades Efthimiou]


  1. Dave C.5:01 PM

    Eckankar - Modern-day incorporation 1965. Current Living Master is Harold Klemp, the 973rd in an unbroken line of "Eck Masters" reaching back to the dawn of human consciousness. The average span of service for these Vairagi, or "detached ones" is 10 - 50 years. Each living master is said to work with the individual on the inner planes (dreams, visions, contemplation) as well as give guidance in the outer or physical world. The goal is to reach an advanced level of impersonal love and detachment which at once frees the individual from the bonds of karma while allowing him or her to serve all life with the highest form of God's love. Those who practice this religion believe the presence of a living master keeps the teaching pure. You know, this is what I find so true about orthodoxy...if the leader of a religion cannot communicate with the faithful in the physical form, the truest representation of that religion lies in the words, works, and dogma that are contemporary with, in this case, Jesus. Anything else becomes a game of "telephone."

  2. Thanks for your input Dave C., but I think you miss the point of the article. The question is "what is the true continuous Church founded by Jesus Christ". Your suggestion that Echankar is an older "church" is not germain to the topic. Of course there are entities and powers that predate the incarnation of Christ. It is the power of those anti-christ entities, your "Masters", that the incarnation of Christ defeated once and for all. Also, since Christ is the "Head of the Church" he predates any of your Masters for "In the beginning was the Word" (Jesus).

    That having been said, your point is moot anyway because a simple Google search reveals the founder of Echankar to be PAUL TWITCHELL born in Paducah, Kentucky in the early 1900’s. His questionable character, which to me resembles that of Joseph Smith (Mormons), is full of deception, lies and plagiarism (also easily validated by documents available on the web). Here are a few snippets and some links for further research:

    “Eckankar's holy "bibles" the Shariyat ki Sugmad (two books and plagiarized material - although Twitchell claimed it was directly dictated to him by the Eck Master Fubbi Quantz), claim Eckankar was brought to earth by an Eck Master named Gakko 6 million years ago from Venus. The hitch is that nobody ever heard of any of this until 1965. In pulp magazine articles and interviews prior to 1965, Twitchell bragged Eckankar was his own invention - a form of shabda yoga. Also, in prior magazine write-ups, there was no mention of any Vairagi masters, Rebezar Tarzs, etc. There's considerable evidence that he was making it up as he went along, as even he forgot who was supposed to be whom on occasion. On one audio tape made at one of the earliest world wide seminars, an audience member asked Twitchell to please tell them more about Rebezar Tarzs. There was a long, embarrassing pause and some nervous throat clearing until, apparently, someone quietly reminded Twitchell of who Rebezar was supposed to be. Even in his own copious writings, he never got it straight, in that different books would give different origins. There exists quite a mountain of evidence, though, that Eckankar never existed before Twitchell invented it in 1965.”

    “Eckankar presents itself as an ancient secret teaching, passed down from master to student over millions of years. The truth, of course, is far less sparkling.
    In fact, it is the invention of a fellow named John Paul Twitchell in 1965. It is a cult birthed and raised in a cloud of lies, deceit, scandals, intimidation and control tactics worthy of its close relative Scientology. Eckankar is merely another new age religion that, predictably, says one thing to entice the public but teaches quite a different thing to its members. In its secret, members only discourses, it states emphatically that it is the ONLY way to reach God realization - that all other paths, philosophies and religions are misguided and decidedly inferior. Since that sounds more than a bit arrogant, they've toned it down for presentation to the general public in recent years as merely being the quickest way. Their literature, however, sticks to the original premise that it is the only way. In a nutshell, it's a poorly-done compilation of bits and pieces of other religions and a number of Eastern light and sound paths, along with not-so-healthy doses of Scientology and occultism. Its professed end goal is for each member to achieve total God Realization in one lifetime. There is only one way to accomplish this - Eckankar's Living Eck Master. All other methods are doomed to failure - so says Eckankar. “

    Keep seeking.

  3. Anonymous2:58 AM

    I was once a hibernating Roman Catholic and found Eckankar too. I started reading some books, meeting some folks, going to Satsangs, subscribing to the discourses, and finally keeping a dream log that is full of wonderful experiences with meeting Masters and flying through glorious landscapes of unspeakable beauty. I enjoyed falling asleep at night so that I may once again hear the Light And Sound. All of this in the course of two years. I knew that religion by any other name paled in comparison with the unfathomable Truth known as Eckankar. Then, a Christian friend told me that I had better take a good look at what I left for Eckankar; that I owed it to myself to know for sure that what I found was the real thing. I too started "feeling" something wasn't right with it. Once the honeymoon was over, I started reading Twitchell's long-winded fragmented books again. I became suspicious that the original lure of Eckankar and its promise "why wait, now you can touch the hem of God" wasn't what is is cracked up to be. I read Brad Steiger's biography of Twitchell and for a time became enamoured with Eckankar again, but it was short lived when I came to my senses. My good Christian friends were warning me that perhaps all these things I felt and saw were real, but that does not mean it came from the God I grew up with. Maybe these visions were the work of the Evil One. After all, long before Paul landed on Earth, the Bible speaks on numerous occasions about false prophets and the wicked treachery of Satan and how he will do everything in his power to pull you away from God.

    It all became clear at that point that I had fallen into the trappings of a full blown CULT!!! It's leader wooing me and dazzling me, and promising me the keys to heaven, like all good cult leaders do...telling its followers what they want to hear!! Suddenly the Internet explodes and lo and behold I see an army of Ex-Eckists battling it out with the chelas.

    David Lane's exhaustive research on Paul Twitchell's plagiarism and his incessant lying just sealed the fate for me and Eckankar. The reason everyone hates what Lane says, is because he shakes the very foundation of their spiritual investments, and no one likes to be told they are wrong. He is lucid, scholarly and extremely convincing. Even Twitchell's ex-wife Gail has said that Eckankar was concocted under false pretenses...she was there, she oughtta know!!

    (This anonymous letter was edited and posted by Journey To Orthodoxy. The writer has withheld her identity for fear of reprisal from Eckists.)

  4. Dave C.9:07 PM

    Gee. I didn't mean to stir up a controversy about Eckankar.

    Although you thought my comment moot, I sought to illustrate why a religion close to the source might be more true. I'm sorry that didn't resonate. I thought the comment very appropriate.

    I don't want to get into a "my religion is older than yours" debate. I find that religious debate is pointless, because neither side budges and the whole thing becomes quite silly. I would submit, however, that the the concept of the trinity resides both in Christianity and Eckankar and are said to date back to that nebulous "beginning" in both cases.

    I would do truth a disservice if I didn't say a thing or two about Eckankar, given the amount of noxious text cited. Almost all of the available references discrediting Eckankar cite materials from a David Lane. David Lane is a new age cultist who makes a living discrediting, well, just about anything. He was asked not to use copyrighted material by Eckankar, ignored the request, and was served a lawsuit. This ignited a flame of indignation that spawned his crusade against Eckankar.

    An expose' of Mr. Lane and a line by line expose' of his criticism of Eckankar can be found here: if you care to read the thing.

    I wouldn't give a former member much credit, either. The biggest critic of just about anything is a person who used to embrace it. A vegan will revile just about anyone who eats meat, a non-smoker will refer to a smoker as filth, and a former Baptist will spend hours and hours trying to educate all who will read as to the veracity of the early teachings of Christianity...and where later churches got it wrong. Many of these people received what they were ment to recieve from their earlier experience and move on. This is life. Why invalidate one's earlier experiences?

    The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. If a spiritual path works, then it works. Eckankar works for for me. Simple. I'm not suggesting that should work for you, or anybody else.

    I would not take Mr. Lane's rant as credible, but it does bring up an interesting point that supports the thread. Eckankar copyrights it material and claims to have a living master. The necessity of both is to remove the temptation to interpret the path. You've seen what translation has done to Christianity. Look at what one or two individuals have done with Eckankar on the internet. From the original Christian teachings we eventually had the wretched Scofield Bible, and now freely translated modern-word Bibles that bear little resemblence to the original truth. Another important reason to for a living master is to adapt the path to the times. Souls ready for Eckankar in the '60's tended to come from out-of-body thrill seekers. These days, the body of members are more contemplative, ready for a life of service to all. Twitchell's approach would not work today. It's an interesting paradox isn't it? A religion must adapt to remain viable in context of the culture in which it resides....but who is qualified to update it?

    My original post is how I have found the path to be. It is spoken plainly from the heart.

    I appologize for starting a squabble on your was not intended and has brought some negative feeling where it should not be.

    May the Blessings Be

    Dave C.

  5. Dave,
    You are not far from the Kingdom. (Just a parphrase from the scripture intended for a sincere seeker). Your approach and attitude toward discussion is full of more grace than many "Christians" I encouter. I hope you will continue to contribute. I am especially interested in how you, as such a reasoned individual, deal with the plagerism and admission of Twitchell and his wife that he virtually "made up" Eckankar. Does this not bring into question the other tenents of the faith and the practice of it?

  6. Anonymous5:19 PM

    I think there would be enormous difficulty establishing the most original church as Jesus himself never established one, not in any formal way. And if one was going to go through the trouble of doing research in this area they might as well try and discover the most true and original version of the bible and read it in aramaic and how the book evolved and changed over the course of history. Similarly one could research the notion of the devil as culture currently accepts it (the concept of satan or the antithesis of the good of God also changed over time). Not to mention that the historical and mythical Jesus wasn't as well defined as it is today, especially at the beginning of the Christian faith.

    The development of culture and religion is an interesting field of research in itself and gives one a large perspective on how and why these institutions evolve the way they do.

  7. Anon. Thanks for stopping by. Your view that Christ did not establish a "formal" Church flies in the face of 2000 years of history. If by formal, you mean organized, then again you are in error. A deeper look into verifiable history will quickly diminish the authenticiy of that view, which by the way, is not new.
    Local Churches have always been formally organized with Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Laymen. You will find documentation of the order of worship, doctrinal certainties and governance of controversial issues in the notes of all 7 ecumentical councels. Do some more digging and visit again. I look forward to hearing what you find.


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