Is the Grail movement a cult? Do Grail teachings have occult underpinnings? Its adherents would vehemently answer “No.” They explain that since they organize public lectures and their works are often publicized, they are not a cult.
This response, apart from being a circular argument, doesn’t make any logical sense.
All cults and occult groups organize public lectures, engage in public relations and also give out their materials to the public – especially, when there is a prospect of gaining converts. From a Christian standpoint, however, the Grail movement is not merely a cult; its beliefs and practices have trappings of the occult.
I have previously highlighted about 6 striking features of the occult. Now, in this series of articles, I will be weighing the Grail message in the light of the Bible, history and logic.
The quotes are taken from Volume 1, Chapter 6 of In the Light of Truth: The Grail Message by Oskar Ernst Bernhardt (a.k.a Abdrushin).
Let’s start with what it says about God:
What is your God? You know He said: “I am the Lord, your God, thou shalt have no other gods beside me!” There is but one God, but one Power. What then is the Trinity? The Triune God? God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit?
When a mystic is trying to redact a core belief of historic, orthodox Christianity into his own novel, divergent beliefs, he must inevitably run into some problems.
Apart from the biblical evidence that conflicts with his worldview, he must also deal with the historical argument and question of the source of his inspiration.
Though Oskar appealed to the Bible in his Grail writings, it’s clear from the onset that his message is not from the God of the Bible. In fact, it would have been better if he didn’t go near the Bible at all. I must also note in passing his inability to properly define the Trinity.
At the beginning of this chapter, he promised to explain a truth that neither school nor the church has been able to clearly explain. But this statement carries no weight, because he’s trying to turn 19 centuries of Christian theology on its ear without offering a superior argument.
This is the typical “bait and switch” method used by all cults. They borrow Christian terminologies but re-define them.
Cults always base their teaching on their founders and — setting aside the hard evidence — exercise implicit faith in his word.
Therefore, the only way by which any seeker would accept the teachings in the Grail book as divine is by exercising blind faith in its writer: Oskar Benhardt.
When mankind shut themselves out of Paradise by no longer heeding the guidance of the intuitive perception, which is Pure – spiritual and therefore near to God, but willfully chose to cultivate the intellect, subjecting themselves to it and thus becoming slaves of the tool given to them to use, they naturally fell further and further away from God.
This is an attempt of a 20th century mystic to re-write the history of mankind. What shut man from paradise was sin; it was never about failed “intuitive perception.” When Adam and Eve sinned, the relationship they had with God was broken and death resulted (Rom. 5:12).
All members of the human race were represented in Adam in Eden. So when Adam sinned, God counted us guilty as well.
“Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous“ (Rom. 5:18-19).
Sin was what brought the separation of mankind from God; that is why Jesus had to come to take the penalty of sin so that man could now have fellowship with God through Him. Jesus – as the representative of all who believed in Him – obeyed God perfectly and God counted us righteous in Him (Rom. 5:12-21).
Furthermore, it must be noted that man was created in God’s image (tselem) and likeness (demût) (Genesis 1:26).
One of the aspects of our likeness to God is our spiritual aspects: we have not only physical bodies but also immaterial spirits. We have a spiritual life that enables us to relate to God as persons.
After the fall, all the aspects of image of God in us (moral, mental, spiritual and relational) were grossly distorted by sin. The New Testament however shows us that it’s by redemption in Christ that mankind can receive a progressive recovering of God’s image or likeness (Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18; Col. 3:10).
Abdrushin, in an attempt to evade the sin question and entice the reader into mysticism, conveniently sets up a Manichean intellect vs. intuition binary. But man’s intuition has been affected by sin and cannot offer man a pure path to God. No man can have a fulfilling relationship with God outside Jesus Christ.
God in His Purity could no longer reveal Himself to the debased intellect bound human beings, because due to their intellectual orientation they were no longer capable of sensing, seeing or hearing His Messengers and the few still able to do so were ridiculed by the materialists, with their limited horizon bound to space and time…
The Grail message has no valid answer to the sin question, so it buries it with the materialists vs. mystics’ dichotomy.
The Bible is clear that man inherited a sinful nature because of Adam’s sin. This is the disposition to sin present within each one of us. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psa. 51:5).
This is why those who are not in Christ are “by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph. 2:3) even if they claim to have intuitive perception or “ascent” due to a religious philosophy. It doesn’t change that nature of sin within them, because only those who have been redeemed by Christ can have victory over sin (Rom. 6:14).
Those who have not trusted in Jesus to save them from their sins cannot fellowship with God in His purity because they are “darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to the hardness of their heart” (Eph. 4:18).
They are the ones who reject the revelation of God recorded by his prophets and apostles in the Bible, but are instead seeking mystic groups, alternative spirituality or occult philosophies that will offer them some mental cotton candy and fiction that ultimately end here on earth.
The “Holy Spirit” is Spirit of the Father which severed from Him, works separately in all Creation, and Who like the Son, remains closely connected with the Father and one with Him. The inexorable Laws of Creation which spread through the whole Universe like a network of nerves and bring about the unconditional reciprocal action forming man’s fate or karma … are of the “Holy Spirit!”
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. He is variously described as “the Spirit of the Living God” (2 Cor. 3:3), “the Spirit of His Son” (Gal. 4:6), “the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:19), “the Spirit of Holiness” (Rom. 1:5), “the Spirit of Truth” (Jn. 16:13), “the Spirit of Grace” (Heb. 10:29) and “the Eternal Spirit” (Heb. 9:14).
The Holy Spirit didn’t sever from God; He is eternal. He has all the attributes of God the Father. Since the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Grace, He is certainly not the author of the fatalistic or karmic laws dreamed up by deluded pagans and occultists.
Before Creation God was One! During the process of creating He severed a Part of His Will to work independently in Creation, and thus became two-fold.
This nonsense is straight out of Gnosticism. Gnostics believed that there were basically two Gods: the lesser and semi-divine “God” (Demiurge) who created the material universe and the transcendent supreme God. It mirrored the dualism of ancient Persian belief in the struggle of Light (Misda) and Darkness (Arima) and the antagonism of body and mind.
The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy has this to say:
“Gnosticism (after gnôsis, the Greek word for “knowledge” or “insight”) is the name given to a loosely organized religious and philosophical movement that flourished in the first and second centuries CE … According to the Gnostics, this world, the material cosmos is the result of a primordial error on the part of a supra-cosmic, supremely divine being, usually called Sophia (Wisdom) or simply the Logos. This being is described as the final emanation of a divine hierarchy, called the Plêrôma or “Fullness,” at the head of which resides the supreme God, the One beyond Being.”
A scholar of Philosophy of Religion and Systematic Theology has to say about Gnosticism:
“The major characteristic of the Gnostic teaching was dualism, their conception that spirit and material are absolutely incompatible. For the Gnostics material or matter is inherently evil … The gnosis of knowledge that the Gnostic leaders claimed to possess was theirs through some illuminating process, giving them understanding of themselves, of the world and of God. Such gnosis, knowledge, they claimed was not within the reach of all. The Gnostics believed in the salvation of a spiritual elite and they divided mankind accordingly … The illumined or spiritual beings … [whereas] the vast majority were earthbound, slaves of matter…” (Gideon A. Oshitelu, A Background to Christian Philosophy, Ibadan: Oputoru Books, 2002, 62-63).
From the quotes provided so far, all you need do is replace the term “Gnostics” with “cross bearers” and it quickly becomes evident that the Grail message is simply a form of Neo-Gnosticism.
The Holy Spirit is Executive Justice, Whose eternal, irrevocable and incorruptible laws pulsate throughout the Universe, and up till now these laws have only been guessed at and variously described as Fate!… Karma! Divine Will!
The Holy Spirit is not a theory or quality. This earth has a beginning and certainly has an end, so there are no “eternal laws pulsating through the universe.” That’s even the lie of panentheism right there.
Fate and karma are not divine will, not by any means. We will be examining that in the next article.
In conclusion, though the chapter is supposed to present a clearer truth about God, the writer has a hollow understanding of the Divine Trinity and comes short of dealing with the subject matter.
The chapter is more a mish-mash of metaphysical twaddle. Abdrushin starts out appealing to the God of the Bible, but later introduces to the reader, a freakish two-fold Gnostic deity with an impersonal “executive justice” as his hybrid “trinity.”