Bishop James posted Wikipedia’s definition of esoteric Christianity,
Esoteric Christianity is an ensemble of spiritual currents which regard Christianity as a mystery religion, and profess the existence and possession of certain esoteric doctrines or practices of which the public is unaware (or even to which they may be denied access) but which are understood by a small group of people.
and then he asked:
Do you think it is an accurate description? How can it be defined as “the existence and possession of certain esoteric doctrines or practices of which the public is unaware (or even to which they may be denied access) but which are understood by a small group of people” and yet many of the described elements have so many books and public websites devoted to it?
How can a Christian possibly be devoted to Crowley type goetia?
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Very thought provoking question; I responded thus:
Aleister Crowley’s perverted nonsense is not esoteric Christianity. One might call it esoteric Satanism, but never Christianity.
The Wikipedia definition of esoteric Christianity is accurate in my opinion for the “original” esoteric Christianity. Almost exactly 100 years ago esoteric Christianity finally became talked about in the salons and publications of the Western world. Of course it did exist before, but the turn of the last century is when it gained a wider audience, a small niche, but much wider than the centuries before.
Now there are indeed tons of books and websites dedicated to esoteric Christianity, my first website in 1999 was one of them. But the esoteric underground stream is still just a small niche in Christianity. In this Internet Age esoteric is still little known, but not as obscure and “occulted” as it once was.
My favorite definition of the word esoteric is based on the original Greek word “esoteric”, which means “inner”. Esoteric Christianity is really “inner” Christianity. Richard Smoley lays it out perfectly in his very enjoyable book, Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition
Here are our lessons based on that book:
Our tenets of faith are not dogmas that must be followed by all our ordained minister and rabbi clergy. We are definitely multi-faith and interfaith in addition to being esoteric. We recently ordained a New Thought minister and a Celtic Minister. Technically since esoteric Judaism (Kabbalah, etc.) is part of the underground stream we enjoy, we should call ourselves esoteric Judeo-Christianity….and multi-faith, interfaith, spiritual…