REVIEW: Revelations of Christ by Swami Kriyanada 4 of 4
[This review has been chopped up to fit on sermonaudio's blog. To get the entire review, please follow the external link.]
One more thing can be said: For King James Bible fanatics, a dogma of their belief in the KJV is that the textual stream of bad, Alexandrian texts was corrupted and these corrupt translations are the basis of modern Bibles, while the KJV uses the good, Antioch textual stream and is trustworthy. This comes from Benjamin Wilkinson, a Seventh-Day Adventist, and was smuggled into fundamentalist Christianity by reprinting Wilkinson's book (most notably in "Which Bible?" in the early 1970s) without telling anyone he was a cultist. So if a Swami from Kriya Yoga talks about textual corruption, KJV fanatics ought to listen. In Chapter 23, "The Missing Years", Swami asserts that the text of the Bible was corrupted by the church. Since these missing years are not present in any known manuscripts, this means even the texts underlying the King James Bible have been tampered with. "Clearly then, to start with, those eighteen years must have been deliberately omitted from the official account of Christ's life." (p. 414) This was done at one of the early councils of the church, but, in Swami's exact words: "I forget which one it was." (direct quotation from page 415!) But the charge that "the account of those eighteen years was removed forthwith from the Bible" is serious enough that this demands the same scrutiny that the SDA material received. Swami states: "I know that there are records in India which support the claim that Jesus lived in that country for several years" but, characteristically, he does not say what they are. He mentions a book by name, and it is probably the only citation in the entire book, by Russian author Nicholas Notovich in 1887 called "The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ" which is supposed to have details. (I had never heard about this before, but about ten seconds into a web search showed this was a hoax. Oriental scholar Max Mueller, a very trustworthy translator, tried to get the same manuscripts Notovich claimed to have access to, from the same monastery in India, and could not. Swami claims some other person tried to go to the same monastery about forty years later "in order to verify the account by Notovich, and actually succeeded in doing so" which seems unlikely if a trusted scholar such as Mueller could not almost immediately after these claims were made. Naturally, the Swami includes no verifiable details.)
My conclusion is that Christians need to be exposed to this sort of book. The thinking is shallow: I was surprised that I found myself reviewing the method, which reads like a junior high essay, rather than the content (which is almost nonexistent). The appeal to authority (P.Y. is never critically questioned as a source, and anything he says is taken as true, while the Bible is ripped to shreds as unreliable and distorted) shows the importance of SOLA SCRIPTURA.
Many Christian offshoots like Pentecostalism and pseudo-Christian beliefs like the Word of Faith movement allow for new revelation. Swami has created a rather extreme interpretation of the true essence of Christianity, which may be rejected by some who are more orthodox, but by what measure is his interpretation to be rejected, and by what measure are other "words from the Lord" to be accepted? (And, for that matter, by what measure is the Roman Catholic Church's additions to Christianity to be accepted or rejected?) Without the foundational Reformation doctrine of sola scriptura, the scriptures alone, there is no way to make any such distinctions. Only when the word of God is the final and only standard can any single, true definition of the Christian faith be established. Otherwise, anything goes. How can a Pope, a Pentecostal Apostle with a "word of knowledge", or Paramahansa Yogananda claiming to be sent by Jesus and Babaji to recover original Christianity, be judged? Without the Bible as the sole standard, there is nothing by which to evaluate the claims of these various people.
The value and importance of the Reformed, Protestant gospel can't be underestimated or undervalued. Compared to this book, the simple message that Christ died for sinners, backed up by the reliable authority of the Bible and many centuries of careful and well-documented guarding against error, from the early church councils and creeds to the more recent Reformation, shows Christianity has been tested and proven to be God's truth. Swami Kriyanada presents a shallow, unsatisfying alternative. All the more reason to get out the gospel: If people have only heard the post-modern unclear thought that passes as religion these days, the gospel will ring all the more true to them when they finally hear it.
REVIEW: Revelations of Christ by Swami Kriyanada 3 of 4 [This review has been chopped up to fit on sermonaudio's blog. To get the entire review, please follow the external link.] Chapter five: Swami loses whatever point he was going to make in...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
REVIEW: Revelations of Christ by Swami Kriyanada 2 of 4 [This review has been chopped up to fit on sermonaudio's blog. To get the entire review, please follow the external link.] Chapter two: The term "sanaatan dharma" is introduced as the name...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
REVIEW: Revelations of Christ by Swami Kriyanada 1 of 4 [This review has been chopped up to fit on sermonaudio's blog. To get the entire review, please follow the external link.] "Revelations of Christ" by Swami Kriyanada (I'll call him by his...[ abbreviated | read entire ]