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3.26.2012

An email thread

One thing that needs to be clear is when I began to learn biblical doctrine I gravitated towards Calvinism, or Reformed Theology, simply because it was the most biblical. You have to understand that there are different schools of theology, most all of them incorporating tradition of man or ideas that water down what the Bible says, or that negotiate down biblical doctrine to what man's fallen nature demands. Reformed Theology doesn't do that. You have to decide, am I a Bible-believing Christian or am I some other kind of Christian. My view is why be something half-assed? Something watered-down? Anyway, it's the Spirit in us that gives us not only discernment for the truth but ability to value it.


So when I learned Calvinism, or Reformed Theology, I began immediately to see how the Work matched with it. Which is to say I began to immediately see how the Work not only is a Christian teaching, but a very on-the-mark Christian teaching.


What's demanded of man in the Work is what is demanded of man in biblical teaching and commands.


Much of this takes place for a Christian at very deep levels of their being, and it is the work of the Holy Spirit, the word of God, and doctrine that is eventually seen and accepted.


The Work is a method then for when the individual already has been born again, ideally. Temporally all of this can be a mush because much of it is influence that is breaking into time above you. It is not linear time dependent. Even the staid Westminster Confession of Faith says the Holy Spirit works when and where He will. He can effect you at any part of your time because He is God and He is operating from eternity.


You have to picture large being...a person of big or large being. You see this in the Old Testament. Joshua, David, etc. You see it also in depictions of heroes and even gods and goddesses in the Homeric epics. When you think in these terms your own being, your own circumstances which you may be very pleased with and comfortable with, is seen for what it is. And when put up against real, serious evil what do you have to be able to *stand.*? - C.


From: q
To: c. t.
Cc: S
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2012 1:57 PM
Subject: Re: Some recent insights on the Work, two, in fact
This is interesting stuff. Obviously I came through battlefield Work experiences before I found meaning in the Puritans, Reformers (Calvinists) and in many ways the Bible too (I think that is true even though I completed my last Genesis to Revelation reading 6 years ago now - wow, that long!) [This is another mystery, how things don't tie up in chronological time]. At that point, whilst the systemised language isn't quite there in the same way that Ouspensky put it together for the Work, I still found huge depths and heights to their work (ie Puritans & Reformers) - and I don't think they can at all be summarised as being at best 'mesoteric'.

They are coming at you from a purely Biblical landscape with no adulteration of eastern influences (mysticism), there's none of the Gurdjieff "I'll seduce your daughters whillst you practise some self-observation" It is purely about God's Will. The Work is hard territory but in some senses it is no where near as fierce, uncompromising and 'at war' with our fallen natures as the Bible and those who adhere to it in the measures which Calvin and others understood it.

In fact, in declaring the Work esoteric Christianity I sense G entirely missed the point. We cannot posssibly talk of Christianity as if the esoteric level is more important, valuable, intelligent or what have you, than the exoteric. That is dumb stupid. Most likely it was said for a twofold purpose, namely to attract wealthy intellectual westerners of a Christian background who might consider the exoteric beneath them, but as stated to put mileage between exoteric (but look at Spurgeon, a commonplace preacher who was on fire with the Word) and esoteric levels.

The greatness of the best of the puritans and reformers is that one is a Christian (or not). Saved or lost. And you can be lost no matter how you study the 'esoteric' teachings.

Ps 109:
26 Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy:
27 That they may know that this is thy hand: that thou, LORD, hast done it.

Calvin and the Puritans did just that.

On 26 March 2012 11:52, c. t. wrote:

In case you just skimmed my replies (because this subject finds you at your current limit), at least read this part:

"On-the-mark biblical doctrine (Calvinism) does what the Work wants you to do. See your own nothingness. Re-orientate from being man-centered (false personality) to being God-centered (Real I). Liking what 'it' doesn't like. It is true mystical doctrine.

Nicoll is a genial influence and on-the-mark, for the vast part of what he wrote, and a very valuable.

- C.

ps- I can see the detour that you are seeing. A particularly dark and heavy detour backward or sideways. But I'm not guilty of it. Anyway, it always seems dark and heavy when you are taking on yourself, really seeing yourself (if you don't have a feeling of horror you're not really seeing yourself), but that's not to say we are serial murderers or living in a hell of mental derangement or in a hell of cultural chaos and violence. We don't want to fool ourselves, though, or be naive.

pps- Talking about Calvinism and Puritanism doesn't mean you have to become a Puritan. Those terms mean apostolic biblical doctrine.

ppps- I think it's a fair doctrine to say you need to keep things light. Jesus said, after all, My burden is light. One doesn't need to be a gloomy warrior. Or be heavy-laden. Walking in a dark landscape. The world has given Calvinism and the Puritan these impressions. Maybe they were earned in some cases, to some degree, but life is hard in most eras and all that.

From: S
To:
Cc:
Sent: Sunday, March 25, 2012 4:31 PM
Subject: RE: Some recent insights on the Work, two, in fact
I feel the Work sources always attempted to distance themselves from any mainstream Christian viewpoint, by declaring the Work as esoteric Christianity.

Calvinism, Puritanism – all this is at best the Mesoteric level. Give me Nicoll any day over those sources.


From: q
Sent: Monday, 26 March 2012 10:20 AM
To: c. t.
Cc:
Subject: Re: Some recent insights on the Work, two, in fact

Nicoll and his line of students were definitely shifting towards a more New Age tendency. Despite this Nicoll's contribution was huge and significant. Gurdjieffians used to say N regurgitated G. I never got anywhere with G. I think he was too asiatic in some way for my liking. I doubt i would touch him in real life. He played the guru, either intentionally or otherwise but it would be too much for me. Charlatan or not. Besides, he followed his penis.

Thankfully that miserable Russian wine bibber put a couple of good books down.
On 24 March 2012 23:51, c. t. wrote:

That would be 'five solas'. Very necessary to proofread when pecking on tiny, virtual keyboards. - C.



------------------------------
On Sat, Mar 24, 2012 4:45 PM PDT c. t. wrote:

>
>I recently downloaded a kindle version of Nicoll's Commentary and was reading through it recently. I was struck by the level of the material. Not that it isn't very useful and valuable as a source for Work ideas and practices, but he comes across as more thin to me. One area is when he uses the Bible it is clear that he doesn't know the underlying reality. For instance the fact of sin - its guilt and pollution - and our inability to do anything about it. It's like he's still a Jungian and hasn't experienced regeneration, and is just still on the surface of things like an academic unaware of his condition at the deep, Biblical level. I.e. he quotes Jesus like he'd quote Confucius, as if salvation wasn't the pressing issue.
>
>The impression also gave me a strengthened sense of the power of on-the-mark Biblical doctrine. The Work as method, from the pure springs, along with the Bible and Reformation era Biblical doctrine (five solas, doctrines of grace, classical Covenant - Federal - Theology) is 'terminal' understanding and practice.
>
>- C.
>
>
>
>------------------------------
>On Sat, Mar 24, 2012 3:16 PM PDT c. t. wrote:
>
>>
>>I'm not near my books now, but the subject is not the vertical philosophy, theory, practice. The subject is how to see the Work vis-a-vis Christianity. Work as doctrine would contaminate Biblical doctrine. Yet Work as method syncs with Biblical doctrine; specifically in the stage and practice of progressive sanctification. I don't recall seeing this distinction in any of Ouspensky's or Gurdjieff's books, but if it's there somewhere it wouldn't surprise me because it's not something I would have been looking for back when I was really going through those books. Only when you become sensitive to Biblical doctrine does it come up. - C.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>------------------------------
>>On Sat, Mar 24, 2012 9:22 AM PDT W wrote:
>>
>>
>>G. is quoted in Fragments (chap 15. starts mid way page 308 for 4-5
>>pages) on this subject and exclaims a number of times that its not
>>practical knowledge for them at that time.
>>I've found Nicoll's writing very theoretical and for that it doesn't
>>leave as large of an impression as say O's work which is very
>>essential and core knowledge.
>>
>>W.
>>
>>Saturday, March 24, 2012, 3:12:59 AM, you wrote:
>>
>> There have been some very foundational insights regarding the Work
>> in recent threads. Two of them are:
>>
>>
>> 2. Along the same lines is this insight: I think it was
>> providential that I saw that edition of the Oxford Companion to
>> English Literature in a new used bookstore I stopped to look at. It
>> was only $2.99 too which made it enticing to buy. That it had
>> entries on G. and O. was strange too. But that it brought to my
>> attention that Gurdjieff considered his knowledge to be more
>> *method* than *doctrine* is a big thing to know when you are trying
>> to see the Work vis-a-vis Christianity. I was recently reading
>> Nicoll, and I think he may have been guilty of introducing more of a
>> sort of doctrine into the teaching (such as making entry into the
>> conscious circle of humanity the goal, unless he flat out meant that
>> as a metaphor for the Kingdom of God which I don't think he did).
>> But the pure springs of the Work teaching, Ouspensky's books, really
>> keep any attempt at doctrine out of it and focus on method. I never
>> thought of the distinction before, and I think it is a big
>> distinction and very clarifying for what the Work actually is,
>> especially when you combine the insight with the first one above. - C.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>--
>>Best regards,
>> W mailto:
>>
>>
>





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