- Religion and Philosophy
What is the Fringe Christian movement and is it heretical?
Christian Fringe Movement
Who is on the fringe?
Since the foundation of Christianity there have been sects on the outskirts of the mainstream; mostly benign with the occasional doomsday cult making the headlines for something extreme or newsworthy. The Information Age is giving rise to an unusual new movement of Bible believers who partner their biblical hermeneutics with various conspiracy theories and peculiar scientific research, sharing their speculations through podcasts, blog posts, books and conferences. This diversely located, growing band of unconventionalists are in want of an official title, but are generally known as the fringe Christian community.
From the eloquent evangelical Chuck Missler, to the endearingly eccentric L.A. Marzulli, authors and researchers in the fringe are presenting intriguing talks on extraordinary matters and often sharing their insights via fringe Internet radio shows like Canary Cry Radio (Basil and Gonz) and Hagmann and Hagmann. This is predominantly an Internet based movement with the teachers and their supporters living in diverse locations, interacting on facebook, blogs and message boards.
Is it heretical?
It is impossible to make any accurate blanket statement regarding orthodoxy since there are numerous denominations and belief systems represented within the fringe Christian community. It would appear to be more accurate to describe it as a genre of Christian interest rather than a sect or faction of the faith. The majority of prominent figures within the movement hold to orthodox views on all the fundamentals of the faith. They don’t depart from essential doctrines, rather they enhance basic Christian teaching with weird and wonderful theories and paradigms on subjects such as eschatology, demonology and ufology. Anyone who grew up enchanted with seventies and eighties science fiction movies will find themselves fascinated with the subjects explored on the fringe, but it is certainly not your typical Sunday morning pulpit material.
Extra biblical texts
The infallibility of canonized scripture is upheld, but most fringe researchers and teachers also use pseudepigraphal books like Enoch and Jubilees to develop their theories. References to the extra-biblical texts are typically accompanied by disclaimers that they are not inspired scripture, yet remain good for information and insight. As justification for referencing the text, it is often reiterated in fringe circles that the book of Enoch is included in Ethiopian orthodox biblical canon.
Topics of interest
Myriad subjects are discussed and taught, relating to all variety of things supernatural and mysterious. These fantastical topics, rife with conspiracy theories, seem to come straight out of Hollywood. The Scientific American June 2005 edition printed a statement that, “our reality is a shadow of a larger reality”, and that might be a fitting summary of the general theme and inspiration of the Christian fringe movement. Here is a brief sample of some of the topics dealt with in this community.
The Watchers and the Nephilim
Genesis 6 v 1-4 (NIV) states:
“When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.”
From this verse and also extra-biblical and pseudepigraphal texts, various stories and theories are extrapolated, elaborated on and embellished. It is generally understood by the fringe that the sons of God were the Watchers; angelic beings sent to earth by God to teach mankind. When the Watchers took human wives and had relations with them, their offspring were the Nephilim. The Nephilim were giants, revered by humans and possibly became the famous gods of Greek mythology. When the Nephilim died, their spirits became what Christians know as demons.
“They will become evil upon the earth and shall be called evil spirits.” 1 Enoch 15
There are some fascinating teachings on this subject, from archaeological and historical evidence of ancient giants to explorations of the influence of Nephilim gods from Greek mythology to modern day.
Nimrod, whose name means the rebel, was the great-grandson of Noah and the king of Shinar, which later became Babylonia. Whilst his brief mention in Genesis 10 might appear positive at first glance, on closer inspection it becomes more ominous.
And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.
He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.
Genesis 10 v 8-9 (KJV)
The term, “mighty hunter before the Lord” might be better translated, “mighty hunter against the Lord” or “in defiance of the Lord”. He is considered to be the leader responsible for the building of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 and believed by some to be the dubious king about whom the Epic of Gilgamesh was penned. The fringe teachings about Nimrod as a type of Antichrist and theories regarding how he “began to be a mighty one” are quite provocative.
There is a noted lack of eyelid batting when terms like, ‘extraterrestrial’, ‘alien craft’ or ‘abduction’ are mentioned in this expanding fringe Christian community. The enthusiast will find no shortage of teachings or books on the subject of E.T from a Christian perspective. Researchers like Josh Peck (not the actor from Nickelodeon, but a fringe author who inconveniently shares his name) make a fascinating case for extradimensional beings as an explanation for UFO sightings and experiences. Among the fringe in general, demons or angels are considered to be the culprits behind the alien phenomenon in one way or another, but the researchers are not afraid to delve deep into the topic, offering their own hypotheses and commentaries.
In 1998, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), along with over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries and with a budget of 7.5 billion euros, began construction of its Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Its first operational run was from 2010 to 2013 which lead to the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle in 2012, a highly significant scientific discovery. The purpose of the LHC is, in lay person terms, to recreate the big bang and learn about the glue that holds the universe together.
Where fringe researches get all riled up, is in the potential for CERN to create microscopic black holes and even open up portals or stargates to other dimensions. Theoretically, this could allow demons, angels, giants or even dinosaurs to breach the veil between the earthly and spiritual dimensions, wreaking havoc on our planet and souls. It might all sound rather outlandish, but there is a wealth of intriguing and compelling information on this topic.
Transhumanism and hybrid humans
Transhumanism, also known as Humanity+ or H+ is an intellectual and cultural movement which advocates the study and use of emerging and potential sciences in order to alter humanity to an enhanced state with expanded capacities. The movement is rapidly gaining momentum worldwide; the leading international transhumanist organization Humanity+ (formerly known as the World Transhumanist Association) is comprised of 6000 supporters from over 100 countries, with more than 48 chapters around the globe.
The very concept raises various ethical concerns and there is no shortage of debate on this topic. Fringe researchers like Tom Horn, introduce us to an entire new spin on this very sci-fi subject, which they implore us to be highly concerned about. He proposes a demonic agenda is behind the transhumanist mission, which goes back further than Hitler’s Aryan race ideals, as far back as Nimrod “beginning to be a Gibborim (mighty one)” which some speculate may mean he somehow altered his DNA to try to become like the Nephilim.
And even further back still, one hypothesis is that the flood account of Genesis 6 hints at the fallen angels corrupting animals on the earth, possibly by creating human-animal hybrids like the centaurs and minotaurs of mythology.
Genesis 6 v 7 and 12 (KJV)
“7 And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.”
“12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.”
Uncomfortably bizarre though it may be, scientists are currently tinkering with transgenics in laboratories around the world under the guise of medical research.
The Chinese made human-rabbit embryos in 2003
The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota created pigs with human blood and pig-human cell hybrids
In 2005, the University of Nevada-Reno created sheep with part human livers
Cow-human hybrid embryos were the first experiment of this type for the British in 2008, in search for new treatment options for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's.
Humanity+ state their desire to create humans who are “better than well”. Hank Pellissier, managing director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies surveyed 818 transhumanists, almost 80% of whom desired immortality. Interestingly, the Bible prophesies about the end times saying,
“During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.” Revelation 9 v 6 (NIV)
Could the Bible be foretelling the success of the transhumanist movement? Could genetic alterations perhaps have something to do with taking on the mark of the beast, rendering people unsaveable? This is a vast and highly provocative subject which you are less than likely to hear preached about at your Sunday morning gathering, but the fringe has much to say about it.
And much more
The fringe community also has abundant sources of information and thought provoking teachings about the Elite, mind control, ghosts, the Illuminati and freemasonry, Jesuit conspiracies, EMP threats, the occult and much more.
Is it wrong for Christians to explore such subjects? What does the Bible have to say about it?
Against pursuit of knowledge
“We know that "We all possess knowledge." But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.”
1 Corinthians 8 v 1(NIV)
In contrast, Hosea 6 v 4 says,
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me” (ESV)
“An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” Proverbs 18v 15 (ESV)
Against knowing evil
“Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” Romans 16v19 (NIV)
“ But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels,[d] did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) 10 But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. 11 What sorrow awaits them! “ Jude 1 v9-11 (NLT)
“ Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4 v 8 (ESV)
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6 v 11-12
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10 v 16 (ESV)
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. “ 1 Peter 5 v 8 (NIV)
So perhaps we ought not to invest in tin foil hats or nuclear bunkers, but focus on God and truth, supplementing a healthy dose of alertness and knowing our enemy to our diet of daily bread. If you are interested in learning more, any of the following links would be a perfect starting point: