Popularized by the ‘80s New Age Movement, the dogma of self-glorification moved into mainstream culture and now into the Main Street church. Ancient mystery worship is back. One of its daughters, Gnosticism, began to permeate the New Testament movement early on and to pollute true teachings nearly from the start. So insidious were its diabolical dogmas that they were to dramatically influence the next 2,000 years of church doctrine and worship, opening the door to the grand-scale sacrilege we see today. It is time we learned where today’s trendy doctrines really came from and how you can come out from under the spell of an age-old scourge that Paul calls “damnable heresies” and their “pernicious ways that many would follow.”
Apostles Were Concerned
As he traveled from town to town teaching the truths he learned from the Savior, the Apostle Paul was a witness to many successes. At the same time he began to be increasingly concerned with what he was hearing from various quarters.
Concern led to alarm as Paul launched a campaign to warn the various Assemblies about the insidious heresy. So did Peter. Each was aware of apostates out to get their own followers at the expense of truth taught in the newly established Assembly. Just as the New Testament Body was beginning to get its feet on the ground, wolves were circling. The Apostles’ early fears proved abundantly justified.
Little is known about what exactly happened in the first two centuries following the death of the Apostles. One thing is sure, however. What occurred was far-reaching and would change the face of New Testament worship worldwide for the next two millennia down to our day. The die was cast, and its imprint was a familiar one. Many heretical teachings have become major tenets today, and none supported in Scripture. We also know that Gnosticism was at its most influential while the early Assembly was in its infancy. One researcher describes it this way:
“As the apostolic age comes to a close, the [Assembly] seems to pass through a dark tunnel. When it comes out at the other side, the original bond of unity, the clear standards, and the love of [Yahweh] seem to have been replaced by an unsettling, institutionalized spirit of domination and by beliefs which are more Gnostic than Christian. What happened? We are now confronted with the possibility that the original identity and true definition of Christianity have become lost,” from The Apostasy of the Lost Century, p. 9.
Why were the Apostles so concerned? What was it that posed such a deadly threat to the truth? It was nothing less than age-old Babylonian mystery religion beginning to take root through heretical and influential teachers. These apostates were mixing the teachings of Eastern mysteries and Greek paganism with the Bible. The Apostles had already confronted one of them, whom the Scriptures identify as Simon (Magus). “Magus” because he was a member of the Median tribe of Magi or Persian mystics who interpreted celestial phenomena and used wizards’ spells, according to the writer Herodotus. We read of Simon Magus when he attempted to buy the Holy Spirit from Peter and John in Acts chapter 8.
Another heretic was Marcion, a man who worked hard to completely separate the Messianic Faith from its Old Testament roots. He regarded the Old Testament as a catalog of crimes against humanity by an evil, sinister Mighty One.
Truth Nearly Smothered
These men were leaders in this farreaching movement of Gnostic teachings. This was primitive idolatry that centered on worship of self, not on Yahweh. In fact, Yahweh was seen by Gnostics as an evil sub-deity who made a serious mistake in creating the physical world. He imprisoned human beings in physical bodies even though they are innately “divine.” You can sense the rudiments of the immortal soul doctrine in the making.
The Gnostic believed humans possessed a spark of divine nature just waiting to be released at death to reunite with the true deity. The problem the Gnostic saw is that man doesn’t know that he is at the center of this great plot by a sinister creator, and is imprisoned by the created world. All that is physical is evil and useless. The way to salvation is knowledge, the Gnostic says. Enlightened knowledge is what Satan tempted Eve with: “For Elohim knows that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil,” Genesis 3:5.
This heresy, according to some historians, became a formidable contender with the early Faith and nearly smothered it. So powerful were its dogmas, so far-reaching was Gnostic teaching that its tenets were to impact church teachings irreconcilably and saturate popular worship all the way down to today.
More than one source has noted that Gnosticism made a deep impact on Christianity: “Scholars have debated whether (1) Gnosticism was a widespread scheme that flourished before the birth of [Messiah) and influenced Christianity from the outset, or (2) whether it was a movement that developed concurrently with Christianity and came to affect it significantly only in the second a subsequent centuries, or (3) it was a basic alteration of Christianity that arose after the disappointment of the earliest Christians’ expectation of the end of the age,” Dictionary of Bible and Religion, “Gnosticism,” p. 396.
Regardless as to the exact time of its inception, Gnosticism was to work its evil on the early faith. As one scholar writes, “The great menace, in fact of Gnosticism, was its refusal to remain outside of Christianity. It fastened itself as a parasite upon the Christian faith,drawing substance from it and at the same time robbing it of its individual character and vitality,” Deceptions and Myths of the Bible by Lloyd M. Graham, p.284.
That “individual character” being robbed was the early Assembly’s Israelite faith and the fact that the New Testament Assembly shared the same bond with Yahweh that Israel did — including the same commanded obedience to His statutes. With Gnostic influence, that relationship would forever change, and the “church” would early on-adhere to unscriptural beliefs and practices that would dominate and alter its personality and character. Only a small remnant would continue teaching the truth of the Bible.
Back to Babylon
With today’s decline in Bible-centered religion and worship, the sinister teachings of ancient Gnostic forefathers and other Babylonian mysteries have begun to grow and infiltrate in ever newer and bolder ways. How could such an obviously pagan movement be coming back? For NeoGnosticism to flourish today, traditional standards and values must first be dismantled. This is being done socially, politically, in the classroom, and now in churches. For this new Gnosticism to be successful, the past and its values must be completely erased.Secular history is being rewritten to take out references to the Bible and Biblical mores. The breakdown in the family and educational misdirection will ensure that traditional values will not be passed on to the next generation.
Socially, behavior that was once driven by Biblical undertones supported by a deep reverence in and fear of the power of the Almighty has been replaced by a man-made “politically correct” worldview. Whereas Biblical religion teaches that Yahweh alone constructs the reality of right and wrong, good and evil, NeoGnosticism sees the culture itself as divine. Gnostic philosophy says every problem must have a societal solution. The new behavioral standard of correctness is now fluid, changing with the times, rather than unchangeable since creation.
To grasp the significance of what is happening to the “church” as well as to society, we must first come to know more about the Gnostic religion, how it rose to prominence in the first centuries of the New Testament era, and how it still lives in doctrines and teachings of most denominations.
Gnosticism: A Quick Course
The Greek word Gnostic derives from a verb meaning “to know” It combines aspects of Greek philosophy, Oriental mysticism, and Christianity. It stresses salvation through gnosis or knowledge.
This teaching says “history is a progress from materialism and paganism, by way of religion and ethics, to spiritual freedom and gnosis ….The spirit in man is united with the soul so that it may be formed and educated in practical life, for it needs psychic and sense training,”Encyclopedia of World Religions, p. 146.
How did such a hybrid religious system arise? According to the book, Mystery Religions in the Ancient World, by Joscelyn Godwin, it was a combined effort. “In both Palestine and Egypt at the end of the Hellenistic age, unorthodox Jews mingled with Greek philosophers and Persian dualists; and somewhere in that confused but thrilling encounter Gnosticism was born, the religion of Gnosis — knowledge of the true nature of things” (p. 84).
“True nature”? Here is what this source describes as a major tenet of Gnosticism: “The world is a stupendous mistake, created by a foolish or vicious creator-god. This creator or Demiurge (Yahweh) is a god of very low grade on the celestial hierarchy, himself the result of a grave error, who thinks he is supreme. His pride and incompetence have resulted in the sorry state of the world as we know it, and the blind and ignorant condition of most of mankind. The Gnostic, however, is not fooled. Although like every man he suffers under the tyranny of this monster, he knows that far above the Demiurge there is another God. He believes, moreover, that humanity is not totally without hope of reaching this true God whom the Demiurge does his best to hide, both from himself and from his subjects,” Ibid.(Demiurge is Greek meaning “craftsman, maker, creator.”)
To understand modern doctrines we need to realize that Gnosis-centered teachings also reject the law of the Old Testament, the holy days and weekly Sabbath, as well as many other commands Yahweh gave to His chosen people Israel.
It is the hidden force behind the immortal soul doctrine, universal salvation teachings, the once-saved-always-saved tenet, the belief in a reward in heaven, and many practices engaged in but not supported by the Scriptures (like the custom of pouring rather than immersion for baptism). It even explains the pervasive belief that Yahshua the Messiah came to do away with His Father’s “harsh,” Old Testament laws.
Clearer View of Worship Today
As one digs deeper into the tenets of this mystic religion, one begins to see the pieces of a diabolical puzzle begin to come together. When the pieces are placed side by side a clearer picture of modern worship emerges from the darkness of mysticism. The simple fact is, Gnosticism and Christianity grew up together and would strongly influenced each other.
Notice this statement: “Gnosticism emerged in schools of thought within the church in the early second century and soon established itself as a way of understanding Christianity in all of the church’s principal centers … Gnosticism was thus a major threat to the early church,” Holman Bible Dictionary, p. 558.
Another source shows just how powerful this movement was in turning people from the Scriptures: “Its rapid growth in the ancient world was encouraged by an early Christian fascination with Greek philosophy and mythology … early Christians were led into Gnosticism when they rejected the Old Testament and their Jewish roots, and turned to Platonic Dualism,” Mercer Dictionary of the Bible, p. 334.
One of the Gnostic sects had a particularly profound impact on early Christianity. Its founder was the Persian Mani. “He established a highly syncretistic form of Gnosticism called Manichaeism, which became widespread and which even included Augustine among its converts,” The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, p. 417. This heresy combined Zoroastrian, Gnostic Christian, and pagan elements.
With one of the “church fathers” even involved, it is no wonder that many Christian teachings would be forever influenced by the heresies of this paganistic movement.
Doctrinal Ties to False Worship
There are really only two religions in the world: the religion of “He” (Yahweh) and the religion of “Me” (paganism). All false religion has as its core the worship and advancement of self through human philosophy. Anything that replaces the worship of Yahweh is idolatry. Any religion based on the worship of another mighty one either springs from a rebellious heart that refuses to acknowledge Yahweh as supreme, or is simply practiced out of ignorance. Either way, True Worship is displaced while glory is given to idols — even the idolatry of self-worship. The Prophet Samuel told King Saul, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1Sam 15:23).
Let’s look at some modern doctrines and see how they equate with what was being taught in Gnostic circles even while Peter, Paul, James, and John were teaching the truths of Yahshua and the Scriptures.
First, here are some revealing statements about some of today’s New Age notions, as well as church beliefs and practices that, astonishingly, are tied to Gnostic teachings. “From the Coptic Gnostic papyri (and their Greek originals) it is evident that the Christian Gnostic systems developed for some centuries alongside the orthodox forerunner of the main Christian church. and were distinguished by such matters as giving priority to immediate experience rather than ecclesiastical structure, teaching that ignorance rather than sin is the cause of suffering, recognizing a feminine as well as a masculine element in the divine, explaining the resurrection of [Messiah] as spiritual rather than bodily, and pointing to self-knowledge as knowledge of [Yahweh],” Myth and Mystery by Jack Finegan, p. 258.
This writer explains that while Biblical worship stresses a single, correct faith that is ever one and the same, the Gnostics believed that the Holy Spirit continued to teach new things in an evolution of beliefs.As a result, the apostate church “came to alternative thoughts and practices that were plainly meaningful to many, and that have continued to be of influence in various forms of religious tradition, including the esoteric,” ibid.
The belief among some that the “church” has the authority to set doctrine over the Bible is in line with this same Gnostic belief of an ever-growing and expanding belief system. This belief is at odds with Psalm 119:89: “For ever, O Yahweh, thy word is settled in heaven.” In other words, no new is revealed over what has already been revealed in Scripture.
Teachings that were once Bible based began to take on Gnostic flavor, as one authority notes: “The early Christian preachers and writers, seeking to speak and write to be understood, used terms current in the first century world in the vague context of gnostic religious longings and gave them new meaning in the context of the incarnation, death, and resurrection of [Yahshua],” Holman, p. 559. This same source also reveals, “The classic answer to the question of why gnosticism arose is that it represents the ‘radical Hellenizing of Christianity.’ In this view, gnosticism’ resulted from the attempt of early Christian thinkers to make Christianity understandable, acceptable, and respectable in a world almost totally permeated by Greek assumptions about the reality of the World,” p. 559.
Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, says that the “church” did not go into wholesale corruption until after the martyrdom of James the Just (61-62 C.E.), “when Symeon the cousin of [Yahshua] was chosen bishop of Jerusalem, and a certain Thebouthis, who was not chosen,began the corruption ‘by the seven heresies, to which he belonged, ‘” A Source Book for Ancient Church History, Joseph C. Ayer, p. 109.
Old Heresies Strong Today
These seven heresies or movements in Gnosticism were initiated by Gnostic teachers, two of whom were Simon Magus and Marcion. They and other teachers were so effective and influential that many of their heresies are still alive and well in the basic beliefs and majordoctrines of most denominations today. Let’s look at some.
The Gnostic Carpocratians taught that each person must pass from body to body until one has experienced every kind of action in the world. Then the soul is liberated to soar upward to the god who is above the maker(s) of the world (meaning the lesser mighty one,Yahweh). In this way all souls are saved. This belief arises from Oriental teachings of reincarnation. It traces to the world’s first lie, when Satan told Eve, “You won’t die if you disobey Yahweh.”
Elements of this universal salvation teaching of Gnosticism are still evident in the common belief that the dead live on in heaven when they “die.” Furthermore, if all are saved eventually anyway, where is the need to honor Yahweh through obedience? The logical conclusion leads inevitably to the Gnostic-rooted teaching of grace over obedience, along with the “faith alone” teaching, neither of which the Bible supports or teaches.
Law versus grace
It was the Old Testament Mighty One of harsh law and retributive justice (Yahweh) who made the world, Marcion taught. Through it He maintains unjust control. It is the higher New Testament god of love and grace, from whom Yahshua came, who is above Yahweh and unknown who will ultimately triumph over the lesser Old Testament deity. Marcion made much of the contrast between the law and the Evangels, that is, the first as coming from a wicked mighty one while the latter from a loving Father. These Gnostic notions were to profoundly affect church doctrine.As one source notes, “Christian theology also had taken seriously the concepts of love and mercy, rather than stressing law and ecclesiastical authority,” Mercer, p. 548
The law is against us
This idea is implicit in most church teachings today with their misinterpretation of grace and love. That the law is somehow bad is not found in any Scripture, however, and therefore had another origin. In fact, the Scriptures say just the opposite, that the law is good and good for us, Romans 7: 12; Psalm 19:7; lJohn 5:3; John 14:21. The Gnostic Ptolemaeus wrote that the law was imperfect, unjust, and had to be abrogated by Yahshua. The law came from an imperfect Demiurge (Yahweh), an inferior mighty one.
No-law beliefs were popular among Gnostics. “They claimed that the spiritual Christians were not responsible for what they did and could not really sin. Thus they could act in any way they pleased without fear of discipline,” Holman, p. 558. In the mind of the Gnostic, it wasn’t the human being who brought on his own problems, but Yahweh who was responsible.
“The Gnostic Marcion thus rejected the Old Testament, pointing out that the lesser or subordinate god revealed in it dealt with matter, insisted on law rather than grace, and was responsible for our decaying, tragedy-filled world,” Ibid. The reason Marcion rejected Yahweh “was not for His role as Creator, but for having given the Law,” Mercer, p. 548.
Gnosticism lies at the core of the modern belief that if man obeys Yahweh he is being “legalistic,” which is the same diabolic lie Satan used on Eve when he told her that she need not obeyYahweh’s warning against eating of the fruit of the tree. “He’s only trying to keep you from being as great as He is, Eve.” The Gnostics fell under the same spell, only they thought they could even be GREATER than Yahweh.
Finegan says that obeying the Scripture was not popular among the enlightened Gnostics, “For those [Gnostics] who are spiritual and perfect, however, such a course of conduct [obedience to Yahweh] is not at all necessary. They will be entirely and undoubtedly saved, not by means of conduct, but because they are spiritual by nature,” Myth and Mystery, p. 231.
The same reasoning is shared by the no-law clerics of our day. If I’m already saved, why obey any law? is their rationale.
The strength of Gnosticism was that it played on man’s carnal desires. And it struck at the heart of True Worship by attacking Yahweh and opening Him up to suspicion and doubt. Since Yahweh was inferior and was doing all He could to keep man from attaining his full,spiritual potential, keeping His laws and commandments will only inhibit man and keep him chained and in subjection, the believed.
In the same way, to reject Yahweh’s laws today is reflective of a covert animosity toward Yahweh as well. Only a rebellious heart refuses to obey. Romans 8:7 says, “The carnal mind is enmity against Elohim.” Enmity means deep-seated hatred.
John, however, writes, “For this is the love of Yahweh, that we keep His commandments,” lJohn 5:3. The converse of this verse is also true — disobedience to His laws means a rejection of Him and His desires for His people.
The ancient Gnostic and today’s neo-Gnostic both reject what Paul wrote in Romans 7: 12, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” They also avoid the passage that reads, “He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21).
The teaching that the human being is an immortal being is central to Gnosticism. As shown, the Gnostic held that man is divine being held in a physical world by an evil sub-Mighty One who created the physical world and imprisoned us. Man’s true place belongs with the gods, says the Gnostic.
Finegan writes, “The Gnostic systems envision not only the end-experience of the individual, for whom death is liberation from entanglement in matter and the beginning of the ascent of the soul to its proper heavenly home, but also the end-goal for the whole cosmos,”Myth and Mystery, p. 257.
The notion of an immortal soul is rooted squarely in paganism. As Ramsay MacMullen writes, “Their religious views we might suppose began with, or logically rested on, ideas of immortality. Homer portrayed man as having a soul, and Elysian Fields to go to after death.Plato taught of life indestructible” (Christianizing the Roman Empire, AD 100-400, “What Pagans Believed,” p. 11).
This writer offers further insight as he describes the words spoken at a pagan funeral, remarkably similar to what one hears in funerals today: ” … he [the deceased] now lives among the gods, traversing the heavens and looking down on life below” (Ibid.).
The pagan Greek philosopher Plutarch, writing in the first century, once gave this consolation on the death of a child: “It feels no more pain; its soul is indestructible, according to ‘traditional teachings’ and Dionysiac rites; better, according to ‘traditional and ancient customs,’ the soul returns to a ‘finer and more divine fate and country,” MacMullen, p. 126.
An inferior Old Testament
The biggest force for rejecting the teachings of Yahweh in the Old Testament comes from Marcion. “The gnostic Marcion thus rejected the Old Testament, pointing out that the lesser or subordinate god revealed in it dealt with matter, insisted on law rather than grace, and was responsible for our decaying, tragedy-filled world.” =Holman Bible Dictionary, p. 558.
Another source writes about Marcion, “He has [Yahshua] descend to Hell after the Crucifixion to rescue the Old Testament ‘villains’ and all the Gentiles, leaving behind Abraham, Moses and all the other henchmen of [Yahweh]” Godwin, pp. 85-86.
Marcion even compiled and wrote his own New Testament, in which he contrasted the Old Testament to the New Testament on love and justice. He omitted what did not promote love.
Through the influence of Marcion the picture is becoming clearer why the precepts of Yahweh as first given in the Old Testament Scriptures are put in the closet today by most denominations.
Some Gnostic teachings reflect the Babylonian and Egyptian concepts of a trinitarian godhead. The worship of three main deities is common in ancient, pagan religious systems. The oldest is from Babylon, where the father Nimrod was worshiped along with his wifeSemiramis and son Tammuz. Other variants of this include Egyptian (Osiris, Isis, Horus); Graeco-Roman (Zeus, Poseidon, Hades; Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto); Christian (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).
The Gnostic work called The Gospel of the Egyptians includes the trinitarian concept and provides another bridge to this teaching in churchianity. “The first section of the work…tells of the origin of the heavenly world. From the supreme God, who is the Great Invisible Spirit, there evolves a trinity made up of Father, Mother (Barbelo), and Son,” Myth and Mystery, p. 251.
Significantly the deification of Mary as the “mother of G-d” fits well into the trinitarian pattern of ancient worship systems involving a mother in a trine god hierarchy.
Mother of G-d
The idea of a mother god is 4,000 years old. The Chaldeans called her Beltis, in Assyria she was known as Ishtar (from which we get Easter); the Phrygians called her Cybele; she was Isis or Hathor in Egypt; Astarte among the Canaanites; Dianna with the Ephesians, and Aphrodite in Greece.
Here is how the Gnostic embraced mother god-ism: “The being who fell out of the Pleroma [heavenly hierarchy] became the mother of Christ, and Christ returned to the Pleroma. Jesus emanated from Christ who returned to the Pleroma (although other ideas of his origin were advanced too), and the Holy Spirit emanated from Ecclesia. The mother, however, was unable to return to the Pleroma, and she brought forth another son, the Demiurge, who is the creator of all things outside the Pleroma, and the ruler of everything under him,” Myth and Mystery, p. 229.
Hence we have the Gnostic concept of the ancient belief in a “mother of G-d.” She becomes the literal mother of the Demiurge Yahweh and is called Sophia (Wisdom). Significant are the parallels between this mother concept and the “Virgin Mary” is presented venerated today. Ultimately, Sophia or Mother wisdom is restored to her place among the deities, not unlike the way prayers are directed to Mary today.
New Age is nothing more than warmed-over Gnosticism, as noted by Christopher Lash in an issue of Omni magazine: “The New Age movement is best understood … as the 20th century revival of an ancient religious tradition, gnosticism … ”
As churchianity accelerates the watering down of Scriptural precepts, New Age neo-Gnosticism is stepping through church doors and into the pulpits. As the book The New Age Explosion explains, “It is interesting that New Agers such as Besant would mention ‘Gnosis’ in the church.’ For in essence, the New Age is a revival of the gnosticism that was prevalent in the days of Paul and the early apostles,” p. 42.
Sophia the Feminist
Exalting of the female long predated Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug, who are just minor characters in an age-old worship of feminine power and mystique. Feminist roots reach back to the beginning of creation — to the mystic’s interpretation of Genesis, where Eve caught on to the “plot” of the Demiurge or creator and realized that it was the snake, not Yahweh, that was telling the truth. The snake was the emissary of the real “god.” The enlightened Eve with her special wisdom realized that she need not be subject either to Yahweh or to her husband and could transcend this fleshly existence through ignoring what Yahweh told her. All she had to do was to believe Satan.
Eve, therefore, becomes the bearer of truth on earth for the mystic. Some Gnostic teachings say that Eve became the light-bringing serpent.
From the idea of wisdom in the form of a woman came the Gnostic Sophia, a feminine deity whose name in Greek means skill and wisdom. She is seen as the mother of Yahshua, even the progenitor of Yahweh and the world-soul. She is seen as the mother goddess of many pagan religions.
New Age religion also focuses on Sophia as the divine providence who will save humanity. According to certain Gnostic teachings, man is physical and evil; woman is spiritual and divine. The idea of women as manifestations of the true “divine” is at the root of the movement to ordain women, to lead worship back to its “true” origins — back to Dame Wisdom.
As William Gentz writes of Gnostic teachings, “The two most common themes in this literature as a whole are the creation of the world as a perversion of the divine plan, and the role of wisdom [Sophia] and/ or Jesus as the bearer of the divine message of deliverance from the world of matter,” The Dictionary of Bible and Religion, p. 396.
History is also reflected in the modern push to get rid of the patriarchal order in society and replace it with a matriarchal one. Because the family is what passes on traditional values to the next generation, the family order is the next logical institution to come under attack.
Family responsibilities to rear children are increasingly being taken over by the state, which can mold them into its “politically correct” ideology. Without parental guidance, young people are increasingly finding their values on the streets and in gangs. Instead of advocatinga return to family values and responsibilities, those in power perpetuate what has already proven to fail. As a former first lady said in a Mother’s Day commencement address at George Washington University a few years ago, “Our community must be a family.”
‘Come Out of Her My People’
These are some of the salient teachings of Gnosticism. This ancient heresy that is making a big comeback throughout our culture stands Biblical truths on their head as it seeks to make right wrong and wrong right. Gnosticism is an effective and powerful tool that theAdversary has used through the centuries to corrupt True worship and twist proper and true teachings so that the vast majority will worship in error. This is the heresy that gave Paul one of his biggest headaches, which was a harbinger of bigger problems to come in our day.
Return with us to pure, unadulterated worship of the one true Father in heaven. Leave the doctrines of heathendom produced by compromise with error. Come out to the light of truth. Enter the strait gate and walk the narrow way that leads to everlasting life!