|By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©1999|
|The followers of Ernest Holmes believe he subjected all his beliefs to the test of rationality. If so, one might expect unexcelled displays of spiritual power, crisp reasoning abilities, inerrancy in his writing and breathtaking insights from his probes of the universe.|
Reginald Armor, biographer and lifelong friend of Ernest Holmes, referred to a common view of Holmes, one held by his followers, that Holmes subjected all his beliefs to the test of rationality. “Being very practical, he always submitted his insights, contemplations, and feeling to his reasoning, intellectual mind for verification.” We are also told Holmes had a mind that “demonstrated its divinity” and was capable of “probing the farthest reaches of the universe.” If so, one might expect unexcelled displays of spiritual power, crisp reasoning abilities, inerrancy in his writing and breathtaking insights from his probes of the universe. Yet in the most important area of all, religion, he was usually in error. For example, in the following quotes we have supplied brief comments or corrections. Holmes argued, “Thus each religion approaches the same God, and must basically believe in the same God.” (The Hindu God Brahman, the Muslim God Allah, and the biblical Jehovah, are utterly dissimilar.) “If we study every religion we will find great spiritual consistencies; belief in God [not true of Buddhism, Jainism or Shinto], belief in the Divinity of every individual [not true of Islam, Judaism or Christianity], and of good always triumphant over evil” (not true of Hinduism, Zoroastrianism or Religious Science). Other examples of his numerous errors include the belief that bronchitis and other diseases result from “congested thought”; that Jesus’ teaching was in “full accord with the Essenes”; that polytheism antedated monotheism; and that there are no incurable diseases, only incurable people.
Do these examples, and again there are many others, indicate that Ernest Holmes was rational, divine or free from error? A few errors are one thing, for it is human to err, but virtually unremitting error is another matter entirely. So why should anyone place trust in his religion, a religion that even he admitted he simply made up?
Holmes was said to have a “reverence for God.” He held Jesus to be “a spiritual genius,” “the greatest spiritual realist who ever lived,” and one with solid teaching. This would lead people to assume that he had a reverence for Jesus. But reverence, at the least, includes respect for what a person taught, and Holmes, through his Science of Mind doctrine, denied Jesus’ teaching. Although Holmes declared, “In this philosophy, no attempt is made to rob Jesus of his greatness or to refute his teachings,” this is precisely what Holmes did. He denied both Jesus’ greatness, His Person and His teachings. One wonders, did he really believe he was not refuting Jesus and His teachings, or was he unwilling to frankly state that if Jesus was to be understood in a normal sense, he was denying Him?
This brings us to the question of Holmes symbolic interpretation of Scripture. If Holmes was so enlightened, why did he never, anywhere, justify the legitimacy of his figurative, or metaphysical, interpretation of Scripture? The reason is because he could not. He simply demanded that others take his interpretations and invented religion on blind faith. Indeed, he was ill prepared even to attempt a defense of his views. As his brother pointed out: “He had no knowledge of either Greek or Hebrew, and traditional exegesis of a text was entirely foreign to him.” This may help to account for why he refused to discuss the particulars of Christian beliefs. “Let us not waste time, then, in theological discussions which lead nowhere.” What his brother pointed out concerning Holmes’ view of the afterlife was relevant generally, “He knew that his philosophy was unclear and probably would not stand the test of theology, but he had no fear of ‘authority.’...”
Further, Holmes spoke of a perfect religion of the future (his teaching) that would “dehypnotize” people. In a revealing statement, Holmes fairly admitted that Religious Science would purposefully wipe God and biblical teachings out of people’s consciousness. “The absence of God and the devil will clean up the unconscious so that the fear of the unknown will also disappear.... How can this be brought about? That is what our classes and our textbook are designed to show.... The whole problem of sin and salvation is summarized and solved in the realization of the Divine Union.... There is no need for a go-between [Jesus as Savior].... Superstitions like belief in hell, purgatory and a personal devil will have passed away.... There will be justice without judgment.”
Clearly, despite Holmes’ claim to respect all religions, not to mention his emphasis that he taught true Christianity, the truth is that his personal agenda was to be rid of Christianity once and for all. This is the first problem with Ernest Holmes, by his writings he proved that his respect for Jesus and Jesus’ religion was hollow. The second problem with Holmes is that he read the Bible in such a way as to conform it to his personal views, as we’ve shown. Yet he criticized this approach when he stated, “I have found that Bible interpretation is often the reflection of personal opinion—more a matter of reading something into the Bible rather than getting something out of it.” In these words, Holmes has condemned his own approach to the Bible.
A third problem concerns Holmes’ hypocrisy in treating the words of Jesus in the very manner that he implored others never to treat his own words. Holmes had one prominent desire when it came to his own words: “HAVING HAD the privilege of starting Religious Science, I would wish, will and desire above all things else that the simplicity and purity of our teaching could never be violated.” In other words, Ernest Holmes wished above all else that no one would misuse or violate his words and his beliefs. Yet his personal reinterpretation of Scripture misused and grossly distorted the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. Is it right for Holmes to do to others what he begged others not to do to himself?
Clearly, his symbolic and figurative interpretation of the Bible had little value apart from its subjectivity, which allowed him to read anything at all into the text. For example, Holmes stated in Sermon By the Sea, “There was nothing obscure in the teaching of Jesus.... He said that there is nothing but God.” “Holmes said, “Jesus ‘plainly told us’ that God was within every man, ‘He proclaimed that all men are divine.’” But nowhere in the Gospels did Jesus say anything of the kind; in fact, His words emphatically denied both assertions (for example, John 3:19; 8:44). Can a man who so flagrantly alters another’s words expect people to trust or honor his own? (Modern Science of Mind leaders and teachers have not corrected the problem; to the contrary, they have continued it, encouraged it and expanded it.) Holmes also distorted the simplicity and purity of the writings of Moses, the Gospel authors and the Apostle Paul:
In chart below, consider examples of Holmes’ biblical interpretation, none of which have biblical, historical or logical justification.
|The blood of the Lamb||The continual flow of spiritual life animating everything|
|The lamb slain from the foundation of the world||A symbol of the outpouring of spirit|
|Outer darkness||Utter darkness; standing in the shade|
|Demon possession||Possessed by evil|
|The Ark of the Covenant; Holy of Holies||Inner divinity|
|The Red Sea; The Flood||Our Psychic Life|
|The Wedding Garment||Awareness of unity with God|
|Elijah and Elisha||Object lessons, not persons|