Roy Masters presents
himself as a Messianic Jew and a Bible believing
Christian. He's not a Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox, which I
suppose makes him Protestant by default. Masters is a "new" teacher in
the sense that he innovated a certain theological understanding and
attained a group of people who follow his comprehensive teachings.
does not, however, wish to be seen as "New Age," or as a "cult leader."
Rather, he asserts he falls squarely within the "Judeo-Christian"
tradition. His comprehensive packaging of his theological teaching is
indeed novel. However, I would argue the vast majority of the components
of his teachings can be traced to earlier traditions in Christendom,
many of them "dissenting" or "eccentric" traditions.
So here is what he believes, or claims to believe:
1. The God of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures.
matters of biblical canon, I think he follows the Protestant canon
(book of 66) with questions as to whether the Song of Solomon is
inspired. If that book is, he rejects the sexualized reading of it. He
may well believe some of books rejected by Catholic, Orthodox and
Protestant traditions are inspired. I saw him quote the Gospel of Thomas
in one of his lectures as though it were inspired. That may make him
some kind of Gnostic (sorry Eric Vogelin fans).
2. The mystical tradition of Christianity.
I don't know whether there is a connection between Gnosticism and Christian mysticism. But Roy Masters' devotee David Kupelian explicitly notes
that tradition as authoritative:
3. A view of "the God within" and revelation that is like what old school Quakers taught.
Then there’s the famous 16th century
Catholic priest, Saint John of the Cross, who authored the Christian
classic “Dark Night of the Soul” and others. He said this: “Love
consists not in feeling great things but in having great detachment and
in suffering for the Beloved” (that is, for God). And this: “If you
purify your soul of attachment to and desire for things, you will
understand them spiritually. If you deny your appetite for them, you
will enjoy their truth, understanding what is certain in them.” This is a
mystery. We spend our lives coveting and acquiring the possessions and
relationships we think will make us happy. And here we’re being told
that to find true happiness, we must somehow forsake these very desires.
How? And more importantly, why?
By the way, for his efforts at religious reform, John was
imprisoned by religious authorities and flogged publicly every week,
only to be returned to isolation in a tiny cell barely large enough for
And what about Jean Guyon, the 17th century French author of
many Christian books including “Experiencing the Depths of Jesus
Christ”? She gently nudges believers in the direction of “retreating
inward, and seeking after tranquility of mind” in order to do all things
“as in the Divine presence.”
may also parallel the above mentioned non-Quaker mystical tradition of
Christianity. It's about being still and listening to your conscience in
order to channel and truly understand revelation from God. Those
Quakers were the group who focused most seriously on the 3rd Person in
the Trinity -- the Holy Spirit -- as God who gets inside of man and
speaks directly to him. Without it, no one will ever truly understand
what the Bible means and how to properly put it together. It will just
be citing verses and chapter of word blather.
Masters, after these Quakers teaches the Bible is NOT the "word OF God,"
rather the "word FROM God." True revelation is wordless! It's a
wordless word that one receives in a state of stillness. Then, after
channeling this "understanding," we do our best to put it into the
imperfect words of language. The understanding precedes the language
This is how Quaker Robert Barclay put it in 1675
Nevertheless, because [the Scriptures] are only a declaration of the fountain, and not the
fountain itself, therefore they are not to be esteemed the principal ground of all Truth and
knowledge, nor yet the adequate primary rule of faith and manners. Yet because they give a true
and faithful testimony of the first foundation, they are and may be esteemed a secondary rule,
subordinate to the Spirit, from which they have all their excellency and certainty: for as by the
inward testimony of the Spirit we do alone truly know them, so they testify, that the Spirit is that
Guide by which the saints are led into all Truth; therefore, according to the Scriptures, the Spirit
is the first and principal leader.a Seeing then that we do therefore receive and believe the Scriptures
because they proceeded from the Spirit, for the very same reason is the Spirit more originally and
principally the rule, according to that received maxim in the schools,
Propter quod unumquodque est tale, illud ipsum est magis tale: That for which a thing is
such, that thing itself is more such.
"fountain" is the truth; the scriptures are not "the fountain," but
rather a declaration of the "fountain." As we will see below, Roy
Masters doesn't believe in the Trinity; but he does believe in the
Divine. When I first read the above quoted passage by Barclay it
reminded me of what Masters teaches. The divine within precedes the
written Word and is instructive. Because the scriptures testify
to that primary wordless fountain of truth, that is what justifies the
words of scripture as valid and true. Not vice versa. Don't put the cart
before the horse. The scriptures are the cart, not the horse.
the Internet was invented Masters once noted "Bibles" are just books of
paper, the inherent quality of which is no greater than toilet paper,
fit to wipe your ass with. It's not the paper; it's not the print that
does not believe Jesus is God, but rather the Son of God. The Son of God
is NOT God the Son. Jesus was there "In the Beginning," (first born of
creation). And Jesus is
the "Word of God." But English
translations improperly state that the Word OF God "was" God. Rather,
like Scripture itself, the "Word of God" (Jesus) was "from God," not God
Himself. So John 1:1 should be translated as saying "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was FROM God."
5. The Holiness Doctrine
is something that Masters has gotten a lot of flack for. The media has
said he claims to be "sinless." No. He claims rather that he DOES NOT
SIN. But he used to before he was saved (as the Bible says no human
except Jesus is "without sin"). This is exactly what evangelical
revivalist Charles Finney posited
. And Matthew 5:48 and I John 3:8-10 are the scriptural justifications for the doctrine.
6. An Augustinian View of Sex.
Masters believes, after Augustine
celibacy and chastity are the ideal. I'm no expert in Augustine and
Masters' teachings here are a bit difficult to understand, but I try.
Masters thinks that the "begetting"of the human species is somehow
mysteriously tied to the fall of man. Sex is only appropriate between a
married husband and wife. But even there it falls short of the ideal.
Orthodox Protestants believe, if you are married most anything goes,
even contraception. Catholics believe if you are married, as long as the
sex is Thomistic, anything goes. Masters believes it's immoral for a
man to be addicted to sex with his wife.
a man is addicted to sex with his wife, it's a sign of not being saved.
Indeed, if a young man is already saved, he, like Jesus and St. Paul,
wouldn't need to get married, because he would have, out of his
holiness, transcended his sexual desires. And part of the salvation
process is for a married man to transcend his sexual desire for his wife
and treat her like a father treats his daughter. (Similar to how Roman
Catholic dogma says men and woman who aren't married in the eyes of the
Church must live as "brother and sister" until they are. Masters uses
the "father/daughter" analogy).
Along the way,
while a man is getting saved, that's when children incidentally happen
in the context of marriage. Masters is almost 90 and has five children
and many grandchildren (and I think great grandchildren). Yet he brags
about how he hasn't had sex with his wife in I think around 50 (or more)
7. Judeo-Christian meditation as essential for salvation.
This is where Masters gets accused of being "New Age" and or "Eastern." You can listen to the meditation exercise here
There is no funny sounding mantra. However, it does sound like
something from the meditation/mindfulness movement, which has eastern
origins. The mindfulness way of life, I should add, also parallels
Stoicism, which is a Western philosophy.
his meditation is, unlike all the others, "Judeo-Christian" because it
anchors you to the God of the Bible. Sure there are seeming similarities
to Eastern teachings. But as the Stoic example demonstrates, sometimes
different cultures come to the same or similar conclusions through
But the other meditation exercises are dangerous because they in a sense
"work" like his does, but without anchoring you to the God of the
Bible, which is what is special about his. Masters argues that being in a
state of stress -- fight or flight, anger or anxiety -- is less than
ideal, and signals an unsaved state. His meditation exercise supposedly
makes you immune to stress. You don't get angry or experience anxiety,
no matter what happens.
Buddhism and other Eastern meditation exercises also promise something
similar. But the difference is, by being anchored to the God of the
Bible, the meditator will not sin. On the other hand, the Eastern
meditator are anchored to nothing. So they can get immune to anger and
fear, but go on sinning with a big grin on their face, like the Cheshire
A psychopath is someone who can do wrong without a sense of guilt.
It's the difference between a stressed out angry compulsive person who
does harm and feels guilt (not a psychopath) and someone in a calm and
blissful state who can stick a knife in an innocent person and sleep
peacefully that night (a psychopath).
Indeed, Buddhist monks score high on the psychopathy index
It doesn't mean they are horrible people. Rather that they are calm and
peaceful. So if they did choose to do wrong, they would feel peaceful
about it. No guilt. Their meditation helps to anesthetize real and
necessary guilt feelings. Masters claims his helps men to stop sinning and once they
cease sinning entirely, they feel no guilt because there is nothing to
feel guilty about.
There is a lot more to Mr. Masters' teachings, but I think the above
captures 7 key points. I don't necessarily agree with everything he
says. Rather I view him like Immanuel Kant viewed Emanuel Swedenborg.
Kant had a love/hate fascination with Swedenborg.
as a civilized gentleman, I'm trying to be fair. One thing about Mr.
Masters' teachings that bother me is his theology is extremely
politicized. Public figures Jesse Lee Peterson and the above mentioned
David Kupelian are devotees. And they teach moral truth is on the side of
the political Right. The extreme socially conservative Right.
My opinion is if there is a God, His truth transcends politics.