Enemies of the Church – Mysticism

Mysticism \?mis-t?-?si-z?m\ – the pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness of God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight.

It is amazing to me that people are so quickly abandoning the sound, historic teachings of the Christian faith and running headlong into the unknown…into the mystical. Christianity is NOT mystical. In fact, it is my contention that mysticism and mystical practices exposes people to notable dangers. Nowhere in the Bible are we encouraged or commanded to seek a mystical experience with Christ (or anyone else for that matter). The Bible stresses the importance of historical, objective revelation from God. Christianity is a rational, historic faith. As such, it is unique among the religions of the world.
Mysticism can be defined as an attempt to gain the ultimate knowledge of God by a direct experience that bypasses the mind. But is this consistent with Biblical Christianity? Does the Bible teach, encourage, or command that we, as Christians, seek God and the “deeper” things of God without engaging our mind? I think not. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul:

Paul prays with the mind… 1 Corinthians 14:15 (NASB95)
What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.

Paul says our minds are to be prepared for action…1 Peter 1:13 (NASB95)
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Paul admonishes Christians to think …Philippians 4:8–9 (NASB95)
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Paul states that we are to have our minds transformed… Romans 12:2 (NASB95)
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Now consider the words of our Lord Jesus
:
Jesus…Mark 12:30 (NASB95)
AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ 

Hmmm…It seems to me that Christians are encouraged to use their minds…to fill their minds with the word of God…to actively love the Lord with their minds, etc. This Christian is going to use his mind to love God, learn about God, and dwell upon the things of God. I encourage you to do the same…and stay far away from any teacher, preacher, or friend that tries to sell you on the mysticism.

For further study, consider these great articles:
 
My friend, Eric Barger of Take A Stand Ministries, has many resources on Mysticism. Look here for a 10 minute video, or his website for more.

Christine Pack has written a great article on the dangers of mysticism, as a former mystic. It can be found here:
http://solasisters.blogspot.com/2011/03/what-is-mysticism.html

Gary Gilley, pastor of Southern View Chapel in Springfield, Illinois, has written a very excellent series on mysticism (These articles also tackle the issues of contemplative prayer, Spiritual formation, labyrinths, and more). These articles can be found here:
http://www.svchapel.org/resources/articles/23-doctrine/545-mysticism-part-1
http://www.svchapel.org/resources/articles/23-doctrine/546-mysticism-part-2
http://www.svchapel.org/resources/articles/23-doctrine/547-mysticism-part-3
http://www.svchapel.org/resources/articles/23-doctrine/548-mysticism-part-4
http://www.svchapel.org/resources/articles/23-doctrine/549-mysticism-part-5

Here is a good intro article from Got Questions website:
http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-mysticism.html

Until next time…keep on Contending for the Faith


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