FREQUENTLY  ASKED  QUESTIONS
ABOUT  "CHRISTIAN"  MYSTICISM

 

Index of FAQ about "Christian" Mysticism

 

What Is Mysticism?  /  What Is God’s Means of Communicating Essential Truth to Us Today?

 

The many nuances within mysticism make it extremely difficult to define while also accurately capturing its scope and significance. Nevertheless, Pastor John MacArthur1 provides a particularly cogent definition in his book Reckless Faith: When the Church Loses Its Will to Discern, “Mysticism is the idea that spiritual reality is found by looking inward. … The mystic disdains rational understanding and seeks truth instead through the feelings, the imagination, personal visions, inner voices, private illumination, or other purely subjective means. Objective truth becomes practically superfluous.”2

“Mysticism,” as defined by Merriam-Webster.com, is “The belief that direct knowledge of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience (as intuition or insight).”3 In other words, mysticism utilizes practices which bypass Scripture in an effort to establish a more direct channel of communication with God. These are methods whose manner and practice are not taught or endorsed in the Bible, and which result in knowledge and understanding that is considered divine, and therefore, infallible and equal or superior to that of Scripture. Because these methods circumvent the guiding principles of Scripture, the truth of these revelations is subjective. No longer is there a universal standard against which truth can be measured. Mysticism replaces the absolute truth of the Bible with personal experience and intuition.

Any revelation from God whose validity can’t be confirmed according to the declarations and principles taught in Scripture is, by definition, mystical. It is outside the purview of Scripture. Yet, 2 Timothy 3:16–17 teaches that Scripture is sufficient to teach us everything that we need to know in order to have a right relationship with God and to honor Him, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” This passage does not teach that the Bible provides most of what is needed to be a complete and fully equipped Christian. Instead, it teaches that absolutely every spiritual technique, doctrine, and principle necessary to be complete in God’s eyes has already been supplied to the Christian via the Bible. Consequently, when the Holy Spirit enlightens the mind of a Christian and teaches him to better align his practice with his position in Christ, it will always be rooted in the truths already provided us in Scripture.

The Bible is God’s means of communicating essential truth to us today, and it is sufficient. It is declared by Jesus Christ to be truth in John 17:17. As such, it serves as our ultimate rule of faith and practice for every believer. Everything that we need to know in order to have a right relationship with God and to please Him has already been revealed in Scripture. Every sermon, every spiritual help book, every church program, etc. is only helpful to the Christian if it teaches him to better understand the commandments and principles already recorded in the Bible. All else is a waste of time and a distraction from God’s will for the Christian. There is no such thing as a “new” or “secret” method for having a closer and deeper relationship with God. God is not revealing new truths today to make His people more spiritual. If the Christians during the Apostle Paul’s time could be complete and fully equipped based solely upon the truths found in the Bible, then the same must be true for Christians today who possess the very same Bible.

Scripture teaches that we should turn to it if we want to know what God has to say, and yet mysticism teaches that we can bypass and contradict the guidelines of Scripture in order to receive direct knowledge and insight from God. These two teachings are not compatible with one another. Clearly we have a problem. Realizing that Biblical Christianity and mysticism are not compatible with one another, we are compelled to conclude that there can be no such thing as “Christian” mysticism. Anything that contradicts or amends the standard of God’s Word is not truly Christian. Rather, it belongs to the spirit of anti-Christ. Please keep this in mind each time that the title “Christian mysticism” is used in this book. This title is misleading. Nevertheless, there are those today who attempt to use mystical techniques which are outside the limits of those found in Scripture in order to enhance their spiritual relationship with God, and they have chosen to call these practices “Christian” mysticism.

 


1. John MacArthur is pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California and was named by Christianity Today as one of the most influential preachers in America. In addition to his internationally syndicated radio program Grace to You, he is a prolific author and is responsible for the MacArthur Study Bible.
(“The Top 25 Most Influential Preachers.” Christianity Today, 2006, Source: Wikipedia, “John.”)
2. MacArthur, Reckless Faith, 27.
3. “Mysticism,” Merriam-Webster.com.

Works Cited

1. MacArthur, John. Reckless Faith: When The Church Loses Its Will To Discern. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1994.
2. “Mysticism.” Merriam-Webster.com. Accessed September 24, 2013. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mysticism.
3. Wikipedia. “John F. MacArthur.” Last Updated June 24, 2014. Accessed March 18, 2014. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._MacArthur.

 

The above comes from our book Sinister Spirit. Check out this book to see how "Christian" mysticism is linked to the spirit of antichrist.

 

Author: Timothy Zebell, 2014