Mystic, Desist!

I was getting all set to do battle with this article, until I read it and discovered it doesn’t say anything interesting. To wit:

1. Everything he says here would be affirmed by even the most wild-eyed pentecostal I know of.
2. He identifies no particular practice under the heading of “mysticism” that he considers biblically inappropriate.

I am therefore left with the conclusion that it is the actual word “mysticism” with which he has his beef. And this I will grant: the word itself is found nowhere in scripture, though some of it’s more distant cognates are present (i.e., mystery). If Tim Challies wishes, I am fully prepared to abandon the word.

There is something to Whitney’s definition of mysticism: “those forms of Christian spirituality which attempt direct or unmediated access to God.” And if, by “unmediated access” he means “apart from the cross,” I agree. There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ.

However, there are multiple accounts in scripture of people receiving “special revelation” without recourse to reading scripture. This is, of course, how the bible was written in the first place, but even with a closed canon, there are numerous examples of people receiving special revelation, which special revelation was never included in scripture. For example, Philip the Evangelist had 4 daughters who prophesied, and yet not one word of theirs was entered in the Bible. It was apparently normative in the early church for people to receive various kinds of extra-biblical special revelation.

So I will throw out my standard trope: If your theology disallows a practice that is normative in scripture, stop. You’re doing something wrong.

Now, what is it, exactly, that Mr. Challies wants the wicked mystics to cease and desist?

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