Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Evils of Mysticism, Pt 4

We will now examine some biblical proofs that show the error and danger of mysticism.

1. There is no foundation for it in Scripture. Nowhere in Scripture is there any promise that the Spirit will indwell every believer as an immediate revealer of truth. The Old Testament revelation was revealed by God’s Spirit through a few prophets who were selected by God and authenticated as such. The New Testament was revealed through men Christ personally chose as His apostles. They were authenticated as His messengers. But NOWHERE is there Scriptural warrant to believe that every single believer is to be divinely inspired to convey or access revelation immediately from God’s Spirit. This is an implicit denial of the doctrine of Scripture!

2. Not only is there no Biblical support for mysticism, it is flatly contradictory to Scripture. Mysticism is not simply in contradiction to this or that isolated passage or teaching of Scripture; it is contrary to God's whole way of dealing with His people. The rule of faith has always been the teachings of God’s authenticated messengers. The appeal has always been, “To the Law and the testimony,“ (Isa. 8:20). The Church has always been held responsible to obey when the divinely appointed prophet said, “Thus saith the Lord.” Obedience was never required to what the Spirit revealed to each individual. Obedience was required to the outward Word, not the inner word. Christ extended this principle to the New Testament when He told the Twelve, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mar. 16:15, 16). What was the whole world to believe? They were to believe the gospel which they preached. Paul tells us that faith cometh by hearing. They he asks, “How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14). God has determined to save men by the foolishness of preaching (1 Cor. 1:21). Paul declares that the preaching of the cross that is the power of God (v. 18). The gospel is the external revelation of God’s plan of salvation through Jesus. This is what is called the “power of God unto salvation” (Rom 1:16). This idea runs through the whole New Testament.

3. Mysticism is contrary to fact just as is it contrary to Scripture. I am assuming a Christian worldview. I am a Christian and I believe that everyone outside of the Christian faith is doomed to hell. There is no salvation outside of belief in Jesus. This is simply the truth and I make no apologies for it. This being true, nothing is more obvious than that men are in complete darkness without the revelation of God’s written Word. No one anywhere has come to the same truths revealed in Scripture through inward revelation and experience. Period.

4. There is no criterion by which mystical experience can be tested. When Benny Hinn or Lady Julian of Norwich claims that Christ appeared to them, how do I authenticate it? More importantly, how do they? There just is no criterion available to test these inner impulses or revelations to determine whether they are from God, from the imagination, or from Satan acting as an angel of light. Even granting that the recipient of a true revelation knows it is from God (which, outside scripture, cannot be granted), how is the recipient of false revelation to know that it is not from God? Conviction is not enough. Sincerity is not enough. There are billions who believe false things to be true. And many hold as false things which are in fact, true. Therefore, to tell a man that he need only look within himself for authoritative spiritual guidance is to damn his soul to hell. Insanity and delusion appear very similar at this point. The recipient of the revelation may be satisfied, but he cannot expect anyone else to share his certainty. They have no way of verifying what he claims. Besides, this neglects one other important fact: It is possible for someone to say something true and not be from God.

In Acts 16:16 – 18, there is a slave girl with a “spirit of divination.” Luke writes, “And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.” She was telling the truth: Paul was a servant of God. So how do we know that her message wasn’t from God? We know because she obtained her revelation through means explicitly forbidden by Scripture. Techniques aren’t neutral. God has ordained Scripture as the one and only source of revelation. All other means are forbidden, therefore their content is to be rejected out of hand, regardless of how true it sounds.

Jesus said that we would know them by their fruits. This same rule applies to doctrines. When doctrines produce undesirable results they are wrong either in how they are taught or lived. Mysticism has always produced evil. Whenever it appears in Christian garb it inevitably lead to devaluing of the Church, the sacraments, the ministry, and the Scriptures.

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