The following is from an article you can read here titled “Learn to Discern: The Corruption of Christianity”. The quote below is #3 on the article’s list of “six transitions that are leading the church into apostasy at an alarming rate.”
I agree with all six of the transitions explained in the article, but I wanted to highlight #3 because I have seen this one quietly gaining much ground, and mostly going unnoticed. This transition from faith to mysticism is a cancer that is slowly eating away at the Church. And it’s not only in the local churches here and there. I’ve seen it in many churches (dare I say, most), and I’ve even seen it taking over the highest levels of leadership of some otherwise sound evangelical organizations with worldwide influence. This is widespread, indeed!
Here’s the paragraph on this from the article.
Biblical faith is simply belief in the Word of God that results in trust and obedience. Abraham is the great example of faith. God gave him a promise and a command (Gen. 12:1-3) and because he believed God’s promise, he obeyed God’s command (Heb. 11:8). The whole Christian life operates on the principle of Biblical faith (Col. 2:5-7), which is dependent on a rational understanding and growing knowledge of Scripture (Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Pet. 3:18). But the new paradigm has replaced faith with mysticism. Mysticism is direct communion with God apart from the rational. The Christian life is now founded on, defined by, measured by, and consumed with subjective, sensual, tangible, palpable, sentimental emotions, feelings, and experiences. Personal visions, revelations, signs from heaven, impressions from the Spirit, messages from God, and heart-warming encounters are the new standard. These are the measure of truth, the means of spiritual growth, and the source of assurance of God’s presence. All of these experiences are, of course, justified with an attached Bible verse. Serious, analytical Bible study and sound theology are deemed cold rationalism, dead orthodoxy, and the quenching of the Spirit, all the Scriptural warnings notwithstanding. This transition has opened the doors of the church to almost any false teaching in vogue at any given time. Like a body without an immune system, the church has been overrun by every theological virus known to mankind. Yet the patient has no sense of his condition.
It’s my opinion that this transition is the most dangerous to the church today. It’s so quiet and subtle, and it appears and sounds so good and spiritual, that many people accept it as biblical. Many seminaries offer courses—indeed doctoral degrees—in the practice of this type of mysticism. I’ve heard that there are some accreditation organizations that will not grant accreditation to Christian universities that do not offer this type of contemplative spirituality as a course or degree. This is scary stuff already, much more so when you consider the future of the Church as it’s being trained in these seminaries.
Now, of course I do agree that God is still sovereign and God is still in control of his Church. But that does not mean we can dismiss this trend. Falsehood such as this must be called out and removed as the cancer that it is.
Please pray fervently about this. Please ask our great God to clarify truth in the minds of his people. Please pray for the Church at large, for more and more discernment. And while you’re praying, pray for your own local church family, especially those in positions of leadership and influence.
The Bible alone is our final authority. If we are to seek extra-biblical revelation from God in the form of impressions, images, dreams, etc., then the natural conclusion is that Scripture is not enough for us. It means that the Bible does not contain everything we need to be completely equipped for every good work that God has for us to do (see 2 Timothy 3:15-17).
God has established the Church to reach a dying world for Christ. As members of the Church, we must be about this ministry of reconciliation. But we need to be sure we’re leading people to the correct Jesus and not a false mystical Jesus. Will you consider this today?
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).