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lwpray
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Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
Sweden

 Re:



Mr. Baily,

Again, we must declare that the walk with the Lord, the ministry of the interior has nothing to do with the mysticism you are so eager to attack and to destroy.
It is not fair to put labels on us which does not match what we stand for.
It holds no wisdom to put us in boxes in which we do not fit, in which we do not belong.

What is the point of defining anything, if the definitions are not rightly used. Mysticism may be rightly defined by what you put forth, but if you at the same time try to fit us in within this framework you are certainly missing the mark and doing a forum of discussion a disfavour.
You are accusing us of maintaining positions theologically which we do not maintain or adhere to. And by doing so, your case is lost.

Mysticism belongs to the realm of the salvation of self.
Ministry before the Lord is never self-imposed, self-exalting or a means of salvation.
Mysticism opens a door to the realm of spiritual vanity and deception.
Ministry before the Lord leads to maturity and veracity.
Mysticism holds no benefits.
Ministry unto the Lord serves every level of reality and is therefore costly and it includes a price for anyone who dare to engage in the struggle.

Lars W.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/20 8:59Profile
lwpray
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 Re:



Dear Ed, readers and friends. . .

The fellowship, the communion with the Lord in its various aspects – prayer, worship and a walk in fidelity and truthfulness, engages my heart and thinking intensely.
I could not but move into this thread with some sharp words as I saw some valuable items go down the drain by a somewhat careless treatment of the subject.
The mystery of Christ and mysticism are not interchangeable concepts. We do well to point this out.
We, Mr. Baily and I, do things quite differently, our thinking takes us to positions which seem to contradict each other, our characters are perhaps not adjusted to each other – I cannot say for sure and I hope for the better, but I do not hesitate to say that our faith is going to take us both to Heaven dressed in white.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/20 9:43Profile
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 Re:

Wow,

I was awaiting the results here from our beloved brothers and it was not a [i]mystery[/i] that two of our 'elders' if I may borrow the usage might have something to say on this topic.

A couple of observations. In a strange way it seems that Lars and Ron are both saying the same thing but perhaps it is the definition and it's borders that are confusing.

The warnings I can appreciate and side up with easily enough. Our imaginations can run off into all kinds of areas without a guard, a guide, a map. When we start adding things or detracting or misapplying...what's the word...extrapolation?

Philologos (Ron) stated:

Quote:
Mysticism is a phenomena which is found in all religions (and I am choosing my words carefully). It is the basis of the transcendental meditation which undergirds Buddhism and Hinduism. It is found in the Jewish Kabbalah (it is an integral part of Chasidic Judaism) and among the Muslim Sufis. And it is found in mediaeval Catholicism. Latterly, of course, it has reared its head in New Age. [b]Some theologians have concluded that it is the basic element of religion and hence the common core for all experience of God.[/b]



Which being obviously a complete misrepresentation of true belief also makes for a cozy dismissal of the facts in our case as Christians. Our faith is worked out of the evidence already plainly stated in scripture and is proved by our dispositions being changed from the inside out, not by self effort of the sort that causes one to impose upon himself extracurriculars as a means to gaining that which is already freely given.

Being transformed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit ought to be mystical enough in my honest opinion.

Have certainly more questions than answers. It seems by attaching "ism" to the end of 'mystic' is where the trouble lies. Is it an all including camp? To interject the origins of this posting back into the conversation, are these mentioned [i]all[/i] to be dismissed? Honest questions, not provoking here...that inflection thing...(maybe we need little 'inflection' icons, i.e. 'serious', 'ticked-off', 'kidding', 'honest' etc....would probably make it hard to read...how about just 'patience'?) Are they as Ron stated to 'dangerous' to even approach? I completely understand the theory of 'a little leaven' and know what gets my own dander up ie WOF, prosperity, etc.

Maybe our friend has already answered his own original question in that it was raising red flags and causing some hesitancy. Which is why I alluded earlier to the issue of discernment.

At the same time wondering if it all needs to be corralled into the same container though. Perhaps some examples from the mentioned names would be of some help to unravel the thought process here. Looking forward to more of the congenial discussion that we are so familiar with. 8-)


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Mike Balog

 2004/11/20 10:45Profile
philologos
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 Re:

Mr Widerberg

Quote:
The fellowship, the communion with the Lord in its various aspects – prayer, worship and a walk in fidelity and truthfulness, engages my heart and thinking intensely.

And mine, but then this has nothing at all to do with mysticism. I think because I believe not the other way around.

Quote:
I could not but move into this thread with some sharp words as I saw some valuable items go down the drain by a somewhat careless treatment of the subject.


Quote:
ryan’s original post: Most importantly after reading writings of St. John of the Cross I went into his version of contamplative prayer. I ended up in a mostly unconcious state jumping up quickly in fear after a voice said something to the point of "call on the name of who you want".

From such a plea came my ‘careless treatment’. Following classical ‘christian’ mystic practice will open a man up the occult.

Quote:
ryan’s original post: I used to be involved in the New age and the occult and I must say there seems to be a fine line between the occult and Christian mysticism if any at all.

I agree with ryan. Keep away from it. I first encountered the preaching and writing of A W Tozer over 40 years ago. I have received his ministry ever since, but his recommendation of the mystics I think was a mistake. I have a list his recommended books from the mystics; I would recommend that Christians, and particularly young Christians, give them a wide berth. Mike, I think, suggested examples. I am loathe to provide such.

Quote:
] ryan’s original post: I have not read much of their stuff though for a few reasons:
1. They are more connected with general mysticism than Christianity
2. Jesus is mentioned very little along with salvation
3. The bible seems very unimportant to them
4. To me they seem to chase experience more than truth
5. They seem to look more to their own soul and calling that God.

ryan is describing classical mysticism.

Quote:
Mysticism belongs to the realm of the salvation of self.
Ministry before the Lord is never self-imposed, self-exalting or a means of salvation.
Mysticism opens a door to the realm of spiritual vanity and deception.
Ministry before the Lord leads to maturity and veracity.
Mysticism holds no benefits.
Ministry unto the Lord serves every level of reality and is therefore costly and it includes a price for anyone who dare to engage in the struggle.

I agree with this paragraph so completely that I can’t see how we ever got into this exchange. :-?


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Ron Bailey

 2004/11/20 14:27Profile
lwpray
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Joined: 2003/6/22
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 Re:



Dear Ron,
We ran into this argument simply because you underlined both once and twice that there is no cost involved on man's side when it comes to fellowship with God. Prayer is painful, a wearisome work at times. The revivalists can tell.
I am quite happy ending the argument here, and to switch to a "Dear Ron".

Lars


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/20 14:45Profile
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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

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 Re:

Quote:
However, Leonard Ravenhill, who I greatly admire, speaks of these people with very high regard.


We are the ones that label people Christian "mystics" truly people like guyon, fenelon, etc were children of God. They had insights into Christ's life that is worth our finding out. Christianity is "mystical" in its essence and is not something that can be figured out per-ce, the deepest truths of Christian religion is given by "revelation" from above.

As towards the arguments and disputations of the moderators I think its all part of struggling to let go of our pre-occupations and allow the Spirit to guide us into all truth. Surely there are extremes from any types of teachers that are excessive and dangerous which is worth mentioning and being careful of.

"cant we just all get along" hee hee :-P


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/11/20 16:19Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
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 Re:

Quote:
Christianity is "mystical" in its essence and is not something that can be figured out per-ce, the deepest truths of Christian religion is given by "revelation" from above.

Greg
Christianity is not mystical it is spiritual, and the two words do not mean the same thing. [b]But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [/b] (1Co 2:10-12 KJV)

Those who have received the Spirit of God are spiritual, the others are not even though they may pretend to be. Mysticism produces Jakes. Remember him? [b]To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. [/b] (Isa 8:20 KJV)
Quote:
We are the ones that label people Christian "mystics" truly people like guyon, fenelon, etc were children of God.

I guess I shall get into even more trouble with this statement. A Christian can be a Roman Catholic, but you can't be a 'good Christian' and a 'good Catholic' at the same time. Why? Because official Catholic dogma insists that you believe in Transubstantiation, and the Assumption of Mary, and the Immaculate Conception, and the re-offering of Christ's sacrifice in the Mass. I have met some fine Christians who were Catholic, but they were never 'good' Catholics. They came to Christ for forgiveness of sins and not the priest. That made them 'good Christians' but 'bad Catholics'. In the same sense you can have Christians who are mystics, but you can't have people who are 'good Christians' and 'good mystics' at the same time. Because the patterns of each are counter to the other.

Sure we can 'get along'. All we have to do is be silent when error is abroad.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/11/20 17:19Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
Tozer, and many others, have judged that the benefits of mystic insights outweigh its dangers. My own view is the exact opposite.


Brother Ron, I understand you have some quite adamanet beliefs in this subject and I believe we have touched on some of it in some music threads which kinda of ties into this more 'mystical' Christian experience. From my persective and how I would see and use the word mystical in modern western usuage would pertain to anything mostly supernatural. Religion is expected to be rational and explainable in an age of science and human ingenduity. I think then rather to throw out the word mystical and replace it with spiritual, I would rather say there are gunuine mystical experiences which are according to the spirit of truth that comes from the God we serve. I know of much "Spiritual" happenings which are dubious and obviously not correct or from God.

Let us maybe consider some examples of Saints from the past. John Bunyan had many spiritual experiences which many would call "mystical" dreams and revelations.

Duncan Campbell recieved a vision of hell and was never the same again, wouldnt this be considered an extreme spiritual experience even mystical?

I am fumbling over my thoughts here abit but I am really trying to say 2 things. Firstly that the word "mystical" has many meanings in the mind of Christians and really using it to explain the proper supernatural is not a crime or even inproper in our age. Secondly we should be careful over arguing over words but rather discuss the ideals and principles which you are touching on. I think the beginning question from the fellow in this thread is over a spiritual experience he had, maybe that paticular experience could be related and discussed to help him.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/11/20 17:36Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
From my persective and how I would see and use the word mystical in modern western usuage would pertain to anything mostly supernatural. Religion is expected to be rational and explainable in an age of science and human ingenduity. I think then rather to throw out the word mystical and replace it with spiritual, I would rather say there are gunuine mystical experiences which are according to the spirit of truth that comes from the God we serve.

Here’s simple exercise. Go to amazon.com, find the book section and type in ‘mysticism’ in the search box. See what you get. Would you want a young Christian to be let loose into this area? Just look at the first 25 of 28699! What a junkyard of occult! In Christian circles we can readily replace the concept with ‘spiritual’ although in the outside world ‘spiritual’ has come to mean something very close to mystic.

Quote:
Let us maybe consider some examples of Saints from the past. John Bunyan had many spiritual experiences which many would call "mystical" dreams and revelations.

I have dreams and revelations but I will not call them mystic. Dreams and revelations are authentic proofs of the arrival of the Spirit according to Peter’s quotation from Joel.

Quote:
Duncan Campbell recieved a vision of hell and was never the same again, wouldnt this be considered an extreme spiritual experience even mystical?

No it is not mystic, it is spiritual.

The essence of the mystic is passivity. It is the opening of the mind to whatever is passing. It is bringing everything to a passive stillness and waiting to see what pops into the mind. Its purpose is to facilitate union with the divine. It accepts no authority other than its own self-authenticating experience. I have tremendous problems with Jesse Penn-Lewis and War on the Saints but this I agree with whole heartedly ‘God has never said to any of our human faculties “be thou idle”’. Choice is the guardian of the soul. Nothing enters without express permission and invitation. Christ will not enter unless a man ‘hears his voice and opens the door’. The mystic opens the door before he hears any voice and passively receives.

The mystic believes that suffering brings purification and so he seeks it. In fact, he seeks it to the extent of self-harm in extreme circumstances. He has no interest in external authorities; no holy script has authority over his experience. The experience authenticates the process and is its own proof.

Christian meditation is quite different. It is the conscious waiting on the soul on God in the consciousness of His presence. Every “ransomed power” is on the stretch Godwards.
All for Jesus, all for Jesus!
All my being’s ransomed powers:
All my thoughts and words and doings,
All my days and all my hours.
This is not passivity but strenuous given-ness. The KJV sometimes uses the word ‘yield’ [b] Know ye not, that to whom ye [u]yield[/u] yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? [/b] (Rom 6:16 KJV) but ‘yield’ is a poor translation. It would be better to have been consistent and translate the word as it is translated later; [b] I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye [u]present[/u] your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. [/b] (Rom 12:1 KJV) The word means to proffer.

The whole difference between mysticism and Christian meditation and waiting upon God is in the two words. To ‘yield’ is to give up passively, to ‘present’ is to offer up, actively. The first is the aim of transcendental meditation which is common to all religions with a mystic element. I drift into absorption with the divine… such drifting will more likely take the drifter into the demonic.

As regards other elements of the Christian pilgrimage. I am no stranger to pain and sorrow. I have known such in long, drawn out, trials and in the intense pangs of grief. I never think of these as ‘costs’ [b] For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; [/b] Phi 1:29 KJV) They are given; they are gifts. I don’t seek these but as they are given I seek to embrace them actively rather than sinking down into the passive acceptance of the Stoic.

The danger always is passivity. I recall looking into the tranquil faces of young Tibetan monks in Northern India. They are the very models of serenity which they attribute to their meditation practice. I recall looking into their faces and hearing in my heart the verse; [b] When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: [/b] (Luk 11:21 KJV) This was the Lord’s explanation of demon possession if we read it in its context.

My musical tastes are very wide. I can enjoy almost anything, but I will not let the music ‘take me’. The word of the Lord is always ‘choose’. I’m not sure what you refer to in your comment on my attitudes to music, but I will not let so-called Christian music ‘take me’ either. I use music; I will not allow music to use me. I use my mind; I will not allow my mind to use me. These are good servants but dangerous masters.

I’m not going to post any more on this topic but I will try to explain why I feel so strongly. I see rows of pretty bottles with folks saying can’t we just appreciate some good things about these bottles? With all my strength I must cry [b]poison![/b] I can do no other. If I have startled you, I’m sorry, genuinely sorry, but if I can keep one dabbler away from those bottles I’m willing to take the flack.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/11/20 18:39Profile
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
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 Re:

Beloved,

We get an opportunity to put into practice the new word we learned: philostorgos. Let us be kindly affectioned towards one another.

Quote:
Christianity is not mystical it is spiritual, and the two words do not mean the same thing.



I am reading through these posts and many thoughts are coming to mind. First, there are some strong views on both sides and for good reason; this is when things can get very ugly. Second, I think that the use of the term mystic has caused the most problem.

I have observed in the past that the enemy would like us to shun genuinely spiritual things and take up mystical things as a substitute. I have felt this for some time. I have personally, in years past, tried to be mystical to become spiritual. I have been to prayer meeting's that were done by candle light and sometimes in total darkness. I thought that if I would get the mood right with worship music and the lighting right- somehow God would 'show up.' This was being mystical to try to get spiritual.

The bells and whistles went off for me in 1993 when I was heading to New Orleans to attend a Benny Hinn crusade on a train 24 hours each way. I met a woman who was a Catholic, Charismatic, New Ager. The crusades had a sort of 'mystical feel' to them and those type of people went to the meetings for an spiritual experience. I later saw Benny Hinn on his show with a man that was telling him that he went through a 'door' in prayer. As a Pentecostal, that disturbed me greatly.

I have studied in depth the New Age movement and Gnosticism. I knew it sounded like a spin off of Eastern Religion. And while were here we may as well deal with the "latent power of the soul" thing. The Kempo 'Master' I studied under while backslidden in the late 80's called it "KI" (as in AiKIdo). These people meditate and meditate and meditate until they can perform unnatural things. It is VERY DANGEROUS. You are opening up to demon spirits and all sorts of stuff doing that.

I HAD to make a distinction between what is Spiritual and mystical. I have to live a life powered by the Holy Ghost alone. No weird stuff while listening to mellowing music or trying to gain an experience. I have long since cut BH off of my list of ministers I listen to. These guys have quoted Tozer and all sorts of Mystics, both "Christian" and New Age. You can (at least used to) even find Dino' K's piano music in New Age stores! I found the stuff there when I was researching it in 1994. The New Agers found it conducive to their end.

Brethren, I propose one solution- lets all just get and stay FULL of the Holy Ghost.

God Bless,

-Robert


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/11/20 18:44Profile





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