The Advent of Christian Mysticism

An increasing number of believers are drifting away from organized religion to embrace a more personal encounter with God.

Readership: Christians
Theme: Masculine Authority and Responsibility
Length:
450 words + links
Reading Time: 1.5 minutes

About Christian Mysticism

As readers may know, I’ve only just discovered Christian Mysticism in the past couple years (from my pastor, Ed Hurst, and NovaSeeker), but I’m finding that it is a very important part of faith, perhaps even the central aspect of the faith experience.

It is also known as the “Noetic sense”, “Holy Cynicism”, or “Romantic Christianity”.  The main concept of this is that one is directly seeking peace with God and has no expectation of finding that peace through the philosophies, systems, and institutions of this world — including Aristotelian theological approaches and organized religious institutions with all of their problems.  This approach to faith does not exclude Biblical teaching or Christian fellowship, but emphasizes these instead.

Unfortunately, there is just not a lot of information about Christian mysticism.  To make matters worse, there is a diffuse fear surrounding the term as it has the connotation of being esoteric, and there is some degree of hesitancy in accepting it as an authentic form of Christian faith.  For these reasons, Christian Mysticism is not taken seriously by Mainline Protestants, and is frowned upon in many circles.

To my knowledge, the Orthodox Church is the only Christian sect that has a well-developed liturgy about mysticism.  NovaSeeker (who is Orthodox) and I have written a number of posts coming from the perspective of Christian Mysticism.  I’ve also written posts about other forms of Mysticism (Eastern Mysticism and a series on Gnosticism) such to make a comparison.  I’ve listed these posts below under Related.  Ed Hurst (who comes from a Calvinist perspective) touches on mysticism rather frequently in his writings at Radix Fidem.

Interested readers who are unfamiliar with Christian Mysticism but who want to learn more may like to start out by reading Ed’s posts that focus exclusively on Christian Mysticism.  Then go on to read all Ed’s posts in the Christian Mysticism category.  Also, Ed has written a book about Christian mysticism which you can find here.

Mysticism is Displacing Ecclesiasticism

I want to bring readers’ attention to a debate going on in the Sphere between Francis Berger, Bruce Charlton, Kristor, Alan Roebuck, J. M. Smith, and others participating in the comments sections, about the validity, value, place, and purpose of Christian Mysticism, and how this is affecting traditional ecclesiastical Christianity.  I believe this debate is important because the current emergence of Christian Mysticism will become a significant movement in the history of Christianity.  We are witnessing its conception right here.

  1. Francis Berger: The Altar-Civilization Model is Over (2022-7-22)
  2. The Orthosphere (J.M. Smith): Preparing for the Aftermath: My Answer to Francis Berger (2022-7-22)
  3. The Orthosphere (Kristor): On the Reason & Purpose & Intent of the Orthosphere (2022-7-23)
  4. Bruce Charlton: What is the “Orthosphere debate” (concerning the Altar-Civilization Model) ultimately About? (2022-7-23)
  5. The Orthosphere (Kristor): On Finding the True Way to Life (2022-7-24)
  6. The Orthosphere (Alan Roebuck): On Our Recent Discussions of Christianity (2022-7-28)
  7. The Orthosphere (Kristor): Romantic Christianity versus Christianity Proper (2022-7-30)
  8. Bruce Charlton: Me-Here-Now versus History – what kind of Christian are you? (2022-7-30)
  9. The Orthosphere (Alan Roebuck): Examining Bruce Charlton’s Theory of Knowing Christian Truth (2022-7-31)
  10. Bruce Charlton: Should Christians hand-over their eternal salvation to… historians? Romantic Christianity at the cutting-edge (2022-7-31)
  11. The Orthosphere (Alan Roebuck): Further Study of Bruce Charlton’s Theory of Christian Epistemology (2022-8-1)
  12. The Orthosphere (Kristor): On Branding Romantic Christians Enemies of Christianity (2022-8-1)
  13. Francis Berger: On Being Branded an Enemy of Christianity (2022-7-31)
  14. Derek L. Ramsey: What is Christian Conversion? (2022-8-1)
  15. From the Narrow Desert: The most important teaching of the Book of Mormon (2022-8-1)
  16. Francis Berger: Not Alone, But With the Holy Spirit (2022-7-31)
  17. Meeting the Masters: On Romantic and Church Christianity (2022-8-1)
  18. Francis Berger: All Salvation is “Not Alone, But With the Holy Spirit” (2022-8-1)
  19. Bruce Charlton: Renewal by Schism: How might Christian churches be purged of corruption and affiliation to evil, and restored to God-affiliation? (2022-8-2)
  20. Bruce Charlton: Step one in modern Christian conversion is always… intuitive individual discernment. The only question is whether the convert acknowledges this fact (2022-8-2)
  21. Francis Berger: The Romantic Christian Maxim That Has Apparently Shaken Christianity to Its Core (2022-8-3)
  22. Francis Berger: Missed the Point? Dismissed the Point? Then What’s the Point? (2022-8-3)
  23. Meeting the Masters: More on Different Spiritual Priorities (2022-8-3)

Note 1: I expect this debate to continue for some time, so this list of links may be updated in the future.
Note 2: Some time stamps appear to be anachronistic, but are not. The anomaly is due to different time zones.
Note 3: Alan Roebuck asked me some pointed questions about Christian Mysticism here.  It’s difficult to give him a solid answer because his questions are premised on traditional Protestant soteriology.

Update (2022-8-1): In post 12, Kristor drew a hard line, and in post 13, Berger withdrew. Were looking at a schism!
Update (2022-8-4): We have not heard anything from The Orthosphere since 2022-8-1. It appears they’re trying to kill the debate through silence.

Related

About Jack

Jack is a world traveling artist, skilled in trading ideas and information, none of which are considered too holy, too nerdy, nor too profane to hijack and twist into useful fashion. Sigma Frame Mindsets and methods for building and maintaining a masculine Frame
This entry was posted in Discernment, Wisdom, Faith Community, Introspection, Manosphere, Masculine Disciplines, Maturity, Personal Growth and Development, Mysticism, Orthodoxy, Paradigms of Religion, Prophecy, Protestantism, The Power of God. Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to The Advent of Christian Mysticism

  1. Derek Ramsey says:

    “Alan Roebuck asked me some pointed questions about Christian Mysticism here. It’s difficult to give him a solid answer because his questions are premised on traditional Protestant soteriology.”

    I think Anabaptism answers some of Roebuck’s concerns. One theory of Anabaptist origins is that it comes from three distinct sources:

    “South German–Austrian Anabaptism “was a diluted form of Rhineland mysticism”, Swiss Anabaptism “arose out of Reformed congregationalism”, and Dutch Anabaptism was formed by “Social unrest and the apocalyptic visions of Melchior Hoffman”.”

    Mysticism. Perhaps one does not think of the Amish or Mennonites as mystics, but let’s consider it. Roebuck concludes his essay (at the link above) thus:

    ““Personal revelations up-to and including fundamental matters of theology, doctrines, life-practices etc” are not needed if God has delivered the faith once and for all. And His Word says that He has. Personal revelation is not needed. Personal discernment is needed.”

    And in this—as an Anabaptist—I respectfully disagree.

    My birth church—the Church of the Brethren—is non-creedal. There are no official statements of faith, not even the Apostles Creed. Why? Because we need only the Word of God as the final authority. But, how do we know that? How do I know, for example, to accept the Book of Esther but not the book of Judith? What about the eleven alleged forgeries in the New Testament?

    The answer is the Holy Spirit. One must be a mystic to be guided by the Holy Spirit.

    Anabaptists are generally ruled by groups of elders, but it is critical that those elders are guided by the Holy Spirit—not a cabal of powerful men—because it is God who ultimately rules. The mechanism by which the Holy Spirit speaks to men and tells them what is right and what is wrong is mysticism.

    Be careful when you say ‘personal discernment’. The ‘personal’ refers to the ‘individual’ or ‘within’ rather that ‘corporate’ or ‘external’, but it is not personal as in ‘originating from the person’. It is personal as in ‘the Holy Spirit revealing from within’. This is a critical distinction. Without the revealing by the Holy Spirit, no man can be saved (as with Simon Peter’s confession in Matthew 16:17).

    Roebuck’s two questions…

    “As a Christian mystic, do you affirm the traditional doctrine that salvation from hell requires the individual to have propositional knowledge about Jesus Christ, as well as agreeing with the propositions and placing his trust in Jesus to atone for his sins? And do you affirm that the Bible is God-breathed, and therefore fully trustworthy and largely understandable my man?”

    …miss the point. This is key: without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Bible is not trustworthy and largely understandable by man. Indeed, without the Holy Spirit revealing it to man, the Bible is worth precisely nothing, with all its confusing words, apparent contradictions, variant readings, etc. Modern man wanders to-and-fro as he has forgotten how to listen to the Holy Spirit, to turn a stack of paper with words written on it into the Words of Life.

    Jesus required an acknowledgement and repentance of sin, belief in the resurrection, and acceptance of Jesus as Lord. He did not require an acceptance of any specific doctrinal creedal statement. Indeed, the New Testament didn’t exist and is thus, logically, not a requirement for faith, not even within its own pages does it declare that it is.

    Have you never wondered how two Christians can be doctrinal heretics (on matters not essential to salvation) to one another while simultaneously both working the wonders of God, each according to the commands that God has laid on their hearts?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. thedeti says:

    I have not read the post in full detail.

    Catacomb Resident who posts here is an adherent of Christian mysticism as practiced in its original context as an Ancient Near East (ANE) religion. His blog can be found at crez.strob.us

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derek Ramsey says:

      Here is a relevant quote from his recent post:

      “My blog promotes Christian Mysticism. One of the pillars of that is detachment from this world (disentanglement). Do not allow this world to pull you back down into the flesh. Climbing out the fleshly nature is what we mean by moving your conscious awareness into your heart. The heart is a sensory organ capable of discerning moral truth directly, without any filters. The heart can read the spiritual realm and interpret what is required in the specific context. This is why the Lord wrote our convictions on our hearts with His own finger. Convictions are the tablet of His Law inside of us.”

      Like

  3. Gunner Q says:

    I’ve tried to follow that debate to no effect. Too much philosophy and personal definitions of words.

    While I’m open to Christian mysticism, having approached the topic from the Charismatic perspective, the sense I get is that there’s a suffocation or absence of the Holy Spirit these days. It doesn’t want to be found.

    Like

    • thedeti says:

      Agree that the discussion is quite dry. I think it’s important though because the “throne and altar” model is falling away. The current situation and the coming collapse of the West will likely plunge the entire world into another Dark Ages/Middle Ages.

      What then will men and women resort to for relationship with Christ, and for governance?

      –There’s the Benedict Option (see Rod Dreher’s book)

      –There’s Christian mysticism. Current christianity attempts this, especially evangelical Protestant Christianity, with the exhortation to getting “a personal relationship with Jesus”. But when evangelicals say it it comes off as smarmy and cringey. What folks like Ed Hurst and Catacomb Resident are talking about is much, much deeper and more profound in scope and meaning. It’s personal to each individual man and woman who seek and experience it. “Seek and ye shall find”- the individual will have to seek Him out, without a throne and without an altar. I suspect that was Berger’s main point.

      Liked by 5 people

    • Derek Ramsey says:

      “there’s a suffocation or absence of the Holy Spirit these days.”

      I can explain this in simple terms.

      There were times when everyone was spiritual (everyone had the ability to intuit mystically). A preacher could tour the country and redemption would follow in his footsteps. One needed only to preach the Word and the masses would respond, for even the heathens were already spiritually attuned and would intuitively sense the truth of the Word of God.

      As Charlton notes, this is no longer the case in the West. The suffocation/absence is due to the inability of the masses to be spiritually attuned. When you preach the word, it falls on deaf ears (like seed onto hard rocky soil that does not germinate). The idea of literal and actual bi-directional communication with God (i.e. not a metaphor) is an utterly foreign concept few can now comprehend.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Alan Roebuck says:

    In my two latest Orthosphere posts (items # 9 and 11 on your list above), I have indicated that the subjective inner states of the Christian supplement, but do not displace (and must be based upon) the words of Scripture.

    Regarding what is needed for the individual to be saved. At minimum, the individual needs to trust that Jesus saves him from his sins. If he is aware that the words of Scripture teach, for example, justification by faith only, but he rejects this, then we must question his salvation. Those who trust Jesus do not reject His teachings. Consider Luke 18:9–14. In verse 14, Jesus himself explicitly teaches that the tax collector was justified by his faith and nothing more.

    Regarding personal revelation: If “revelation” means new doctrine that contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture, I reject it. If “personal revelation” means the Holy Spirit operating on us personally, using the words of Scripture (a phenomenon that is taught often in the Bible), I embrace it.

    I think that there is more agreement between the Mystics / Romantic Christians than most people on both sides acknowledge. There is, of course, a lot of disagreement, some of it decisive.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Derek Ramsey says:

      “I think that there is more agreement between the Mystics / Romantic Christians than most people on both sides acknowledge.”

      I agree, however…

      “If “revelation” means new doctrine that contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture, I reject it.”

      …this begs the question. Many (most?) doctrines are anything but clear.

      Consider infant baptism and believer’s baptism. Both Roman Catholics and Magisterial Protestants murdered many in my ethnic group as a matter of doctrinal differences that remain unresolved today.

      Under the clarity standard, either the Roman Catholic and Magisterial Protestants or the Anabaptists are solely and clearly right. If you agree with the position of the RCC or the Magisterial Protestants, you’ll conclude that murder in the name of doctrine is justified. If you agree with the Anabaptists, you’ll conclude that the RCC and Magisterial Protestants have invalidated their legitimacy. That is where reason alone takes you.

      But what if the Holy Spirit leads people to individually do the Will of the Father, led primarily by their individual convictions? Don’t the scriptures say that the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc.? Do what God calls you to do, even if it goes against another’s doctrine, for you will know Christians by their fruits, not their doctrines. The Holy Spirit is powerful enough to guide individuals differently.

      Mysticism says that the Christian walk is neither corporate nor uniform. What you are called to do by God may not be the same as what I am called to do. Were not some called to circumcision, preaching to the Jews, while others called to preach to the Gentiles?

      Liked by 3 people

      • Alan Roebuck says:

        The primary issue is this: Jesus Christ, when He walked the earth, had a specific nature, taught specific things, and did specific things. He acted in space and time, not in a timeless mystical realm.

        It is necessary for those who follow Jesus to know and believe these things, through the written record. If you have uncertainty on some things, so be it. But Jesus and those who wrote down His teachings were pretty clear and emphatic about many of these things.

        Baptism was one example you gave. The Bible says little about the exact nature of baptism, so disagreement is understandable. But The Bible says a lot about the nature and works of Jesus, and about how man is saved. If you reject the clear things, your soul is in danger.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jack says:

        “The primary issue is this: Jesus Christ, when He walked the earth, had a specific nature, taught specific things, and did specific things. He acted in space and time, not in a timeless mystical realm.”

        Space and time comprise but four dimensions of reality. The spiritual realm extends beyond these to an unknown number of dimensions. (String Theory postulates that there are 10 or 11 dimensions. Bosonic String Theory supposes there are 26 or 27 dimensions. Who can say how many more will be discovered?) Mysticism is an attempt to surpass the four dimensions of the physical world and enter into eternity — defined as that which is independent of space and time and not an infinite length of time as is commonly but erroneously understood.

        The limitation of fallen man is that his actions are confined to space and time. The atheist or worldly man believes this is all there is to life. The significance of Jesus’ actions is that He entered into space and time as a human being, and then surpassed the confines of these 4 dimensions as evidenced by His miracles (i.e. His resurrection from the dead being first and foremost). In doing so, He thereby altered the fundamental constitution of eternity. In believing, man recognizes his limitations, gains a new perspective of eternity, and pursues living his life with these things in mind.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Derek Ramsey says:

        “Jesus Christ, when He walked the earth, had a specific nature, taught specific things, and did specific things. He acted in space and time, not in a timeless mystical realm.”

        As Charlton and Berger noted there is a big difference between eastern-style mystical/magic mysticism and Christian mysticism. The first step is to reject the emptying, timeless nature of eastern mysticism and all its associated baggage. The second step is to “demystify and demysticize” the separate concept of “Christian mysticism”.

        Jesus was in full communion with the Father, at all times. He did not do this through touch, smell, taste, hearing, or sight. His was primarily a spiritual (or divine) heart connection of a specific nature. He taught us specifically (in the book of John) to know God in the same way.

        How did Jesus say that Simon Peter knew who Jesus was? The Father revealed it through the Word. But like modern man who hears but cannot hear (with the divine sense), it requires more than taking in the words through one’s eyes and ears, but with the heart (see Matthew 13:15).

        “The Bible says little about the exact nature of baptism, so disagreement is understandable”

        The same can be said for a vast number of doctrines that people hold to be fundamental. Few doctrines, if any, are uncontested. It is meaningless:

        “If you reject the clear things, your soul is in danger.”

        The terms of salvation are abundantly clear: acknowledge sin and repent, believe in the resurrection, and make Jesus your master. If you lack the divine connection with Jesus—through the gift of the Holy Spirit—doctrinal purity is of no relevance at all to the condition of the soul. The condition of your heart determines salvation.

        This is difficult to accept, but doctrinal purity (i.e. agreement) is just not essential. If one is in full communion with the Holy Spirit, there can be no doctrinal error. Clarity in the former produces clarity in the latter, not the other way around: the Father revealed it to Simon Peter and so was he saved. He brought nothing to the table. Indeed, his stubborn self made him the very last of the eleven to come to faith.

        Jesus repeatedly and specifically said that your faith saves you. Never once did he say you are saved because you obey specific doctrines.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Oscar says:

        “That is where reason alone takes you.”

        Not really. Reason alone has taken me to the realization that neither infant baptism, nor adult baptism are essentials of Christian doctrine, so Christians are free to do either.

        Like

  5. johnson j says:

    All the church fathers when not splitting hairs on pet doctrines become semi-platonic mystics mulling on the connection between Jesus as the Logos in John’s gospel and the Platonic Logos. All that is lost in the churches today where they just think Word = Bible so Jesus as the Word is Jesus is the text of the Bible. No longer is the Logos understood in the churches even as a person, much less a divine person, but as the text of a book. The RCC canonized Judith but not Plato…and why? Plato is primary. Neither Hellenic Judaism nor Christianity could exist without it. (Buddhism and Hinduism are even crappy attempts to copy it by low IQ Indians who just didn’t have the capacity to get it.) If you don’t know Plato, you are on the level of Dawkins or Muslims with regard to religion, i.e. braindead. Gotta learn Plato, absolutely required. Luckily you can learn him better and faster by reading the church fathers than by reading his own writings. And anybody who doesn’t learn Plato and then tries to be a mystic, their mysticism sinply becomes the worship of vagina, as with all attempts at modern gnosticism and eastern mysticism, they all devolve into sexual depravity.

    Like

    • Derek Ramsey says:

      Charlton said this in a comment on Berger’s post:

      “I personally feel that the metaphysics of Greek and Roman philosophy continually push mysticism away from Christianity and towards either the more philosophical aspects of Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, or else towards some kind of Platonism… which again is far more compatible with Far Eastern religion [than Christian mysticism].”

      Berger responded with:

      “the mystical aspects of Christianity must be de-mystified and de-mysticized to the basic starting point of learning to think from yourself – more specifically, from your divine self.”

      Christian mysticism is kind of like acknowledging that you have six senses—smell, taste, sight, touch, hearing, and divine—and learning how to use them all.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. johnson j says:

    The shutting down of the Platonic academy by the RCC led to atheist colleges and indoctrination into atheism. And modern Christianity’s silly attempt to find its “Hebrew roots” is nothing but a further attempt to erase Plato in favor of a Judaized physical resurrection and sex party on a new earth (and so-called Romantic Christians like Charleston might as well be called Erotic Christians because like Jews and Muslims they’re seeking sex harems in the resurrection ala Mormonism and wtwrnal marriage that Jesus explicitely denied in the gospels saying we will be like the angels). There has been a major attack against the Platonic Heaven of disembodied souls since the early 90s and it has killed the churches. They’ve become like Muslim NPCs seeking a harem. How can you claim mysticism when your mysticism is seeking harems in the afterlife? Plato is the corrective the whole lot has been trying so hard to get rid of all along, the Vatican in ahutting fown the Platonic Academies in the medieval times, the modern universities in replacing him with hiny hats like Hume, the churches in embracing JW and Mormon notions of clone-body resurrection followed by sex orgies ala Mohammed. Its time to get back to Plato, and to jetison NT Wright and his physical Jew Kingdom on earth for the Platonic Heaven that sustained Christians for 1800 years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oscar says:

      “There has been a major attack against the Platonic Heaven of disembodied souls since the early 90s and it has killed the churches.”

      What are you talking about? The Church has been teaching the resurrection of the body since the start.

      The Apostles’ Creed
      “I believe in . . . the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the flesh. Amen” (Old Roman Symbol [A.D. 125]).

      Second Clement
      “Let none of you say that this flesh is not judged and does not rise again. Just think: In what state were you saved, and in what state did you recover your [spiritual] sight, if not in the flesh? In the same manner, as you were called in the flesh, so you shall come in the flesh. If Christ, the Lord who saved us, though he was originally spirit, became flesh and in this state called us, so also shall we receive our reward in the flesh” (Second Clement 9:1–6 [A.D. 150]).

      Justin Martyr
      “The prophets have proclaimed his [Christ’s] two comings. One, indeed, which has already taken place, was that of a dishonored and suffering man. The second will take place when, in accord with prophecy, he shall come from the heavens in glory with his angelic host, when he shall raise the bodies of all the men who ever lived. Then he will clothe the worthy in immortality, but the wicked, clothed in eternal sensibility, he will commit to the eternal fire along with the evil demons” (First Apology 52 [A.D. 151]).

      “Indeed, God calls even the body to resurrection and promises it everlasting life. When he promises to save the man, he thereby makes his promise to the flesh. What is man but a rational living being composed of soul and body? Is the soul by itself a man? No, it is but the soul of a man. Can the body be called a man? No, it can but be called the body of a man. If, then, neither of these is by itself a man, but that which is composed of the two together is called a man, and if God has called man to life and resurrection, he has called not a part, but the whole, which is the soul and the body” (The Resurrection 8 [A.D. 153]).

      Tatian the Syrian
      “We believe that there will be a resurrection of bodies after the consummation of all things” (Address to the Greeks 155 [A.D. 170]).

      Theophilus of Antioch
      “God will raise up your flesh immortal with your soul; and then, having become immortal, you shall see the immortal, if you will believe in him now; and then you will realize that you have spoken against him unjustly. But you do not believe that the dead will be raised. When it happens, then you will believe, whether you want to or not; but unless you believe now, your faith then will be reckoned as unbelief” (To Autolycus 1:7–8 [A.D. 181]).

      Irenaeus
      “For the Church, although dispersed throughout the whole world even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and from their disciples the faith in . . . the raising up again of all flesh of all humanity” (Against Heresies 1:10:1–4 [A.D. 189]).

      Tertullian
      “After the present age is ended he will judge his worshipers. . . . All who have died since the beginning of time will be raised up again and shaped again and remanded to whichever destiny they deserve” (Apology 18:3 [A.D. 197]).

      “Therefore, the flesh shall rise again: certainly of every man, certainly the same flesh, and certainly in its entirety” (The Resurrection of the Dead 63:1 [A.D. 210]).

      I could literally keep going all day. The physical resurrection of the dead was one of the early church fathers’ favorite subjects, which makes sense, considering how near they were to death by persecution at any given moment.

      Like

    • Jack says:

      johnson j,

      “There has been a major attack against the Platonic Heaven of disembodied souls since the early 90s and it has killed the churches.”

      I can’t follow your reasoning. Would you care to define “Platonic” as you use it, or else provide some explanatory links?

      Like

  7. Pingback: What is Christian Conversion? - Derek L. Ramsey

  8. Alan Roebuck says:

    @ Derek Ramsey, 2:24 am:

    Jesus was in full communion with the Father because He is God, just as the Father is. We are not God, so our communion with the Persons of God is not in the same way.

    Our communion with Jesus is based on knowing Him through Scripture. When we do, He and the Holy Spirit reside in us, as Scripture says. But false beliefs about Jesus harm this communion.

    Like

    • Derek Ramsey says:

      “Jesus was in full communion with the Father because He is God, just as the Father is. We are not God, so our communion with the Persons of God is not in the same way.”

      Jesus was fully human—just like us—except his communion with God was perfect. Ours is imperfect. But the means by which we commune with God need not be any different. This is why Jesus—as he promised to send the Spirit—said that he would be in the Father, we would be in him, and he would be in us. That doesn’t sound different to me. It is not only unity, but it must be possible, for we are told that it will happen.

      Jesus could perform great works because his will and the Father’s will were in perfect harmony. Humans only occasionally perform great works, because their will and God’s Will perfectly align so rarely. The decline in miracles is directly associated with the decline in Christian mysticism—heart-led divine thinking.

      “Our communion with Jesus is based on knowing Him through Scripture.”

      Jesus said that he would send the Holy Spirit, whom the father would send in Jesus’ name to teach us all things (John 14:25), to bear witness (John 15:26), to guide us to truth (John 16:13), to sanctify us (John 17:17), to lead us (Romans 8:14), to intercede on our behalf beyond mere words (Romans 8:26), to reveal the word of God (1 Corinthians 2:10), to even be able to understand the word of God at all (1 Corinthians 2:11), to seal us for redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14,4:30), and to prophesy truth of Scripture (2 Peter 1:20-21). In particular, a number of these references show that Scripture is subordinate to the Holy Spirit.

      It’s not (merely) about knowledge.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alan Roebuck says:

        @ Derek Ramsey, 4:13 am

        I notice that you did not say that Jesus is God, as well as being man. Do you affirm that Jesus is God?

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      • Derek Ramsey says:

        “I notice that you did not say that Jesus is God, as well as being man. Do you affirm that Jesus is God?”

        You are perceptive. I do so affirm, but almost certainly not in the way that you mean. I thoroughly repudiate all of the 4th century (and later) doctrinal innovations and demand a strict adherence to sola scriptura, curiously something that many Christians who say they do will not apply to Christology.

        However, this is far outside the scope of a discussion on Christian mysticism, so I will say no more on this forum. If you prefer, you can just brand me a heretic and move on. But if you’d like to see a strictly rational (non-mystical) approach to the issue, but you can read my take on the subject here and comment there.

        Like

      • Alan Roebuck says:

        @ Derek Ramsey:

        I will not call you a heretic without knowing a lot more about you, but that is not my main concern. My main concern here is that many mystics seem to downplay the need for true knowledge about Jesus.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Derek Ramsey says:

        “I notice that you did not say that Jesus is God, as well as being man. Do you affirm that Jesus is God?”

        On second thought, this is within the scope of this discussion in one very important way: the main reason Christians are Trinitarians (~4th century plus) and not Binitarian (~1st to 4th century) or Unitarian Monotheists is because they agree with the mystical revelation of God’s nature as shown by the Holy Spirit over time (and as ultimately formalized in the 4th century church councils). As the Roman Catholic Church states in CCC#237 :

        ““But his inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel’s faith before the Incarnation of God’s Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit.””

        Even the RCC acknowledges that only after the Holy Spirit was sent—during Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection—did the Holy Spirit reveal it. A purely rational sola scriptura approach would not support the doctrine. Unless you are willing to question one of those doctrines, then Christian mysticism—direct revelation—is required.

        Like

      • Derek Ramsey says:

        @ Alan Roebuck

        “My main concern here is that many mystics seem to downplay the need for true knowledge about Jesus.”

        I would say that this concern does not apply to me, but I can’t speak for others. In any case, the reverse concern is this: “Non-mystics seem to downplay the power of the Holy Spirit, thinking that it cannot do what Jesus promised it would do.”

        Jesus said: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” When, if ever, did this revelation end? Did it include Paul and not just the disciples? Surely it must, for you believe his writings to be God-inspired. Why do you reject the scriptural authority of later revelations that are not contained in the New Testament? Do you or don’t you believe that the revelation by the Holy Spirit is true knowledge about Jesus?

        Like

      • Alan Roebuck says:

        @ Derek Ramsey 7:52 am

        “Why do you reject the scriptural authority of later revelations that are not contained in the New Testament? Do you or don’t you believe that the revelation by the Holy Spirit is true knowledge about Jesus?”

        According to Scripture, what the Holy Spirit gives us is assurance and understanding regarding Scripture’s message. It is not “revelation” in the sense of something new. For one, Jude 3 refers to “the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” For another, the New Testament constantly warns against false teachings. And the general thrust of NT teaching is that believers are to hold fast to what was revealed through Christ and the Apostles, not to “stay tuned…”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Derek Ramsey says:

        @ Alan Roebuck,

        “According to Scripture, what the Holy Spirit gives us is assurance and understanding regarding Scripture’s message. It is not “revelation” in the sense of something new. For one, Jude 3 refers to “the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”

        This is a good answer. I think we largely agree on this much at least. Although I believe that the Holy Spirit can reveal minor things that you might call “new”, that mostly Christian mysticism describes the mode of personal communion between you and the divine, and often takes the form of day-to-day practical personal instructions, for example, giving and fulfilling your personal calling.

        I believe your primary concern is with the likes of Charlton—a mystical Christian who believes that Mormonism was a true revelation, something actually new from God. Similarly, the Roman Catholic Church claims that its popes have received post-biblical revelations as well, although it sometimes spins it differently. Of that kind of mysticism, someone else will have to weigh in.

        Like

      • Alan Roebuck says:

        @ Derek Ramsey, 9:09 am:

        I have no quarrel with what you say here.

        Like

  9. thedeti says:

    Maybe one way of thinking about this is that the relationship you have with God is personal and is supposed to be personal. God is Father and His Son is Lord. Yes, you obey and are saved, but the way you are supposed to relate to God is in a personal way. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling…”

    The other way, I suspect, is how one comes to God, which is through accepting Jesus and then, after that, allowing the Holy Spirit, who lives in each believer, to do His convicting work in each believer. I suspect that many people accept Christ as Savior but then grieve the Spirit and do not allow the Spirit to do His work in them. Are they truly saved? I don’t know. They will have to work that out for themselves (see above).

    Another thing to consider is how we “do church”. The current model is “bring them to church and then they’ll get saved and then they’ll be part of a body of believers.” First, part of the body, then saved, then sanctified. Maybe the proper model is “he gets saved, the Spirit does His sanctifying work, which causes the person from within to seek out a body of believers or start one for himself”. First, saved, then sanctified, and then drawn to or creates a body. The early ANE Christian church was people who met in each others’ homes. When Paul wrote his letters to the believers in each city, he wrote them to the “Church” in Rome, or Ephesus, or Colosse, or Corinth, etc. He was writing to all the believers, all the Christians, in each city. The way you joined a church body was that you sought other believers out and you got to know them and you met in someone’s house.

    Finally, when you read about the people who came to believe, there was always some kind of draw. Something, someone, a set of circumstances, an event, something drew each of them to Christ. It was something personal to each one of them. The Roman soldier at the cross who made his spontaneous declaration of faith. The centurion who asked for his daughter’s healing. The woman at the well. The adulteress saved from stoning. The woman with the issue of blood. Cornelius. Mary Magdalene. Mary the sister of Martha. Bartimaeus. The thousands converted as in Acts 2. Paul himself. For each of them, something happened to them or inside of them. They had lost something. They needed something. They were alone. They were themselves lost. They all realized Christ was the only way to get what they needed. They were in the right place at the right time and realized by faith Christ had put them there. Whatever it was, believers in the ANE church came to Christ because they were drawn (not in the Arminian sense; but drawn).

    You don’t need the throne or altar to get them drawn. You just need faith. And from faith, thrones and altars are constructed.

    Thrones and altars don’t build faith. It’s the other way around — faith constructs thrones and altars. And it’s because of a dearth of faith that thrones and altars have fallen.

    That’s what I think people are getting at.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Alan Roebuck says:

      “And it’s because of a dearth of faith that thrones and altars have fallen.”

      Exactly true.

      I think the disagreement is about the nature of faith.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thedeti says:

        What exactly is the disagreement about the nature of faith? What do you say the nature of faith is; and what do those who disagree with you say the nature of faith is? What do you and your interlocutors disagree on?

        The issue with the debate is that it’s really theologically dry and requires more attention and brainpower than most people have. What I’ve tried to do is distill down what proponents of Christian mysticism are saying so it’s easy to understand.

        Can you guys dumb it down just a little for us everyday folk?

        Liked by 2 people

      • Alan Roebuck says:

        @ thedeti, 3:45 am

        Do you have faith that Jesus really rose from the dead, at a specific time and a specific place? That if you could send a camera back to that time and that place it would record a living body proceeding from the tomb where Jesus was laid to rest? Enemies of Christ claim it’s all a big fake. Do you have faith that Jesus really said what the Gospels record Him saying? Enemies of Christianity say the disciples made up a lot of it. Do you have faith that Jesus really taught his followers the doctrines contained in the New Testament? Enemies of Christ say that He never taught many of these things. And so on.

        If it really is all a fake, then we have no assurance Christianity is true. It would then probably be false. That being the (hypothetical) case, I would not want to waste my time on it.

        And it’s not just enemies of Christ. Many sincere and apparently well-meaning Christians endorse some of these critiques.

        That’s what I’m talking about. The “dryness” is because I and those on my side are trying to get at exactly what it is that the Romantic Christians really postulate, and how they think it is justified. In a situation like that, sometimes you need to get technical.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Derek Ramsey says:

        “The issue with the debate is that it’s really theologically dry”

        I find it astonishing.

        It is vibrant and alive to think that each person has an internal divine sense (which the Bible calls “the heart”) that provides direct access to God.

        It invigorates me to know that God’s Spirit directly reveals truth to me intuitively, if only I take the time out of my busy day to listen.

        It’s refreshing to know that if I don’t understand some obscure theological point that it is okay because what I—personally—need to know will be revealed to me. If I get it wrong, I need only repent, keep listening, and try again.

        It’s calming to know that I’m not required to convince anyone else when God tells me to do something. I ultimately just need to do what I’m told and let God worry about the rest.

        Liked by 3 people

      • thedeti says:

        OK. Fair enough.

        Yes, I believe that what it says happened in the bible, happened. All that stuff it says in the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed? I believe the things contained in those Creeds to be true; that they actually happened historically. I believe that if I could go back in time and be present at those times and places; that I would have been an eyewitness to the Man named Y’shua, doing and saying those things He was recorded saying.

        That He really did stand on a mountain and He really did preach a sermon there and say the things that the gospels say He said; that He really did make enough loaves and fish to feed 5 thousand people; that He really did walk on water; that He really was born of a virgin; that He really did hang on a cross; that He really did die; that He really was dead; that He really was buried in a tomb; and that He really did come back to life and show himself and talk to His disciples; and that He really did literally rise up and ascend into heaven; and that had I personally had been there I would have seen and heard all of that.

        I accept this on faith for many reasons, one of which is that the individuals who were there and who did see and hear those things wrote them down and made a written record of them for the express purpose of inspiring and strengthening the faith of those who were not there; but so that they who were not there might believe.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Alan Roebuck says:

        @ thedeti:

        I am glad that you do believe the things I listed. Many people who call themselves Christians do not.

        About the “throne and altar;” As an American Protestant I do not have the same commitments as Catholics (or Monarchists). The important issue for me is whether people believe that Jesus and what is said about Him in traditional Christianity are true. We do not need an actual altar of sacrifice because Jesus is our all-sufficient sacrifice.

        Like

      • thedeti says:

        @ Alan Roebuck,

        I don’t see the dispute as being about what people believe so much as how they come to believe it and how those beliefs are cultivated and nurtured.

        I see the dispute as being about the necessity and function of the “throne and altar” to the origin and cultivation of faith in an individual. I see those at the Orthosphere saying, in essence, “Throne and altar are required for faith and to nurture and strengthen faith. Throne and altar create faith; without throne and altar there can be no faith.”

        I see those embracing covenant Christian mysticism as saying, “No they’re not. We know this because the throne and altar have been corrupted by corrupt humans which was bound to happen. Faith creates the altar, from which springs the throne’s legitimacy. No faith, no altar, no throne.”

        Thoughts?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sharkly says:

        “It invigorates me to know that God’s Spirit directly reveals truth to me intuitively, if only I take the time out of my busy day to listen.”

        Must be nice! God reveals stuff to me too, but not when I set aside time for God to meet that obligation. God reveals stuff to me, in his own time, not when I ask for it, nor when I allow for it, nor when I might try to meditate on God and forge some form of connection.

        God’s revelations often arrive at inopportune times, and I am finding that it is best if I then quit what I’m doing to go write down the thought which has dawned on me, lest that truth escape my memory and be lost again.

        And quite usually, later, after I have arrived at a “new” point of view, and I am looking for supporting material for that viewpoint, so that I can teach and recommend it to others, I discover that my “new” idea was also the original teaching of the church prior to the religion’s coopting by the Roman empire.

        And then when I publish my revocation of today’s neo-fertility-goddess-worship, it’s on like Donkey Kong, as the whoring daughters spawned from the Mother of Harlots swoop in to try to snatch that seed away.

        “… their mysticism simply becomes the worship of vagina …”

        Yep! Organized Christianity, all the churches, compose the Mother of Harlots and all her whoring daughters. The bride of the last Adam will be a tiny remnant (like a rib) separated out from the corrupted “body of Christ” by God, to fashion into a bride for his Son, just as He did for the First Adam. Christ won’t marry His own body. The entire body of Christ does not become the bride of Christ, only a small remnant separated out by God gets transformed into Christ’s bride.

        Christendom, or the body of Christ, is currently the largest religion in the world. “Christianity” has been the official religion of the Roman empire since around 400 AD, and it has generally been the dominant religion of the the most influential nations of the world for over the past 1600 years. If you see the world getting more depraved with every year, don’t be a damned fool, that is the fruit of the work of the church, the great whore, who has corrupted the whole earth with her immorality. The organized church is a massive prostitute, a substitute, in place of the bride, the tiny remnant who are truly faithful to do their Creator’s bidding. Christ will cast out and disown many who call Him “Lord” because they “practice lawlessness”.

        Whose law does your church follow?

        — If God commands for women to cover their heads but the women say not to, to whom do you ascribe the worth-ship to be obeyed?
        — If God commands for women to remain silent in the churches but the women say not to, who will rule over you this day, God, or the ones with vaginas?
        — If God says for wives to submit to their husbands in all things as unto the Lord, but the women don’t want to, will they be disciplined publicly or left to openly practice lawlessness in the church unhindered?
        — If God forbids wives to defraud their husbands of their marital duty (sex), but the women have got excuses, who rules?

        And why are the eternal fools who mislead the churches ashamed to proclaim these holy commands of God? (Mark 8:38)

        Because womankind is the true image of their goddess, defiling men and turning them away from the Creator after her likeness, and a woman’s periodically bloody slime hole is their passageway to her temporary approval, the holiest of holes.

        And the church ladies screech, “Worship Mike Hunt! Worship Mike Hunt!”

        And the men of the church serve the creature rather than their Creator, for she has the “holy” hole from whence they all came, into which they all desire to return, same old fertility goddess worship, new day.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jack says:

        Sharkly wrote,

        “God reveals stuff to me too, but not when I set aside time for God to meet that obligation. God reveals stuff to me, in his own time, not when I ask for it, nor when I allow for it, nor when I might try to meditate on God and forge some form of connection.

        God’s revelations often arrive at inopportune times…”

        Yes, it seems like God always speaks to me at the most inconvenient times. I have to stop what I’m doing and make an effort to listen to the still, small voice that whispers quietly to my conscience. Sometimes I need to leave a crowded place and go somewhere quiet to get the message. (“Going to the restroom” has proved to be a good excuse.)

        “I am finding that it is best if I then quit what I’m doing to go write down the thought which has dawned on me, lest that truth escape my memory and be lost again.”

        I have to do the same thing. After some time has passed, I’ll look back at my notes and I’ll find that God has been telling me the same things over and over again, but from different perspectives that on the surface seem unrelated. It is hard for me to pick up on this because my mind is somewhere else. After I notice this and connect the dots, then some of these ideas develop into the makings of a post.

        “And quite usually, later, after I have arrived at a “new” point of view, and I am looking for supporting material for that viewpoint, so that I can teach and recommend it to others, I discover that my “new” idea was also the original teaching of the church prior to the religion’s coopting by the Roman empire.”

        Yep, it’s in the Bible, but I never notice it until God speaks to me in this way.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. catacombresident says:

    I’m grateful for the generous support. I’m doing my best to suss out how the Hebrew people approached faith, because that’s how Jesus taught it. The response from the other side is about what I expected. In the end, I suspect most of the chatter is people talking past each other. Relying on human reason is the crux of the Fall. The root of faith is returning to the Lord who made us, making a personal repentance to Him and a personal commitment. As noted across the Net, the core of Christian Mysticism is a personal relationship with Him. It’s not an argument or technical statement; it’s a testimony of His redemption. I can’t tell you any right answers; Scripture is inherently ambiguous in most of what it says because personal relationships can’t be precisely defined in clinical language. Human language always comes up short.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Bwana Simba says:

    Which Orthodox churches are best? Also, anymore articles of false masculine archetypes coming out?

    Like

    • Jack says:

      Bwana,

      “Which Orthodox churches are best?”

      I think the best way to answer this question is to go visit some Orthodox Churches. The problem with this approach is that some areas do not have any Orthodox churches.

      I cannot offer much information about the Orthodox church other than what you could find online. NovaSeeker and Scott, who were the most outspoken about the Orthodox church, no longer comment here unfortunately. However, there are a number of readers here who are Orthodox. Perhaps they could offer you some of their perspectives on the differences.

      “Also, anymore articles of false masculine archetypes coming out?”

      There were others that I considered when brainstorming that series, and one or two drafts that I started but didn’t finish because of time. If someone requests one type in particular, I may write a post on it.

      Like

  12. info says:

    Mysticism requires God’s word. To keep it grounded according to what the Holy Spirit actually says. Rather than Spiritual deception by demons.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Jack says:

    Update: In post 11, Kristor drew a hard line, and in post 12, Berger withdrew. Were looking at a schism!!!

    Reading through the comments here and there, it’s evident that people hold some pretty wild and crazy notions about Christian Mysticism/Romanticism.

    Like

    • thedeti says:

      “In post 11, Kristor drew a hard line, and in post 12, Berger withdrew. Were looking at a schism!”

      Only because Kristor views “The Church” as the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Rome; and Berger et al. view “The Church” as the body of believers who claim Christ as Savior. Kristor says “The Church” is St. Peter and his successors; whereas Berger says “The Church” is the revelation of Christ as Savior and each human indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

      I kind of thought Christ was pretty clear that His Body, His Church, was comprised not of an institution or buildings; but rather IS comprised of every individual human who claims Christ as Lord and Savior.

      Liked by 4 people

      • info says:

        The Orthodox Church is holding up so far. But that is probably because of the iron curtain imposed by Stalin.

        Like

    • thedeti says:

      Because, you see, the problem now with the altar-civilization mode is that neither the altar nor the throne faithfully represent or claim Christ.

      The Altar does not necessarily preach Christ’s Word.

      The throne does not necessarily submit itself to Christ – the king does not necessarily recognize and pay homage to the King of Kings.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Bad@ss Chad | Σ Frame

  15. Sharkly says:

    Is there a place where this “Throne and Altar” analogy is explained? I must have missed that day of class.

    Like

    • Jack says:

      Sharkly,

      “Is there a place where this “Throne and Altar” analogy is explained? I must have missed that day of class.”

      “Throne and Altar” is a concept touted by paleoconservative Christians and it is in the philosophical byline at The Orthosphere. “Throne” refers to government. “Altar” refers to the ecclesiatical church. According to my understanding of it, the “Throne and Altar” concept is that civilization and the power and legitimacy of government is supernaturally founded on the church. IOW, without established religion, you cannot have a thriving civilization, and you cannot have a benevolent government.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thedeti says:

        Yes. The “ecclesiastical” church includes the institution of the church. Organized religion. Not the “spiritual” or “mystical” church; but rather, the manifestation of the Church” in material tangible form, including its buildings, its organizational structure, its doctrines and writings (papal encyclicals and pronouncements, catechisms, rules and regulations), and traditions.

        Kristor claims mysticism is a complete repudiation of the ecclesiastical church. I submit it is not. Berger’s objection is that the ecclesiastical church is not always faithfully preaching the word and that the humans who exist today are different and inhabit a different world than those who were here at the founding of the ecclesiastical church.

        My question is: What of the faithful where there is no altar and no throne? There have been faithful in China, and those men and women have only the “altars” in their hearts and homes. They have no ecclesiastical church structure or hierarchy. They have no throne, no government to protect them. What of them? How did they come to faith? How is their faith nurtured? Through the Word, through administration of the sacraments, through their own relationships with Christ strengthened by fellowship with other believers.

        Liked by 3 people

  16. Pingback: The Biblical Adage of “Dying to Self” is not Ego Ablation | Σ Frame

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