Some Other Dangers of Mysticism
It is possible, in the mystic's pursuit of intimacy with God, to become elitist and exclusivistic. This can often take the form of gnosticism in which it is believed that only those are worthy who have attained to a certain level of esoteric spirituality.
Mysticism is often linked with a rigorous asceticism. The latter can breed legalism and a de-emphasis on the grace of God.
The vast majority of mystics in church history have been Roman Catholics. Their teachings about spirituality are thus often intertwined with such aberrant doctrines as transubstantiation, the veneration of Mary, sacramental grace (such as penance), etc.
In spite of frequent protests to the contrary, mystics tend to disengage from corporate life in the local church. In other words, there is a strong tendency in mysticism toward excessive and unbiblical isolation from other Christians and the routine biblical responsibilities that each member of the body of Christ has toward every other member.
Finally, the mystic's ultimate goal of union with God and the beatific vision often becomes the reward of human effort rather than the gift of divine grace.
This article originally appeared on SamStorms.com. Used with permission.
Sam Storms I am an Amillennial, Calvinistic, charismatic, credo-baptistic, complementarian, Christian Hedonist who loves his wife of 45 years, his two daughters, his four grandchildren, books, baseball, movies, and all things Oklahoma University. In 2008 Sam became Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Sam is on the Board of Directors of Desiring God, and also serves as a member of the Council of The Gospel Coalition. Sam is a past President of the Evangelical Theological Society, and currently serves on its Executive Committee.
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