Recently I received an email from a Christian friend whom I respect. He wanted my opinion and guidance on the topic of the inner Christian life. His Bible study group was studying a companion text by a Roman Catholic priest who has written extensively about the inner life of the Christian, the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and how to discern His voice and act on it. It created something of a stir in the group. I answered his questions and gave him my thoughts on the subject. One of the group members contacted me via email to ask for further clarification of where I stood.
The subject falls under the rubric of Christian mysticism. Christian mysticism seeks to grow deeper in the inner life, discern the prompting of the Spirit, and turn that prompting into actions. The problem with Christian mysticism is that it is highly subjective. I believe that Christian mysticism may want to go deeper with God and hear His voice, but it is on shaky ground trying to do so. Because it is subjective the question comes is the message really from God? Usually, Christian mysticism does not use nor quote the Bible much because there are few models to reference. To move away from the Bible is to put oneself on a slippery slope which never ends well.
As evangelical Christians we are committed to the Bible, God’s Word. We believe in its inspiration and in the Holy Spirit’s illumination of it. We consider the Bible to be objective truth for all Christian faith and practice. It is our authority for our values and beliefs in this life. We look to the Bible and obey its commands, practice its principles, embrace its values, and train our children and others in its teaching. Evangelicals are biblicists who look to the Bible alone for orthodoxy (right doctrine) and orthopraxy (right practice). To go deeper with God and hear His voice, go deeper into His Word and spend more time in prayer. You will find Him in His living Word and on your knees before Him.
My exhortation regarding Christian mysticism? Avoid it regardless of the source. Run, don’t walk! Remember that in the latter days some will “fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1).
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).