Psalm 11:3

A Concerned Christian Website

  • Blog Stats

    • 110,685 hits
  • Advertisements

Unio Mystica and the Truth Project

Posted by nazarenepsalm113 on June 25, 2010

This article is comprised of a email (and research) I received from a sister in the Lord of mine expressing some concerns about The Truth Project.
Dear Tim:
Another subject I would like to ask you about is the term unio mystica. I was asked to participate in the new Focus on the Family curriculum, ”The Truth Project”. I read your article on Focus on The Family, and in my own research of Focus on The Family I have found much to concern me. Their websites contain many references to Contemplative Prayer, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Formation, etc., including the recommendations of and links to books about these things, (I also have some questions about Ravi Zacharias and Del Tackett). I have attached some of my FOF and unio mystica research as well as the list of scriptures used in lesson 8. I don’t know if passing on my research is helpful to you, but if so, I would be glad to share any and all research I’ve done. Concerning this subject, I have some more on Ravi Zacharias.

One of my major concerns is Lesson 8, ‘Unio Mystica’, TTP Quote: “Here are some of the key items: Social systems; the divine imprint; unio mystica; divine intimacy with man; the mystical union within the Trinity, between husband and wife, between Christ and the church; between God and man; intimacy, union, oneness; the wonder of God dwelling within me;”

I have watched this lesson, and have some concerns. They use much scripture, I’ve been researching it and I’m not really comfortable with the way some of it is used. I have researched Unio Mystica, and I cannot justify this term being used in this setting. I am not satisfied at this point in my understanding of unio mystica, and that this term is actually legitimately used anywhere except in reference to mysticism, and mystical experience (including in Judaism). Because the term unio mystica, as far as I can tell, is born out of mysticism, not Christianity or Judaism, although it is terminology used in Christian and Jewish mysticism, as well as all other forms of mysticism, I am having a problem with this term being used in the Truth Project.

Some of Del Tackett’s statements about Unio Mystica: “it defines Christianity”, “is the heart of Christianity”, ”unifying, oneness, bringing together into one”, “more than just being saved from hell, but being brought into this intimate relationship”, “invited us into the Godhead”, he references Isa. 53:5 as the “price that was paid for us to have intimacy with God”. He also gives a quote of St. Augustine ,”God has made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until we find our rest in Him.” as “The True Perspective on Man’s Need”. There is more, and I realize I may be making too much of this, that’s why I’m asking for your help.

My concern is that once again something that is rooted in unbiblical practices has been ‘Christianized’ with the use of much scripture to justify it and give it credibility, which has the danger of eventually leading people into deception as they become familiarized, desensitized, and comfortable with mystical terminology. This unfortunately, if perhaps inadvertently, would then lend credibility to other unbiblical, mystical and/or contemplative practices. The way this term is used and defined in The Truth Project is not the way this term has been used and defined anywhere else I’ve found so far. I have checked many other trusted sources in reference to Biblical intimacy or union with Christ, including John MacArthur and Bob DeWaay.

Because The Truth Project is “designed to communicate the Christian worldview”, this is very concerning to me. My friend, Kristen who is sponsoring ‘The Truth Project’ in her home emailed FOF about this concern and this was their response to her:

Dear Kristen:

Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project®. We’re encouraged to learn of your participation in this curriculum, and we appreciate your request for clarification about the use of the phrase “Unio Mystica” in Lesson 8.

Given the fact that some individuals tend to associate this descriptive term with New Age ideology, your inquiry is understandable. However, Christian theologians through the centuries have used this Latin expression because it best describes our union with the Triune God. In light of this, we believe it’s appropriate and acceptable for today’s Christians to reclaim this phrase and use it in its proper context. You can be assured that it has nothing to do with the empty self-centered mysticism of New Age philosophy; neither does The Truth Project address the subject of contemplative prayer.

Rather, mystical is a rich and multifaceted word that can be employed in a variety of ways. In origin, mystical is related to the word mystery (Greek mysterion) which generally means “something that is secret or impossible to be known.” In the New Testament, mysterion receives a very particular theological definition: “something previously unknown but now revealed in Jesus Christ.” When Dr. Tackett says “our faith is not a mystical faith,” he means that there is nothing esoteric or hidden about the facts and events upon which the Christian Gospel is based; these truths are open to public examination and evaluation.

We hope this reply is helpful, Kristen. Thanks again for writing, and may the Lord’s joy and peace be with you and your small group participants in abundance!

Kathryn Lisle
Focus on the Family

Note the statement: “we believe it’s appropriate and acceptable for today’s Christians to reclaim this phrase and use it in its proper context”. I guess this is one of the things I am really questioning. Is it true that this is really a ‘Christian’ phrase we need to reclaim, and what is its proper context? There is nothing in my study of unio mystica that leads me to believe this, as it is defined in my research, is anything I want to, or should participate in. The statement, “neither does The Truth Project address the subject of contemplative prayer.” does not give me much comfort either.

I would really appreciate your input, I am certain I don’t understand all of this stuff yet, and I am willing to be proven wrong. I do realize I am extremely sensitive at this point about all of this stuff, but I don’t ever want to be deceived again and I’m determined to do my part.

Please don’t think I have anything against Focus on the Family or anyone involved personally, my only agenda is Truth. I am only concerned about pleasing God.

Contending for the Faith, Vicki
Here is the research-Nice job Vicki

Wikipedia English – The Free Encyclopedia
Unio Mystica is a term meaning ‘Mystical Union’ describing the concept common to all mystical traditions – Kabbalah, Sufism, Vedanta, Esoteric Christianity etc – that of the union of the individual human soul with the Godhead.

Here is the scripture list from Chapter 8 in the Truth Project
The Truth Project #8 Unio Mystica

Joh 14:19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
Joh 14:20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

Eph 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
Eph 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Col 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

Joh 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Joh 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

1Co 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
1Co 10:17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

Rom 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
Rom 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Rom 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
Rom 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

Eph 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

Eph 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Eph 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Eph 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
Eph 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Joh 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
Joh 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Joh 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
Joh 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Eph 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Eph 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
Eph 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
Joh 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Num 15:38 Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:
Num 15:39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:

Mat 23:1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
Mat 23:2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
Mat 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
Mat 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
Mat 23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
Mat 23:6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
Mat 23:7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

1Sa 18:6 And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick.
1Sa 18:7 And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.
1Sa 18:8 And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?
1Sa 18:9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.
1Sa 18:10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.

Mat 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Mat 6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Mat 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
Mat 6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

Mat 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Mat 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Mat 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Mat 6:17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
Mat 6:18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

Isa 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Isa 55:2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Isa 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Psa 42:1 To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah. As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
Psa 42:2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

Unio Mystica “mystical union”; in Christianity, the final stage of the spiritual path.

Unio Mystica The union of the mystic’s soul with God. In many religious traditions the ultimate aim of man is for his soul to be absorbed in the transcendent—in theistic religious traditions, in God—and not only in the Hereafter but in this life as well, in rare moments of religious ecstasy. The actual term unio mystica is not found in Jewish mysticism, such abstract expressions being foreign to Jewish thought in general. (history of Jewish Mysticism) Mysticism [the original Greek myeomai translates as “to be initiated,” literally “to have one’s eyes and mouth closed”], a structural form of religious experience and life in which the unio mystica — an intrinsically experienced unification (Einung) of the human self with the divine reality — is achieved.
This definition limns mysticism as an essential structure of religious life in which the unio mystica is attained, the unification of the human self with divine reality; that is, mysticism is a particular variety of religion having as its most prominent characteristic the unio mystica.

Unio Mystica – unio mystica – Ecstasy is often related to a religious change of consciousness. The attention is drawn back from the outside world, often in a way that the “delighted” is completely motionless and ignorant of the fact that things are happening around one a another. Ecstasy is not only a change in consciousness, but also a feeling where the “delighted” has an indescribable feeling of being in one with the God’s. Stages of ecstasy can bring forward, different forms of autosuggestion, asceticism, dance, music and drugs. The highest form of ecstacy is called “UNIO MYSTICA”. (Jung and Eckhart) (Jewish)
Unio Mystica is a trope of impossibility whose aim defies the common sense of human experience. Unio Mystica is indeed a mystical activity which seeks to restore the primordial bifurcation between humanity and divinity, and in so doing, merge disparity. (Truth Project Tour 8) (outline)
It is here that they have agreed to try to relive unio mystica, a religious experience so intense that Christians profess to sense their Lord as a physical presence. The nuns hope to help Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard uncover just what happens in their brains when they feel the hand of God……..

This may seem sad, but Sister Diane compares her love for God to the way two people love each other. When they fall in love, they feel a physical rush. They blush. They feel tingly. That, she says, is the kind of love young nuns feel for God when they experience unio mystica. But over time, the love deepens and matures. It isn’t as thrilling, she says. It becomes more of a day-to-day relationship.
This is an intriguing observation, because some researchers have speculated that the human capacity for mystical experiences may have co-evolved with the brain networks involved in sexual pleasure.

At 55, Sister Diane describes her relationship with God as more like a marriage, solid, secure, but without the rush. She says she knows God has been present by the peace he leaves behind, not from the excitement of a mystical union. “That feeling of peace flowing through you — pacification — tells you He has been here.” (associated with contemplative prayer) (Calvin)

Mysticism is the search for unio mystica, personal union with God.[2] But what does this union encompass and how is it attained? Here things get sticky for as Georgia Harkness tells us in her book, Mysticism, there are at least twenty-six definitions of mysticism by those who have studied it carefully.

….The ultimate goal of the mystic is unmediated union with God. This point, at which the soul attains oneness with God, “was the mystical ecstasy in which, for a brief indescribable moment, all barriers seemed to be swept away and new insight supernaturally imparted as one gave himself over fully to the Infinite One.”[8] The ancient mystics would frame this experience in romantic, even sensual terms. John of the Cross “describes the union in terms of spiritual betrothal, where the soul, conceived of as feminine, is married to Christ as the bridegroom. In other places he may say… ‘The centre of the soul is God.’”[9] Bernard of Clairvaux (12th-century), who managed to turn the Song of Solomon into an erotic love story between God and man, described this moment of union as the time when the believer is “kissed with the kisses of His mouth.”[10] Similar depictions are common in mystical literature.
Subjective Union
Others who want to focus on the subjective union of Christ with Christians would prefer to reserve the phrase mystical union for the internal “mystery …which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). If ever there was a phrase that has become “all things to all people,” it is this phrase unio mystica, or mystical union. It is even employed in the kabbalist teachings of Judaism, as well as in Islamic and Buddhist teaching. Its extensive usage has rendered it a rather inane and meaningless phrase for the discussion of “union with Christ.”
The Christian’s subjective union with Christ is often identified as a spiritual union based on the Pauline statement that “the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (I Cor. 6:17). When an individual is “born of the Spirit” (Jn. 3:5,6), a spiritual union of the Spirit of Christ and the spirit of that person is established (Rom. 8:9,16). This has been called regenerative union, saving union, or new-creation union, although distinction in these terms can and should be made. Evangelical theology has often referred to the faith union effected between Christ and the Christian when the supplied life of God’s grace in Christ is received in the derivation of faith-receptivity. In this fiduciary union a personal union is established. It is a relational union that is likened to the conjugal union of marital union (Eph. 5:28-30) between husband and wife. This personal union of the Christian with Christ is more than a union of alliance or mere personal relationship, for it involves the deepest intimacy of oneness in spiritual union and relational union.
Spiritual life union with Christ is to be expressed in the practical union of Christian living. This functional and operational union with the dynamic life of Christ has been termed experimental union, experiential union, and existential union. In many cases this has been regarded as a progressive union of behavioral ideals that are to be attained or achieved through various spiritual disciplines of meditation, prayer, Bible reading, liturgical exercises, dying to self, etc. Such religious “works” are regarded as developmental for attaining confessional union, obedience union, transformational union, and myriad forms of moral union with Christ by confessing, obeying, and keeping His commands. A more Biblical perspective realizes that a real spiritual union with Christ has been established in regenerative union with the indwelling Spirit of Christ. This new-creature union (II Cor. 5:17) has created such oneness of spirit between Christ and the Christian (I Cor. 6:17) that the spirit of man has no capacity or capability to function apart from the Spirit of Christ. The living Lord Jesus within us has become the basis of a vital union whereby a Christ-one, a Christian, lives out Christ’s life in a manifestational union or an evidentiary union, which others have called a life union or sanctification union. Reference to incarnational union (referred to above) and the enfleshment of Christ’s life in Christian behavior, finds some Biblical justification in Paul’s statement of the “life of Jesus manifested in our mortal flesh (or body)” (II Cor. 4:10,11). As we “abide in Christ” (Jn. 6:56; 15:4-7; I Jn. 2:24) in abiding union, such a fellowship union allows for union to become communion, even to the extent of intercessory union that allows the life of Christ to be laid down and lived out for others through us.

Misleading Union
We must beware, however, of allowing the subjective union of spiritual union with Christ to be cast as a metaphorical union that is nothing more than a figure of speech rather than an actual spiritual union. Neither is “union with Christ” to be portrayed as merely a psychological union that causes one to attempt to think, feel and will in accord with Christ’s example, as the separated Spirit seeks to induce such by influential union. The objective of union with Christ is not to experience a consciousness union that is continually conscious of Jesus, or an ecstatic union that gets “high” on sensate emotions. Caution must also be observed in allowing spiritual union with Christ to be formulated into the varying forms of metaphysical union that postulate an essential union or a consubstantial union whereby man becomes substantially fused, merged, or commingled with God in a deification union. References to hypostatic union or organic union of the Christian individual with Christ lend themselves to concepts of coalescence union or virtual union that can depersonalize and deify the human individual. This is also present in the monistic and pantheistic emphases of oneness with God that promote a universalistic union of all men with God, wherein “God is all in all.” “All Religions are One” ………..

At the World Council of Churches these days the basic approach is that there was a time when the religions were separate; that was the period of monologue. From there we moved to the period of dialogue, where religions at least spoke to one another. But now the argument is that we need to move to the period of communion. There is a call for theologians to pass over into other religions.
Not only do you have that movement, but you also have this movement of religions communing with one another. Indeed in Chicago in 1993 those religions did commune with one another. This paradigm is based upon the fundamental notion that beyond all the differences and beyond all the various doctrines, at the deepest point, all the religions express the same thing.

Essentially that unity is beyond rationality. Theologians today speak about the unio mystica, which is the experience of getting beyond the dualities, getting beyond the various doctrines, to an experience of oneself as divine. This is deification. You can see how all those edges of the pie crust of the pizza will ultimately be eliminated if all the religions are going towards this same experience. Well, that’s the situation today in religion, and I believe it’s part of a pagan understanding, although it doesn’t always come over that way. But as you can see, pagan understanding is focused upon this world; it does not take into account the Creator.

“The Spiritual Solution”
Well, there is one means of escape. Since we have “all is one and one is all,” “humanity is one,” “religions are one,” and since there is one problem, there is also one solution. It’s all very well to have an intellectual worldview like this, built in a very coherent way, but it needs more than that to get people on board. A worldview must also have spirituality. So the solution to the problem of divisions is an experience of union, an experience of belonging to the whole, because all is one and one is all. This experience comes through a non-rational, mystical experience of seeing oneself at the very center of the universe, seeing oneself as divine. This can be gained either through drugs—that’s the fast track—or through a certain amount of discipline, via Hindu meditation in particular.

I read a book by a Roman Catholic, charismatic, kundalini Hindu. His goal was to experience this unio mystica, this sense of his own divinity. What was getting in the way of his doing that was prayer, so he eliminated prayer. It reminds me of Phil Jackson of the Bulls, who wrote his book, Sacred Hoops. Phil Jackson was raised in a Christian home. He has now become a Buddhist. He complains that in his spiritual exercises the one problem he has is that just when he’s about to experience this oneness, a Bible verse from his youth jumps into his mind.

Well, this is a pretty significant worldview, and the more you think about this, the more you apply it to movements that you know around you, the more I think it makes sense. I don’t believe that what I am speaking about is nostalgia for an America that’s gone. I don’t believe we’re talking about a preference for miniskirts or maxiskirts or wide ties or narrow ties. I believe that presently we are faced with a choice of worldviews, and it is a choice between only two worldviews.

In our time we have experienced what’s called deconstruction, which is the destruction of all previous worldviews and a relativization of everything. But you can’t live with that kind of destruction for too long. Last year at the Davis Whole Earth Festival the theme was “Kiss Chaos.” This year it’s “Harvesting the Harmony,” the new harmony. In other words, you can only live so long with the destruction, and then you have to rebuild.

This rebuilding is really giving expression to a new absolutism based upon the pagan worldview. The absolutism comes from the experience at the center of this worldview. Remember Ram Dass’ experience with LSD, when he said, “And something else – that “I” Knew – it really Knew… I felt like I had come home.” Shirley MacLaine, in her book, Going Within, says, “I’ve had too many experiences over the past fifteen years to remain stuck in the old definitions of truth.” New Age philosopher Goldstein speaks about the new absolutism. He talks about a double helix consisting of relative truth on the one hand, absolute truth on the other, and they keep winding around one another. Harold Bloom, speaking about his experience of Gnosticism, says that it gives to him a direct, personal and absolute knowledge of the authentic truths of existence, accessible to human beings.
I spoke with a Hindu guru at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and he was speaking about how Christianity cannot give us any sense of assurance. I asked him, “But how do you have assurance?” He replied, “I simply know.” His knowledge, of course, comes from that mystical experience. Hamid Ali, a Sufi mystic that is a mystical Mohammedan, believes that Sufism has the clearest and most precise understanding. He speaks about “direct knowing.”

It seems to me that we are in the presence of a movement that benefited from the deconstruction of the old worldviews, and claimed that there were indeed no meta-narratives with which we could put the world together again, that all great stories were only social constructions. Now we are faced with a new absolutism that will claim, more and more, through irrational experience, to be able to tell you the truth about the universe. Writing in 1973 about the counter-culture revolution of the sixties, Os Guinness remarked: “The swing to the East has come at a time when Christianity is weak at just those points where it would need to be strong to withstand the East. Without this strength, the Eastern religions will be to Christianity a new and dangerous Gnosticism.”

C. A New View of Spirituality.
Writing at the turn of the last century, the Dutch Reformed theologian, Hermann Bavinck, stated: “…the twentieth century…[will] witness a gigantic conflict of spirits…between the old and the new worldview.” Though modern journalism often lumps together as a particular social group “people of faith,” the Bible knows nothing of a conflict between spiritual people on the one hand, and materialists on the other. In the Bible, everything is spiritual. So the real conflict is between two forms of spirituality, one inspired by the Spirit of God who gives life, the other by unholy spirits from the domain of death. And make no mistake about it, that unholy spirituality, though counterfeit, is powerful–like the powers of darkness who inspire it. Pagan ideas are backed up by a power-packed religious experience that captivates and eventually takes captive those who choose to come under its spell. Whether through drugs or various methods of mystical meditation, the adept experiences ecstasy, literally, out-of-body transport of the soul. One becomes convinced of one’s deep belonging with the whole of reality, and of one’s sharing in the divine essence of all things. At that moment of the unio mystica [mystical union], Man becomes God…..

This “guilt-free” mystical experience of oneness with the divinity of all things is the essence of pagan salvation. For religious pagans, salvation is liberation from the Creator. Alas, this is not salvation but delusion, a powerful diabolical illusion, like going to a charlatan who soothingly charges you for expensive sleeping pills to ease the pain, instead of going to a physician who could cut out the cancerous growth and solve the problem at its root. As merely the latest version of the original lie, the culture this pagan spirituality spawns will one day inevitably implode-from the untreated disease of sin. Ironically, this Destructive Generation will, sooner or later, self-destruct.
How different Christian salvation, [and hence Christian spirituality], which satisfactorily deals with guilt and grants to sinful creatures both reconciliation with the Creator and life for evermore, world without end. But that is another story-of Gospel truth.
Mysticism is that which evokes a sense of union or re-union with the divine (unio mystica)1, in conjunction with Rudolf Otto’s mysterium tremendum, which he calls “the deepest and most fundamental element in all strong and sincerely felt religious emotion” (12). “Conceptually, mysterium denotes merely that which is hidden and esoteric, that which is beyond conception or understanding” (Otto 13). Under these qualifications, we see a mystery of mysticism itself begin to emerge: mysticism is the belief in and practice towards the attainment of unitive states with something that cannot possibly be described, a presence of some sort that is inexpressible through language (other than in negative capacity) and exists above and beyond all beings. The known, which is indeed a part of the great unknowable, seeks to reunify itself with that from whence it emerges. Somehow, this union, or the results of it, may produce such enormous and profound benefits to humankind that it warrants pursuit.

Mark “mysticism.” Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. 4, pp 945-6. “The union of the individual human soul with that of the Godhead.”
And this is the wound: that we feel separated from the cosmos.
He says the only solution is the unio mystica – the mystical union – our being one with
the All, in tune with the cosmos, and this he points out, is something that indigenous
people all know about. Rank says: “This identification is the echo of an original identity,


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: