Archive for June 5, 2009

Jun 5

Bavinck on the Danger of Mysticism

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Books,Quote,Recommended Link

Kevin DeYoung has some great quotes from Herman Bavinck on “anabaptist mysticism.” You may not have a clue as to what anabaptist or mysticism refer to, but if you’ve been in American evangelical culture much at all, you’ve surely heard (or yourself spoken) a contemporary version of it.

What is it? According to Bavinck:

Its fundamental idea, although modified in a Christian way within Christian circles, is essential to all mysticism, wherever it has appeared–whether in India or Greece, in Persia or Egypt. Simply stated, it is this: in order to find truth or life or salvation–in a word, to find God–a person need not go outside of himself but need only descend within himself. God dwells within a person, making His abode within the person either through nature or through a special, supernatural descent into the person. After all, religion does not involve doctrine or activity, thinking or doing, but religion involves living in God, union and communion with God, which can be enjoyed only in the depths of one’s psyche, in the immediacy of one’s consciousness.

After Bavinck explains that that line of thinking has not been without some fruit in the Anabaptist tradition, he nevertheless warns of where it subtly leads:

When this notion has been expressed at any time in history by a person of deep seriousness and firm conviction, finding warm and enthusiastic agreement within any circle small or large, it frequently give birth to exuberance, courage, enthusiasm, and deep and glorious mysticism. This was the case at first with the Anabaptists as well. At that time there were many upright believers among them, many genuine children of God. Whatever one might say about the Anabaptists, one must never forget that in large numbers and with remarkable courage of faith, they sacrificed their goods and their blood for the cause of the Lord.

So Kevin concludes:

Without an outer, objective Word, the internal Word always gives way to rationalism, because in appealing to our inner sense of things, we end up just appealing to our own reason. Over time, then, Scripture is increasingly silenced, as we continue doing and thinking what we want, and Scripture is consulted only to confirm what we already “know.” The result is a cold, lifeless church, without the power of God or the truth of God’s word.

Related to the question of God’s leading and our decision making, see Kevin’s book, Just Do Something: How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc. Zach also recently did an interview with Kevin about the book.

Jun 5

Thank God for Pinch-Hitters!

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Gospel

As many of you know, last Sunday, at around 5 AM, after hours of vomiting and fervently praying to feel better soon, I called Ron Giese to tell him that I was too sick to preach and I needed to hand the sermon off to him. Despite the fact that it was an extremely late notice, he filled in happily and wonderfully.

If for some reason you missed Pastor Ron’s message, you really should listen to it. The audio is available here and detailed notes are also available here.

This Sunday we’ll take another run at the message that was intended for last week from Luke 9: “Crash Course Discipleship for Knuckleheads.”