Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…

The Deep, Deep Roots of Emerging Mysticism


treeoflifeThis post follows on from “The Falling Dominoes in the Emergent Church”.  In that post we saw that the Holy Spirit, whom is the Spirit of Truth, will only witness to truth.  So when absolute truth is discarded or diluted in the name of “relevance”, as in the Emergent Church, He is grieved and departs, leaving room for something else to enter.  That “something” is ancient pagan spirituality, also known as mysticism.

From Where does Mysticism Originate?

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.”  (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Firstly, as we saw in Satan’s Tool in the Emergent Church , Satan’s aim is to cause humankind to doubt the truth of God’s Word by saying (Genesis 3:1):

“Has God really said..?”

Satan has used this lie through the tool of de-constructionism in the Emergent Church.

Once, having listened to this initial lie, with God’s Word no longer the authority, we become vulnerable to more of his lies.  Once Eve listened to the first lie of Satan and she began to doubt the truth of God’s Word it then became easy for Satan to introduce another lie to her.  Genesis 3:5 says:

For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God….”

This lie of Satan’s is integral to our understanding of mysticism.


  • The Re-definition of Language, clothed in intellectualism, leads humankind to doubt God’s Word as the truth and final authority……We turn away from the Tree of Life.

The next step is:

  •  The idea that we can have knowledge apart from God.  The implication by Satan is that God is keeping something back from us, (causing us to doubt God’s goodness) and that only through this “other” knowledge can we truly be as God ourselves. This knowledge leads to “god-hood”……And so we partake of Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

With no Holy Spirit to teach and guide we begin to see things like:

  • candlesLiturgy
  • Robes
  • Candles
  • Labyrinths
  • Prayer beads
  • Prayer stones
  • Contemplative prayer

all under the banner of Protestant Evangelical Christianity….What is going on?

“And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Revelation 17:5

Mystery Babylon

babylonIn Genesis 10 Nimrod built the city of Babel (Babylon) as well as other cities.  It was the first capital city of the first great empire of the world. Nimrod, as first King of Babylon, with his wife Semiramis formed a wicked partnership.  Together, in order to expand their authority, they began a religious system of Emperor-worship where Nimrod established himself as the Sun-god and Semiramis the Moon-goddess.

“Around themselves, as the Sun and Moon gods, they created an entire religion that was based on a corruption of primeval astronomy developed by Noah’s righteous ancestors prior to the flood.”(Know Your Enemy, The Fuel Project, Part 6

The Tower of Babel was where they intended to be worshipped and was the first one-world effort at creating a spiritual system independent of God.   Note the similarities between their language and Lucifer’s language:

Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens, let us make a name for ourselves…” (The Tower of Babel, Genesis 11:4)tower of babel


I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;…I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High…” (Lucifer’s words in Isaiah 14:13, 14)

“Babylon was more than just an ancient city, it is the source or fountain-head of evil that began thousands of years ago and flows throughout the history of mankind affecting us even today in ways we don’t realize.  It represents a satanic system of rebellion against God’s plan of salvation that has never ceased to exist in one form or another.  The practices, symbolism and perverted thought processes that originated there are still with us today.  It has adopted various guises over time but the common threads are there to be uncovered.  It is the source of all the abominations of the earth.” (Know Your Enemy, The Fuel Project, Part 4)

Next time….Mysteries and Mysticism


Author: GraceandTruth

bringing the gospel to life

7 thoughts on “The Deep, Deep Roots of Emerging Mysticism

  1. Well, I guess a difference lies between spiritually open and open spirituality. The former means alertness and vigilance for the working of Paraclete, while wearing the armor of God in service to Christ. The latter would, I suppose, mean adopting any technique through which a person “felt” close or closer to God. For example, I find candles a powerful symbolic reminder of God’s call for us to be light to the world. Now if you have in mind the magical practice of “lighting a candle for someone”, then I would side with you. Or labyrinth, a very useful therapeutic tool in any model which views humans as integrated beings, which would contrast with any use or teaching by which it is, in and of itself, a magical process.
    I am reminded of how the prophets railed against the ancient Hebrews for turning the feasts of God into empty rituals of performed duty rather than humbling reminders of the work of God in the world or praise to the Great Rescuer.
    So, I did a bunch of research into this, which most serious bloggers will take as a compliment. There is an academic school of thought that paints all ritual or personalized moments of experience as magical (called mystical) with the same brush. I have never taken such a wide encompassing view.
    However, as a warning to the not-mature follower of Christ I will not dilute or refute what you say. Better to be warned away than swept away!!
    But for the discerning mature follower of Christ, some of these things can be tools. I am also not totally convinced by this school of thought (I mentioned) who stand only on reason. For some reason I think it is reasonable to experience God in ways that go beyond reason, and would then be called by this school mystical in a negative sense. (I think, for example, of Paraclete praying on our behalf when reasonable words fail us in Romans 8:26-27).
    So I apologize if I have gone too deeply into this. On one hand I will blame you for a provocative post. I will add blame to my additional research into this. And finally confess to being of a mind that what is useful for mature may not be for not-mature believers, as Paul expressed in Romans 14:1-15:3. I want to err on the side of encouraging companions in faith, not causing confusion.

    • Thank you for the compliment of taking my writing/blog seriously, I do see and appreciate that. I am glad that this was a “provocative” post, I certainly think this subject is becoming more and more important in the light of what is going on in the “Church”. This subject of mysticism is huge and one I have had to really seek for Holy Spirit’s help with. I have written much more on this already but I had to decide where to break up my posts, in light of the fact that most internet readers don’t want to read huge walls of text. In my next post, Mystery and Mysticism I do touch on what you have mentioned, being that I also believe it is possible to experience a personal relationship with Jesus CHrist. In fact, I do believe that we were made for fellowship with God.
      The most amazing and memorable moments of my life have been when I have been in His presence. It is being in His presence that has changed me, healed me and where He has commissioned me. Having said all that, I do not see any reason for going outside of the Word of God with regards to worshipping Him, because really when you truly know Him, He is more than enough. If one needed a prayer labyrinth, rituals or even candles to enter His presence, then I would wonder if one was in fact entering HIS presence at all. These are all pagan practices which have no place in the life of faith. (Btw – I am not saying there is anything inherently wrong in lighting candles, but if they were to aid us into God’s presence then that would be another story). There are many deceptive spirits who seek to take advantage of the smallest of opportunities to deceive us. I believe in the Biblical methods of worship -such as praise, giving-thanks, worship, prayer, intercession, glossolalia, pleading the Bible’s promises and the good old-fashioned-but-hardly-spoken-of art of ‘waiting on God’ (not meditation).
      I see what you are saying regarding Romans 14:1-15:3 but I would not regard that passage as pertaining to how we worship God, but rather to “matters of conscience” in the life of a believer and the Church. I do think it is possible for even mature believers to be deceived.
      I think it is very sad that New Testament believers are returning to ritualistic styles of worship. I think it is because many do not know the Holy Spirit, nor His genuine work, and so, in turn, neither can they recognize the counterfeit. An outpouring of the Spirit in our generation is desperately needed and I am praying for true Holy Ghost revival!!
      Blessings to you and thanks for your comment and input!

      • Maybe we need a working definition of mysticism. My recent research shows an anti-mystical movement which includes Pentecostals, charismatics and John Wesley (!) as mystical. They also include ascetics, who are not mystics according to anthropological (or sociological) models. Since God gave the Hebrews many symbols (including priestly robes and chest plates), and rituals, and festivals I have trouble thinking such are automatically devilish. This definition comes close to what I mean, being “that part, or element, of Christian belief and practice that concerns the preparation for, the consciousness of, and the effect of […] a direct and transformative presence of [the Christian] God” (Bernard McGinn). I find narrower definitions (like S. Abhayananda, on the scholarly side) unhelpful. And I am not sure I would separate worship from everything else I do in my life of faith, for praise is always on my lips, pray without ceasing and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever (starting already).
        Anyway, I do look forward to what else you will post, because I am not challenging you, merely in dialogue. This is IMPORTANT!

      • Yes it is important. I am especially concerned with the pagan elements of mysticism entering Evangelical Christianity under the guise of “Christianity” and that is the angle I take. I believe we need MORE of God’s presence, not less, but because we (I speak generally) have undermined His Word we are now trying approach Him in a way He has not proscribed. I have also read how critics malign John Wesley and the like -I certainly do not hold to that view! Hopefully I will be able to put that across better in my next posts. Blessings

  2. As a mystical-oriented bloke, myself, I would suggest that God is a bit larger than what you seem to give God credit for. I don’t think the Spirit is particularly concerned about labels or superficial things like prayer beads. It sounds more than a little silly that God freaks out if someone uses a set of prayer beads to deepen the focus of their heart and mind.

    God has always broken through fixed dogmas, doctrines, and so-called “absolute truths” that turn out merely to be attachments of our egos. My favorite example is when Peter had the vision on the roof top, to begin eating that which was “unclean.” The reversal of “unclean” to “clean” was far more radical than stuff that freaks out conservative Christians today.

    For Peter and other believers back in those days, it was absolute heresy to eat what was unclean — this was their absolute truth — ABSOLUTE. This literally changed the word of God. So, it was far more radical and heretical for Peter to claim that the word of God had changed (and that what was “unclean” was now clean) than it is for believers today to accept gay Christians or to smoke pot or what not.

    God has always broken through fixed dogmas and doctrines and absolute truths. These seem of far less important than the heart. As one preacher put: the written word was meant to point us to the living word. I have always liked that turn of phrase, and it’s been one of my guiding spiritual principles.

    God is bigger than any religions or holy books or fixed ideas. God transcends language and the essence of what God seems interested in is communion and worship, which is precisely what mystical oriented folk aim at.

    • Hi Jonathan. I appreciate your comment but I have to say that I disagree with your premise absolutely (no pun intended).
      God Himself is truth and He is absolute. He is far above us all, over and above our shifting cultures, society, values and whims. He is outside of Time and sees over all of human history at a glance. Our fickle human ideas do not impact on the absoluteness of truth that He is. He is huge and we are so small.
      It is because I see God as so vast, powerful and awesome that I would not dare to mess with HIs truth as openly declared in His Word. And it is He Whom has chosen the method to reveal to us who He is through the Word : yes, the Living Word (Christ Jesus) and the written Word (the Bible).

      You seem to disregard the written Word of God completely on one hand (“God is bigger than any religions or holy books or fixed ideas”) but on the other you say “it was meant to point us to the Living Word”. If one disregards the absolute truth of the written Word why should you believe what it says/reveals about the Living Word?
      Once you dismiss the objective truth of the Word of God what do you have left?

      A mystic may answer: a relationship with God
      But which God are you talking about since one has dismissed the written Word and its revelation of God in Christ to us?

      It is not the God of the Bible, Jesus Christ, with whom one relates to apart from the written Word. Why? Because God has set boundaries in that written Word in order to protect us easily-deceived human beings. There are many deceptive spirits (demons) whose aim is to deceive the human race and turn us away from the true God. I have had demonic encounters myself and they are serious. So you may think it is silly to say that “God freaks out if someone uses a set of prayer beads to deepen the focus of their heart and mind” but if God has not stipulated that way in the written Word to commune with Him then we have crossed the boundary line of protection and are open to deceptive spirits. There is only one way to commune with God according to the written Word and that is through His Son, Jesus Christ, the LIving Word, on the basis of His atoning work on the cross.

      The spiritual realm is real and serious. It is not something to be trifled with. I encourage you Jonathan to reconsider your ways and turn back to the God of the written Word, who is Jesus Christ : the Word made flesh.

      By the way, you mention about Peter’s vision of the roof. This was not God “breaking through fixed dogmas, doctrines and so-called absolute truths” as you say. This was in the early stages of the New Covenant, which God had prophesied way back in the Old Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31). This was God’s revelation to Peter of the New Covenant’s reality of the One New Man in Christ, made up of both Jew and Gentile. You say “this literally changed the word of God” – no it didn’t, rather it FULFILLED the Word of God as prophesied in Jeremiah.


      • Hi Belinda,

        Greetings from Alaska where I sit in a tent on a quiet evening, enjoying the sacred spaces around me, humbly grateful for a world seemingly infused with divine grace.

        As regards Peter, I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but I fail to see how your response speaks to my point, in any way. The Bible set in place a law (certain animals are “unclean”) which was later reversed. This may or may not have been the plan, all along, but regardless it speaks to the fact that truth is revealed in different ways in different times, as the scriptures themselves say: “In the past God spoke to the prophets at many times and in various ways,” etc.

        You asked the following questions: “If one disregards the absolute truth of the written Word why should you believe what it says/reveals about the Living Word?
        Once you dismiss the objective truth of the Word of God what do you have left?”

        I don’t disregard truth, in whatever form I find it. It’s just that I see it everywhere, and feel it and commune with it. In fact truth probably shouldn’t be called an “it.” For example, in the Bible the Word of God is very rarely associated with a book but is most often revealed in real time, as an experience. Hence “the word of God is living and active,” etc. The Word is deep and wide, it is literally inescapable. What the biblical writers seemed to understamd is that seeing the Word of God in this great depth and breadth in no way takes away from the truth of it but rather brings that truth into the realm of direct experience. For example, saying to one’s spouse or partner “I love you,” is only really truth to the extent that one has real depth of feeling and demonstrates that feeling by acts of love. In other words, words can be cheap (and untrue) when divorced from experience.

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