Our Mystical Faith

I should be careful about saying that our faith in Christ is “mystical.” Sometimes the word is associated with the occult or the offbeat practices of those that dabble in fortune telling and psychic phenomena.

So, let me carefully suggest that what I mean is that following Jesus has woven into it the certainty of supernatural things. If I claim to be a Christian, I need to accede to the reality of angels, demons, spirits and deity; of visions, prophecy, miracles and prayer. All of that comes bound together in the story of Jesus. It’s a package deal. To separate them is to reduce Christianity to no more than a world-view or philosophy. The mystical element is this: reality is rooted in the unseen creation. Without the mystical, our faith becomes life based on myth, and there is no shortage of other myths from which to choose.

I grow impatient with those who work so hard to de-mystify Christianity. They look about in their world, see the absence of the supernatural, and the presumptuous manipulations of the charlatan and the flim-flam man, and then run to the library to explain why supernatural spirituality has perished. They labor over the original languages to explain away the miraculous and fix the time in history when spiritual gifts became obsolete. In the process, they become well educated in their own biases.

The result is faith founded on scholarship and suspicious of experience. It is a theology based on the notion that once the baptism of the Holy Spirit came upon some Jews and a handful of Gentiles, God had made His point and could close the book on all that was mystical and supernatural and get on with inductive Bible study and expository preaching.

Don’t get me wrong. There is value in study and teaching, but pedagogy without that mystic power of the Spirit is merely the accumulation of knowledge. It was the Apostle, Paul that said, “My conversation and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not be based on human wisdom but on the power of God.” (1Co 2:4-5)

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