Charismatic Mysticism

In my last post I mentioned the more obvious mystical stream in the Evangelical church, based on the contemplative tradition. Much less recognised, however, and one of the primary motivations for my explorations, is the clear mystical content of the Charismatic Movement. This movement, following on after the original Pentecostal Movement of the early 20th Century, introduced the direct, tangible experience of God into the lives of many otherwise conservative, evangelical believers, who would probably neither have, nor desire, contact with anything they thought of as mystical.

Evangelicals have long had a suspicion, even a fear, of mystics and mysticism, seeing their teachings and practices as closer to Eastern religions than true Christianity. Some of the old mystics appearing to engage with the occult did not help either. The modern equivalent is seen in the New Age Movement. Yet, when we look at the goals of many mystics and those of many charismatics, they are identical – only the point of origin of their journey differs.

Consider my own story. I was raised in a Fundamentalist break-away from a conservative Baptist church. Eventually I migrated back to that Baptist church, and finally my wife and I became its pastors. Before we met we independently found the baptism of the Holy Spirit, largely due to a total dissatisfaction with the absence of real spiritual experience in our earlier training. Then together we embarked on learning, then practicing, and then teaching healing prayer ministry (which was earlier called prayer counselling), intercession and spiritual warfare, and operating in prophetic gifts. Of course, along the way we had to learn how to hear and recognise the voice of God (and other spirits), and had many experiences of hearing, seeing and feeling God’s presence in ourselves and on behalf of others. For us, the Vineyard Conferences in Melbourne, the Toronto Blessing of the 1990s, Intercessors for Melbourne, Tom Marshall seminars, and the prayer ministry courses of Elijah House, Ellel Ministries, Charles Kraft’s Deep Healing Ministries, and Wholeness through Christ were part of God’s great training ground.

While many people appear to see this charismatic movement as a new thing, I have long considered that there is an unbroken stream, which runs right through church history, of people with similar experiences of the power of the presence of God in the believer. It is usually manifested in small groups of people held suspect, or even ostracised by the rest of the church. Some of what they did was indeed heretical, but this is possibly inevitable among pioneers of unpopular views who are willing to risk reputation, and even life, in the pursuit of some reality.

I am sure we will take a closer look at some of these groups in our further explorations of being a reasonable mystic.

A few of the books related to this post:

Vineyard and John Wimber:

Toronto Blessing:

Tom Marshall:

Elijah House and the Sandfords:

Ellel Ministries:

Deep Healing Ministries and Dr. Charles Kraft:

Intercession and Spiritual Warfare:

More books later.

This entry was posted in Charismatic, Church, Church History, Experience, Healing, Hearing God's Voice, Holy Spirit, Ministry, Mysticism, People, Prayer, Presence of God, Spiritual Gifts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.