What you win them with is what you win them to: The Apologetic’s of ignorance and using the Gospel as a defense mechanism…. or weapon… or to appear superior…or????

There is a person I have known  for some years that I have described as having a unique way of thinking. I don’t say that as a complement but rather as an example of someone  who is potentially damaging and dangerous in their approach  to Evangelism, (if it can be called that) and other younger Christians looking for guidance in discipleship. Sadly too many people  go unchecked  or are not reigned in even after  their Pastors and elders have been warned regarding the un-biblical if not heretical way they practice what they preach.

It’s difficult  to describe how the conversation  with this person emerged and how it concluded but it was clear  this person wasn’t listening and was unteachable  to the point I ended up walking away so that  I didn’t just explode. I was trying  to understand  their point of view although it became apparent  that their whole approach was based around insulating themselves  from any attempt to challenge  their method , to prevent investigation of truth but only  to accept their approach as right.

I can’t rely the whole attempt at dialogue because most of the discussion evolved  around  trying  to correct something  that was said; this person was neither interested in listening or being corrected. They wanted  to sound pious and humble but it didn’t come off  that way. All I heard was a person that  thought  they were taught by the Holy Spirit who used the whole God revealed this  to me I don’t listen  to men my authority comes from the Holy Spirit not the authority of men. Then this person invited me to their bible study where they could answer all my questions; even asked me  to write them  down. I challenged that and said  you’re a man  why  should I listen  to you based on what  you just said????? They replied that  they were taught by the Holy Spirit; all Christians are taught by the Holy Spirit it is our final authority. I corrected them and said “No!  The Bible the Word of God is our final authority that the Holy Spirit uses  to instruct us and reveal truth.

Okay lets break this down. In what was said their was a mixture of error and truth Yes the Holy Spirit does teach us truth; however we don’t just pluck truth out of the air or spend 10 years in the wilderness discovering  some unique way or method of discerning truth. Sounds more to me like this person spent  10 years in the wilderness perfecting  a mechanism of defense that insulates them from any attempt at correcting their erroneous method.In essence what  this person described was a form of Christian mysticism. (See explanations and examples in the links provided and note: I don’t endorse all these websites)

http://withchrist.org/mysticism.htm

http://thecripplegate.com/beware-the-writings-of-the-watchman/

http://faithsaves.net/watchman-nee/

http://www.evangelicalresources.org/mysticism.shtml

https://www.thebereancall.org/topic/mysticism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_mysticism

From these links we can get a broad description of Christian mysticism that inevitably it is an investigation that starts with man not God based on subjective contemplation or waiting   for revelation  to emerge or occur without first referencing Scripture  to provide context or direction (instruction) This person I talked  to claimed  that God  gave them  this revelation  that when talking  to a potential convert or even in defending Christianity  they have no need have of contextualizing  their defense  but simply quoting scripture  that God has revealed  to them. It sounds very spiritual and pious but it is what is called  the apologetic’s of ignorance. I don’t doubt  for one minute that the person I was talking to didn’t  know their bible  they could quote vast passages of scripture however  that has nothing  to  do with listening or understanding what their interlocutor was saying or attempting  to say. If anything  it shows spiritual pride and an unteachable spirit. Nor does it mean  they even understood   the context of what they were saying when quoting the bible. At the end of the day all they were doing shows an inability  to engage  thought  or debate. Their request  to write  down one’s questions and simply  show up  to the bible study and receive  the answers is everything  every cult wants  to  do and that is  to shut  down critical  thought.

On  this they were claiming  that God had given them  this revelation  on how  to witness and answer people. He challenged  me   to just speak the word of God however when I asked him  to open his bible  so that we  could reason  through the scriptures he firmly gripped his bible under his arm and refused  to open it and said “No! Lets speak the word of God  to each other…  that says a lot! All I  got from this exchange is “I don’t need  to listen to  you because the Holy Spirit gave me this revelation and it  is true  therefore I am right there is no  need  for discussion!

Here is a list of verses Christian Mystics misuse  to prop up their own methodology:

Jud 1:3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.

Joh 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

1Co 2:9 but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”
1Co 2:10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. (Note: Paul is quoting from Isiah 64:4, 65:17, 52:15)

Observe that Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 wasn’t just making  stuff up out of thin air Paul prefaced  this with “But just as it is written! In other words Paul provides a frame of context  in which  he combines a number of verses  to make his statement or critique about unregenerate men not understanding  the word of God. Paul wasn’t claiming  to draw on some inner mystical light. The other difference is that Paul was receiving divine revelation in the sense that he drew upon other scripture  to contextualize his statement. Paul was explaining how we receive and know the truth but added in contrast that the world and ungodly men don’t and can’t understand the truth we have.

Here is the but  that Christian Mystics use  to defend  their approach that also includes the very verses and more I just quoted: 1Jn 2:27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

Here is another set of verses mystics use 1Jn 1:1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—
1Jn 1:2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—
1Jn 1:3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.

This exactly what this man quoted  to me…. On it’s own it is  the testimony of John  who was an eyewitness  to the ministry of Christ. This seems straight forward enough until  you realize that  the context this man I spoke with was placing this reference in a position to defend his practice of personal inspiration and inner enlightenment by  the Holy Spirit.  Sadly he left something out which effects  the whole context. This man claimed his practice had nothing to do with feelings that he relied on facts as evidence of his approach and once more rattled off a string of verses as evidence  to his approach. I asked him  to show  me from his bible  so that I could read these statements  for myself  and once more he refused  to  hand his bible over or open it  so I  could read the verses  he quoted.. . So what was missing? to begin with he should have quoted  the  whole passage; he didn’t! Secondly on its own we don’t know and the nonbeliever  very likely wouldn’t know what John is talking  about; they might know whom John was referring  to but we  wouldn’t know specifically what the subject matter is. John was firstly referring  to that which was already written   down: 1Jn 1:4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. Note that John also isn’t making stuff up. John saw Jesus and his ministry over the three years he was disciple’d by Christ, John had previously written  about his experience of Christ in his gospel as a defense against the growing influence of Gnosticism and other heretical movements  that were prominent in his time. John had spoken about Christ proclaiming the Gospel and defending the faith he held so dear although John never claimed any mystical practices he rejected them. Johns testimony was written powerfully and forcefully.

Finally John wrote this  to put his testimony into context. It wasn’t  about man’s ability  to discern truth through some inner mystical experience John  was stating  something  about Christ and the nature of God. John says  nothing good about man here: 1Jn 1:4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.

1Jn 1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
1Jn 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
1Jn 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1Jn 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1Jn 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

How can we deduce  from this that there is any reference to using  some inner light  to receive revelation like the Christian Mystic claims? There simply isn’t! The Apostle Paul adds this: 2Ti 3:10 Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance,
2Ti 3:11 persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!
2Ti 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
2Ti 3:13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
2Ti 3:14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
2Ti 3:15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
2Ti 3:17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. Note my emphasis on verse 15

Both John and Paul were referring  to both recent and ancient written revelation. The difference between them and anyone else claiming revelation is that they were able  to perform miracles as a sign they were speaking  the truth just as Christ performed miracles as proof of His divinity.

Once upon a time when someone started quoting a constant stream of verses at me I might have thought they were both spiritually mature and wise. I would have been impressed… not  so much these days as I want  to know  both the meaning and context of what is being said  and why then further  to this the motives behind what is being said. More  to this when someone talks over  you and wont listen I see that as a sign of control or an attempted power play which is motivated  by pride and arrogance.

Please look at the links provided  for more in-depth study if  this interests  you.

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