So much of today’s “Christian spirituality” is mystical in essence and whilst we do not have the time to delve into this in detail the Christian mystic’s ‘search for the spiritual’ often contradicts what the Bible says true spirituality is all about.
Let me give you just one example. Brother Lawrence the author of “The practice of the presence of God” says the sum total of the spiritual life is the presence of God. “If I were to be a preacher I would preach nothing else but the practice of the presence of God”.
So what is the presence of God? He writes, “I try to keep myself on God’s holy presence by simple attentiveness and lovingly gazing upon him. This I may call the actual presence of God, or to speak more accurately, an habitual, silent, hidden communion of the soul with him”. He later talks about this as ‘an undefinable something of the soul… which cannot be expressed and which only experience can make us understand’.
Brother Lawrence understands that only a few people can attain this level of God’s presence as it is a grace that he bestows on certain chosen souls. Unfortunately for Brother Lawrence the mention of Jesus is virtually absent in his writings and the fruit of spiritual blessings he attributes to his own spiritual efforts.
Here are just a few reasons why people who seek to follow Jesus (Christians) should reject his work:
- Christian mystics promise greater intimacy with God but in reality they reject his word and undermine the very gospel we have received which is the power of salvation;
- If we were to define spirituality as “ways of relating to God” then the good news is that the whole of the Bible deals with this topic. Rather than being centred on humans who discover their innate spirituality awaiting release from within, it is actually centred on God and God’s divine Spirit acting from a person from without; and
- Biblical spirituality is Christ focussed and gospel centred. Biblical spirituality is not disconnected but it is connected with God, through the work of the Spirit that points us to the saving work of Jesus on the cross and it is revealed to us in his Word (by his Spirit).