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The publishers of Apologetics Index have received permission from Moody Publishers to post online a chapter from the book, Faith Misguided: Exposing the Dangers of Mysticism, by Arthur L. Johnson.
The book, first published in 1988, is currently out of print. However, its content continues to be of interest to Christians who wish to understand not just today's religious and spiritual trends outside of the Church -- but also certain teachings and practices that have been introduced in the church over the past few decades.
The back cover of Faith Misguided says:
Many truths of Scripture are being distorted by a philosophy that places experience and emotions above the inerrant Word of God. That philosophy is called mysticism.
Unfortunately, says Arthur L. Johnson, the misunderstandings spawned by mysticism have gained respectability within the evangelical community.
Because mystics relay on subjective, private, spiritual experiences for guidance and wisdom, they diminish the authority of Scripture. Vision and spiritual encounters become more important than the truths found in God's Word.
Though mysticism sounds like a cult, far removed from Christianity, it has had a profound effect on many Christians who have never heard of it.
Dr. Johnson reveals how several fallacies prevalent in churches today have originated from mysticism. He will help you understand what mysticism is and how it started. And he will show you why it cannot be mixed with God's Word.
Most important, Faith Misguided will help you identify the possible influence of mysticism in your church and in your life. And it will convince you of the importance and the sufficiency of God's Word.
At the time of the book's publication Arthur L. Johnson (B.A., M.A., Ph.D, University of Nebraska) was associate professor of philosophy at West Texas State University.
A mystical maze has settled on our land. Fuzzy thinking is the order of the day. The Good Ship Evangelicalism is sailing without rational rudders in the hazy sea of subjectivity. Into this fog Arthur Johnson's book comes as a beacon in the night. It is a call for sanity and rationality in a day that has largely forgotten both.
There are a number of movements whose combined force in our day has necessitated this call back to reality. European existentialism, Eastern mysticism, evangelical pietism, charismatic enthusiasm, and American pragmatism have all contributed to this flood of experientialism.
Many are being swallowed up by Eastern mysticism via the New Age movement. But even Christians who have not forsaken the theistic God of the Bible for the pantheistic God of the East are losing their bearings. Many have lost the God of their experience in their quest for an experience with God. Fact has been replaced by feeling. Trust is measure by subjective experience, not by objective reality.
In the midst of this new wave of subjectivism, Dr. Johnson has provided a clear analysis of the problem and a balanced biblical alternative. "'Come now, let us reason together,' says the Lord" (Isaiah 1:18). "Test the Spirits" (1 John 4:1). "Give an account of the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15). "Love the Lord with all ... your mind" (Matthew 22:37). "Whatever is true ... let your mind dwell on these things" (Philippians 4:8). These are not idle suggestions; they are biblical imperatives whose value is becoming more apparent day by day. The time is ripe for a book like this. Indeed, it is overdue. Christianity is an appeal to the heart, but God never bypasses the head on the way to the heart. The Scriptures do not oppose feelings as means of expressing truth (cf. Psalms 150:4-5), but feelings are notoriously unreliable means for testing truth. Martin Luther saw the issue clearly when he wrote:For feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God,
Naught else is worth believing.
While Faith Misguided: Exposing the Dangers of Mysticism is currently out of print, second-hand copies may still be available via booksellers such as Amazon.com.
Meanwhile the publisher, Moody Publishers, is considering reprinting the book. Should the book indeed be republished we will announce it at this web site.
Published by Moody Press, Chicago, 1988
© 1988 by The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Posted at Apologetics Index by permission. [Details]
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