p.3 Mystical experiences that change theology
“I am reminded of a time when I had just finished up a morning concert at a nursing home. The Lord suggested that I drop in to another facility that I had not planned on and visit with the folks and share a few songs. “I’m pretty tired God. I think I just want to go home.” I protested. God spoke to my heart, “Okay, you can do whatever you like son.”
Does God give suggestions? Apparently his protest makes it his will, not Gods. This is an example of his belief that God doesn’t “use” anyone.” Apparently God has us choose to obey and it does not matter much to him if we do.
Lovett says, I went to a John Crowder Mystical School. Which may explain some of his experiential theology. If you do not know of Crowder, he is a blasphemer, who mocks God saying, to toke the Holy Ghost and numerous other spiritual offensive teachings and practices. Lovett states, “ He has helped me immensely. This doesn't mean I think he is without his flaws or weaknesses (Though Christ views him as perfect - because that's what the cross was for - to render sinners perfect, and really isn't his the only perspective that should matter ?) (1 Jn.1:5-8 should be applied)
Of course Lovett considers any pointing out of biblical error as heresy hunting, so he protects himself and others with this do not judge clause. We are all “perfect” which negates any sanctification taking place before one is to be glorified. Never mind that people are being led into serious error that can wreck their walk, and growth in their relationship with the Lord. Our being told to learn right doctrine is a suggestion.
Lovett quotes a number of other mystics in his book:
"The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all." - Karl Rahner.
“The Christian of the next Reformation will be a mystic.” - Fr. Richard Rohr
He equates this with what Paul wrote, you experience the revelation of God’s great mystery—Christ."
Mystery in the New Testament is used as something that was secret, or hidden. Yet Paul used it as something now made known because of the gospel and what is written to us.
“Author Friar Richard Rohr simply defines a mystic as one who has experiential knowledge of God. It’s interesting to note that this is also precisely how Jesus defines eternal life! “Eternal life means to know and experience you as the only true God, and to know and experience Jesus Christ, as the Son whom you have sent.” — Jesus, John 17:3 TPT As Jesus defined it, eternal life is not something we receive when we die, but eternal life is Someone with whom we are experiencing relationship now. Jesus himself is defined in Scripture as eternal life!”
And we know that the Son of God has made our understanding come alive so that we can know by experience the One who is true. And we are in him who is true, God’s Son, Jesus Christ—the true God and eternal life .” —1 John 5:20 TPT)
Lovett tries to equate the Scripture with Rorh’s statement as if one has to be a mystic to have this knowledge of God. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our experience is one that is daily lived out by living by the Word. While the Scripture says we can know him, it’s not by an experience like Lovett describes but by the Spirit giving us firsthand knowledge, for our understanding of Jesus.
1 John 5:19-20 “ We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding. ”
Understanding of what John is describing is answered in the next verse v.20 “that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”
This understanding is from learning the Word (read in context), not out of context not by a mystical interpretations that promote experiences to have this knowledge!
John 17:3 supports this. “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Lovett says, Using this term "mystic" is simply a historic (and fun) way of describing a rich abundant life experiencing deep and intimate friendship with the Mystery of God who is Jesus Christ. (p.29)
Historic? From where, whom? Not from Scripture but from monks. “Christian” mystics or the “mysticism” described is found mostly in the Catholic Church; certain saints are known as mystics.
Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest and contemplative mystic. He has what is in common with other mystics, that God is IN all things. This panentheistic belief, which translates into promoting universalism. Consider Rohr's foreword in a 2007 book called How Big is Your God? by Jesuit priest (from India) Paul Coutinho. In Coutinho's book, he describes an interspiritual community where people of all religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity) worship the same God.
Lovett: “ Being” with Jesus is still the only thing that will change the world for the better. True Christians are those who experientially know God, will express their faith through love, and who are filled with the Spirit of Christ. They will look like Jesus. They will love like Jesus.
Interestingly, I have come across stories of others who have walked with Jesus for some time yet never knew his name. They are delighted when they discover his name is Jesus! ”
How this is even possible when the gospel is about Jesus who died for us, this is just absurd talk from someone who is not grounded in the Word. The Word is about him.
John 1:12 We receive Him to become children of God, by believing in His name. John 20:31 What is written has us believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. He is to be known by his name to have salvation to walk with him, we are to walk in the Spirit which comes through hearing the gospel. 1 Jn. 1:6-8 explains can only be done by the cleansing of the blood which means the gospel is believed. Then we can walk in the truth (Jn.3:3)
Another story exhibits how unbiblical this man is in his definition of those who experientially know God.
“Nancy Coen shares a story of when she went with a team to share Jesus with a tribe of cannibals. Surprisingly, the Lord Jesus led her to share his message about eating his flesh and drinking his blood. One man, spear in hand, began jumping up and down exuberantly, stabbing his spear up at the heavens. He would then fall down on the ground and roll around and laugh and cry and sing and dance in total ecstasy. Nancy asked the interpreter to go and learn why this man had reacted this way. The interpreter returned with tears in his eyes and said, “This man, since he was eight years old, has walked these jungles with the Spirit of Light and Spirit of Revelation. He just never knew his name. Today, you told him his name.” Nancy asked the Lord, “Are you trying to tell me that that man knows you?” Jesus replied, “Oh yes. He knows me much better than you do.”4
Consider what is being said here, which is something the Lord in all probability would not say. He knows me much better than you do… is just absurd to attribute to the Lord. To know him means you came to him by the gospel, because Jesus is the way to the Father. The difference is to know of him, means you are learning and not in relationship with him until you have salvation.
Rom. 10:9-11 “ that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame ."
Lovett ends up in the same place that all mystics do, Universalism. “There is a theologian whom I admire and respect who wonders if the term Christian is too worn out to be useful anymore in today’s world. He suggests that emphasis should rather be placed on being a follower of Jesus not just settling for what the label Christian has devolved into. For instance, he argued that one could be a New Age follower of Jesus, a Buddhist follower of Jesus, a Muslim follower of Jesus, a Doaist follower of Jesus… heck, you could even be a Christian follower of Jesus! The point is to actually follow Jesus …” — Romans 2:24 NLT
This is completely a misnomer. Leonard Sweet, another Mystic who says, “ Mysticism begins in experience; it ends in theology” (Quantum Spirituality, p. 76). And this where Lovett ends up, making his own theology. True theology begins by understanding the Word through the Spirit teaching. An the word does not contradict itself
Sweet speaks of the genuineness of others’ faiths, and to see and celebrate what is good, beautiful, and true in their beliefs .”
He has also said “ One can be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ without denying the flickers of the sacred in followers of Yahweh, or Kali, or Krishna .” As if they are an equivalent.
Alice Baily an occultist and mystic in her right said nearly the same “…to widen its horizon and recognize as truly Christian all who demonstrate the Christ spirit, whether they be Hindu, Mohammedan, or Buddhist, whether they are labeled by any name other than that of orthodox Christian?” (Alice Bailey Alice Bailey, From Bethlehem to Calvary, Chapter 7 - Our Immediate Goal, The Founding of the Kingdom)
Lovett infers that one can be a follower of Christ in another religion, he adds you could even be a Christian follower of Jesus. This is an oxymoron statement if I ever heard one. For to be a true follower of Jesus means you are Christian, and, you cannot follow without the Holy Spirit as your helper. And you no longer identify with the religious system you once practiced as the Holy Spirit teaches us the Word of truth.
Speaking of friendship Lovett says “A Christian Mystic is a friend of God. God confides in his friends.” Again I must ask where is the word mystic found in the Bible, we are called learners, followers, disciples.
Jesus said to all the disciples present “ I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15) They (called friends) were not mystics. And neither should we have this term attached to our friendship.
Yet Lovett says: You could decide you’d rather not be his friend. It is still up to you to take him up on his offer of friendship and “open the door to Jesus” each and every day. God never forces himself upon any one of us. This is why Jesus says to his followers — to Christians: "Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” — Revelation 3:20 NLT
Once again this man does not know how to interpret the Word correctly. Jesus is speaking to a Church he is kept out of and seeks individuals to allow him access to their life, this is not about friendship. When one reads the scolding he has for them, saying they are neither cold nor hot; and will vomit you out of My mouth. They say they are rich, They have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked - does this sound like believers? They are unclothed, naked, they cannot see their condition.
As believers, those who trusted in the gospel message and are born again, we are all called friends (Lk.12:4: Jn.15:4, 15). Jesus also stated, “ You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” (John 15:14)
Lovett describes this friendship in the Shack movie.
“I think about that beautiful scene from the movie The Shack6 where Mack is sitting around the table enjoying a wonderful meal and conversation together 26 with Papa, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. What a picture of the exquisite, deep, and lovely friendship that God desires to have with you! Doesn’t that capture your imagination? Don’t you want that? I sure do!”
Only in one’s imagination would this occur. This what mystics do, they formulate things from their imagination and their dreams, not from the Word.
Lovett says, Remember who you are! You are created by God who is Love in the very same image and likeness of God who is Love. This has never not been true of you. This has always been true of you . (p.26)
Never not been true or always been true: this is like the saying heads I win, tails you lose.
He is claiming from our creation we are the very same image, likeness- love. God’s love is perfect and exhibited by him in his ways and actions, we are not the exact same image, as stated previously, we are limited in his image and likeness, only He is unlimited in character and attributes.
Lovett states: What if I feel completely bankrupt when it comes to love? There is nothing fake about our truest identity. All that needs healing is our mind. This is why Scripture encourages us to renew our mind.” underline mine
Do we find our true identity by healing our mind? Is our truest identity love? No it is not, that is Christ Jesus’ identity. Ours is sinful, because we were in Adam. We were made in a finite image and likeness of God, he is infinite we are not, His love and all his characteristics surpass anything of man that is his creation.
“God loves us perfectly. In fact, it’s quite brilliant to realize from Scripture that God loves you as much as he loves Jesus!7 You share in and receive the same love that the Father and the Son share together. Jesus has single handedly established you in union with God and with the love of God.”
Does God love us exactly the same as He does Jesus, of whom is the only one the Father said, THIS is my beloved son in whom I’m well pleased.”
Are we perfect and without sin as Jesus? Jesus is God the Son.
Romans 8:38-39 speaks of nothing separating us from God’s love. For example when people sin and turn away from God, He seeks them out, draws them to come back to him. He still has love for them but this does not mean they are in fellowship or right standing with God.
In fact there are Scriptures that tell us what God hates in man. This must be part of the understanding of man’s nature. God hates idolatry (Deut. 12:31; 16:22), Human life is sacred to God he hates hands that shed innocent blood, or sexual perversion (Lev. 20:1–23 Rom.1), and those who do evil (Ps.5:4–6; 11:5). Prov. 6:16–19 lists seventhings the Lord hates: pride, lying, murder, evil plots, those who love evil, false witnesses, and troublemakers.”
Therefore he cannot love man just as he does Jesus.
Did God love Adam and Eve? Of course, they met him face to face in the garden each afternoon. But when they sinned there were consequences, punishment, eternal repercussions that affected all.
Because of his love for us Jesus died, he didn’t just say I love you but to receive this love we are to repent/ believe. God’s love toward us does not come without us responding. It certainly can make you feel better to hear that God loves you without asking anything of you. God hates a false witness, and telling people Jesus loves them no matter what they do is simply false.
Jesus also says he wants you to love him back, to respond! How? To begin with is by repenting. Believing Jesus loves you is meaningless unless it is connected to a response back to him, that is by trust, by faith.
As far as his statement that one can be of other religions and be a follower of Jesus, no one is walking around as a follower and not knowing whom they are following. Rom. 10:14-15 “ How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
What we need to hear is Scripture – interpreted correctly.
The Mystic Rudolph Steiner wrote, “ Everyone can attain this knowledge; in each one of us lies the faculty of recognizing and contemplating for ourselves what genuine Mysticism, Spiritual Science, Anthroposophy and Gnosis teach. Only the right means must be chosen.”
Prov. 3:5-6 trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
2 Thess. 3:6 You withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.” v.3:14- 15 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.”
Let’s understand what the mystics mean.
“The Gospels do not carry weight as statements of truth in themselves. They are to be believed because they are grounded in the personal presence of Jesus, and because the Church in a mysterious way draws from that personal presence its power to make the truth manifest (p.99 Christianity as a Mystical fact and the mysteries of Antiquity by Rudolf Steiner, Andrew Welburn, Christopher Bamford, Micahel Debus (z-lib.org) pdf.
Are there Similarities in the concepts Lovett presents? Consider these statements of Steiner.
If we can grasp this, we will see how a Christian “mysticism”—the attitude of the soul when it finds a higher spiritual nature within itself—is possible only when the inner eye is opened to the light that streams from the Christ in the person of Jesus. Union of the soul with its own inner energy is simultaneously union with the historical Christ. Mysticism is the unmediated feeling or perception of God within one’s own soul. Yet a God who transcends utterly everything merely human cannot in the strict sense of the word be said to indwell the human soul. Gnosticism and the Christian mysticism which succeeded it represent an effort to participate somehow in that divinity with one’s soul, without any intermediary. (ibid p.15)
What Lovett describes, ALL of you are on a journey toward Awakening and encountering Jesus for yourself. As the Scriptures say, “Every eye will see him ” is no different than Steiner’s unveiling.
“The physical eye tells us that what it can see, it sees by the light of the Sun, and the Christian initiate tells us that one ascends in one’s own inner nature to the vision of God, but the light by which one sees is the light of Christmade-manifest .” (p.152 ibid.)
In his later lectures, Steiner describes this form of mysticism as the “Christian-Gnostic path” with its seven steps. This path of esoteric training is based entirely on the substance of Christianity, primarily on the Gospel of John. …Steiner later called it the “Christian-Rosicrucian path.” Although it is not based on any presuppositions it is called “Christian,” because the knowledge acquired through it can become knowledge of Christ. (p.209-10 ibid.)
It is the new age awakening that is being spread into the church. This Christian Mysticism does not teach the knowledge of God by the word, but like Hinduism accentuates a union with God apart from the Scripture.
Again a mystic is someone who initiates and pursues a union with God by various means. Those who have a true experience understand it is God initiated, not man initiated.
An experience unattached from Scripture means you can have a spiritual event and believe it is from God because of the power. We are to be involved in the things God has revealed to us. Our knowledge of God is by the Bible, or we have no way of knowing if and when our “experience” is real or is a spiritual counterfeit. Anything that does not agree with Scripture (in context) no matter how spiritual, or powerful, or revelatory must be rejected.
Fellowship with God is intended for all Christians but it is not engaged by any mystery practice. The Holy Spirit has given us union, to be in Christ and Christ in us. We are to be at peace and content with this.
I find Lovett to be a product of Bethel churches mysticism and is helping to spread its leaven everywhere possible. This is not the Christianity of the Bible but using Bible words out of their context, reinterpreting them by his experiences. It was Gnosticism, a form of mysticism in the beginning of the church, this becomes a challenge in our day at the end.
Phil. 2:15-16 “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”