WorldNet Daily VP Wrong about the Mystics

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St. John of the CrossOn January 18th, WorldNet Daily posted an article by WND Vice President, David Kupelian. The article came out in WND’s publication Whistleblower the previous month and is currently in wide circulation on the Internet. It is for this reason that Lighthouse Trails is compelled to respond. The information in the article could potentially mislead many into following the teachings of mystics and panentheists from the past.

Kupelian’s article, titled “If God is everywhere, why do so few people find Him?” does not refute the notion that God is everywhere but on the contrary backs up the idea by favorably referencing mystics who believed that God was in everyone. Kupelian throws in ambiguous comments like “Christianity is a mystical religion, not a legalistic one like Islam” which adds fuel to his persuasive recommendations about mystics such as Madame Guyon and St. John of the Cross. He also refers to George Fox, founder of the Quaker movement, and William Penn, also a Quaker. Of Penn, Kupelian states:

Penn, a Quaker and close friend of the movement’s founder George Fox, is quite dramatically saying God can somehow be found in stillness, echoing David the psalmist who wrote, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

What many WND readers may not know is that Quakers (not all) traditionally believe that all humans have a Divine light within. That is what prompted Quaker Thomas Kelly to say: “Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking Voice, to which we may continuously return…. In that abiding yet energizing Center we are all made one” (pp. 29, 38, A Testament of Devotion). Kelly stated that the “Slumbering Christ, stirring to be awakened … is within us all” (p. 29). He says the “Inward Christ” dwelled not just in the Christian’s heart, nor was something to be “accepted or rejected” but is “the living Center of Reference for all Christian souls … and of non-Christian groups as well” (p. 34).

George Fox would concur with Kelly. The three following statements by Fox George Fox illustrate this well:

“Walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone.”

“The Light shines through all.”

“There is that of divinity in all things.”

Kupelian comes to the defense of two mystics, Madame Guyon and St. John of the Cross, stating:

Whatever doctrinal reasons the Catholic Church might have had for rejecting Guyon, it’s hard to dispute the classic wisdom, espoused here, of seeking God in stillness.

But of that stillness, Guyon expressed these thoughts:

May I hasten to say that the kind of prayer I am speaking of is not a prayer that comes from your mind. It is a prayer that begins in the heart …. prayer that comes from the heart is not interrupted by thinking! (Madam Guyon, Experiencing The Depths of Jesus Christ p. 4)

G. Richard Fisher of Personal Freedom Outreach has written an excellent critique of Madame Guyon titled “The Mindless Mysticism of Madame Guyon.” Fisher’s research leaves no room for doubt as to Guyon’s mystical affinities. 1 It is Guyon who said: “Here [the contemplative state] everything is God. God is everywhere and in all things.”2 Lastly, St. John of the Cross who said: “My beloved [God] is the high mountains, and the lovely valley forests, unexplored islands, rushing rivers.”3

Ray Yungen explains the problem: “To absolve these mystics of fundamental theological error, one has to also defend panentheism.”4 We are not proposing that David Kupelian of WorldNet Daily is a panentheist. However, the examples he is using as examples were panentheists. And for the sake of many WND readers, this is something that has to be pointed out.

Notes:
2. Timothy Freke, The Spiritual Canticle, the Wisdom of the Christian Mystics (Godsfield Press, 1998), p. 60.
3. Willigis Jager, The Search for the Meaning of Life(Ligouri, MO, Liguori/Triumph, 1995), p. 125.
4. Yungen, A Time of Departing, 2nd ed. (Silverton, OR: Lighthouse Trails,) p. 74.

See also:

The Cloud of Unknowing

Christian Mystics of the Past