A Proper Christian Mysticism?

mysticismIs there a place for Christian “mysticism?” Thinking of the various incense-laden mysticisms of the East, some implying a denial of the Creator/creature distinction or a strong doctrine of Revelation, many Christians, especially Protestant ones, would vigorously reject the notion. Writing about the “intimacy of relation” we find in our Union with Christ, Reformed theologian John Murray does not shy away from suggesting properly Christian “mysticism”:

Here indeed is mysticism on the highest plane. It is not the mysticism of vague unintelligible feeling or rapture. It is the mysticism of communion with the one true and living God, and it is communion with the one true and living God because and only because it is communion with the three distinct persons of the Godhead in the strict particularity which belongs to each person in that grand economy of saving relationship to us. Believers know the Father and have fellowship with him in his own distinguishing character and operation as Father. They know the Son and have fellowship with him in his own distinguishing character and operation as the Son, the Saviour, the Redeemer, the exalted Lord. They know and have fellowship with the Holy Spirit in his own distinguishing character and operation as the Spirit, the Advocate, the Comforter, the Sanctifier. It is not the blurred confusion of rapturous ecstasy. It is faith solidly founded on the revelation deposited for us in the Scripture and it is faith actively receiving that revelation by the inward witness of the Holy Spirit. But it is also faith tha stirs the deepest springs of emotion in the raptures of love and joy. Believers enter into the holy of holies of communion with the triune God and they do so because they have been raised up together and made to sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6). Their life is hid with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). They draw nigh in full assurance of faith having their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and their bodies washed with pure water because Christ is not entered into holy places made with hands but into heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God for them (Heb. 9:24)

-Redemption: Accomplished and Applied, pp. 172-173

So is there a place for a properly Christian mysticism? Yes–within the coordinates of trinitarianly-conceived Union with Christ, the Scriptures teach us that we can rejoice and delight in communion with Father, Son, and Spirit.

Soli Deo Gloria