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Herman Dooyeweerd and Christian or Christ Mysticism

July 25, 2013

‘Dooyeweerd rejects any mysticism that divorces itself from the temporal world. He is opposed to any idea of a ‘supernatural’ cognition (NC, II, 561–563). He also rejects any mysticism that fancies itself above God’s law (NC, I, 522). Mysticism is not something other than nature, but rather an insight into the true nature of reality. In the true religious attitude, we experience things and events as they really are, pointing beyond themselves to the true religious centre of meaning and to the true Origin (NC, III, 30). I believe that this ‘true religious attitude’ is itself a kind of mysticism, especially when we consider how it relates to the experience of our supratemporal heart to which we are related in our intuition. Dooyeweerd expressly describes the experience of the true religious attitude:

In the Biblical attitude of naïve experience the transcendent, religious dimension of  its horizon is opened. The light of eternity radiates perspectively through all the temporal dimensions of this horizon and even illuminates seemingly trivial things and events in our sinful world.
In this attitude the experiencing I-ness is necessarily in the I-we relation of the Christian community and in the we-Thou-relation with God, Who has revealed Himself in Christ Jesus (NC, III, 29)’
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4 Comments
  1. The Jewish Martin Buber’s, ‘I-Thou’; relationship gets around, but with changes. But always first the ‘I-Thou’!

  2. Michael Frost permalink

    Guess one has to be careful defining Christian mysticism as well as practices or devotions appropriate to it? I think for vast majority of Christians we need to tread carefully and lightly here. Focus for us has to be God’s Word, the Gospel, and His Church. To know Christ is to know his benefits. I often wonder if those interested in mysticism aren’t trying to push improper boundaries, focusing more on somehow to know Christ is to kno Him in a way that is unique to the mystic?

    And one starts thinking about monks and monasticism. Even here the focus should be on simplicity and group activity. Common work and worship. The practical monasticism of John Cassian through Benedict. See his Conferences on the distinction amongst monks. See also Melanchthon’s AC, Art. XXVII on Monastic Vows, and Art. XXVII on same in his Apology. From the AC:

    “Thus there are many godless opinions and errors associated with monastic vows: That they justify and render men righteous before God, that they constitute Christian perfection, that they are the means of fulfilling both evangelical counsels and precepts, and that they furnish the works of supererogation which we are not obligated to render to God.”

    • Amen Michael: Nicely stated and referenced! Note I have had something of an interest for many years with so-called Christian Mysticism, I was an English Catholic Benedictine in my late 20’s for a few years (after my first combat tour). I cut my teeth here on Bernard of Clairvaux, and a few others. And then went off into Anglicanism: Reformed & Reformational Evangelical Anglicanism!

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