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Brethren History – Mysticism

by on September 2, 2013


Mysticism holds that God speaks directly to the individual. Mystics valued the unique word of the Holy Spirit to each person and did not want anything to interfere with that experience. Mysticism is difficult to define and control. It has sometimes allowed expressions among the Brethren that were not in total accord with the Scripture.

Mysticism was part of the Pietistic experience. Radical Pietism was essentially mysticism. Radical Pietism/mysticism did not have high regard for organized religion. It depended on direct communication with God.

This prevented the Brethren from forming many written statements of belief. To make definitive statements is to limit the Spirit from speaking in unique ways in specific situations.

Mysticism was/is also skeptical of authority. All authority must come from God through His Holy Spirit. Even the Scripture is not as definitive as the voice of the Spirit.

Conrad Beissel of Ephrata Cloister history was a mystic. He did not need the church or the brethren or the Scripture. His mysticism did not have a corrective and so allowed his errant behaviors.

It is critically important that we do allow for God to speak directly to the individual. But that voice should not be in violation of the Scripture. The Holy Spirit of God does not speak in contradiction to the Word of God.

So, mysticism formed the Brethren into a group that was sensitive to the Holy Spirit. It made the Brethren cautious about making many statements of doctrine. Mysticism also allowed the Brethren to sometimes drift from Scripture because of the value placed on the voice of God in the individual life.

Jesus makes it very plain that the Spirit of God is the Spirit of truth.


God’s Word is truth – John 17:17.

That is the corrective that the Brethren came to follow historically.

That is the corrective that the Biblical Brethren follow today.


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