Mystical communication with God, extra-Biblical revelation, emotion and feeling over intellect, and separation of “heart and head” are all common theological and ecclesiological staples of Charismatic Pentecostalism today. Part 4 of this journey to the centre of pentecostal thought brings us to one of the earliest “Christianized” forms of Eastern mystical meditation which found its way into the visible church by way of a movement known as “Quietism”. This movement has travelled across the centuries and deeply embedded itself in the holiness, pentecostal, and today the charismatic Christian varieties of the visible church.
Today we hear of this approach as “contemplative prayer” however, various derivations of quietist-style prayer have been promoted in the church for more than a few decades. In fact, I can recall from the early 1990s as a new Christian, instruction and “exhortation” to practice “quieting” my mind and “being still” before the Lord which in hindsight was nothing more than eastern meditation in a Christianized form.. Various Calvary Chapel or Assemblies of God Pastors would justify or attempt to reinforce this style of prayer with an assortment of Scripture passages like Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God” and/or Ecclesiastes 5:2 “God is in heaven and you are on earth, let your words be few”. But are these Scriptures actually teaching to sit quietly and clear my mind of all thought and reason and in turn quietly focus on some aspect of Jesus in order to properly commune with the God of the Bible? No they are not. In fact Jesus never prayed that way and never recommended that any of His disciples pray that way!
Which means, yet another non-Biblical error has crept into the church and is ransacking the faith of many young Christians as it did mine. I’m not one to believe that a genuine Christian can lose his faith, however, his Christian walk, witness, and experience can be miserable as he is impacted by this false doctrine of prayer by “eastern meditation” which opens the door to delusion and deception in his (or her) life. This method of “connecting” with deity is actually found in Hinduism and then Buddhism following on from there. So it is safe to say that quietism, along with praying the rosary beads and other Roman Catholic practices were clear importations of Eastern paganism into Christian practice and ecclesiology.
Quietism got its start in a Spanish Catholic priest named Miguel De Molinos who, in 1675, was both a mystic and a practicioner of a prayer style he called passifism whereby, like Hindus and Buddhists over the centuries prior, Molinos would engage in the “emptying of the mind” and would abstain from all rational thought in an effort to be a clean slate for God to speak to. This was not only embraced by the “anti-rational / anti-mind” Pietists, holiness, higher lifers, and pentecostals to follow in the 18th and 19th centuries but was imported wholesale by Hinduism into western thought in the 1970’s as part of the Transcendental Meditation cult of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and further embraced by some early signs and wonders charismatics thereafter.
In the late 17th century, Molinos was declared a heretic by the Roman Catholic church – not for his extra-Biblical mysticism but rather for usurping the RC authority teaching against the Catholic doctrine of the responsibilities of mankind in his own salvation and sanctification. Ironically, centuries after his being declared a heretic, it would be Molinos idea of “quietist” prayer practice that the newer “progressive” Catholic Church would embrace.
It is important to note that many so-called evangelical churches are also now departing the Biblical model of prayer in favor of Molinos’ Hindu quietist “contemplative prayer” mentioned before. Molinos’ prayer doctrine would have a dramatic impact on two women, Jane Leade and Madam Guyon who would further spread mysticism and paganism far beyond the Christian “prayer closet”. One of whom would introduce, by mystic vision, a new heresy which would be the underlying theology for nearly all Charismatic Pentecostals.
Jane Leade was a 17th century mystic and early Quietist adherent who sought to disengage all rational mind in order to be a clean slate in the brain to hear from God and be truly “spiritual”. Continuing in the Hindu/Buddhist practice called “passivism” which was being widely spread by Madam Guyon at the time. Leade was not a Bible-believing Christian but rather more of a Unitarian who was highly apocalyptic and eschatological in her writings. She had an extra-biblical vision of a being which called itself “God’s Eternal Virgin-Wisdom” which gave her universalist enlightenment (the idea that all go to heaven and that none go to hell – contrary to Jesus & His Apostles words in Scripture). She believed in more of a “God’s gentleness” of the last days as opposed to God’s judgement and wrath on evil of which the Bible speaks.
This is decidedly the approach of today’s charismatic which no longer considers God’s judgment as a certainty of the future on all mankind but rather a surprising “Good-mooded” God (Bill Johnson) lavishing love and kindness on all His creation – even those that insist on remaining in their sin, rebellion, and refuse to repent and receive forgiveness which comes from the horrific price God the Son paid on the cross for them.
From her Eternal Virgin visions, Leade predicted an elite church at end of age greater than any church that existed which are identical to the false prophecies of Lorne Cunningham’s 7 mountain Dominion theology established through YWAM then copied and continued by Lance Wallnau, Rick Joyner, and Bill Johnson’s tNew Apostolic Reformation latter rain dominionism.
Leade believed in 7 church ages and not the 7 seperate churches of Revelation which was a bit of a break from the amillenialism view of the Roman Catholics and many of the denominations of the day which had emerged from the Reformation. She also claimed to receive what she called a “60 point prophecy” in the “Philadelphia Society” (Philadelphia Church). She claimed that the Church must be perfected before Christ can return (same idea as Latter Rain Movement and NAR today) with greater miracles than Jesus performed. The church will be impregnated by the Holy Spirit and will give birth to a man or chosen men (a new breed). The church becomes the incarnation of God and must be a pure spirit herself. Christ is held in the heavens until this perfect incarnate church is “made ready”. This same teaching is found in Latter Rain Movement. Christ is coming IN the church not FOR the church. The virginal church will give birth to a many-membered man-child (super church). This is the woman of Revelation 12 that gives birth that becomes the incarnation of Christ on the earth with powers to defeat evil. This is a completely false prophecy from a total false prophet in that it completely contradicts the Bible which communicates that the church does not give birth to Jesus but rather Jesus’ work on the cross gives birth to the church.
In addition to Molinos’ Quietism and Madam Guyon’s Passivism, another of Leade’s greatest influences was German mystic Jacob Boehme who believed, like Buddhists and Hindus, that god has two wills: one good and one bad (cf yin and yang). It is from this pagan concept that Leade derived her “Law of Circularity” whereby she, like Boehme, believed and taught that all things, including satan, will return to supposed perfection and goodness – which is a further doubling down on her universalist theology. Her once-bizarre now commonplace theological error and heresy would lend a tremendous amount of influence of the New Apostolic Reformation today whose signs and wonders charismatics are now searching back in the archives for Leade’s writings as an encouragement that what they believe is “from the Lord”. Sadly, it is not from the Lord but rather is a satanic deception birthed centuries ago and now coming to full fruition as part of the “Great Apostasy” of the church predicted by the Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3.
Join us next time for Foundations of Pentecostalism part 5 where we examine a popular preacher of the 18th century and founder of a mainstream denomination we’ve all heard of. He was neither a mystic nor a Roman Catholic, but rather, an Anglican reformer who introduced a heresy that would infect holiness and pentecestal doctrine forever after: the heresy of “Christian Perfectionism” which gives Charismatic Pentecostals today the strange idea that they are “perfected” by faith an no longer require sanctification as it has already happened in the past. This will have tragic effects on the public ministries of many as moral failure would soon become commonplace for both holiness and charismatic preachers alike.