Final Essay Submitted For The
Master of Mystical Christianity Course
By Daniel L. Moore
"What Is Mystical About Christianity?"
Growing Christians, and some who are not, do wonder about the early history of the church. Occasionally some ancient document related to early Christianity will be found that archeologists and scholars will study. Some of these documents will often present ideas that seem foreign to orthodox Christian beliefs. What is a person to do? Is there something "hidden?" Do we really have the truth? These are legitimate questions to ask when one notes that transmission of documents and tradition within the Christian faith has not been smooth. Wars, persecutions, and divisions within Christendom has caused some degree of loss and confusion.
I believe some people have had a fascination with the secret and mysterious aspects of faith. Some do so because they may have experienced oppression. Others do so because they are not satisfied with the status quo. Some are like me will study Mystical Christianity with an academic curiosity.
This course does not limit itself to just the Christian era. It begins with Genesis. How did the world come into being? Other ideas and myths are presented. The text in question is "re-interpreted." The danger with this approach is the tendency to diminish the value of God's Word. It makes it less than divine revelation into a human invention.
Another reason for diving into the creation account is to find some way to deal with the feminine side of humanity. Certain groups within history and within the church have downplayed or suppressed the contribution of women to faith and spirituality. In several parts of this course it is the work of particular men seeking to instill a patriarchal system. This does need further study.
The Person of Jesus Christ is studied at length. Along with Jesus, this course seeks to elevate other women who worked with Him: Mary and Mary Magdalene. In truth, we know very little about these two women from the four Gospels. The non-canonical gospels are considered in this study as advancing more about these two women of faith. The trouble with any dependence upon the non-canonical gospels is that they were written after the last witnesses of the resurrection of Christ died. There were over 500 of them who could verify what Jesus (and these women) taught. With them out of the way, it is possible that error could creep in and maybe why the early church did not support these other documents.
Mary Magdalene is given a lot of space in this course. There are only 18 verses about her in the four Gospels. She is a disciple and a witness of the resurrection. She is not mentioned in Acts. There is the Gospel of Mary, a non-canonical document, that is fragmentary which some view as revealing a division between Mary and Peter.
I wished the author had spent more time on the writings of mystical Christians like Teresa of Avila. This was what I was hoping for. These were the ones who spent time in meditation, prayer, and Bible study. They wrote about their experiences. This was particularly prevalent in the times of the rise of the monastic movement. But alas, this discourse took a turn into the practices of the Eastern religions. The discussion turned to reincarnation and seeking one's ascension. Neither are supported by the scriptures.
I did learn how others view Christianity. I did come to understand the views of those who seek to blend other philosophies and beliefs in an attempt to make Christianity more "palatable" to them. This course actually caused me to get back into the Scriptures and to compare. I have left this course with a stronger belief in the orthodoxy of the Christian faith that I possess.
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