Complete in Christ: The Errors of Mysticism and Asceticism
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(1) Dan said that three common elements of false teaching throughout Christian history are legalism, mysticism, and asceticism. He cited how the Heaven's Gate cult taught mysticism and asceticism. Can you think of other notable examples of false teaching that incorporates one or more of these elements?
(2) Dan defined mysticism as "elevating subjective experience over biblical revelation." What is the place of our feelings and our experience in our faith? How do we integrate our subjective experience with God's revealed truth in the Bible?
(3) The false teachers in Colossae were "insisting on ...the worship of angels," which probably means that they were teaching that believers had to go through spiritual intermediaries (the angels, or perhaps even themselves) to relate to God. How does that contradict the clear biblical truth that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between us and God?
(4) Can you think of contemporary examples of Christian teachers or leaders who claim "spiritual elite" status by appealing to visionary experiences? How does this present the danger of becoming "puffed up" (prideful)? How is this harmful to the church?
(5) How does elevating subjective experience over biblical truth "disconnect" the body (believers) from "Christ, the head of the body"?
(6) Dan defined asceticism as "seeking acceptance from God and a higher state of holiness through self-denial." When should we deny our bodily appetites and when does such denial become harmful asceticism?
(7) Read Colossians 2:23. Why does asceticism ultimately fail?