Paul's Passing Thoughts

Excuse Me, But the Reformers Were Mystic Before Mysticism Was Cool

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 31, 2012

My daughter sent me some pretty decent articles yesterday. Apparently, everyone is catching on to the fact that John Piper and many other vaunted teachers of our day propagate contemplative spirituality. No kidding? What was our first clue? Maybe the conference with headliners like John MacArthur where Piper preached on the Gospels as being “pictures of Jesus”?

But what drives me absolutely nuts is the fact that even those who are blowing the whistle still don’t get it. Piper, Warren, Tchividjian, Keller et al know their cuts of Reformed theology. Where do folks think they get all of this stuff? In one of the articles my daughter sent me, Ken Silva of Apprising .org states the following (emphasis by underline added):

Unfortunately we live in a time where, in my opinion, a tsunami of apostasy—likely driven by 1 Peter 4:17 judgments—is rapidly heading toward the mainstream of, largely pretending to be Protestant, evangelicalism.

Sadly, we’re watching the Reformation being undone as more and more people embrace corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM); particularly within the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church aka the Emerging Church. As a result, one of the trends developing as the above happens is a neo-Reformed new Calvinism, which I touched upon e.g. in Mark Driscoll And Neo-Reformed New Calvinist Contemplative Spirituality.

As I said in previous AM posts such as Acts 29 Network And Reformed Counter Reformation Spirituality? and Acts 29 Pastor Matt Chandler On Being A Reformed Charismatic, in my estimation, there’s very good reason for concern as these people are rapidly growing in popularity, and in influence within the younger sector of the Reformed Camp; blessed as they are by Dr. John Piper, who’s seen by some as a “pioneer” of this New Calvinism.

Everything I underlined in his statement is basically/fundamentally all the same. Piper et al are not changing anything; they are taking Protestantism back to its original roots of gospel contemplationism. I have never been perplexed about who Piper associates with; ie, Beth Moore etc. Silva’s so-called “Protestant evangelicalism” is a life form that strayed away from the original article through ideas contrived by treating the Bible as propositional truth as opposed to a tool for gospel contemplationism. But now, the real “unadjusted,” “underestimated,” “scandalous” gospel has been rediscovered.

Of late, this occurred in 1970 through the Progressive Adventism movement. A Reformed think tank called the Australian Forum took what those Seventh-Day Adventists started (the Awakening Movement) and launched it into the present-day New Calvinist movement. I document this thoroughly in “The Truth About New Calvinism” (TANC publishing 2011). This movement was the latest resurgence of authentic Reformed doctrine that dies a social death from time to time because of the tyranny that always accompanies it. It enjoys its present success because the AF systematized it. My apologies that a hillbilly such as myself found out about it, but it is what it is. Please excuse me.

Let me give credit where credit is due: Piper et al know their Reformed theology very well. The Reformers were mystic before mysticism was cool. Reminds me of the following song:

I Was Mystic Before Mysticism Was Cool, by John Calvin

I remember burning stakes

Even when they weren’t in style

I remember singin’ at executions

When Geneva was really wild

And I was listenin’ to Augustine

When all of my friends were diggin’ Baptists

And dissing popes

I was Mystic, when Mysticism wasn’t cool


I remember circlin’ the stake, pilin’ up green wood

And turnin’ down Michael Servetus for a way out of town

I remember when no one was lookin’

I was puttin’ peanuts in my beer

I took a lot of kiddin’

‘Cause I never did fit in

now look at everybody tryin’ to be what I was then

I was Mystic, when Mysticism wasn’t cool



I was Mystic, when Mysticism wasn’t cool

I was Gnostic, from my hat down to my boots

I still act, and look the same

What you see ain’t nothin’ new

I was Mystic, when Mysticism wasn’t cool


They call us New Calvinists

For stickin’ to our roots

I’m just sad we’re in a country

Where Arminians are free to choose

I was Mystic, when Mysticism wasn’t cool


(Repeat chorus)


Yeah, I was Mystic when Mysticism wasn’t cool

10 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. paulspassingthoughts said, on October 31, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    Reblogged this on Clearcreek Chapel Watch.


  2. Argo said, on October 31, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Recently I’ve been critical. This time let me say: great post!


  3. lydia said, on October 31, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Paul, If I am not mistaken, Ken Silva is a Calvinist. At least he used to be way back when I read him over at Slice and other places. I think that plays into this. he did not see the logical progression of where this resurgence of Calvinism was leading. I think he is a bit stunned to see some of the people he used to promote like Piper (and McArthur) playing around with the contemplation or associating with it—– since he has been adamently against such things a long while now.


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on October 31, 2012 at 1:27 PM


      EXACTLY. Sooooo many Calvinists are being ambushed by this now. They are in a position where they have to admit that they called themselves Calvinists for _______ years and didn’t really know what the guy believed. Calvin was so nuanced and ambiguous that you can easily miss what he is saying in the institutes. So, it’s not that a lot of these guys called themselves Calvinists without reading the institutes. However, the New Calvinists get it, and are letting Pandora out of the box.


  4. Heshimu said, on August 24, 2016 at 7:46 PM

    The word mystic has roots in the mysterious, in that there is something that can’t be humanized or regulated in His workings, such as the movement of the Spirit. I can read a text ten times before it opens to me. I can know a truth, but it isn’t until it is applied to my heart in experience that it has life changing power. Bridging the gap between the head and the heart is mysticism, or simply, the Spirit of God.


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on August 24, 2016 at 8:37 PM


      My source of truth is a historical-grammatical interpretation of the Bible and reality. Since the Bible does not define knowledge in the way you have above, I reject your proposition out of hand.


      • Heshimu said, on August 24, 2016 at 8:43 PM

        The bible most certainly defines knowledge as the Holy Spirit opening the written word to the knowledge of Christ in electing grace, Christ in preeminence, and Christ in the Spirit’s power. Unrejectable.


      • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on August 24, 2016 at 10:25 PM

        Only if your definition of the new birth is an ability to perceive grace as willed by Christ rather than an actual righteous state of being. What you believe goes hand in hand with a rejection of the biblical definition of the new birth.


  5. Heshimu said, on August 25, 2016 at 12:39 AM

    You sir, have no understanding of what I’m saying, obviously. The new birth is a righteous state of being, as God puts holiness in you, makes you partaker of the Divine Nature, and begats you again in the image of Christ. Righteous Lot vexed his righteous soul, and that was the new birth inside of Him, which is more than our standing in Christ, which is perfect and justified, but it is also our sanctification, which grows to encompass more and more of our being, as the new man grows in grace and godliness, while the flesh remains flesh, as cursed as if we’d never heard God. I don’t see why you’re so negative, unless pride is leading you. My original post was that mysticism, properly understood, can include the mysterious working of the Spirit in regeneration and enlightenment, in giving us the truth with power. The Apostles were strictly forbidden from preaching until the Spirit came, even though they knew much truth in their head.


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on August 25, 2016 at 6:17 AM

      Notice your double-speak. You claim a new birth which would make justification/righteousness a finished work via a one-time Spirit baptism, but then you sneak it in that justification is also our sanctification. So, justification is progressive which denies a one-time baptism of the Spirit. You then replace the idea of growing in salvation with growing in godliness to nuance your deception. Also, note that you make the body inherently evil that cannot perform any good work while the Bible defines the body as “weak,” and able to be used for righteousness. This idea of the body being inherently evil fits with the rest of your ill theology.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: