Rationalism, mysticism and Biblicism

JP: Worthwhile read.

Kevin T. Bauder: Rationalism and Mysticism

Excerpt:

The alternative to both pure rationalism and pure mysticism is Biblicism. Biblicists may be rational in that they intend to define and explain God’s character and deeds. They may also be mystical insofar as they seek personal communion with God. Biblicists, however, begin with Scripture. They see in biblical revelation a sole and sufficient source of authority for their knowledge of God.

Biblicists do exercise their rational capacities. They discover much reasoning within the text of Scripture itself. Furthermore, they seek to draw sound inferences from explicitly biblical teachings. For Biblicists, the mind is in full play.

Biblicists also respond to the mystical impulse, for at their best they desire personal communion with God. This communion, however, is enabled by and mediated through the text of Scripture. The God with whom they commune is not one whom they find by examining their own souls. He is one who lives and breathes within the pages of Holy Writ.

Left to themselves, both rationalism and mysticism push toward dangerous extremes. While each points up the problem with the other, they cannot be used to balance each other out. Only a proper Biblicism can do that.

For a committed Biblicist both the rational and the mystical impulse can be satisfied. The genuine Biblicist will place both the mind and the heart in play all the time. Biblicists can give full rein to the desire to define and explain, while at the same time giving full rein to the yearning to know God personally. Only within Biblicism do these two impulses not contradict each other.

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