Friday, June 9, 2017

300 years ago: The death of Madame Guyon

On June 9, 1717, French mystic Jeanne Guyon died at the age of 69. Madame Guyon was a major early figure in what became known as Quietism, practitioners of which believe that it's possible to achieve union with God through direct spiritual experience, emptying or shutting down the conscious mind. Her views were expressed in books such as Le Moyen Court Et Autres Écrits Spirituels (The Short and Easy Method of Prayer) (1685). Mme. Guyon believed that God inhabited her to the extent that she was basically just an automaton. Like so many practitioners of contemplative spirituality, Mme. Guyon ended up in panentheism, with God being in all people and in all things. Mme. Guyon was regarded as a heretic by the Roman Catholic Church, and was imprisoned from 1695-1703. Go here to see the Catholic Encyclopedia (1913) entry on Mme. Guyon.

Madame Guyon's mysticism led her into views that were heretical from a biblical perspective, not just from a Roman Catholic perspective. As with all proponents of mysticism and contemplative spirituality, her writings and methods should be avoided by Christians. Unfortunately, many continue to be seduced by contemplative spirituality. Proponents of the writings of Madame Guyon include Pastor Chuck Baldwin, who included her works on his list of recommended reading for 2009. Lighthouse Trails Research Project is an outstanding resource on contemplative spirituality from a biblical perspective. On the subject of Madame Guyon, I particularly recommend their post Concern Expressed Over Voice of the Martyrs Article on Mystic Madame Jeanne Guyon (November 11, 2010).

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