Wednesday, February 14, 2007


In the Spring 2007 edition of "SCP Newsletter" Tal Brooke and Jonathan Rice explore the inroads sexual sin has made in the Protestant Evangelical community, and propose what might be the cause.

The article begins by taking note of the fall from grace of Jim and Tammy Bakker; Gordon MacDonald, President of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship; Ted Haggard, National Association of Evangelicals; and moves on to Paul Crouch and Paul Cain. Then the article asks the question:

could there have been some doctrinal leaven held in common among the exposed as closet homosexuals--a "higher" teaching beyond the simple Gospel that might explain how these leaders fell from grace?

The writers propose that the answer might be "The doctrinal leaven of bridal mysticism."

Given the horrendous homosexual scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, listening to what they have to say might be a good idea. According to the article:

Although I (Jonathan Rice) was raised near San Francisco in the 1960s and '70s, my first real exposure to blatant homosexual behavior was when I began attending an Assemblies of God college in 1981. To my alarm, almost every semester, several people were expelled for homosexual activities and, in 1984, one dropped out of school after voluntarily "outing" himself.

Yet why was this happening in a religious culture that forbids homosexuality and thinks of it as the greatest mark of depravity?

The more I have thought about it, the more I have realized that I have seen a pattern all along that may reveal the doctrinal source of the problem: bridal mysticism (now often called "the bridal paradigm").

Seen mostly in charismatic Christianity, men are forced to live within the tensions of a gender paradox. Originating in old-world bridal mysticism, peculiar in the past to some Catholic sects, adherents are taught to love the "passionate Bridegroom-Jesus" who has "fire in his eyes." While the New Testament uses bridal imagery only in a metaphoric way, in which the entire collective Church is the bride of Christ (helping us understand our unity and adoption by a Holy God), this teaching is then made to suggest that each individual believer, regardless of sex, is also a bride; thus making Jesus a personal husband and even lover. This is a huge leap from the traditional view of holiness of Christ and his clear message of purity to this strange bend in doctrine.

Those familiar with the charismatic world will know exactly what I'm speaking of here.

Bridal mysticism is seen in the writings of Teresa of Avila, of heretic Madam Guyon, of Saint John of the Cross, and Catherine of Sienna, according to the article. Visionary experiences go with their teachings. It is one thing for a woman who has dedicated her life to Christ and his Church to see in Christ her bridegroom, and even here it can go astray when the sexual act enters the spirituality. But what happens when a man takes up this mysticism? Does it emasculate him? That is what the article suggests, and it may even progress to the feminization of the entire church.

The idea of "sacred sex" has been proposed in at least one blog post in the Catholic cyberworld. Within marriage there may be a place for this. Outside of marriage there certainly is not. In either case there are pitfalls better avoided. Sacred sex is too much a part of the occult world to be finding a place in Roman Catholicism. The alchemical wedding is bridal mysticism used as a technique by those who wish to have power over others.

Amy Welborn takes up the topic in a post you can read here.

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