Giving the first of this year’s Keswick Convention lectures, Dr Don Carson warned his audience of the dangers of pursuing spirituality for its own sake, divorced from Christ.
‘I don’t want you to think that Christians today should be robustly doctrinal and not emotional, or without any sense of the mystical experience of God. I’m merely saying that the pursuit of the mystical experience of God, abstracted from the gospel, abstracted from the mediation of Christ, abstracted from the way we are reconciled to God, can actually become a kind of idolatry, a kind of paganism that sidesteps the cross’.
Moving on to consider some practices recommended as spiritual disciplines, he said, ‘Some seem to me to be against what the Bible teaches … taking a text and repeating it and repeating it as a kind of mantra – no doubt it can make you more placid. On the other hand, you do have the warnings of the Lord Jesus about those who think they will be heard for their much speaking.
‘If you want to learn how to pray biblically, work through the prayers of the apostle Paul, very carefully, and learn how to imitate them’. Dr Don Carson was giving a lecture on the subject of the love of God. The theme of this year’s convention was Christ-centred renewal, with speakers addressing the spiritual malaise of Western Europe.