Continuing Dialog on Mysticism
Concerning Prof. Hanko’s review of my book, Mysticism: An Evangelical Option?, in the December 1, 1991 Standard Bearer, I do want to thank you for your analysis and your good comments. You appear to have caught the gist of much of what I am trying to communicate, and I appreciate your endorsement of those ideas.
You correctly observe that I do not define faith “carefully,” in this study; in fact, I do not define it at all in the book. Having read your comments, I do wish I had, but, just as I did not specify my Christology or soteriology in all respects, I did not realize the need to be more careful to work out my understanding of faith in this context. I certainly find the notion of faith as a feeling as hair-raising as you do. I would agree with you completely that faith is a matter of trust and assent (cf. my comments in Handmaid to Theology, Baker, 1981, pp. 71-75); feelings are just feelings – sometimes God gives them, sometimes he does not; feelings are not faith, and can never be such.
If you will double-check my statements of disparagement of a purely rational Christianity, the contrast is not to a Christianity based on feelings without rational basis, but to the work of God in our lives apart from mediation by any of our faculties at all. My point is that, once we have received Christ by faith, He works in our lives directly as agent – sometimes apart from our cognition, let alone from our feelings. I don’t know if that strikes you as more orthodox; I realize it may not. I would enjoy continuing to dialog with you on this matter.
(Dr.) Winfried Corduan
Professor of Philosophy and Religion