QUIETISM Examined by Dale Brown
A doctrine known as QUIETISM that raised havoc in Europe in the 17th century and spoken out against by men such as John Wesley has been revived and praised as a superior revelation through the publications of both Gene Edwards and Rick Joyner. "For this reason we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it." (Heb. 2:1)
Jeanne Guyon (1648-1717) was a French mystic and author of writings dealing largely with QUIETISM. Confined by the government (1688) to a convent because of her heretical opinions and her correspondence with Miguel de Molinos, she was released through efforts of Madame de Maintenon, Louis XIV’s wife, and found an ally in Archbishop Fenelon. Francois Fenelon, who became her disciple, defended her in a famous controversy with Bosssuet. She was later condemned and imprisoned (1695-1702) in the Bastille. Her collected works appeared in 40 volumes.
Molinism, or QUIETISM, developed within the Roman Catholic Church in Spain and spread especially to France through Madame Guyon. She preached her doctrines to members of the French aristocracy, winning a convert and friend in Madame de Maintenon.
The essence of quietism is that perfection lies in the complete passivity of the soul before God and the absorption of the individual in the divine love to the point of annihilation not only of will but of all effort or desire for effort. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church claims that she taught complete indifference, even to eternal salvation, and that in contemplation all distinct ideas should be repulsed, even of the attributes of God and the mysteries of the life of Christ. Molinos talked about an entire cessation of self-consciousness, and Madame Guyon maintained that she could not sin, for sin was self, and she had rid herself of self. That places her above Apostle Paul who confessed of his struggle with his carnal nature in his letter to the Romans. (Rom. 7:14-25) Apostle John tells us that, "If we say we have not sinned we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." Then he goes on to tell us that if we do sin, we have a Advocate (Jesus) whom to confess our sins. (1 Jn. 1:10)
In her book "Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ." she states, "Remember, you must never blame man for anything. No matter what happens, it was neither man nor circumstances that brought it. You must accept everything (except, of course your own sinfulness) as having come from your Lord."
This line of reasoning is misleading and clearly unbiblical. Jesus blamed the Pharisees for leading people astray and confronted them publicly. Paul placed the blame on false prophets for doctrinal impurity. To suggest that everything is from God is to ignore Satan’s affect on our lives. This attitude of passivity would make us of no effect in this war against Satan and his messengers. Jude wrote, "I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." (Jude 3)
Madame Guyon’s method of "silent prayer" or non-verbal prayer, is problematic in that it contradicts the Biblical guideline. Jesus said "Ask and it shall be given...", whoever says to this mountain...", "And whatever you ask in my name...". In James’s epistle we are told, "You do not have because you do not ask," "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God...". Even salvation is qualified in terms of confession, "if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved." (Rom. 10:9 )
In an article published in "The Morning Star" by Rick Joyner, Guyon promotes what she calls "abandonment". To accomplish abandonment one must "begin by refusing every personal desire that comes to you as soon as it arises, no matter how good that personal desire is, and no matter how helpful it might appear! Abandonment must reach a point where you stand in complete indifference to yourself." This is pure nonsense. God did not create us as zombies. God has given man all of creation to enjoy. Though we are to keep God’s will foremost in our mind, He has given us free will (and all of the emotions that come with it) to be creative and to enjoy life. In one place Jesus said, "Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full." (Jn 16:24) Solomon, the same man who condemned the vanities of this world, also wrote, "There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen, that it is from the hand of God." (Ecc. 2:24)
Quietism serves well those who have an authoritarian agenda and/or wish to neutralize any critical thinking among their parishioners and peers.