I have to repent for something. In my studies of the prophetic and Christian mysticism, I have made references to the Quietists Madame Guyon, Francois Fenelon, and Miguel de Molinos as if they were spiritual. But they are not. I have a friend who has fallen into their Quietist teachings, and am beginning to understand now how bad this teaching is. I am going to systematically start to extract any favorable references to these mystics out of my writings.
My main problems with Quietist theology are:
1. Hyper-Prophetism – That’s my own word to describe this phenomenon with some Charismatics that think they have to hear a word from God for literally everything they do (like turn a doorknob). There are various mystical sects that were heretics that held to this in church history (Alumbrados, Quietists, Jansenists), and I am growing more and more hateful of it, because a loved one’s mental illness has been worsened by it at times. I seriously do not think that Madame Guyon interpreted Christian spirituality correctly. Teresa of Avila would be a better person to look to for spiritual guidance. Quietism is really unhealthy for the brain. You don’t need to hear a rhema word for every little thing you do! The Bible says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
2. Anti-Pleasure – Quietism has this asceticism stuff too. I fell into this for a while in college, but eventually came out of it. I pray that Jesus will show all Quietists that it is not spiritual. Here is the best advice I ever received on this subject: “Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence” (Colossians 2:20-23).
Augustin Poulain is my probably my favorite Catholic mystical theologian. In The Graces of Interior Prayer, he heavily critiques Quietism. There is a link here, “On Quietism,” and I would ask that you please read it. I agree with Poulain 100% – starting at page 487: click link.