prayer

St. Teresa of Avila

People ask what names to look for in spotting iffy teaching. Medieval mystic St. Teresa of Avila is one. No judgment is being made on Teresa’s motives/sincerity. But her encounters with what she thought was Jesus were disturbing, erotic, dark—more indicative of demonic mischief. Tim Challies’s article is a concise look at Teresa’s spirituality. (Be sure to see the quote about “strangulation.”) Teresa lived in terror of “committing the smallest offence against God” and said Jesus made her life a “continual torment” (Interior Castle). In spite of all that (and more), many writers/ministers steer us to follow poor, misguided Teresa. For example, Philip Yancey calls her “one of the masters of prayer” (Prayer, p. 184).

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