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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