Andrew Murray and Mysticism

Introduction: Andrew Murray, The Mystic – The article is a response to a comment by Robert on the DTW Website (Discerning the World – 21 Nov. 2022).

Hello, Tom

Sorry for two comments in one day, but I have gone a little further in his book Abide in Christ and have found some sentences that disturb me. This book Abide in Christ is particularly important because it was Murray’s debut book in English. His previous books were written in Dutch. In Chapter 7 “As Your Wisdom,” he definitely adopts a form of mysticism when he says the following:

“Study much to know the written Word; but study more to know the living Word, in whom you are of God.”

In that same chapter, he also used the word “providence” with the capital “P,” as if to indicate that “Providence” is “God.”

It might just be a coincidence, but “providence” is an important word in Freemasonry. Here is what he said:

“All that you can wish to know is perfectly clear to Him. As Man, as Mediator, He has access to the counsels of Deity, to the secrets of Providence, in your interest, and on your behalf.

If you will but trust Him fully, and abide in Him entirely, you can be confident of having unerring guidance.”

Hi Robert. I noticed with delight that you are a passionate Berean who never assumes things to be true or false at face value but prefers to check things out before coming to solid conclusions.

For that, I applaud you. I am particularly impressed by your sharp observation of the word “providence” spelled with the capital “P.”

I must admit that as a young man, I read many of Murray’s books but never noticed key words he used such as “Providence” for the name of God.

The “P” in “Providence”

Shawn E. Eyer wrote an informative article on “The Eye of Providence: A Journey into Masonic Symbolism” that is a must-read before you read the rest of this article.[1]

In the early years after my salvation, it never in the very slightest dawned on me that Murray’s spelling of “providence” with a capital “P” had anything to do with Freemasonry.

At any rate, I was so passionately keen to learn how to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ that I never questioned things and accepted everything without testing it against the Word of God.  

The word “discernment” wasn’t part of my vocabulary then. Initially, I thought to myself, how can a capital “P” have any significance to accurately identify a Freemason?

It reminds me of what Spurgeon once said when asked why he preached the Gospel when God had already chosen his elect before the foundation of the world, “If God would have painted a yellow stripe on the backs of the elect, I would go around lifting shirts. But since He didn’t, I must preach ‘whosoever will’ and when ‘whatsoever’ believes I know that he is one of the elect.”

Who else other than Freemasons spells “providence” with a capital “P?”

Besides, it appears only once in Scripture where Tertullus sings the praises of the Procurator of Judea, Felix (AD 52-58) when Paul was brought before the authorities and accused of sedition and desecration of the temple in Acts 24:2.

Albert Pike Freemason
Albert Pike – Freemason

Lo and behold, the term “Providence” appears no less than 68 times in Albert Pike’s Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, prepared for the Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States: Charleston, 1871.

Does this prove without any doubt that Andrew Murray was a Freemason?

No, of course not. A court of law will never accept a capital “P” in the word “Providence” as circumstantial evidence in the event of identifying a Freemason.

However, as we all know, Masonic symbolism is that which is used to illustrate the principles which Freemasonry espouses.

Whether Murray used the “P” to accentuate or indicate any intended affiliation with Freemasonry, is hard to tell on this side of the grave.

Surely, Andrew Murray, the renowned ecclesiastical scholar, preacher, and writer that he was must have known the word “providence” appears only a single time in the entire Bible.

Admittedly, he never had the vast resources modern-day computers and the Internet provide us, but he certainly must have had access to some reliable concordances.

Scholarly writers are obligated to consult dictionaries and concordances for the sake of accuracy, especially in the field of semantics.

It behooves us to ask from whence he gleaned his knowledge concerning his use of “Providence.”

It certainly could not have been from the Bible. Indeed, it is a travesty to assign to the God of the Bible a name or names He Himself never bequeathed Himself.

G.R. de Villiers writes,

masonic-lodge-ceiling - blazing star
Blazing Star

Blazing Star. — The blazing star constitutes one of the ornaments of the lodge.

Formerly it was said to be “commemorative of the star which appeared to guide the wise men of the East to the place of our Saviour’s nativity.”

But as this allusion, however beautiful, interferes with the universal character of masonry, it is now generally omitted, and the blazing star is said to be an emblem of Divine Providence.

In the English ritual, it is emblematic of Prudence. Dr. Hemming, quoted by Oliver, says that it refers to the sun, ” which enlightens the earth with its refulgent rays, dispensing its blessings to mankind at large, and giving light and life to all things here below.”[2]

Mysticism, a cozy niche in all religions

Mysticism has a strange predilection to find a niche in practically every conceivable religion, and the Freemason’s goal, as you already may know, is to give an unholy impulse to the notion that all men are equal in a global society of universal brotherhood.

This equality is not a positional one in the sight of God but a religious one allowing all religious persuasions — Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam — an equal footing in lodges provided that its members believe and serve a higher Providence.

Freemasonry does not profess to interfere with the religious opinions of its members.

It asks only for a declaration of that simple and universal faith, in which men of all nations and all sects agree — the belief in a God and in his superintending providence.

Beyond this, it does not venture, but leaves the minds of its disciples, on other and sectarian points, perfectly untrammeled.

This is the only religious qualification required by a candidate, but this is most strictly demanded.

The religion, then, of Masonry, is pure theism, on which its different members engraft their own peculiar opinions; but they are not permitted to introduce them into the lodge, or to connect their truths or falsehood with the truth of Masonry.” (Albert Mackey, “Masonic Lexicon”).

God hates mixtures

Andrew Murray wrote in defense of mysticism:

In mysticism, as in everything human, there is an admixture of good and evil.[3]

Touché! This is a grand way to placate evil and happily blend it with good.

As a matter of fact, it implies that just about anything can be considered good by merely comparing it to the good and evil in mankind, a kind of Yin-Yang concoction to elucidate the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome of man.

He may as well have said, “So what if some call mysticism evil?  There is good and evil in everything human.”

May I remind you that God, in return, hates mixtures?

Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled. 
Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. 
Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together. (Deuteronomy 22:9-11).

God made it very easy for his people, the Israelites, to visibly understand what He wanted them to be like in their daily relationship with Him — holy, separate.

Even their daily agricultural chores like planting and plowing, and the clothes they wore were strong reminders of God’s immaculate holiness and, therefore, they too had to be holy.

If these everyday things were so important to the Lord, think how much more the Israelites’ worship of the only true God had to be untainted by mixtures of His divinely ordained requirements for worship and man’s carnal or secular by-products of worship. (aka the strange fire of Nadab and Abihu, Leviticus 10:1-2).

To what extent, may we ask, can we classify mysticism as strange fire?

Karl Rahner, a Jesuit of whom Paolo Maria Siano said that he was not a Freemason in plain sight but unmistakably had the mind of one, declared, “In the days ahead, you will either be a mystic (one who has experienced God for real) or nothing at all.”

Wikipedia defines mysticism as follows, “Mysticism is popularly known as any kind of ecstasy or altered state of consciousness which is given a religious or spiritual meaning but may refer to becoming one with God or the Absolute.”

If this does not send shock waves through and along your spine, the following definition from an Internet site may well do so.

There is a certain mysterious, holy, and incandescent flame that burns at the center of every religion, spiritual path, and philosophy … and that is mysticism.

From Buddhism and Hinduism to Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Taoism (and more), mysticism is the golden thread that connects all these religions together, despite how different each path’s dogmas may look on the surface.

For those who identify as ‘spiritual but not religious,’ mysticism is also at the heart of the spiritual journey for it is the very heart, lifeblood, and impulse we carry within to connect with the Divine.

Indeed, mysticism is at the very root of the spiritual awakening journey.

Without mysticism, our lives feel dull, empty, directionless, and meaningless because there is no deeper impulse, no higher purpose.

However, when we awaken our inner mystic, we find joy, play, vibrancy, truth, love, peace, and freedom again.[4]

How, may we ask, does Andrew Murray’s mysticism differ from the above description? It doesn’t at the very least show any diversity that can establish Murray’s mysticism as Christian mysticism.

In fact, “Christian mysticism” is non-existent.

Whenever the Bible talks about a “mystery” (“musterion”), it always refers to something which God has already ordained in the ancient past but keeps/kept hidden from man until He sovereignly decides to reveal it to them via his own chosen vessels.

By contrast, mysticism is manmade efforts in the style of ritualistic practices to enter into the presence of God, or as the mystics prefer to call it, “to connect with the Divine.”

For more in-depth information on Murray’s defense of mystics/mysticism as a special gift for the more advanced/holy Christian compared to the ordinary Christians, the English mystic, William Law’s book, Wholly for God,” of which Murray wrote an impassioned introduction, will form a large part of this article. Take special note of the word “secret” which Murray is fond of using in many of his books.

Read part 2 here:


[2] Pieter G.R. de Villiers Mysticism in a Melting Pot: Andrew Murray, a Mystic from Africa on the World Stage.

[3] Andrew Murray, “Introduction to “Wholly for God” by William Law, XX


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Tom Lessing (Discerning the World)

Tom Lessing is the author of the above article. Discerning the World is an internet Christian Ministry based in Johannesburg South Africa. Tom Lessing and Deborah Ellish both own Discerning the World. For more information see the About this Website page below the comments section.

3 Responses

  1. Marthina says:

    Dankie Tom. Baie goeie artikel.
    Ek het al agtergekom dat seker woorde en terme eksklusief vir die MistiekeRealm gebruik word soos. “Do you believe in prayer…. then pray with me…”. Dan word Jesus Christus se naam nooit eens genoem nie.

  2. Jeanette Bolvary says:

    Hi, I love your blog and agree with everything you write except that Christian mysticism does not eist. I consider myself in the early steps of Christian mysticism. Christian mysticism is completely anchored in Christ & the Word and I believe the book of James is a very good summary of Christian mysticism. It is humility, repentance and keeping your thoughts and mind central and focussed on Christ to withstand the trials and tests where you can only overcome if you keep the devil and his world out of your life, your mind & thoughts. It is deep gratitude for His sacrifice, His forgiveness, righteousness, love and mercy. It is His power & perfect peace keeping you standing & realisation and gratitude of it. I think you should reconsider Christian mysticism, from what I’ve read on your blog you may find yourself to actually be one.

  3. Jeanette. Thank for your comment. Do you practice contemplative prayer/meditation or any other kind of meditation using a mantra (a single word or a sentence from Scripture)? Sorry, but it is not biblical. The words mysticism or mystic appear nowhere in Scripture. That alone should be a warning to you. Murray himself said that mysticism is not based on doctrine. Are you OK with that? The Bible says, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 1:9). How can a Christian follow something (in this case mysticism) when it is void of any doctrine? It proves that it is unbiblical and heretic.

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