Mennonites Reading and Quoting Thomas Kelly

Thomas Kelly (1893-1941) was a renowned mystic Quaker, teacher, writer and scholar. Even though he had pantheistic beliefs, his book A Testament of Devotion is frequently quoted by Christians.

A Testament of Devotion is not a book that should be quoted favorably by Christians. Doing so can lead readers towards a spirituality that is contrary to biblical Christianity and that ultimately rejects the gospel. Kelly does not beat around the bush about his beliefs. On the first page of the book, he comes right to the point … God is in all. So anyone reading that book and then quoting favorably from it may indeed have strong affinities towards contemplative and New Age spirituality, and when Richard Foster wrote the foreword for a 1996 Harper Collins edition of A Testament of Devotion, perhaps this is his way of saying he agrees with such persuasions. Either way, if you are reading one of your favorite Christian authors and you come across a quote by Thomas Kelly, you might want to let that author know of your concerns.

“A Testament of Devotion” Says God is in All

Here is a Thomas Kelly quote from his book:

“The Inner Light, the Inward Christ, is no mere doctrine, belonging peculiarly to a small religious fellowship, to be accepted or rejected as a mere belief. It is the living Center of Reference for all Christian souls and Christian groups – yes, and of non-Christian groups as well”

-Thomas Kelley, A Testament of Devotion

The Bible says:

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 2 Cor. 4:3,4

Here is another Thomas Kelly quote from A Testament of Devotion:

“The sooner we stop thinking that we are the energetic operators of religion and discover that God is at work, as the Aggressor, the Invader, the Initiator, so much sooner do we discover that our task is to call people to be still and know, listen, hearken in quiet invitation to the promptings of the Divine…”

-Thomas R. Kelly A Testament of Devotion (San Francisco, Harper 1941) page 59

An extended version of this quote also appears in Your Ears Will Hear: A Journal for Listening to God on page 7-8, followed by another full page repeat of the same quote on page 169, as well as a reference to Thomas Kelly’s A Testament of Devotion on page 144. (Read more about Your Ears Will Hearhere.)

Many people who promote contemplative prayer use the “be still and know” theme, but it is only the first part of Ps. 46:10. “Be still and know that I am God,” is used out of context to endorse a prayer method of “quieting” or going beyond the mind, but is this what the verse is talking about? Read MEDITATION AND PSALM 46:10 (by Marcia Montenegro of CANA) to find out how this verse is frequently misused to support mystical meditation.

Once again, by condoning such teachings with their support, we see how the BC Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches may be missing the mark by promoting the MB affiliated Mark Centre.


What Will Ears Hear in the Mark Centre’s New Book?



What is panentheism?

What is pantheism?


2 thoughts on “Mennonites Reading and Quoting Thomas Kelly

  1. Pingback: What Will Ears Hear in The Mark Centre’s New Book? « Menno-lite

  2. Pingback: The Mark Centre and Silent Prayer – Strategy to Affect Millions « Menno-lite

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