Several years ago, evangelical author Gerald McDermott wrote a superb book entitled, “Can Evangelicals Learn from World Religions?” The text explored the ways theologians of the likes of Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin had historically engaged with Pagan philosophers of the likes of Plato and Aristotle and asked what a similar exercise might look like today. In the process McDermott explored aspects of Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism and Islam that Christians, evangelicals included, could profit from … even if only to rediscover forgotten aspects of their own tradition.
Now, I would like to broaden question. Can evangelicals learn, not only from world religions, but from new religious movements and underground traditions as well? McDermott explored aspects of eastern mysticism. I would suggest it is equally urgent to engage with western esotericism. Or to put it more bluntly, I would assert that there are aspects (note this is a limited statement) of astrology, alchemy, qabalah, ceremonial magic and tarot that a Christian – yes even an evangelical Christian – can learn from.
Now, I know this will sound unsound to some. Given the misunderstandings towards the other on both sides of the evangelical-occult divide this is only to be expected. I only ask that you refrain from shooting first and asking questions later, and like, ask first.