Mystic or prophetic: which type of religious vision do you espouse?

“Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” -Proverbs 29:18

In college I learned about two types of religious vision: mystic and prophetic. Both involve a transcendent experience; the difference is in how that experience is treated after the fact.

If a person has mystic vision, when he comes back down from the heights of spiritual insight, it affects him personally. But personally is the key word in this sort of vision, because he does not share it. He may let it affect the way he lives–building his character, improving his relationships, giving him hope–but it is something that doesn’t find voice beyond his personal sphere.

Prophetic vision, on the other hand, comes down to earth loud and clear. The person with this vision sees how it can relate to the rest of the world, and she wants to share it. She uses her insight to inform her conversations in the public sphere. She shares it for the common good. It will also affect her personal life, but it never stays only there. Prophetic vision must move.

Which type of vision do you value? Perhaps both have their place, or maybe we only need one?

If we only need one, I’ll posit that we need prophetic. I want to hear what you have to say, especially about your profoundest experiences.


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