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Seek 'Mind Focusing & Clearifying' Rather Than 'Mind Altering' Experinces

Logical Points To Ponder:

Be Careful of Mind Altering Religious Pratices Both Eastern & Western

Based on the article, Parallels Between Charismatic and New Age Movements.1999 by Gary F. Zeolla

The above article was originally written as a class assignment at Denver Seminary in May 1988. It was revised and posted on this Web site in February 1998.

It is because often his emphasis on feelings, rather than intellect, that it can sometimes be difficult to talk rationally to people involved in these movements about their beliefs. An attitude is common in both movements. Since they just "know" they're right, why discuss it? Why rationalize it?

Besides this, " . . many have very little content to their faith, everything is experience -- emotion (or emotionalism). is the base" (Schaeffer, p. 391).

Backgrounds of Adherents

The reason for this non-intellectual attitude relates to how people get involved in these movements in the first place. Many in these movements came out of Christian backgrounds that they did not find emotionally fulfilling. So they are looking for an experience or as Ferguson calls it, "a direct connection with the spiritual" (p. 363-4). When they find one, they will generally jump in without questioning whether it is it is sound in reasoning or not. The Apostle John wrote, "Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God" (1John 4:1).

But the new charismatics or certain 'types' of Eastern New Ager never seem to stop and question what the source of their new experience is: whether it is from God, from Satan, if it is a purely psychological experience with no supernatural source, or even an out-right deception.

Even A New Age commentator acknowledges this Problem, "I think one of the greatest faults in the spiritual (New Age) movements is that people are not willing to look at what is going on and say maybe it's wrong" (N. D. Smith as quoted in Ankerberg, inside front cover).

And indeed, New Age magazines often speak of "Positive Energy." And indeed there IS "Positive engery" which is otherwise known as God's Presence or "Holy Spirit", Active Force...But if we acknowledge the existence of Positive Engery..should we not also acknoweldge the existence of Negative Energy? Well, New Agers do..but this 'Nagative Energy' as actually demonic forces. When people accept 'Positive Energy of Light' but refuse to accept that there could also be Negative Energy of Darkness in the universe then they put themselves as terrible spiritual danger.

Not Testing Experiences

The kinds of experiences I am referring to are varied. For the charismatic, they can include speaking in tongues, "the baptism in the Spirit," healing, and being slain in the Spirit. For the New Ager it is usually some form of an altered state of conscience. These include drugs, TM, hypnosis, biofeedback, and also healing. Are these two groups of experiences related? Ferguson states that a mystical experience can radically alter one's values and perception (p. 363).

A valuable diagnosis emerged from the researches of Robert L. Adams and robert Jon Fox, who studied drug addiction in highly emotional based youth groups in the United States and concluded (in the Fall of 1972 issue of Trans-Action): Members of mystic or highly emotional based religious movements have a high incidence of past drug use, with 62% of those over 12, and 44% of those under 18, have used drugs. Only a 'few' individuals [ of those studied]were extreamly light users, usually of Marijuana.

Ample evidence supports the concern connecting the comsumption of drugs and the solicitation of religious visions. Some young people refer to their emotional mysticism as "The Jesus Trip," or "Jesus High." One mystic described his new faith- via-halluciation as " a rush- like speed." (amphetamines). In the end..For myself choose to avoid ANY mind altering experiences, be they from a natural plant such as Marijuana or Peyote or be they the form of mind-altering emotionalism or trace-like religion. Because the form of faith I believe is progressive...I do not therefore believe that those that may participate in one or more of the above discribed mind-altering activities is hopelessly "DOOMED".

However, since there seems to be "a chance" that altering your conscious state 'may' open the door to demonism...It is NOT a chance, no matter how small, that I myself am wanting nor willing to take. The only high I feel I need is the natural since of inner peace through Jesus Christ... just a peaceful feeling.

See my article also about Marijuanja-It's Spritual Efects and Drugs & Demons

Any of the listed charismatic experiences can do the same. Philosopher William James states, "Mystical states seem to those who experience them to be new states of knowledge. They are insights into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect." (Ferguson, p. 371)

If this new information is God given, then it's valid. But is it? If it's of Light aka God, there should be a consistency in the revelations and they should cohere to Scripture. Also, there should be a provable nature to it, some way to validate its claims (1Thes. 5:21f). Occult researcher Kurt Koch records several cases of his having to cast out demons who first possessed a person when he/she spoke in tongues (pp. 206-210).

WOW That is VERY interesting! Freaky, but interesting!

Ex-charismatic C.S. Butler records an incident of a man who wanted to receive the "baptism" - I let my mind become quite BLANK and began yielding myself to the external power outside myself that seemed to be pleading for full control of me. At once a feeling of paralysis began to numb my feet. It soon affected my legs...! became alarmed.

Wait a minute, He "LET HIS Mind GO BLANK"?! Is that not also what those in ceratin kinds of Eastern movements do?

"This thing is coming upon me from beneath...." Without a moment's hesitation, I cried out, "May the blood of Christ protect me from this thing!" At once it vanished and I was normal again (p.99)."

So unwittingly, he brings dark forces/deminic powers in and then calls forces of light Christ to get rid of them. To me, this is like walking through poision oak bushes and then panicking and running to a mudwort plant. Indeed, thank God for the mudwort plant to erase the terrible effects of poision oak! But why the hell simply look before you leap and NOT accidently leap in the poision oak bushes to begin with? How does one avoid poision oak?

First, INDENTIFY WHAT poision oak looks like..then AVOID it! Likewise. How does one avoid dangerous mind altering practicing that calls upon demons? EDUCATE yourself on what 'types' of meditations are of light and which ones are of darkness? If you keep experincing repetive unwanted encounters which dark foces, evil spirits..then stop and considering what 'type' practices you are doing when these problems seem to start occuring and this DIScontinue these types of spiritual pracitces!

Unfortunately, many are not this discerning. The man standing beside him "received" the baptism. Compare this story with one from Koch.

He tells of how a hypnotist finally gave up when a group of Christians were praying. The hypnotist announced to the audience, "There are opposing forces present. We will stop the demonstration" (p. 98).

So clearly, one source of these experiences can be demonic. There can also be psychological forces and deception present. If a truly supernatural event has occurred, there should be no natural explanations. However, in a lot of cases there are.

Neil Babcox, another ex-charismatic, reports how he learned to speak in tongues and gained fluency through practice (pp. 64-65). I've witnessed this scenario. A seeker is told to repeat sounds the leader makes. When he does, he's told he's speaking in tongues!

This is NOT the way things happened in the book of Acts!

Also, tongue speaking has been heard among Muslims, Mormons, spiritualist mediums and various other groups (Flynn, p. 184). Some Christians would say this indicates demonic activity. Personally, I feel in many cases it is simply a psychological event with no supernatural origins. Butler arrives at the same conclusion (p. 86).

Beach: But why ANY such chances?!

Similarly, psychical/ psychological explanations can be applied to mystical experiences undergone when using drugs. These psychedelic phenomenon don't need Satan to explain them. Chemical changes in the brain are an adequate explanation. However, drugs POSITIVELY CAN open the door to dark forces/demons! Baptism with the Spirit

One topic we need to touch on here is the charismatic doctrine of the baptism with the Spirit. At Dayspring, this was taught to be, "a subsequent experience to salvation." And, "The initial evidence of this experience is speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives ability" (Dayspring, p. 1).

Biblically, there are several problems here. The Bible teaches that a person receives the Spirit the moment he is converted. Moreover, if someone has not received the Spirit, he is not a Christian (see Rom. 8:9; Eph. 1:13 and John 3:6). Charismatics try to circumvent these points by making a distinction between having, receiving, being filled and being baptized with the Spirit. But the Bible uses the terms interchangeably (Acts 2;4; 10:47; 11:16).

Second, nowhere does Scripture teach that tongues is the evidence of being baptized with the Spirit. 1Cor 12:30). Also, if as mentioned previously, people of various non-Christian faiths speak in tongues, how can it be a sign of Holy Spirit baptism? This topic is important. If a believer who doesn't speak in tongues accepts this teaching, he's going to start seeking an experience that has no Scriptural basis. This can lead to demonic influence or psychological delusion.

Remember the story I quoted from Butler about what happened to the man who was seeking the "baptism"? The point is, a person should be seeking God, not an experience.

Again, our goal to be to seek mind 'renewing'experinces..NOT Mind- 'altering' ones!

In following the Lord, spiritual experiences may be encountered, but this shouldn't be the focus. Also, the experience(s) need to be judged by Scripture to test their reality.

But Again is The Engery Being Felt "Divine" of "Light" aka God..Or Is It "Negative" Energy, Darkness? aka Satan?

The above is not to say that anything without Christian roots is necessarily wrong. However, in this case, it is difficult to divorce the practice from the faulty world-view underlying it.

Faulty History

Chrasimatics believe the gifts were suppressed by the early Church. They further claim the gifts did not re-appear till the Azuzu Street "Revivals" of the early 1900ís.(That's when the Penecostal Church movement first began)

However, there was no suppression of the gifts. They just gradually lost importance after apostolic times. Also, there have been isolated groups throughout Church history that have manifested the charismata. However, from the Montanists of the second century to the Mormons of the nineteenth century, many have been heretical or, at least, at the "fringe" of the Christian faith (Butler, pp. 23-68).

The purpose of the sign gifts was to authenticate the message of the apostles (Heb. 2:4; 2Cor 12:12). As such, it is not surprising they lost importance when the apostles died. Whether the gifts are for today is not the issue, the real problem is the excessive importance placed on them by charismatics.

The above points caused me to start questioning the validity of the charismata in my former church. These facts were also instrumental in leading C.S. Butler and Neil Babcox to re-examine their beliefs. Their stories are recorded in their books listed in the bibliography.

The Response To All This

On the other hand, we should recognize the experiential side to Christianity. Nothing is worse than a dead intellectualism. We need to acknowledge the importance of the Holy Spirit's work in our prayers, worship and evangelism.

However, learning or offering an experience must never become the focus of our activities. The focus needs to stay on God and people's need for a Savior (Rom 3:23).

Lastly, both of these movements grow out of a faulty viewpoint of God. Shirley MacLaine could never shout "I am God" and the charismatic would never try to manipulate God via positive confession if they truly understood the holiness and majesty of God.

Bibliography:

Ankerberg, John and John Weldon, The Facts on the New Age Movement . Chattanooga, TN: The John Ankerberg Evangelistic Asso., 1988. Babcox, Neil. A Search for Charismatic Reality. Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1985. Butler, C. S. Test the Spirits: The Charismatic Phenomenon. Great Britain: Evangelical Press, 1985. Dayspring, Building Blocks of Truth: What We Believe. Elwell, Walter ED. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology . Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1984. Ferguson, Marylin. The Aguarian Conspiracy. New York: St. Matin's Press, 1984. Fields, Rick. Chop Wood Carry Water. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1984. Flynn, Leslie B. 19 Gifts of the Spirit . Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1980. Frank, Douglas. Less Than Conquerors. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eardmanns Publishing Co., 1986. Groothuis, Douglas. Unmasking the New Age . Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1986. Gudel, Joseph. "Reincarnation, Did the Church Suppress It?" The Christian Research Journal. Summer 1987, pp. 8-12. James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience. New York:; Macmillam Publ. Co., 1961. Knolls, Richard. Roman Catholicism: Issues and Evidences. Chattanooga, TN: John Ankerberg Show. Koch, Kurt. Occult ABC . Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Publ., 1980. Montgomery, John Warwick, Ed. Demon Possession . Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publ., 1976. Schaeffer, Francis A., The New Super-Spirituality, contained in Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer . Vol.3. Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1982. Sproul, R. C. Holiness of God . Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publ. Inc., 1985.

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