It's time now for Bible Talk. Join Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the Bible to deepen our understanding of God's word. [music]
John Bradshaw: Hi and welcome to Bible Talk where we talk about the Bible and how the Bible affects you today. My name is John Bradshaw.
Gary Gibbs: And I'm Gary Gibbs.
John: Lately, we've been talking about spiritualism and witchcraft and we are talking about how this thing is pressing its way into the Christian church today. Gary, people would be surprised to learn that spiritualism is more prevalent in the church than they might otherwise realize.
Gary: They really would and it's coming in a number of different ways. All the way from the most harmless seemingly innocuous Harry Potter and these witchcraft shows like Charmed and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch. I was preaching a church recently. A young girl said, "You mean there is something wrong with watching Sabrina, The Teenage Witch? But she is a good witch."
John: Yeah, you see? You said seemingly harmless, seemingly innocuous. It does not mean that your child is going to turn out to be practicing witch with a wart on her nose because she watches these TV programs. What it does mean though is she or he is being exposed to well, exposed to witchcraft. Let's put it that way. The sort of thing that God condemns. The sort of thing that can lead people very, very quickly away from God. Your faith is no longer in God as the source of all power but in this other untrue, fake, evil things. Now, children's minds open up to them and to the possibility of accepting them. It's very dangerous.
Gary: Let me tell you what's more troubling than Harry Potter and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch. It's when Christian leaders start dabbling with spiritualism and start talking about, very publicly, about their communication with the dead.
John: Christian leaders now?
Gary: Christian leaders. What I'm getting ready to share with you is going to be quite shocking. At least I found it shocking. I want you to pay close attention to what this is. But before that, I also would like to remind you. We are going to have a free book we are going to give you here at the end of the program called Spirits of the Dead. You are going to want to get it because it's going to cover this whole topic of what happens when you die and the dangers and some of the beliefs that are prevalent in the Christian church. I have made the church vulnerable to what we are going to get ready to share.
John: Now, what you have suggested here is shocking to say that Christian leaders are talking about communicating with the dead. You know in the Bible, that thing was forbidden. Those who would communicate with the dead would be... Or seek to, would be put to death. But, now, Christian leaders talking about this?
Gary: That's right, John. I'm not going to name names here. OK? Because I don't think that would be the appropriate thing to do here. If you want more information, write or call us and we'll give this to you. But we are not going to name names. But it is happening. In July 1997, a well known Christian evangelist who is very well known today, very popular today, said this on one of his programs. He said, "I had a vision of the night. I saw myself walking to the room and there stood Kathryn Kuhlman." Now, Kathryn Kuhlman was a leader of a Christian church. She now is dead at this time that this guy walks into the room. He said, I've not see n Kathryn in a dream or a vision in years. And so, here he is. He has this dream. He has this vision and he sees this woman in his dream. Later on in another crusade he held, he said, "You may have a problem with this but honestly, I really don't care. I've walked in that world." And he means the supernatural world. He says, "I've seen things you'll never be able to understand, unless you've see it. I've had individuals appear to me in my room. Not only angels. I've seen sights in prayer, incredible sights!" And then he goes on, John. He says, "I was in prayer when suddenly, in front of me, I saw a group of people. I couldn't even tell you who they were. I recognized only one of them and it was Ms. Kuhlman. Every one of them seemed to be urging me to pray. Now, I know this sounds crazy but it's all right. I don't mind if you call me crazy because I like what I saw."
John: Now, I am going to hasten to add here. Gary, this was not your experience. You are quoting the experience of a well known Christian leader.
Gary: That's right. He sees these dead people in his dream, in his vision. One of them is a very well known leader of... I believe Kathryn Kuhlman was the leader of the Foursquare Church if I am not mistaken, if I remember correctly.
John: I was involved in a similar experience. Now, I mentioned this because I think it's going to help you understand the spring from which this flows. I used to work as a radio broadcaster. During a program, one day, the program director had arranged for a spiritualist medium to come on to the radio program and people could phone her and she could speak to them and tell them what's going on in their life and put them in touch with the dead over the radio, you see. While we were sitting there, this lady, sweet as sweet. She could be anyone's nice aunt or grandma. Lovely lady. She looked at me and said, "Oh, John, how very interesting. I see four men standing behind you. I can see them four large men." Now, I had not told her that I have four brothers but she could see four men and I don't know if it was supposed to be them or if the Three Stooges or somebody else. I don't know. But she saw four men. Here's what I'm saying. When you start to see this stuff, almost every time, it's flowing out of a spring that originates with the devil. This sister was not doing the work of God and she was seeing this thing. When a Christian leader starts saying I'm having vision and I'm seeing the dead. I don't think we need to think that this is something given him by God.
Gary: No and he is actually communicating. The dead in his dream gave him instruction. They said pray, pray that God will give you a healing ministry. He points back to this as the time when God gave him this healing ministry.
John: The thing is and coming from church, man, this is outrageous. God forbid this. The Bible says the living know that they shall die but they dead do not know anything. Biblically speaking, there is no way that the dead can come back and communicate with you after they've gone.
Gary: That's in Ecclesiastes 9:5. That's a biblical text.
John: It's an impossibility for the dead to speak to you. Now, it is not an impossibility for the devil to impersonate the dead and manifest himself as the dead and speak to you. That happens and we've got to think that is what's happening in these instances you are referring to.
Gary: We are told not to seek the dead for wisdom. In Isaiah 8:19. It says, "When they say to you seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter, "Should not a people seek their God?" Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?" Well, that's exactly what this Christian leader has done. He talks about going to Aimee Simpleton's, simple McPherson's tomb in California and seeking and feeling the anointing of the spirit there. I mean this is really bizarre when you've got Christian leaders going to Kathryn Kuhlman's grave and to this other grave, Aimee's grave. Sensing the power of God and communicating with these dead people when it's expressly forbidden in the word of God.
John: Psalm 115:17 says, "The dead praise not the Lord neither any that go down into silence." Job said that when he died, he was going to go to a place from which he would not return. I believe that's Job 16:22. Friend, you don't need to be involving yourself in anything that's going to try and put you in touch with the dead. You see, there are television programs now very popular, mediums communicating with the departed and the dead. That popular books. It's not only non Christians who are watching these programs and making them popular. Christians are viewing them as well and it's very dangerous. You are putting yourself in the avenue of the evil one, opening up doorways for the devil to come in and really influence and affect your life.
Gary: John, I grew up in a Christian church, very good church. Taught me to believe in the Bible, believe in Jesus Christ as my savior. But they also taught me that when you die, your spirit or your soul goes to heaven to be with God. And so that left me understanding that when I had relatives die, that even though their body was in the grave, there was a conscious part of them that was up in heaven that could see. That may we figure... Well, they must also be able to communicate if God would allow them to communicate with us. Now, I would venture to say the vast majority of Christians believe that way today. But I hear you saying that's not what the Bible says. I think a lot of people would question you on that.
John: Well, that's OK. You can question me because I'm going to encourage you to be like the Bereans. Don't take my word for it. Go to the Bible and find out what the Bible says. Have a look where the Bible talks about Steven who was stoned with stones at the end of Acts chapter seven. He fell asleep. He died. First Corinthians 15, "Beloved, we shall not all sleep". First Thessalonians 4, "We are not going to go before those who are asleep". Lazarus in John 11 offering Lazarus is asleep. Lazarus, come out of the tomb. Where was he? He weren't in heaven. He was dead sleeping in the grave. That's the biblical model or the way through.
Gary: Now, you mentioned Lazarus because there's another text. The Rich Man and Lazarus. In that text, Jesus clearly says that some people are going to say that Lazarus goes right to heaven. The rich man, he goes to hell. They are both conscious. They communicate with God and they communicate with one another.
John: Yeah, that's in the 16th chapter of the Book of Luke. If you are going to type that story, that parable, literally, then you are going to come off with that understanding. But if you understand it as being a parable and there's no question but that it is then you can understand that Jesus was using a story to try to get some points across, some important points. He talks to them about how the beggar isn't necessarily cursed of God. The rich man isn't necessarily a favorite of God. Your salvation does not depend upon your birth right as the rich man thought that it was. It did. He felt like just because he was a son of Abraham, literally, that he would end up in heaven. You see, many things Jesus was teaching about this, he was not trying to teach that you die and go straight to heaven.
Gary: But how do you know it's a parable? How do you know he didn't take a real story and extract those lessons from it?
John: Well, if it was a real story, it wouldn't need to be literal. Here, you've got a story of a man who dies and goes to Abraham's bosom. Now, we know that when the dead get to heaven, they are not going to go to Abraham's bosom. This is a figure of speech.
Gary: That would be... It wouldn't be very pleasant for Abraham if his chest, his bosom was to contain all the saved. I think you'd get heart burn.
John: I don't think it would be pleasant for the saved either. Come to think of it. The Bible goes on to talk in this story about the man is in torments. He is pretty hard up apparently where he is. He asks for a drop of water on the end of somebody's finger. Now, really, if he was in torment, he would be asking for a whole lot more than that. Not just a dab of water on the end of somebody's finger. There's a whole lot of obviously symbolic components that make up the story of the rich man and Lazarus. There's no question about it. For instance, you've got someone saved and someone lost and they are communicating.
John: Know what kind of wireless plan that I own that they can communicate from the abode of the saved and the abode of the lost. It doesn't squeal with the rest of the Bible. It's a parable.
Gary: What about absent from the body, present with the Lord?
John: Second Corinthians chapter five. The problem is the Bible is being misquoted. The Bible does not say that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Not someone saying, oh yes, it does. Take your Bible out and read it. It doesn't say any such thing. Paul says I would rather be... We are willing rather... In fact, I'll read it here. Verse eight, we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. He is saying if I had it my way. I would be out of this body and I'd be with the Lord. Makes it very clear.
Gary: And he says when that's going to happen, doesn't he? In a few verses before, he says that will happen at the last trumpet or when change come. How does he put that?
John: In verse four, he says, when mortality is swallowed up of life.
Gary: There you go.
John: Back in first Corinthians, writing to the same people. He says that will happen at the last trumpet. We got to keep this stuff out of the church. The spiritual, communicating with the dead. God is not in favor that it leads us away from him and away from the Bible.
Gary: And we have to stay very close to the Bible, friend. You want to understand what happens when you die so that you don't get deceived by what's happening in the church today.
John: We are thankful you are being with us today. We invite you to join us next time for more here on Bible Talk. [music]
Man 1: If you like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we just discuss and expands on this subject including information you want to know. To receive this free informative Bible study guide, simply call, write or email and ask for Spirits of the Dead. The toll free number is 866-Bible Sayings. That's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, P.O. Box 1058, Roseville, California, 95678. That's P.O. Box 1058, Roseville, California, 95678 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bibletalk@lifetalk.net. Bible Talk is being produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of Life Talk Radio.