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Pagan Christianity, Pt. 3

Announcer: 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.

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’re 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 seemingly harmless and innocuous Harry Potter and these witchcraft shows like Charmed and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. I was preaching in a church just recently. A young girl said, “You mean there’s something wrong with watching Sabrina, the Teenage Witch? But she’s a good witch.”

John: Yes, you said seemingly harmless, seemingly innocuous. That does not mean your child is going to turn out to be a 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 witchcraft, let’s put it that way—the sort of thing God condemns, the sort of thing that can lead people very quickly away from God. Your faith is no longer in God as the source of all power but in these untrue, fake, evil things, and our children’s minds are being opened up to them and the possibility of accepting them. It’s very dangerous.

Gary: Let metell 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 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. And I want you to pay close attention. I also want to remind you, we’re going to have a free book we’re going to give you at the end of the program called Spirits of the Dead. You’re going to want to get it, because it’s going to cover this whole topic of what happens when you die, and some of the dangers in some of the beliefs that are prevalent in the Christian church that have made the church vulnerable to what we’re getting ready to share.

John: Now, what you’ve 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, and those who would communicate with the dead or would seek to, were put to death. But now Christian leaders are talking about this?

Gary: That’s right, John. I’m not going to name names here, okay, 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. We’re not going to name names, but it is happening. In July 1997, a well-known Christian evangelist who’s very well known today, who’s very popular today, said this on one of his programs: “In a vision of the night, I saw myself walk into the room and there stood Kathryn Kuhlman.” Now Kathryn Kuhlman was a leader of a Christian church, and she is now dead at this time. But this guy walks into the room. And he said, “I’ve not seen Kathryn in a dream or a vision in years.” And so here he is, he has this dream, this vision, and he sees this woman in his dream. Later on, at 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, “I’ve seen things you’ll never be able to understand unless you’ve seen 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; it was Ms. Kuhlman. And every one of them seemed to be urging me to pray. I know this sounds crazy, but that’s all right; I don’t mind if you call me crazy because I liked what I saw.”

John: Now, I’m going to hasten to add here, this was not your experience. You are quoting the experience of a well-known Christian leader.

Gary: That’s right. And he sees these dead people in his dream, in his vision. One is a very well-known leader; I believe Kathryn Kuhlman was the leader of the Foursquare Church.

John: I was involved in a very similar experience. Now, I mention 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, and during a program one day the program director had arranged for a spiritualist medium to come onto the radio program. 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. And while we were sitting there, this sweet lady—she could be anyone’s nice aunt or grandma, you know, 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 I have four brothers. She saw four men, and I don’t know if it was supposed to be them or the Three Stooges and 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 starts with the devil. This sister was not doing the work of God and she was seeing these things. So when a Christian leader starts saying, “I’m having visions and I’m seeing the dead,” I don’t think we need to think this is something given them by God.

Gary: No. And the dead in this dream gave him instruction. They said, “Pray. Pray that God will give you a healing ministry.” And he points back to this as the time God gave him this healing ministry.

John: The thing is, coming from a church man, this is outrageous. God forbade this. The Bible says, “The living know that they shall die, but the dead do not know anything.” Biblically speaking, there is no way that the dead can come back and communicate with you after they’re gone.

Gary: And 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’s 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’s what’s happening in these instances you’re referring to.

Gary: We’re told not to seek the dead for wisdom. In Isaiah 8:19 it says, “And 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?” And that’s exactly what this Christian leader has done. He talks about going to Aimee Semple 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, and sensing the power of God and communicating with these dead people, when it’s expressly forbidden in the Word of God.

John: Psalm 115, verse 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 it’s Job 16, verse 22.

Friend, you don’t need to be involving yourself with anything that’s going to try and put you in touch with the devil. You see, there are television programs that are now very popular, mediums communicating with the departed and the dead, you know—there are popular books—and 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’re 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—they 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, even though their body was in the grave, there was a conscious part of them that was up in heaven, that could see. And that made me 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 okay. 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 Stephen who was stoned with stones near the end of Acts chapter 7. He “fell asleep”—he died. Or 1 Corinthians 15: “Beloved, we shall not all sleep.” 1 Thessalonians 4: We’re not going to go before those who are asleep. Lazarus, in John 11, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps.” Come out of the tomb. Where was he? He wasn’t in heaven; he was dead, sleeping in the grave. That’s the biblical model all the way through.

Gary: You mentioned Lazarus, and there’s another text about “the rich man and Lazarus.” And from that text, some people are going to say that Lazarus goes right to heaven. And the rich man goes to hell. They’re both conscious, they communicate with God, and they communicate with one another.

John: That’s in the sixteenth chapter of the book of Luke. And if you were going to take that story, that parable, literally, then you’re 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’ll understand that Jesus was using a story to try to get some points across, some important points. He talks to them about that the beggar isn’t necessarily cursed of God, the rich man isn’t necessarily favored of God, your salvation does not depend upon your birthright, as the rich man thought that it was. He felt that just because he was a son of Abraham literally, that he would end up in heaven. You see, many things Jesus was trying to teach about this. He was not trying to teach that you die and go straight to heaven.

Gary: 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 would need to be literal. And here you’ve got the story of a man who dies and goes to Abraham’s bosom. Now we know when the dead get to heaven, they’re not going to go to Abraham’s bosom. This is a figure of speech.

Gary: It wouldn’t be very pleasant for Abraham if his bosom, his chest, had to contain all the saved. He’d get heartburn.

John: I don’t think it would be pleasant for the saved either, come to think of it! The story goes on to talk about the man is in torments, you know. It’s pretty hot, apparently, where he is. And 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’re communicating.

Gary: Yeah.

John: Now what kind of wireless plan are they on that they can communicate from the abode of the saved and the abode of the lost? It doesn’t square with the rest of the Bible. It’s a parable.

Gary: What about “absent from the body, present with the Lord”?

John: 2 Corinthians chapter 5. The problem is the Bible is being misquoted. The Bible does not say to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Now someone’s saying, “Oh, yes it does!” Take your Bible out and read it. It doesn’t say any such thing. I’ll read it; verse 8: “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” He’s saying “If I had it my way, I’d 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. A few verses before, he says that will happen “at the last trumpet,” or when his change comes—how does he put that?

John: In verse 4 he says when mortality is “swallowed up of life.”

Gary: There you go.

John: And back in First Corinthians, writing to the same people, he says that will happen at the last trumpet. We’ve got to keep this stuff out of the church, the spiritualism, the communicating with the “dead.” God is not in favor of 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: And we are thankful you’ve been with us today, and we invite you to join us next time for more, here on Bible Talk.

If you would like more information on what we’ve been studying today, we’ve got a comprehensive Bible study guide we’d love to share with you, that’s absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we’ve just discussed and expands on the subject, including information you’ll 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 866BIBLESAYS. That’s 866 242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, P.O. Box 1058, Roseville, CA 95678. That’s P.O. Box 1058, Roseville, CA 95678. Or email us at bibletalk@lifetalk.net. Bible Talk is being produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of Life Talk radio.

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