Practical Guidance on How to Discern Spiritual Error
This article by Tricia Tillin of Banner Ministries was written in 1988, and came out of her concerns about the infiltration into the churches of new-age and other esoteric beliefs. Since that time, the contents of this article have become even more relevant. It explores some key issues relating to false prophecies, mental manipulation and the danger of receiving a counterfeit anointing. It also provides scriptural keys to discerning between true and false leadings of the spirit. (This version contains a small amount of new material)
The Battle of the Minds has begun! Probably the greatest satanic strategy since the tower of Babel is now in operation, and its aim is the capture of your mind. At least one false messiah of this age, the Maitreya of Benjamin Creme, says he soon plans to overshadow all mankind in order to implant thoughts of love and peace into our minds, to prepare us to accept a new age of global harmony on the earth.
What will that entail? And is it similar to what the Bible calls "the mark of the beast" which is received in the forehead - the site of the psychic third eye? Gurus all over the world are now seeking to awaken this inner eye of wisdom in order to harness its powers for the coming new age. THEY WANT YOUR MIND!! One book written to guide our 'inner growth' puts it this way: "before we can think about the universal or collective unconscious, we must conquer the individual unconscious."(1).
Another writer says:
"In order for us to return to God's pure light, we must be lifted back up into the Spiritual Mind...the Rainbow Angel's ministry is coming to reveal more of God's nature, the Light and Identity of Life. There shall be no more delay, the Mysteries are open...The new heavens - THE NEW MIND - is descending into the Mind and Nature of those who receive Him, and gives substance to our New Earth, causing immortality to begin..." (2)
These words were written by a Christian who calls herself a 'teacher to the teachers of the Kingdom'! Other influential and well-known Christian leaders are also urging believers to receive 'the new mind' - but this is nothing less than an initiation into the satanic lie!
THE SATANIC STRATEGY
In Eden, the first satanic temptation focused on man's latent ability to DISCOVER and to USE for his own ends certain paranormal principles, now called the 'wisdom of the ancients'. Satan's aim was a selfish one: he planned to co-ordinate man's use of these powers in order to overthrow God and bring about satanic world dominion. (Things don't change, do they?).
The serpent hasn't altered his approach very much over the years. Once more, as in Eden, a plan is afoot to encourage men and women to develop psychic abilities; to open their minds to mystical experiences; to believe in the human potential, and by the unity of minds to bring about a New Age of spiritual dominion! The most dangerous of the new techniques are those which create blankness or passivity in the brain and throw open its doors to direct demonic control.
One ex-cult member says that those caught up in the cult "choose neither to make decisions nor to exercise their own personal free will...they accept as their thoughts everything suggested by the teachers...they try to empty their minds so as to be void of thought."(3)
The gods of mythology (demons) are often pictured using arrows, spears, lightning bolts or swords. Likewise, today's modern gods - the heros of the animated movie - use light-lasers, power-rays or magic swords. All these weapons represent one and the same thing - psychic power to zap other people's minds. These are the psychic powers which anyone involved in the occult is trained to use. By many techniques now becoming available, (meditation, trance-states, spell-casting, etc.) men and women ally themselves with demonic forces to unleash devastating spells and curses upon an unsuspecting public.
When you see a picture of Cupid aiming his cute little bow, you should understand that it is a fiery dart of the enemy he is about to loose. And where will such a dart lodge? Most probably in your MIND.
THE GOAL OF MIND-CONTROL
Satan is not working in a haphazard and aimless way. No, he is working out his 'Master Plan' for world take-over. The first step was taken in Eden, when Lucifer secured the co-operation of fallen man in ruling the world system. Later he brought mankind into oneness at Babel and except for God's intervention he would have achieved world dominion at that time.
Today, his plan is the same: he is re-programming the minds of men and women in order to build himself a visible earthly empire, his "kingdom". His followers have received guidance from spirit beings about the establishment of this kingdom, some of which appears in a book called 'The Keys of Enoch'. [Not the apocryphal Book of Enoch].
The writer explains that one calling himself 'The LEFT Hand of the Father' (as opposed to the Lord Jesus, who sits on Father's RIGHT hand) will seal mankind for the New Civilisation by REMOULDING AND RENEWING MAN'S MIND AND SOUL so that he becomes a divine personality. Another writer states: ..
" We stand at the threshold over which a quantum leap in consciousness is possible. Cosmic consciousness, a blending of mind with Universal Mind, is being achieved and demonstrated by more and more people... " The Great Oneness calls all its errant parts to blend and harmonize again...(this) free and dedicated consciousness of evolved mankind is the instrument for which a new society and a new world is to be formed, for God [ie. Lucifer] needs man as much as man needs God [to] help establish the bridgehead. "
The method Lucifer is using to bring mankind under his control in the end-times is mind-manipulation. Christians are slow to realise just how vital is this demonic preparation, for even satan himself is not permitted by God to carry out his evil plans without permission. That permission must first be won or extracted by deception from a sufficient representative number of mankind - what the New Agers call the 'critical mass' or the 'hundredth monkey', the moment when enough members of mankind have harmonised their minds with the Mind-god (satan) to allow his MANIFESTATION to take place:
"It is valuable to learn how we can make our wishes come true...so that we can finally create and MANIFEST...the MASTER IMAGE...so that we can at last be one with all of life, part of a mighty international organisation".(5) (emphasis added)
As more and more join together to seek a new dawn for civilisation, the numbers of those trained to use their minds against God grows, and the day of 'critical mass' draws closer. Many MILLIONS worldwide, during a series of Harmonic Convergences beginning on Dec 31st 1987, united to concentrate their mind-powers on calling down the New Age Christ, and to defeat the God of the Christians.
THE MIND IS FALLEN
Can YOU be deceived? Don't answer too quickly! Though we are prone, in our arrogance, to consider ourselves immune to deception, we are actually like ploughed fields just waiting for the seeds be sown - for our natural thought processes are usually foolish, ungodly and vain.
The mind is part of fallen human nature - earthly, self-centred and proud. What God intended as a SERVANT has become the MASTER of man; it has broken free from humble dependence on God, and sits ruling on a man-made throne of fleshy education and natural wisdom.
The mind is a fertile breeding ground for satanic suggestions, because from its early days it is trained to think according to the wisdom of the world. The Bible describes the natural, fleshy mind as:
- Selfish (Eph 2:3)
- Alienated from God, at enmity with God (Col 1:21/Rom 8:7)
- Blinded (2 Cor 3:14/4:4)
- Earth-bound (Phil 3:18)
- Debased, defiled (Rom 1:28/Tit 1:15)
- Vain, false, futile (Eph 4:17)
- Puffed up, prideful, self-exalting (Col 2:18)
- Argumentative towards God (2 Cor 10:5)
- Corrupt, wrong-thinking (2 Tim 3:8)
CHRISTIAN MINDS ARE NOT INFALLIBLE
When we are born again, our minds wake up to reality. They are released from the blinding power of the 'god of this world' and enabled to grasp the things of God. But - and this we often overlook - our minds are still capable of wrong thinking. They remain earthly and fallen, even though our spirits have become full of light.
As Christians, born-again by the Spirit of God, we desperately need to be re-educated in our thinking and for our minds to become transformed to line up with God. The process can take many years, and is never perfectly achieved. This means that our minds are still prone to deception - we are still able to be misled. Thus, the satanic battle for control of a Christian takes place in the arena of the mind.
Before we examine specific attacks on the mind and ways to combat these, let's take a quick look at what the Lord instructs with regard to the mind. The Bible urges us to:
- Gird up the loins of your mind, don't be lazy in thinking (1 Pet 1:13)
- Love God with ALL your mind, involve God in your thinking (Matt 22:37)
- Meditate on the things of God (Phil 4:8)
- Be transformed in your thinking by God's truth (Rom 12:2/Eph 3:23)
- Be united in thought with spiritually-minded believers (1 Cor 1:10)
- Be aware of the limitations of the human mind (1 Cor 2:5,14)
- Commit your mind-powers to God's rule and protection (Is 26:3/Phil 4:7)
- Be sober and careful in thought, avoiding rashness (Tit 2:6)
- Be spiritually minded, not thinking according to the flesh (Rom 8:5)
THE MIND IS NOT THE SPIRIT
Let's get this clear at the outset: the mind is NOT the spirit of man. These are made distinct in scripture. The mind is a God-given instrument of thought and wisdom, but it is part of the flesh, and is not spiritually attuned.
The mind is geared to natural things, not the wisdom of God, and it rarely grasps spiritual concepts first time round. We do not naturally think according to God's will. On the contrary, God sometimes has to overthrow our merely human powers of reasoning to achieve His will for us. We bar the way to God's blessing because of our shallow thought-life.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord; For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." (Is 55:8,9)
Our minds, no matter how pure, will never be completely reliable. Some believers seem to think their minds are infallible, and blithely follow every little suggestion as a command from God. How foolish! How dangerous! It is satan who puts many thoughts into our minds. That is how he brings the work of the Lord into disrepute, destroys fellowship and wrecks the faith of Christians.
- Think of a denomination that began well, but has now sunk into deadness and liberal beliefs, and you will see the work of those who raise human wisdom and education above the Word of God.
- Think of a Christian who has sadly 'gone off the rails' and you will remember the 'words' and 'guidance' this person was receiving mentally.
- Think of a sect which began, perhaps, in the will of God but which has long since followed an occult path. You will see the suggestions of satan which have been accepted by the minds of the deceived.
- Now think of yourself, and you will admit that the times you missed the will of God were those times you listened to the thoughts of your own mind instead of the 'still small voice' of God in your heart.
Once we accept the fact that our minds are fallible, earthly and largely unspiritual, we will be wary of accepting any old 'leading' that flashes into our minds. We will know how to distinguish between true words and false prophecies; we will not be thrown by powerful commands to believe this or do that, whether they come from our favourite Minister, our prayer-partner, or from the depths of our own minds.
True guidance from God originates in the spirit and is imparted by a spiritual prompt; it is never disruptive of His work, nor is it foolish, fruitless or self-exalting.
On the other hand, satanic 'guidance' "does not descend from above, but is EARTHLY, SENSUAL, DEMONIC." (James 3:15) This scripture shows plainly that demonic leadings take place in the mind and not in the sanctified spirit of a Christian, for the word translated 'sensual' is 'psychikos', meaning 'soulish, animal, natural'. Satanic leadings are PSYCHIC, not SPIRITUAL!
Our greatest safeguard against satanic suggestions is to learn AND PRACTISE the difference between spiritual leadings (from God) and natural inclinations (from our own desires, from other people and from demons):
TRUE GUIDANCE AND FALSE IMPRESSIONS
One passage in the letter of James (Chapter 3, verse 17) teaches us how to know 'the wisdom from above': It is
- PURE (it is not mixed with sin or worldly wisdom)
- PEACEABLE (it does not disturb our inner calm or fellowship)
- GENTLE (it does not push, hustle, threaten or condemn)
- YIELDING (it does not lead to an unbending, know-it-all attitude)
- MERCIFUL (it does not make us hard or unsympathetic towards others)
- FRUITFUL (it does not result in calamity or disappointment)
- IMPARTIAL (it does not favour just the 'good' and 'clever')
- GENUINE (it does not give a false veneer of wisdom or spirituality)
Sadly, there are too many examples today of teachings based on false guidance (or, the wisdom that James describes as demonic.) Judging by the list above, we can identify ministries that dominate, hustle and condemn, and ministers with prideful, unyielding spirits as MISGUIDED. Whenever a minister tells you to act without reflection, hastily, mindlessly, urgently and without waiting for inner peace, you can be sure you are being led in the WRONG direction. "Just give in" they say! "Go with the flow". That's the moment to reply - I am not giving in to anything without testing it first, as the Lord commands.
We can also check our own mental impressions against this list: If we feel a sense of hurry and haste pushing us to act; if we are led to feel specially chosen and super-spiritual, or perhaps to feel condemned and useless; if we are being urged to do foolish and fruitless things 'for God' - then the chances are that these impressions are demonic. In Paul's words, "if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know."
Let's be humble and sensible enough to doubt the thoughts of our fallible minds and to develop a firm habit of checking out our stray thoughts with God and His Word.
RIGHTMINDED AND WRONGMINDED
WRONG: God requires the mind to be empty and passive to receive His will
RIGHT: God cultivates, stimulates, educates and renews our minds
WRONG: God speaks by voices, words, pictures etc. in the mind
RIGHT: God speaks to the spirit, which inspires the mind
WRONG:God impels, pushes, controls and commands in the mind
RIGHT: God prompts, checks, urges and guides in the spirit
WRONG: God compels action by urgency, threats, fearfulness, force, or direct mind-control
RIGHT: God presents a course of action for us to consider
WRONG: God implants in the mind facts previously unknown
RIGHT: God calls us to gain wisdom and understanding by study
WRONG: God covers the mind automatically to protect it from lies
RIGHT: God keeps the mind when it is 'stayed on Him', full of the Word
WRONG: God's truth is received, understood and acted on in the mind
RIGHT: God sends spiritual revelation of the truth to inspire our minds
WRONG: God presents to the mind new, strange and unheard of ideas
RIGHT: God adds to the truth already perceived and never contradicts it
WRONG: God condemns sin persistently, publicly, urgently and by a sense of mental anguish
RIGHT: God convicts of sin gently and peacefully by inward revelation
WRONG: Prayer and worship originate in the mind, and are then offered to God
RIGHT: Prayer and worship arise from a spiritual communion with God
WRONG: Waiting for God to lead is done by opening up to mental impressions
RIGHT: Waiting on God's leading is active co-operation of mind and spirit
SOME RESULTS OF RECEIVING MENTAL SUGGESTIONS
- Fears and torments, usually illogical and not based on fact.
- Doubts and confusion about God and His Word.
- Condemnation over imaginary sins or past sins that God has forgiven.
- Pressure to 'do things' to try to please God.
- Resentments and irritations against others, usually unfounded.
- Divisions and arguments over trivial matters in fellowships.
- False prophesies and leadings supposedly 'from God'.
- False burdens to begin ministries that are supposed to be 'world-shaking'.
- Despair that one's life or work 'will never be right'.
- Pressure to accept oppressions, inexplicable suffering and adverse circumstances as 'from God'.
SATAN'S THREE-PRONGED FORK
Why all this attention focused on the mind? Why is satan interested in what we think? Three key concepts provide the answer: Perception; Power; Passivity.
One of the oldest beliefs of occultism is that life is an illusion, a dream, and that reality is just a figment of our imagination.
In the Hindu religion this is called Maya. New Age thinking has adapted Eastern mystical religion for its philosophy, and has caused Western religion, psychology, art and even science to accept that the mind creates its own reality.
Some eminent scientists have agreed that "John von Neumann's rigorous formulation of quantum mechanics showed that physical reality was a figment of the human imagination, and that the only true reality was thought..."(6) and Nobel Laureate Max Planck says "I regard consciousness as fundamental and matter as derivative from consciousness"
This concept, that the mind is capable of creating and manipulating its own reality, lies behind most of the New Age mind-sciences today. Since they see the world as a temporary and illusory creation, simply the product of the 'collective unconscious' of the 'global mind', then not only individual lives, but the entire planet could be changed by 'an altered state of consciousness'.
Today it has become possible - either by the use of mind-altering drugs, techniques such as sensory deprivation or, even faster and more effectively, by technologies such as virtual reality headsets - to present a person with an entirely new world which is perceived to be just as "real" as ordinary reality. Indeed, new-agers believe that this virtual reality IS just as genuine as what we see around us!
Virtual worlds, whether conceived under the influence of drugs or in a computer simulation, are presented as genuine and believable. The places people go, the people they meet, what they see and do and what they learn, is all supposed to be as truthful and life-enhancing as genuine reality. So, imagine the consequences of meeting up with demonic entities on one of these journeys and accepting their version of the truth as reality. Imagine encountering a computer-generated "Jesus" who tells you things that contradict the Bible. In this virtual world, how are you to know the truth from the lie? In the new virtual universe, there is no empirical standard of truth or reality, just a series of illusions, each one as valid as the next.
As one prominent New Ager writes: "there are as many realities as there are persons..." and we are to prepare ourselves for "a world without solid basis, a world of process and change...in which the individual mind...CREATES the new reality." (7)
" We are learning that energy follows thought, and through...mental programming we can move through altered states of consciousness and experience new interactions with our realities."(8)
In the East this so-called 'higher consciousness' which opens the door to a changed reality is achieved mystically - through techniques such as yoga and meditation. However, the 'scientific' Western world has been presented with a whole range of mind-expansion theories, such as Silva Mind Control, Erhard Seminars Training, Biofeedback, Scientology, hypnosis and guided imagery or visualisation (now often used in schools). The effect is just the same, whatever the technique. [TT1]All these techniques are, in the words of Theosophist Dane Rudhyar, "breaking open doors of the mind and the usual ego-defenses built by our traditional culture..."(9)
And, according to this statement from the Psychosynthesis Institute, they make us "capable of transcending the worldly order, of participating in eternal life and in the energy of the super-celestial...liberated from the bonds of fate itself." (10)
The Theosophists, Hindus and New Agers all seek to loosen the conscious control of their minds in order to create a 'higher reality' - actually, this turns out to be plain old-fashioned demonic possession! Satan's new 'reality' is a supernatural delusion, in which man thinks he has progressed into higher realms of spiritual wisdom while in fact he has descended into deepest bondage to lying demons.
CHRISTIAN MIND CONTROL TECHNIQUES
But Christians are not safe from these fantastic teachings, for the Church has accepted a christianised version of the lie. Christian teachers all over the world are leading their followers into the very same activities! They are encouraging Christians to expand their minds and to develop mind-powers. One very influential Christian leader believes that the Holy Spirit has taught him to 'incubate his dreams':
" ...if you have not visualised clearly in your heart exactly what you hope for, it cannot become reality to you...we have taught our people how to visualize success...through visualizing and dreaming, you can incubate your future and hatch the results."(11)
Richard Foster's widely accepted book 'Celebration of Discipline' teaches that through visualization a Christian can transcend time and space and ascend to the very Presence of God. Foster assures Christians that this is no mere fantasy of the imagination, but reality created by the mind. (12)
While the occultist teaches that "visualisation is something you MUST master if you are to make any progress at all in magic...it is our only means of affecting the etheric atmosphere.."(13) the Christian Minister teaches that "only through the use of images in our meditation can we actually open the door to the inner world and walk through it to experience the riches available in spiritual reality."(14)
While many Churches now accept yoga, meditation techniques and self help therapies as part of their ministry, VISUALISATION has become the foremost technique amongst Christians for achieving health, wealth and a positive self-image. It has become so popular that books about positive thinking have become best-sellers almost overnight. Some ministers even use positivism and visualisation as the cornerstone of all their teaching.
THE POWER OF IMAGINATION
The power inherent in the imagination of man, to manipulate reality and to influence the future, is a power satan needs to achieve his coming kingdom. Who would have thought that Christians would be so eager to help? By their thousands, Christians are learning creative visualisation, and in so doing are opening their minds to demonic control.
What has brought this about? Vulnerable Christians who are seeking a quick painless route to inner health are falling for the lie that mental manipulation is all it takes to change their lives. They are being taught that visualising their needs brings answers to prayer! The Christian author of a popular 'success' book, M.R. Douglas, writes "form a picture of what you desire to achieve...it's yours the minute you visualise it."(15)
Is this what Jesus meant when He taught us to pray to the Father for our needs? As Christian expectation of wealth, happiness and worldly enjoyment has increased, so has dependence on positive thinking and visualisation to obtain easy instant answers to prayer.
What has been lost is the most vital and central part of the Gospel - that our well-being entirely depends on our obedience to THE WILL OF GOD. It was our own natural desires that first put us out of fellowship with God - and indulging them will do the same today, even for born-again believers!
We focus on our needs, and expect God to dole out whatever we desire, regardless of His will. God has become our servant! He is portrayed as a benevolent old chap dishing out the goodies as we imagine ever more delightful ways of indulging our flesh. His promises are taken as the starting point for our demands, not the by-product of a walk in obedience to His Word. Yet the only disciples Jesus recognises are those who "continue in My Word". (John 8:31).
ABIDE IN HIM - THE ONLY WAY
God the Father brings us to salvation by incorporating us into His Son, Jesus Christ. Now, think about this point a little, because it is vitally important. On this point founders all the self-centred teaching of today. Human nature - your nature without God - is utterly depraved and hopelessly lost. God will not improve it. No, He REMOVES it by putting it to death in Jesus, our Substitute.
So, in what nature do you now live and have blessing? Why, simply the Nature of Jesus Christ! Your old self has died! It is no use looking for anything at all outside of Jesus Christ, because God has condemned it. Anything you are or have now is BECAUSE OF JESUS.
If you need health, finances, provision... you'll find it abundantly provided IN JESUS. He IS our Health, our Provision, our Life completely, and all these blessings flow freely into our lives as we walk with Him. But outside of Jesus lies nothing but ruin, defeat and sin (even if it is dressed up to look attractive). If you go to your natural mind-powers to achieve or to gain anything, you have gone down to the Egypt of the flesh. You have stepped outside of God's will. That self-seeking attitude, when allowed to run the whole course, will cause a spewing-out from God! (Revelation 3:15-19)
CREATIVE POWERS OF THE MIND
The principle behind creative visualisation is a simple and tantalising one: a picture of the desired result is formed in the mind, and by a concentrated effort of 'faith' (will-power, rather) over a period of time, this picture becomes a reality. Although couched in Christian terms, this sort of mental exercise is little short of witchcraft - in fact, occultists testify that it will lead to witchcraft EVEN FOR A CHRISTIAN.
Visualisation always has been, and remains, the foremost occultic practice for influencing circumstances. Rosicrucians train their disciples to concentrate on wealth and possessions until they come into reality; satanists use their minds in a similar way to effect curses. They believe that they are using a higher realm of the human psyche, by which thought actually takes on substance and lives in reality.
The hugely successful Positive Thinking promoter, Bunny Marks of Amway, puts it like this:
"...the first thing we must do if we wish to achieve and live the life of success, the life of plenty and happiness, is first of all to visualise it. We actually create reality by what we visualise...the picture you hold in your mind will develop the same way a film develops..."(16)
Note that he says, we actually *create reality* by what we visualise. God alone reserves the right to be Creator. Satan longs to be 'as God' - and he tempts mankind to follow in his footsteps. Visualisation 'guru', Shakti Gawain, says that "creative visualisation is the technique of using your imagination to create what you want...you are the constant Creator of your life."(17) But Pastor/Author C.S. Lovett said much the same: "Imagination is the key to creation. Everything God does he first sees in His mind. And so it is with men made in His image..."(18)
THE LIE OF EDEN
Agnes Sanford also taught that man was a creator, like God. And she explained that this power would work for Christian and pagan alike, because it is a law of the Universe. Yonggi Cho said the same thing on pages 39-41 of his book "The Fourth Dimension":
"The spirit is the fourth dimension. Every human being is a spiritual being as well as a physical being...so men, by exploring their spiritual sphere of concentrated visions and dreams in their imaginations, can brood over and incubate the third dimension [the material realm], influencing and changing it. This is what the Holy Spirit taught me. Yoga people and Buddhist believers could explore and develop their human fourth dimension, their spiritual sphere; with clear-cut visions and mental pictures of health they could incubate over their bodies...God then taught me that since we can link our spirit's fourth dimension to the fourth dimension of the Holy Father - the Creator of the Universe - we can have all the more dominion over circumstances. praise God! We can become fantastically creative, and we can exercise great control over the third dimension."
What works for pagans will work for us [out of God's will] because in the "fourth dimension" things are controlled by the psychic powers of the mind, empowered by demons. I am not going to argue that such things are not possible. All kinds of wonders and powers have been demonstrated by unbelievers. However, this kind of power in the hands of fallen man can lead to nothing but destruction - and that is why God closed the door to Eden and put these universal mind-powers firmly OUT OF BOUNDS.
There are certain legitimate uses of the mind - and also no-go areas which God has forbidden. We can use our imaginations in all sorts of acceptable ways - to plan house decorations, for example, or to rehearse what we are going to say at a meeting; and imagination can save us from danger if we think ahead to the outcome of our actions. But when we enlist the power of the will and mind to influence a friend to come to church, perhaps, or to create money for a ministry, we have overstepped the mark. This is not because such powers will not work - but precisely because they DO work
It is useless to deny what occultists have said for centuries - that the mind of man has amazing latent powers of perception, communication and manipulation. Watchman Nee argues in his book "The Latent Powers of the Soul" that these powers may well have been available to Adam before his fall, but they are now strictly forbidden: no power outside of God leads to blessing, only to destruction. Those who develop such powers think they can prosper without God's help; they seek to save themselves and their world from destruction. But they are led astray by the age-old temptation - self-government. God alone is perfectly righteous and wise enough to make the decisions that govern our earth and our lives. What we reason with our minds may seem good, but if it is not in accord with God's will, it will bring chaos. Therefore, because of His love for us, God forbids us to develop mental (psychic) powers and commands us to rely on Him for all things.
GIFTS - SPIRITUAL OR PSYCHIC?
A number of Christians have argued that the miraculous gifts spoken of in the Bible, such as prophecy and tongues, are latent natural talents common to all men. Mike Fearon's book about the Toronto Phenomenon explores this subject, citing the gifts of "prophet" Paul Cain, and quoting Mike Bickle and David Pytches in support of the psychic origin of his gifts. He discusses the gift of power, saying that non-christian healing might be explained by people tapping into their latent natural ability, and Christian miracles are therefore caused when the Holy Spirit "releases the untapped natural potential, and enables the person to become the supernatural being he or she was always capable of becoming". (See Endnote)
On page 198 of his book, "A Breath of Fresh Air", Fearon claims that "many Christians believe that these phenomena essentially involve the use of latent natural gifts which have been drawn from dormancy by the Holy Spirit". He then quotes Tom Houston (World Vision/Lausanne Committee) saying the gifts are "programmed into us at birth and thus can be used neutrally, for good or evil".
He even supports his argument by drawing from Episcopalian priest and psychologist, Morton Kelsey. (Kelsey, a friend of Agnes Sanford, claimed as his mentor a man called Roberto Assagioli, a prime mover in the Theosophist Movement and New-Age movements, who trained many people in mediumship, telepathy and clairvoyance. )
Morton Kelsey writes in his book "The Christian And The Supernatural" that "there is nothing intrinsically evil...about psi [psychic] power or its use...psi experiences themselves ...are simply natural experiences of the human psyche which mankind shares with other living things and which can sometimes be developed... When people have deep and abiding experiences of God, ESP (extra-sensory perception) experiences often occur. Clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition, psychokinesis, and healing...this is the same kind of psi power that Jesus himself had."
Kelsey in "The Other Side of Silence, A Guide To Christian Meditation" makes no bones about his belief that "religious experience is found by turning inward and using one's imagination to contact the spirit world." He says "This can be learned by most people with a little determination". He has also written that:
"Christ was and is the ultimate shaman. He was the god/man who restores to human beings their connection to the divine...and the Christian shaman needs to have an understanding of psychic phenomena and of his and her own unconscious depths. In a real sense, every Christian who allows the Spirit to move in him or her is a shaman. ("Transcend", Element Books 1991)
How muddled and dangerous this teaching is!! The Bible is quite plain that the spiritual gifts given to a Christian are of the Holy Spirit and not latent natural powers. Therefore no unbeliever, pagan or witch can be drawing on the same power to perform his lying wonders. If any man or woman does "develop" mind-powers he/she can be sure they are counterfeit and not sanctioned by God.
No, the power and gift of the medium and pagan is demonic, and it enters through the physical portal. Since the psyche (emotional and mental realm) is part of the natural life, or "flesh" of man, it means that psychic gifts (whether in the Christian or unbeliever) are clearly not of God. We have to be suspicious of those who, like Paul Cain, are said to have had the gift of second sight from birth, inherited from members of his family.
Today the Holy Spirit is increasingly being made impersonal. He is "the power", "the flow", "The anointing" or even just "it" - and "it" can come into or upon anyone without discrimination, for good or ill. How are we to distinguish, therefore, between psychic powers - which may be great and overpowering, and may seemingly bear "good fruit" - and the gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit? Well, by asking about their origin - do they arise in and utilise the FLESH (mind, soul, emotions) or the re-born SPIRIT of a person? The Apostle Paul states that "in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing (Rom 7:18) but "we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (2 Cor 4:7). I see no support in the Bible for the neutrality of psychic powers.
A CHURCH WITHOUT GOD
The enticing doctrines of positivism and visualisation are presented to Christians with biblical quotes as if they were in line with scripture. But they are, in fact, the antithesis of God's commands. A Christian knows he ought to forsake selfishness, and be guided by God alone. But having been taught by his leaders that God is willing to grant anything at all, he fails to see the danger of producing results by imagination. Where is the wrong? he says. God is not so mean, he argues, as to deny me all my desire. But once he has learned successfully to over-rule God by the power of his mind, he is hooked. The sky is the limit!
If this scheme were adopted by the whole Church, God would no longer be NEEDED by His own people, because the desired result could be achieved mentally. God would become a mere figure-head like Buddha or Mohammed, while His followers used 'universal laws' to run their own lives. The Bible says we become 'like Him' by an on-going walk of union and obedience to God, and by continually denying ourselves the indulgence of our own selfish whims. On the other hand, Positive Thinking says we become like the Bible Christian by reading the Word (even dryly) and picturing ourselves as the Word describes - even if we are not! The mental picture will ensure the end result, we are told. What need is there of repentance or self-denial here?
The Bible says that faith is a quiet and restful trust in the Father revealed by the Word, and a dependence on His love to continually guide and provide.
Positive Thinking says that faith is a power that is governed by universal laws. This means that anyone - sinner or saint - can operate faith in the same way as a light switch, if the laws are properly understood. This 'faith' is not dependent on the will of God. It is an act of will in brain-washing oneself to accept whatever one might imagine.
The Bible says we receive answers to prayer by taking our requests to a loving Father and trusting Him to care for us. If we have faith that His love covers every need, then even hard times and correction can be accepted as part of His overall plan for blessing.
The way of Visualisation says we get what we see. We only have to hold in our minds a picture of the desired result and 'speak it into being' with complete assurance that our will is supremely powerful to create the reality of what we imagine.
For example, the formula for answered prayer in one positive confession work-book seems to have little to do with the will of God:
- Decide what YOU want from God
- Search for scriptures to support your request
- Ask God for what you want, quoting the scriptures you have found
- Believe you receive it - "eradicate every image, feeling or thought that you will not receive. Never permit a mental picture of doubt."(19)
This system appears scriptural at first glance, but there is a serious error at the heart of it: that God is obliged to answer any prayer for which there exists a word of scripture - however obscure. In fact, though each promise of God is perfectly dependable, God retains the right to apply His Word individually, and differently in each circumstance - or maybe not at all if there is sin to be dealt with first. It is only by the QUICKENING of a specific Bible promise that we know God's will - the Holy Spirit will bring to our attention every scripture which applies to our need, and with the quickening of the Spirit will come a divine faith to receive the promise. The Holy Spirit is our sole Guide and Counsellor in prayer -for we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us...Rom 8:26
JESUS, THE SPIRIT GUIDE?
Johanna Michaelson, a former New Ager who became a Christian, writes in her autobiography 'The Beautiful Side of Evil', that she learned visualisation through a Silva Mind Control course.
She pictured a radiant 'Jesus' figure and invited him to be her special guide, but on his second visit he appeared as a blood-drenched were- wolf! Johanna later suffered a terrible struggle to eject this impersonation of Jesus from her mind. This demonstrates the awful danger of conjuring up a mental image of God as Comforter and Guide. Christians who would not knowingly invite demonic spirit-guides into their souls, are accepting them under the guise of Jesus-pictures! And they are taught to do so by visualisation and guided imagery, so popular in positive confession and inner healing ministries today. Demons care little how we imagine them. They are fully prepared to manifest as 'angels of light' or even as a sort of picture-postcard 'Jesus' if that is what we want. But whatever the appearance of an imagined being invited into the mind to guide and control, the result will be the same - bondage to demonic powers. It seems incredible, but Christian teachers are urging their followers to get involved in this sorcery:
"...try to imagine God; keep searching in your mind to form an image of God. When the image is there, you will know it...you may have to fine-tune it by focusing on each part of the image and visualising yourself with that image...eventually it will speak to you..."(20)
Instead of praying to our Father in Heaven, whom none can see because He dwells in unapproachable light, we are encouraged to create a mental god and receive its guidance..."eventually it will speak to you", are words that should strike a chill into any true Christian's heart!
By this (occult) method of visualisation, we can have a little Jesus-god at our beck and call, ready to be summoned whenever we choose. We are told that it matters not how we picture this 'Jesus' - in robes of white or jeans and tee-shirt :"The most noble and glorious purpose of the imagination is giving reality to the unseen Lord...the Lord doesn't care ONE BIT how we visualise Him...Picture Him any way you wish..."(21)
Richard Foster, another follower of Agnes Sanford, assures us that this imaginary picture is "more than an exercise of the imagination - it can be a genuine confrontation. Jesus Christ will actually come to you."(22) Certainly SOMETHING will come, but WHAT? A demonic spirit guide contacted in this way will begin to control the mind with his suggestions - if the guide is thought to be Jesus, the information will be received uncritically, as if from God. How much of the new teaching now coming into the Church is based on such guidance?
It was Agnes Sanford who did much to introduce the healing of the memories into the Church - and others have followed in her footsteps. But as one of its advocates states: "a central technique of almost all inner healing is visualisation."(23)
Past wounds, in this ministry, are recalled to memory by imagination and a picture of Jesus is summoned to be present at the scene to heal and comfort. Some Christians have testified to dramatic changes in their lives after such a healing - yet it has brought many into contact with lying demons who give a false sense of comfort to the soul while blinding the heart to hidden sin.
Much inner pain and distress is caused by the refusal to forgive. God's Word does not describe visualisation as a healing technique, but it does command us to forsake anger and to forgive anyone who hurts us. A deep relationship with God, in Jesus, coupled with a desire to repent and to forgive WILL lead to a lasting peace. God does not reject any who come to Him for healing - but He never suggests that we imagine Jesus reliving the trauma in our minds. God's healing MAY involve the recovery of painful memories, but His ministry gives much more than comfort - He ministers to the spirit as well as the memory by cleansing and renewing.
However, by creating a mental image of Jesus, we fall into the occult visualisation snare - we come to depend on such a mental 'god' to give comfort and advice. We come to a place where the imagined Jesus is more real than the true God of Heaven. It takes time, dedication, and self-sacrifice to relate to the God of Heaven and to know His healing and comfort. Visualisation offer a quick and easy route to healing, with a cardboard "jesus" who can be anything we want. We look for love and belonging, and sensations of physical comfort - and there is a spirit-being who will provide all these things, in the guise of an imagined Jesus who is as far-removed from the real Son of God as Mickey Mouse is from a real rodent.
Unable to relate to God without some kind of physical or mental stimulus, we end up depending on the soulish comfort of a lying demon. God intends for us to trust and love Him without the aid of our senses. God is unchanging. He can be trusted in any circumstances, whether we FEEL His Presence or not. But with a mental image of God, there is no need to develop trust in God - even worse, we can fall away from knowing God at all because of the enticing presence of another god.
When the Lord spoke out against idolatry, he made it clear that ANY IMAGE - even of Himself - was to be forbidden. Those who speak of the need to "create in our minds God's unseen world (and) the Christ"(24) have erected an idol of the imagination, and worshipping it is a blasphemy. If idols of wood and stone are incarnate demons, [1 Cor 10:20] how much more so is an idol of the mind which has power to move and speak?
Why do we not recognise the power of the imagination, and its dangers? The Hebrew word used for 'imagination' - YETSER - describes more than just a mental picture. It means to fashion or form, and is used of God's creation of man (Genesis 2:7) and of the earth (Psalm 95:5). When God condemned the imagination of pre-flood mankind, and of the builders of Babel, His condemnation was not of their minds, but their creative visualisation!
Now mankind has learned again to form idols with the mind, and Christians are participating by visualising images of God!
THE IMAGE THAT LIVES
At the end of the road signposted Visualisation stands a glowing image (Gk. EIKON - likeness) TO the Beast [not necessarily OF the Beast - Rev 13:14]. Could this have been materialised by the corporate imagination of man, formed like a hologram, and actually given breath [the word in Greek is SPIRIT] by the False Prophet?
This is a blasphemous re-enactment of Genesis 2:7. But is this possible? Can man bring into the real world something that he thinks? A satanic source-book for establishing the New Age Kingdom, 'The Keys of Enoch', which was dictated by demons, describes how man must be taught to receive 'light-pictographs' that take the form of living things.
These are sent "as a system of pulsating light waves directly from the Higher Intelligence on the Throne (!) into the third eye of man."(25) (This third eye is supposed to be an organ of spiritual sight and power located in the forehead. It is developed by mental exercises such as meditation and visualisation. The caste mark on the forehead of an Asian indicates the third eye.
The next step would be to MATERIALISE these light-pictures sent from satan. And scientists and occultists agree that this can be done. Since the mind is an energy source, it is quite capable of creating matter, some claim:
"We eat an apple and it becomes energy, it becomes mind. Why is it so difficult for some to grasp that the thought is capable of becoming an apple again? Not an imagined apple, but a real one...materialisation is possible."(26)
Annie Besant, (the successor to Madame Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society), wrote a book called 'Thought Forms' There she states: "the creation of an object is the passing out of an image from the mind and its subsequent materialisation...which becomes for the time being a kind of living creature..."(27)
The method of projecting this mental image into reality is said to be the SPOKEN WORD. An early New Age primer explains," It is not enough to have opened the Third Eye...This knowledge of the universe must be linked with the highest creative force within the body before creative activity can begin. The seat of this creative force is in the throat...the highest expression of the power of the throat centre lies in the spoken word. God spoke and created the world. Christ spoke and called the dying to arise and walk..."(28)
Notice how God's creation of the world is used to illustrate this power of sound. Charles Capps, the Christian teacher agrees. He says that "words are the most powerful thing in the universe," and teaches that "words are containers... they produce after their kind." (29)
His book, 'The Tongue, a Creative Force' suggests that God materialised the image of creation in His mind by speaking the Word, and that we are capable of "operating in the same kind of faith", and bringing to pass what we imagine. (30)
Will it be by so-called prayer and chanting that the image to the Beast is formed and energised? And how many Christians are already practising this technique by mindless chanting of scriptures and futile 'confessions'?
A RIGHT UNDERSTANDING
The biblical answer to all this is plain - whereas occultists teach that life is an illusion changed at will, the Bible teaches that God and His Word are unchanging and eternal. In every circumstance of life, even in mental confusion or insanity, God's Word remains the same, and it is the objective application of His will which alters the situation, NOT OUR MINDS.
New Agers - and now scientists as well - would have us believe that all our experience of life is subjective. That is, what we call 'reality' is simply our brain's interpretation of energy fields or vibrations, and each man's interpretation is unique. If this were so, each man's GOD would be a unique creation, rather like the various forms of 'Jesus-god' summoned up by the mind - each unique god being equally valid. Under this system, what we call God is just a collective Energy Source which each person interprets differently. Thus the Christian cultural experience of the Biblical God is only another way of interpreting the Buddhist or Aboriginal myths of God.
But God is not an Energy Source - He is a Person. Nor is he different for each individual, but each person must come to see Him as the One True Unchangeable I AM (or not at all). Nor is He just a power-source resident in every cell of the Universe - as New Agers say - but dwells in the Third Heaven, inaccessible, unapproachable and Ruler of all.
Does this make God and Heaven seem remote to you? Well, the truth is - THEY ARE! Nobody would stand a chance of getting anywhere near the Holiest of God without the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. It is in Jesus, by God's grace, that we are lifted to the Third Heaven. We do not belong there, nor do we deserve to live there, but God has made a way - praise be to Him! The Bible teaches that God the Father dwells in the Highest Heaven, far above the supernatural principality of the air, which is satan's domain.
But Christians like Yonggi Cho have taught that God is part of the 'fourth dimension' of the spirit, along with the human spirit, angels and even demons. (31) This 'new' teaching makes God accessible by dragging Him down to our own level, saying that just beyond the doorway of the mind is the supernatural realm where we can find an experience of God. However, since God is not present in our natural minds, what god will we experience there?
The second major area involved in mind-control is that of PSYCHIC POWER.
Satan's temptation was not confined to 'wisdom' - he wanted man to develop the ability to control his environment and to protect himself from harm. He knew that within man were latent powers which could well serve his own ends, and these - supplemented and controlled by demonic power - are still his aim today. Mystics tell us that coiled at the base of the spine is a 'serpent power' which can be released by spiritual exercises. Once roused, it travels up the seven power-centres of the body to the third eye on the forehead, its organ of communication. One who has trained his third eye to operate in the supernatural realm can not only receive guidance but transmit terrible power to bind others to his will. Naturally, no one can develop these powers without becoming demonically controlled.
It is no co-incidence that the focus of power is located in the forehead or brain of man. God's power is of the spirit, not natural mentality; the Christian spirit, infused by the power of God, fills his entire personality. But the power of satan concentrates on the SOUL, located in the MIND. Its centre is the physical brain and the subconscious mind of man. The third eye will be used by satan to complete his Master Plan for world take-over. The satanic New Age 'bible' "The Keys of Enoch", says that the eye of Horus serving the 'father of creation' is placed on the third eye region of the 'elect' and this divine eye brings wisdom, unity with the 'divine hierarchy'.
Lucifer plans to speak to man directly through his opened soul- eye. Through the hook-up of his mind to spiritual forces, the image of light has the ability to speak. The message it brings speaks of the Great Infinite Way and our role...these codes of light extend through telethought communication."(32)
The advert proclaiming that "The Christ Is Here" in 1982 did indeed promise that the Christ would speak to every member of the human race by telepathic communication, and there is no reason to doubt satan's ability to do so. What is more to the point is the preparation going on at this moment to condition us all - even in the churches - to accept his words.
CHRISTIAN MIND POWERS
A very important section of scriptural teaching has, it seems, been lost to the Church. This is the foundational knowledge of the differences between soul and spirit. Those Christians who know instinctively that their 'hearts' warn them of evil and commune with God, while their minds often err, are given no practical teaching to back it up. It has become a woolly area in the Church and now satan has taken advantage of our ignorance. He is presenting powers of the mind as spiritual gifts of God.
In the 19th century, a section of the wisdom teaching of the ancients surfaced (probably intentionally). It came to be known as the 'New Thought' and it led to the formation of cults such as Christian Science based on the absolute power of THOUGHT. New Thought also led to some new religious thinking, and influenced the founders of the Positive Thinking groups (perhaps indirectly). Instead of the Christian mind being a tool submitted to God, it was elevated nearly to godhood. New Thought said that, by the power of thought and speech, we could change our lives and alter the course of history. If we had been taught the scriptural place of the intellect - inferior to the redeemed spirit of man - we would never have been caught out by this delusion.
As it is, we have plenty of Christian material leading us to trust in the power of our minds. C.S. Lovett writes: "Would it shock you to learn that God's healing power is available through your own mind and that you can trigger it - by faith!...If you had direct access to your unconscious mind, you could command any disease to be healed in a flash. That's how much power is at hand..."(33)
There are terrible dangers here. It is true that great powers are available through the mind, but these are NOT the powers of God. And, these mind-powers are ungoverned by God's purity and wisdom - the power of the Holy Spirit is at all times subject to the will of the Father [see John 16:13-16], but the mind is free to follow its own natural inclinations.
The miracles produced by mind-powers are undoubtedly great; they are impressive and persuasive. But they are the product of a mighty deception. The whole basis of the Human Potential Movement, inside and outside the Church, is that at the deepest levels of the unconscious lie untapped and unlimited powers.
Agnes Sanford wrote of "a vibration of very high intensity with tremendous healing power, caused by spiritual forces operating through the mind of man..." (34)
It needs to be said again, that the only forces which operate through the mind are demonic ones! Satan knows that the Church is not going to accept blatantly pagan and occultic powers, so he dresses them up with scripture. He presents psychic power as spiritual gifts. The deception is that God's spiritual gifts DO NOT operate through THE MIND.
A recent documentary on TV showed a group of native idol-worshippers singing in tongues by the power of their god! We know that spiritualists can give a 'word of knowledge' and psychics can 'heal' very effectively. Yet these are not the gifts of God. They are mind-powers energised by demons! Satan doesn't mind what label is on the bottle, if only we drink the poison it contains. Christians, too, if they are unguarded and foolish and seek after mind-powers can receive a counterfeit gifting of tongues or healing, prophecy or any other counterfeit of a genuine spiritual gift. It is easy to fool the Church these days, apparently, for so many do not know the true from the false.
Undiscerning Christians everywhere are drinking the poison of demonic power by developing mind-powers. Not everything labelled 'sign and wonder' is of God. Be warned! The scripture tells us that satan is capable of great power, and his coming will be marked by signs and wonders so great that almost all the world will be deceived.
How can we know the difference? By coming close to God and getting to know His ways, first of all. Spend time developing your relationship with Jesus, fellowshipping intimately with Him.
Secondly, by understanding the differences between Godly and satanic ministry: Satan's methods are those of the flesh - they are sensual, thrilling, dominant, overwhelming, glorious and delightful to the arrogant nature of man. They elevate self, not God. God rarely manifests Himself in a visible, audible or tangible way, but satan loves to do so. His ministry is marked by sensations and visions and signs.
Beware of those who claim to have long conversations with a visible Jesus, or an angel. Such ministers hear inward voices or see pictures to guide their ministry. They often claim to feel tingling, heat or other sensations as they work.
Also, remember that the Holy Spirit is the Presence of God in the Body of Christ, not a spirit-guide who manifests himself as a 'presence' in the room. This sense of 'presence' is often claimed to be the proof of God's blessing, but before accepting it as the anointing of God we must 'test the spirits to see if they be of God'. God's power leads to humility, conviction of sin and subsequent freedom and heart-felt joy.
Demonic power will operate indiscriminately, irrationally and irreverently. That is, this power will work in any circumstances, even in frivolity or outright sin. It leads to hilarity, not praise. It brings fleshly enjoyment, not joy. It condones sin instead of condemning it. And after the feelings have dies down, there is deep depression and the inability to commune with God.
Demonic power happily works in the presence of rebellion and sin, working wonders on unrepentant sinners. It rarely brings a consciousness of unworthiness or an aweful sense of the holiness of God. Quite the reverse - it leads to jollity and happiness, and contentment with the status quo.
This power is encouraged by all sorts of soulish worship such as jumping, shouting, clapping and repetitive chanting of words or songs, and it comes to those who look for a tangible supernatural 'presence'. God's power, on the other hand, can never be 'worked up' by the flesh. What a danger there is in being unsubmitted to the One True Holy God and Lord!
One principle lies behind all the many methods and techniques used in the New Age, in psychology and in false religions - it is passivity. It is the loosening of conscious control of the mind to enable demonic interference to take place. When New Agers speak of an 'altered state of consciousness', they mean that a person's mind and will must be suspended to allow Lucifer's plan to take shape there. If this is allowed to proceed, the deluded person will no longer resist satan's plan for world dominion and will become of one accord with the Devil. Union has taken place. It is the exact opposite of a Christian conversion, when a believer becomes one with God in Jesus. This is the so-called 'Luciferic Initiation' so coveted by New Agers, and which is planned for every member of the human race. All mankind is to be brought into one mind and one heart with Lucifer, just as at Babel, and sealed not with the Holy Spirit, but with the Mark of the Beast.
GOD CREATED OUR MINDS
Since God Himself created us with the ability to think, remember and learn, He obviously has a use for the human mind.
Our thoughts do not hinder God; in fact, He encourages us to use our minds to the full. The more education we have - of all sorts - the more is available to God for His use, and those who practise and teach the emptying of the mind are in league with satan. We should never be afraid of KNOWING a thing. Indeed, it is those who are afraid to know who soon fall prey to deceptions.
God gave us minds to test the reality around us. And He gave us the power of independent choice based on a mature assessment of the facts. But satan's desire is for man to be like an animal without thought or will to resist. For demonic rule to begin in a person's life, there first must be willingness to submit to such a rule. But the problem is that satan is never honest about his intentions, and may win this willingness by deception. In other words, even Christians may be deluded into accepting the influence of evil powers, if they are unwary and ignorant of his devices.
Those who fall prey to religious cults often explain that "we were given no time to think." They speak of relentless pressure to work, chant, sing or learn, never leaving them a moment to doubt the doctrines of the cult. This is satan's way. What he most fears is our ability to decide, and our free will to reject his plans. This method, of filling our days with anxiety and pressure, is one of the least of satan's armoury today, He has brought into play a whole range of techniques, both religious and scientific, for blanking out the powers of mind and will.
THE PERILS OF PASSIVITY
For an examination of the perils of passivity, the book which Jesse Pen-Lewis wrote in collaboration with Evan Roberts in the aftermath of the Welsh Revival (when deceptions took hold in much the same way as today) can hardly be bettered. There she writes: "The chief condition for the working of evil spirits is passivity, in exact opposition to the condition which God requires for His working. God requires co-operation with His Spirit, and the full use of every faculty of the whole man. The powers of darkness aim at obtaining a passive slave or captive to their will...the powers of darkness would make a man a machine, a tool, an automaton; the God of holiness and love desires to make him a free, intelligent sovereign in his own sphere - a thinking, rational, renewed creation after His own image."(35)
Mrs Penn-Lewis goes on to detail the various forms of passivity affecting a Christian's will, mind, reason, conscience, body and spirit and why these come about. In brief, she teaches:
- WILL - passivity of the will may come about through a false understanding of 'surrender to God', in which a Christian believes he must stop choosing, determining and acting of his own free will. He progressively loses the ability to make decisions and relies on others to help and guide. Eventually, evil powers move in to force their own decisions on the 'surrendered' will. God never wills INSTEAD OF MAN, but requires him to be responsible for all his actions and decisions.
- MIND - far from asking for the non-working of the brain, God encourages us to educate, exercise, stimulate and properly use every part of the mind. An intellect truly submitted to God is not non- active, but very active in the service of God. However, demons seek for an inactive brain in which to plant their lies.
- BODY - passivity of the body slowly comes as a result of prolonged passivity of the mind and will, allowing demons to interfere with the normal consciousness. Irrational habits, speech and actions then appear. However, the sad fact is that these days bodily passivity can be achieved almost instantaneously through drugs, alcohol or mystical practices. Some of the many routes to bodily and mental passivity follow:
WAYS AND MEANS
There are three main categories of mind-blanking opportunities:
- Drug and Solvent Abuse
- Alcoholic Excess
- Hallucinogenic substances - 'magic mushrooms', LSD etc
One of the reasons for the huge increase in drug abuse is that New Agers know drugs are a quick route to loss of conscious control. The Bible suggests that drug-taking will lead to a terrible judgement from God: The word used in Revelation 9:21 for 'sorceries' is in Greek 'pharmakeia', or the use of drugs for magical and religious purposes.
- Yoga and relaxation exercises coupled with meditation
- Head-banging, shaking, convulsive dancing etc
- Whirling, as with Dervishes
- Loud repetitive music, especially rock music
- Flashing Lights
- Drum beats with rhymthic jumping, clapping and/or chanting
- Obsessive TV, Video or Computer screen viewing
- Hypnotism, altered states of consciousness
- Sensory Deprivation of various kinds
- Electric Shock Treatments
Such methods have been in use for centuries. In the account of Elijah's battle with the Prophets of Baal, we see the idol-worshippers leaping or dancing round their altar, shouting with loud voices and cutting themselves with knives to make the blood of their sacrifice flow. (1 Kings 18:26-29) The indigenous peoples of America and Africa do much the same. The object is simply to create a state of unconsciousness in the brain whereby demons can enter (and speak, in the case of the prophets of Baal). Anything repetitive, or loud or mind-blowing enough will do. The teenagers who walk around plugged into blaring heavy-metal music, and the cultists chanting to the beat of their drums are achieving the very same effect as the Baal worshippers of Elijah's day.
Christian parents - a word of warning. Rock music opens doors to demon powers. It is designed to do so. Many of the beats are based on tribal chants and religious rites. Many of the words are openly satanic, and other terrible spells are recorded secretly on the tapes. If you want to keep your child out of danger, challenge his or her use of rock music. The very act of filling the mind with this music causes oppression, and some youngsters have killed themselves or others because of it.
- New Age Music
- Yoga and Transcendental Meditation
- Psychic mediumship and trances
- Scientific religion (EG Scientology)
- Visualisation and Guided Imagery
- Mysticism - passive prayer techniques etc
- Chanting of mantras
- Bio-feedback/Alpha Dynamics etc
- Any 'Christian' ministry which involves emptying or bypassing the mind
The above illustrations by no means exhaust the list of mind-emptying rituals offered to people today. Examples abound. But they illustrate the type of activity which satan is promoting in order to raise a whole generation of thoughtless, passive 'fodder' for his evil work.
is not just physical exercise. The word means 'yoke' or 'union' - the exercises, and particularly the breathing, are designed to eliminate the brain's conscious activity and to allow 'union with the Infinite'.
is often accompanied by chanting of mantras and 'centering', which is focusing on a light or object until vision is dimmed. The continuous chanting of a 'mantra' (the name of a deity, in fact) brings the power of that god into the mind. In the Eastern religions, the name OM is highly prized as a powerful mantra. But in the West, some so-called Christian practitioners suggest the use of I AM. The object in both cases is to "still the mind to hear the inner voice of higher intelligences whose aim is to influence and co-operate with man."(36)
and other such methods of 'scientific meditation' achieve the same results. The brain-waves are recorded and brought into harmony, supposedly leading to inner peace, but actually promoting a passive state of mind.
is big business today, but many techniques used (even in primary schools!) are designed to relax conscious control of the brain and let the mind float free to experience other realms. Often, guided imagery is taught through relaxation exercises.
SELF-HYPNOSIS/NEW AGE MUSIC
another area of deception that is growing in popularity. The New Age tapes of soothing, soporific music are used for meditation but often have subliminal tracks of suggestions recorded on them. Some of these tapes, with unheard but powerful messages, are openly advertised as useful for behaviour modification - to stop smoking, for example. But other tapes, seemingly just of music, are secretly full of satanic messages which slip into the unguarded mind.
are in use in the Church, and they also lead to passivity and demonic rule. Shocking? But true! Christian methods are fundamentally the same as pagan methods, but dressed up to seem acceptable. Few large charismatic meetings today begin without hours of deafening rock music accompanied by dancing, clapping, shouting, jumping up and down, arm-waving and all the other crowd techniques that tend to soften up the mind and make it ready for implanted teachings. What is true for a secular rock-concert is equally true in a church!
It may be difficult to spot the counterfeit, but when worship slips out of the will of God and becomes a soulish 'trip' to 'blissfulness', it has crossed the border into the realm of the occult. Oral Roberts claims that his power and success stems from his use of tongues - he says he prays 30-40 times a day in tongues. (37)
Other ministers are increasingly urging Christians to pray in tongues for lengthy periods. But Paul warned that when using tongues the mind is unfruitful. (1 Cor 14:14) Prolonged use of tongues CAN leave the mind available to demonic suggestion (even though the spirit is in prayer to God!) Just as dangerous is the use of chant in worship (though the words may be scriptural!). It is not the intent that is wrong, but the practice.
With every good intention of worshipping and praising God, some Christians let their minds go blank and get 'spaced-out' on choruses. Worship should always be totally controlled and intelligent. The repeated chanting of words or phrases also has its dangers - remember that Jesus commanded us not to 'use vain repetitions as the heathens do'. (Matt 6:7) Robert Schuller, the dynamic minister of the Crystal Cathedral, who is so prominent in the Positive Thinking Movement in America, has said that meditation is not antichristian. He commends its use to "overcome the distractions of the conscious mind" and says by meditation we "are harnessing by human means God's divine laws."(38)
Schuller suggests using the phrase I AM over and over. Others suggest the use of the Name of Jesus. This surely is a blasphemy of the highest order. When supposed men of God teach thousands of gullible Christians to take the Name(s) of the Holy God in vain, just to serve their own natural needs, - or, worse, to open their minds to demons - then we have truly come to the dividing line between Christianity and apostasy.
One last area of concern is the production of books, teachings and so-called prophecies by remote control. There are those who believe themselves to be controlled by the Spirit of God, when really they have let their minds come under the control of demons.
God NEVER speaks or guides while the mind is blank. He ALWAYS requires a person's full control and exercise of his own mind and will. So, those who hear inner messages, or who write under the control of certain powers, are just allowing themselves to be used for purposes of deception. Also, those who teach Christians to empty their minds in order to 'hear God' are leading the Church astray
Some years ago, a book called Jonathan Livingstone Seagull became very popular, and some Christians received it as from God. But the teaching in it was basically Hinduistic, and IT WAS DICTATED BY THE AUTHOR'S SPIRIT-GUIDE. Another best-selling series of books produced by 'inner messages of the mind', is God Calling. This purports to be the daily messages from God received by two women. But these two 'listeners' wrote the book by letting their minds go blank and then recording whatever came into them. However pleasant these messages may be, if they were received in blankness, they are NOT of God.
A book dictated to an atheist psychologist, Helen Shucman, by a spirit claiming to be Jesus is now being used as teaching material in churches round the world. It is called A Course In Miracles. It claims to correct the many errors of the Bible, teaching that we are all gods in the making and that evil does not exist. The Course views the world as a 'collective illusion' and tells us that the answer to our problems is to change our perceptions about ourselves and the world. This, of course, is simply New Age propaganda, yet Christians are willing to receive the lies of a spirit-being if he calls himself Jesus and speaks through a person's mind!
Spirit guidance of this sort is not only dictated and written. It is also spoken through false prophets, some of whom operate in Church circles. Some prophesies given out at meetings and then circulated round the Church by newsletters are the product of an empty mind open to demons. We must never fall into the trap of accepting prophesies as valid before using the discernment God provides. This sort of false prophecy leads to no end of confusion in the Church, and only serves the cause of satan
A SPIRITUAL MIND
The mind which is available to God, and free from attack, is sharp, clear, active, pure and able to interpret spiritual truths easily.
A Spiritual Mind is: RENEWED - it is full of the Word of God, set on spiritual things, and not pre-occupied with earthly matters.
A Spiritual Mind is: CO-OPERATIVE - it works alongside the spirit, as its partner, checking out, translating and expressing spiritual truths which are received from God. When the teaching comes from outside the spirit - by hearing, seeing etc - the mind co-operates with the spirit in examining and cross-checking the teaching, applying its own education to the teaching, and also subjecting it to the scrutiny of the spirit.
A Spiritual Mind is: SUBMISSIVE - it keeps humble, avoiding proud thoughts; it never usurps the position of the spirit. The mind has an artificial light, as of a light-bulb, but the spirit is lit by the glorious sunlight of God. Spiritual revelation comes through the spirit, not the mind. Often the simple, humble Christian who depends on God for illumination knows far more than an intellectual Christian.
A Spiritual Mind is: OPEN - A closed mind is prejudiced and bigoted, opposed to God's truth, but an open mind is pliable and easily entreated. It does not reject out of hand all ideas that seem alien to its own light.
A Spiritual Mind is: CONTROLLED - each input is carefully examined before it is accepted, and the mind is not allowed to drift idly in a sea of information. The spiritual Christian knows that thoughts are the seeds of action, and he guards himself against any thought contrary to God's way.
- A Spiritual Mind is: PEACEFUL - it rests on God, not on circumstances, and rejects tormenting thoughts, doubts, worries, fears and imaginings as from the devil. It flies to the Lord in trouble, not to feelings or thoughts.
God never changes. His Word and His Person are the objective truth. Avoid subjective reality and set your mind on the God who exists outside of our feelings, thoughts and imagination.
Remember that the mind is not the spirit of man. God never speaks by flashing thoughts or visual experiences presented to the mind. God speaks and controls by a spiritual prompt which is translated into human knowledge by the mind. The mind and its powers are soulish, earthly and fallen, and must be submitted to God.
God wants us to use and control our own minds. He commands us to renew our fallen minds by filling them with the Word of God, and also to submit our intellectual powers to Him - that is, to walk in the Spirit, not by the reason and judgement of the natural man.
The mind and the spirit must work in co-operation in prayer, worship and guidance. The Christian mind needs the spirit to inspire and control; the Christian spirit needs the mind to regulate and interpret the things of God.
Cast down imaginations! Never let thoughts or pictures in the mind rule your thinking about God. The imagination of man, though useful, is unreliable.
Defend the door of your mind, as a soldier defends a fort. Never let stray thoughts enter without a challenge, and never be careless over the information you (and especially your children) take into your minds. Monitor as much as possible what your children are taught, and be on the lookout for relaxation exercises, guided imagery, journalling, dream-recording, and the discussion of eastern religions in school. Also, monitor carefully the cartoons and comics children see.
Refuse your natural desires for power, experiences, thrills, and input from dominant miracle-ministries. Especially, do not allow anyone to lay hands on you or prophesy over you unless you are completely sure that the ministry is from God - go to God before you go to ANY minister!
- Worship and prayer must be directed to Father in Heaven, through and by Jesus Christ, in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. This is the only scriptural way. Prayer must not be directed AT another person, nor offered to a localised 'presence' in the room.
HOW DO WE BEGIN?
Practise daily the "dying to SELF" that God commands in His Word - this means to lay aside your own feelings, needs, emotions, drives and affections, not because they are necessarily WRONG or EVIL, but because they crowd out the true workings of your Lord, manifesting Himself by the Holy Spirit. We cannot hear the voice of God because so much else in our lives drowns out His voice. If you daily die to self, and take up the Cross (which is a means of death) you will soon begin to hear the voice of God and to move under His divine impulse, under His prompts and not those of your own mind.
- Laurie & M Tucker, "Centering: A Guide To Inner Growth" 1978
- Irene Lindsay, "The Rainbow Angel Ministry"
- Pauline MacPherson "Can The Elect Be Deceived?" 1986
- George Trevelyan "A Vision Of The Aquarian Age" 1984
- Wolff "Psychic Self-Improvement for the Millions" 1969
- John Gliedman "Science Digest" July 1982
- Carl Rogers, "A Way of Becoming" 1980 p. 352
- Laurie Warner MA. "New Age Source" Sept. 1982
- Dane Rudhyar, "Occult Preparations for the New Age" 1975 pp8-11
- Psychosynthesis Inst. "The Realisation of the Self" pp 119-120
- Yonggi Cho, "The Fourth Dimension"
- Richard Foster, "Celebration of Discipline" 1978, p27
- David Conway "Magic, An Occult Primer"
- Agnes Sanford "The Healing light" 1947
- Mack R. Douglas "Success Can Be Yours" p.37
- Bunny Marks "What You See Is What You'll Be" Audio Tape
- Shakti Gawain, "Creative Visualisation" 1978 pp13,20
- Lovett "Longing To Be Loved" 1982 p.85
- Kenneth Hagin, "Prevailing Prayer to Peace" study outline
- David Stone, "Spiritual Growth in Youth Ministry" 1985
- Lovett, op cit.
- Foster, op cit.
- Don Turner, "Is Inner Healing A Valid Ministry?" 1986 pp 17-23
- Calvin Miller "The Table of Inwardness" 1984 p93
- Hurtag "The Keys of Enoch"
- William Fezier "Hypnosis & Behaviour Modification"
- Annie Besant & C.W. Leadbeater, "Thought Forms" 1925
- Vera Stanley Alder, "Finding The Third Eye"
- Charles Capps "The Tongue, A Creative Force" 1976, p129
- Op cit., p.130
- Yonggi Cho, "The Fourth Dimension"
- Hurtag op cit.
- Lovatt, "The Medicine of Your Mind" (article in Personal Christianity, August 1979)
- Agnes Sanford op cit. p.32
- Jessie Penn-Lewis "War On The Saints" p.70
- Trevelyan "Aquarian Age"
- Oral Roberts in "Chaisma" magazine, quoted in Antichrist Associates, John Barela 1986
- Robert Schuller, "Peace of Mind Through Possibility Thinking"
NOTE: In a letter to the writer, Mike Fearon states that he does not consider the gifts to be purely psychic, but "a human reaction to the Holy Spirit...the gifts can have many different causes, can be triggered by spirits that are not of God, or can be purely natural".
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Copyright (c) 1996 T. Tillin, Banner Ministries. This text may not be copied or distributed, either in paper form or electronically without permission from the author.