Can Christians, like those who are involved in occult practices, hear communications from, and sense the “presence” of deceased loved ones? Or are these communi- cations and feelings of “presence” received through occult (hidden) practices such as clairaudience (hearing/ listening) and clairsentience (feeling/ touching)?
The material in this article seeks to address experiences (from any and all) and Christian nomenclature (words) that have been put forth in order to endorse the alleged initiating contact of the spirits of deceased loved ones with those who are living on our side of deaths door. Just who really is visiting Christians and what is the means by which these visitations are occurring?
The following material is by no means meant to poke fun at or belittle the Steve Berger family and the loss of their dearly beloved son Josiah. SRN has posted this article out of our own concern about much of the material found in Have Heart: bridging the gulf between heaven and earth, material that upon in-depth study, very closely parallels the world of Spiritistic affluence and influence, primarily regarding clairaudience and clairsentience – hearing and sensing the presence of spirit beings and allegedly engaging in passive and active communication with them.
As a research ministry, SRN shares a mutual concern with other ministries that also have examined the un-scriptural practices found in Have Heart. While it is obvious that the author (and endorsers) of the book do not openly advocate Spiritism, necromancy, etc., great confusion stems from the published double-talk one can find in Have Heart, hence our concern and that of numerous others.
It is to be noted that only once in all of Scripture is communication with the observed. This one time instance in Scripture is a clear condemnation from God’s prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 28:7-20) against living human beings attempting to communicate with the dead. God condemns this practice outright! God brought judgment upon Saul and the witch (spirit medium, Spiritist) of Endor for attempting to traffic (communicate) with the deceased, with the dead. In this one instance God allowed the real Samuel to be “brought up” from the dead in order to condemn forever this evil practice of contacting and/ or dialoguing with the dead, discarnate (deceased) human beings
According to God’s Word, attempting to contact the dead was banned in Israel (Deuteronomy 18:11). All who seek to communicate with the dead become spiritually defiled (Leviticus 19:31). This includes attempting to pray to or contact departed loved ones and trying to listen to, hear, sense, smell and touch them, even if something appears and claims the loved one’s identity. Demons seek to impersonate the dead in order to deceive well meaning, and grieving humans. Even if spirit beings, ghosts, poltergeists, etc. seek to initiate communication with humans, all forms of this practice have been condemned in one fell swoop by God Himself! It does not matter who these spirits claim to be, God says that humans are to have nothing to do with it!
“When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not appointed such for you.” (Deuteronomy 18:9-14)
“Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:31)
It is not deceased people who are ultimately being contacted through the seance’, the Ouija Board, or prayers offered to the dead. It is demonic spirits that masquerade as deceased family members, personalities, the alleged “Higher-Self,” the “Ascended Masters,” the “Collective Conscious,” “Evolutionary Consciousness,” etc. (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). The Bible is clear that Satan himself and other fallen angels (demons) deceptively transform themselves into angels of light, in order to mislead humanity.
“And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)
Furthermore, there are at least 150 biblical passages that address to some degree or another involvement with the eight different categories of occult practices – and the condemnation thereof. This fact alone should concern any Christian who reads Have Heart and sees the closeness to familial spirit contact (Spiritism, spiritualism, mediumship) that these authors are describing. According to Have Heart, people have personally experienced “Josiah” coming to them in various ways, dreams, visitations, touches on the cheek, etc. Like the Bible, the authors of Have Heart condemn necromancy (Have Heart, p. 94-96), but then they also outright endorse listening to and sensing spirit beings around us, claiming that they still communicate with their deceased son.
“Jimmy’s dream is a great example of how we are surrounded and how our loved ones are connected to us. They know, they care about what we’re going through, and there’s a nearness that’s not easy to explain but wondrous in reality…We are one body, connected here on earth, connected in Heaven, and connected between Heaven and earth. Our loved ones may show up in dreams or visits or other ways (who can limit God’s imagination?), but the fact is that we’re connected. Our loved ones are not “up there” and we are “down here.” There is a thin veil, and we’re connected to them, forever, in Christ.” (Have Heart, p. 110).
“You don’t father or mother a child for nineteen years and then hear God say, ‘Oh, now you can’t talk to him. You no longer have a relationship with him until you see him face to face in Heaven….’ We still talk to Josiah, and it’s going to be so great when we’re together again.” (Have Heart, p. 125).
This not only creates a mass of confusion for the reader, but can very easily lead undiscerning individuals into spirit contact, which God forbids. Whether one is a Christian or not is beside the point, God condemns communicating with the dead.
Previous to writing this article, numerous people expressed their own concerns to the ministry of SRN about Chuck Missler (K-House) and Greg Laurie‘s (Harvest Christian Fellowship) endorsements within the first pages of Steve Berger’s book. Growing numbers of people who have been influenced by the ministries of Chuck Missler and Greg Laurie are in dismay over the lack of discernment that has been displayed by their endorsements of this book. Dr. Missler’s and Pastor Laurie’s endorsements, along with William P. Young (Author of New York Times Best Seller, The Shack), James Robison (Founder and President, LIFE Outreach International), and Senator Bill Frist’s (M.D. and Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader) are on the first two pages of Have Heart (Have Heart, p. ii-iii). The fact that heresy promoting William Paul Young is in this list is a huge cause for alarm, and Chuck Missler’s name is right above Young’s name. Young believes in Universalism and outright rejects the full penal substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross. Certainly this will be a cause of great concern for many who believe in Christ and seek to faithfully obey the Word of God.
For those who are upset upon reading the foregoing, you may do the research too, and arrive at the same conclusions. The Bible is clear that we must all “test all things,” regardless of the popularity of the pastors, teachers and book endorsers.
“Despise not prophesy . Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thess. 5:20-22)
One more important thing needs to be mentioned here. Former spirit mediums, witches, New Ager’s, occultists, yoga gurus, etc., who are now Christian preachers and researchers/authors are seeing clearly the subtleties and craftiness of the New Spirituality (New Age) deception invading the church. Why do so many other Christian leaders refuse to see this, and/or refuse to listen to God’s warnings through those who were once steeped in the darkness, and are now as committed Christians warning against these things? New Age spirituality teachings and occult practices are being couched in Christian nomenclature (names, designations). However, many fail to see this for what it really is and countless churchgoers are being deceived. Christian leaders are supposed to warn about such things, not see how close they can get to it in the name of intimacy with God and closeness to our deceased loves ones.
The shepherds and the watchman are supposed to work together, yet in many cases the shepherds are rejecting the watchman (doorkeepers). As a result the undiscerning sheep are being led astray into great danger.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper [watchman] opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:1-3)