Can a Church Promote Occult Involvement?
Humanism, Paganism and Relativism have all impacted today’s churches in one way or another. High on man, soft on sin, grey on truth, apathy and consumerism can foster the fatal flaws of the churches in Revelation 3 in our day. In recent years, there has been a denial of the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith from church leaders. This leaves a greater spiritual vacuum in the world, which invites people who have spiritual needs to go elsewhere to have them satisfied. Moreover, some church leaders who have forsaken the gospel have themselves become practitioners of the occult, causing a follow-the-leader mentality in many former churchgoers.
The classic example from church history would be the late Episcopal bishop, James Pike, who rejected the church’s belief in the deity of Christ, His virgin birth, and other central truths. After the suicide death of his son, Pike began to consult mediums, including the famous Arthur Ford, in an attempt to contact the spirit of his dead son. Pike became a firm believer in life after death from his occultic involvement rather than from Biblical doctrine and took many people with him to the dark world of the occult. When the church “waters down” the gospel of Christ, the door to occultic practice swings wide open.
Our age seems to have a fascination with evil, the bizarre and the inexplicable. It thrives on horror and repulsion. Guised as innocent romance, the Twilight saga fosters blood cult practice, cutting and vampirism. Even Christian teenagers are caught up in the pop phenomenon. Unfortunately, curiosity for black magic is not neutral. An individual cannot get involved without adverse effects.
There is a “spiritual” reality in the occultic experience which attracts many people to it. All of us desire some sort of ultimate answer for life’s basic questions, and the world of the occult gladly supplies the answers. The astrologist will chart your future. Even prophetic words given in church, untested, can be misleading if not tested through the lens of scriptural principles. “Discernment of spirits,” if practiced as a spiritual gift by carnal Christians who have past occultic involvement, can lead to clairvoyance. The Ouija board promises you direction, and the medium talking to the spirit of your dead relative informs you that things are fine in the nest world. Saul consulted a medium to talk with the spirit of Samuel the prophet. 1 Samuel 28:7-29:1
There are many indications that we are living at the end of the age with the return of Jesus Christ on the horizon. If this is the case, then we should expect to see an increase in demonic activity as Christ’s coming nears, for this is the clear teaching of Scripture: “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” 1 Timothy 4:1.
Jesus Christ said that at the end of the age, “…false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order, is possible, to lead the elect astray.” Mark 13:22. Thus, Scripture indicates that occultic activity would be on the rise shortly before the second coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus gave us some guidelines for protection in the Sermon on the Mount. “The lamp of the body is the sys,” He said. “If therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Matthew 6:22-23 We must be in whole-hearted agreement with Jesus. Our behavior needs to be guarded by the light of God’s Word, which also means we need to be careful about what we allow to enter our body through our senses-especially our eyes and ears. Walk wisely. Stay in the Word. “Be shrewd as snakes, and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16
Josh McDowell, The Occult. San Bernadino, California: Life Publishers, 1992, pp.22-26.