By Reverend Mark Hunnemann
My regular job has overshadowed my ministry work this week with the advent of several travel promotions in the works at my company. This of course took away any time that I had to write my blog. However, my co-host on The Paranormal Christian, Reverend Mark Hunnemann, wrote an interesting article that I wanted to share with you and he has given me permission to do so.
Please join us tomorrow, Saturday March 17, at 7 pm EST for our show. Also, we have been invited to move our show from BlogTalkRadio.com to BTVN TV. We will soon announce the official switch over date later, but we believe this move will allow us to expand our reach to help more people.
Pastor Michael Frisbee
Enjoy the following article, written by Reverend Mark Hunnemann.
If Christianity is true, then why are there all these other religions -or atheism- in the world. Why all these different views of who Jesus is? What I want to explore with you is a little different in focus than most of my newsletters; but it will have a bearing on why there is such a widespread misunderstanding of the paranormal realm. Why are there other religions? Are they man's earnest search for God? Is God happy with all these world religions? What we see in scripture may surprise or even shock you. Our main text will be the first chapter of Romans, starting a v. 18.
But God's wrath is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who are suppressing the truth their unrighteousness. They know the truth about God because He has made it obvious to them. For ever since the creation of the world, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible attributes--His eternal power and divine nature, so they are argumentless. Although they knew God, they refused to worship Him or give thanks. They began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. Hence, their hearts became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, instead they became fools. Instead of worshipping the true, glorious God, they worshipped idols made to look like man and birds and animals and reptiles. So God abandoned them to do whatever their shameful hearts desired. and did unclean and dishonorable things to each other’s bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie. So they worshipped and served the created things instead of the Creator, who is worthy of eternal praise. Amen!
(Romans 1:18-25, my translation)
We have this notion that folks just innocently come up with new ideas about God or the paranormal, and it’s just part of being human. Even more, religion is viewed as a noble thing where Buddha or Muhammed or (fill in the blank) are seen as creative thinkers who are earnestly seeking God for themselves and their people. Just today on Facebook, Pastor Mike and I were engaged in a conversation with a couple of folks who were arguing that all religions were the same and that the Bible can be interpreted in many ways. The paranormal claim has become an informal religion for millions; or it at least provides a foundation for a view of the after-life.
In v. 18 we see that God is currently (present participle) pouring His wrath out on folks. Why? We see in subsequent verses that there is a sense in which every person knows God or has knowledge of Him; knowledge of his existence, glory and holiness..not just His burning moral purity, but His "Otherness" or "God-ness". (when you add the traits mentioned, it can be summed up in one word "holy") And this knowledge of His existence and character is said to be "obvious". Many people have the fear of the different or unknown; this is infinite differentness. This is NOT saving knowledge of God, it is a creatures knowledge about God. We know He exists, that He is gloriously creative and that He is holy. What do people do with this knowledge? Do they treasure it? Do they turn around and worship this Holy God?
v.18 They suppress (katekownten, to push down--like pushing down a spring and holding it down) this knowledge about God. You are probably familiar with this term (suppress) in regards to psychology. If someone has a traumatic experience as a child, they suppress that memory - they push it down beneath conscious level. Everyone is exposed to this knowledge of a holy God, which is traumatizing to them due to their sinful condition. Folks the world over are traumatized by this universal knowledge and, like a spring, they push it down and keep it down. Are people sent to hell for not accepting a Jesus they never heard of? No, they are hell-bound because all of us have rejected the Father. Those who have heard of Jesus are in double jeopardy.
In Mark 6:45-52 is the famous "ghost text", which was appealed to in the Facebook discussion I mentioned earlier as proof that Jesus believed in ghosts, because He did not rebuke the disciples thinking He was a ghost. Actually, the Holy Spirit's intent of this passage is quite the opposite, as seen in v. 52 - which acts like a self-summarizing observation on all that had proceeded. Everything they said and did was done as an expression of unbelieving and fearful hearts. (phantasm in that context means superstious imagination) It is 3 am, and likely a Satanically caused sudden storm threatens to overwhelm the boat the disciples were in. Jesus comes walking out on the water (which is when they lost their marbles and thought their very much alive Master was a ghost), calms them down, and then when He steps in the boat, the storm immediately ceases and becomes placid. We know that before they had been frightened, but notice their emotional reaction to this extraordinary display of His "Otherness", in vv.51 they were terrified! They experienced what Rudolph Otto referred to as the mysterium tremendum. You would have thought that they would have sighed a big collective sigh of relief. Instead, they were more frightened of Him, and what He had done, than of a violent storm which they thought was going to possibly drown them. In Isaiah 6, the prophet, probably the most righteous man of his day, collapsed as though dead, during his close encounter with the Holy One of Israel. He curses himself - he is severely traumatized by the mysterium tremendm (but we know that God tenderly restores him moments later) Again, during the storm, the disciples we frightened; after Jesus’ miracle which displayed His "Otherness", His deity, they were very frightened. Traumatized...
Freud postulated that the God hypothesis was invented by man in order to soothe our fears in the face of nature which could get violent and frightening. The only problem with this theory is that the biblical God is much more frightening than nature itself! Witness the disciples reaction to Jesus display of His "otherness", witness what Romans 1:18 says happens constantly. It is not psychologically plausible that man would create something so awesome as the God of the Bible in order to deal with a lesser fear of nature. So, mankind is traumatized by this deep awareness of God's holiness. And this knowledge is so apparent, they are left argumentless; they have no acceptable excuse (v 20) Their defense strategy is first to suppress that knowledge of the one, true God.
But the wickedness doesn't end with suppressing of this universal, clear-as-day knowledge of God's righteous character. Before I move on, this is where depth psychology is interesting and enlightening in some ways. Our minds are amazingly deep, or we could call it our heart as well--using biblical categories; the heart often refers to the essence of the person. In v21 we see the next stage, sinful and diabolical darkness and confusion descends upon a mind which is actively suppressing the truth. It is quite frightening to look at the biblical view of an unregenerate man's mind. Because the truth is being forcefully pressed down and resisted, this opens a person to spiritually delusional thinking. Perhaps you have wondered how an intelligent neighbor could believe something so bizarre as Mormonism. The noetic effects of sin (nous..mind) combined with a demonic heyday with your thinking; it can have the effect of leaving a maggot in your mind.
Just as nature abhors a vacuum, so the heart HAS to serve somebody. The spiritual vacuum in the suppressed heart won't stay a vacuum for longer than a nano-second. So, an unholy imagination begins thinking of how to creatively fill that void. We are homo religiosis - incurably religious. Since we are made in God's image we long for spiritual reality. But without the Holy Spirit, we will never, on our own, choose the holy Son of God. As the text says we begin the process of building a god in our own image. And we are expert and prolific idol makers. John Calvin said that humans were "Idol factories." That is precisely the point of this text.
In v 23-25 we are told that the next stage in this descent from the truth, is an exchange; psychologically, mentally, and spiritually...the truth of God is exchanged for a lie. Specifically, the truth (the creator God) is exchanged for the lie (the creation).Paul has just explained the psychological/spiritual process behind the creation of religion. "There are only two religions in the world." the Lord is telling us through Paul. There is the true religion of worshipping the Creator God of the bible, and there is the lie of worshipping the creation. There is no tertium quid or middle ground; you are either one or the other. We all deal with idols; things we put before the Lord and have to continually repent of. But either the basic bent of our hearts is to the Creator or to His creation. This is not an easy message to believe or share with others because it cuts against the relativistic grain of our culture. How do you respond to this? Do you grasp the fact that we are being called to make a choice? To not make a choice is a de facto choice for worshiping the lie. We are either on the Lord's side or we are on Satan's side. So, we can see that Satan is pleased with what the Lord is angry at - the multitudes of religions, because any religion other than biblical Christianity (and I mean BIBLICAL) Christianity, is on Satan's side.
This text refers to birds and reptiles as examples of this truth exchange which results in idolatry. But that is probably not the form that is tempting you. Any part of God's creation which becomes our dominant life value is a lie we are worshipping. Family, children, sports, work, investigating the supernatural, and so on are very good things, BUT if they become our dominant life value, then they have become a truth exchange. A dominant life value is really self-defining. What is the first thing you tend to think about in the morning, during the day, or the last thing you think about a night? What propels you through life? What opens your wallet? What do you talk about the most; thus revealing your heart orientation? Is the paranormal or the study of it your dominant life value? From the large corpus of EVP we now have, does it reveal creatures who are worshipping the Creator or the creation? Have you heard an EVP which states that Jesus is to be forever praised? On a lesser scale, are there any views on the paranormal that you might be suppressing due to traumatic ramifications and exchanging with a lie? "Iron sharpens iron" is the spirit in which that is meant. Now that you know that God is not pleased with religion, are you seeking opportunities to share the gospel?
While this newsletter may not have been a typical paranormal analysis, it does shed light on who God is, and give us some insight in how and why it may be difficult for some people to change their views. Finally, with a God like this, do you really think He would be pleased at being left out of the study and discussion of part of His creation? God hates religion, but He has a heart for the lost. Do we?