32 Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, 200 chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command. (1 Chronicles 12:32, emphasis added)
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)
Like the men of Issachar, we need to understand OUR times so that we might know what we ought to do; but we have blind spots. Let me explain.
Segregation is to Racism as Spirit Communication is to Paganism. Huh?
We are approaching St Patrick’s Day, and I think it is appropriate that we address this issue in that light. While a slave, he learned Irish, and was effective in helping to bring Christ to a nation in bondage to paganism and occult practices.
Every generation of Christian’s (contrary to Issachar) seems to have a glaring blind spot/s; so glaring that one wonders how an entire generation/s overlooked it. My parents generation is known as the “Greatest Generation’, and for good reason—living though the Depression and fighting in WW II, ECT. However, my parent’s generation of Christians, and many generations before them, was either racist themselves or didn’t speak out against it (many exceptions, including my parents). It was a terrible black eye on the church. It was this type of ‘plasticity’ or hypocrisy that fueled the hippie generations rebellion. The 50’s caused the 60’s; there is a flow to human and cultural history.
Indeed, not a few pastors/theologians tried to support racism, or segregation, from the bible. The same had been done with slavery before that. It is hard to step out of one’s historical situation, unless you are saturated with a biblical worldview. But given scriptures clarity, there was no excuse for their attitudes or actions regarding race.
Racism led to the practice of segregation. It is important to see what is cause and what is effect; sinful racism of the heart led to sinful practices of segregation, which were exceedingly degrading to black people’s dignity.
We would never do that! Or have we….?
I fondly remember my dad being probably the only business owner in Moore County in NC who did NOT have segregated bathrooms/water fountains in the 50’s, and who hired a black man as an equal.
Shortly after I was converted when I was 17, I was turned on to Francis Schaeffer, and he pointed out this racist blind spot and subsequent black-eye for the church. Forty-five years later, I vividly remember the prayer I prayed then, and continued to pray through the years: “Lord, please show me how MY generation is blind; how am I blind.” Ten years ago, I believe the Lord answered my prayer.
I saw the effect first, before I saw the cause. The popularity of ghost hunting/spirit communication (effect) led me to see the larger issue of the dominance of the pagan worldview (cause). Just as racism led to segregationist policies, so the ascendency of the pagan worldview has led to communication with the spirit realm and this amongst many Christians. Yes, we are blind.
Ideas/beliefs and worldviews inevitably express themselves in actions. As Dr. Peter Jones points out in “The Other Worldview”, and other books, secularism/materialism, etc, has been replaced by the pagan/neo-Gnostic/occult/New Age as the main worldview enemy of the Truth. But most Christian leaders are still battling against tired, worn out, dying foes, or at least neglecting the primary enemy.
Paganism is to spirit communication (EVP’s, mediums/psychics, energy healers, etc.), as racism was to segregation. Just as racism was the cause behind segregationist practices, so the occult worldview is fueling this mushrooming craze for spirit communication, in all its various forms. That parallel is meant to be shocking, because the reality is shocking. I am NOT saying that Christians, or anyone, who engages in spirit communication is racist—that totally misses the point of the analogy.
But most Christians today (there are many exceptions) are blind to this undeniable fact, or are being silent about it, because they don’t want their pursuit of personal peace and affluence to be disrupted. How selfish we are. How awfully selfish, and our children/grandchildren will scream as they face difficult days ahead:”Why…why didn’t they do something, while they still could?” Indeed, why not?
It is one of the blind spots of the church today: both the worldview of paganism, and the practice of spirit communication (via EVP's, mediums, psychics, meditation, Reiki, yoga, etc) The blindness is mostly due to a culpable ignorance of Christians in general, and pastors in particular-a vincible ignorance; an ignorance that should have been resisted and overcome. Walk down the aisle of any bookstore or toy store, watch the news, see TV programming, and movies, and you will be surrounded by paganism and spiritism, in countless variety.
Having been a pastor myself for fifteen years, I have a profound respect for clergy. However, it is the responsibility of all Christians, but especially preachers, to be in-tune with OUR generation (like men of Issachar) and to apply the timeless truth of God’s Word to changing culture. However, when was the last time your pastor preached on: understanding a pagan worldview, or the bible’s view of ghosts, mediums/psychics, energy healing, and the like? (Many in their congregations are either curious or confused.) Just as there was a dearth of biblical preaching on racism and segregation in the past, there is a similar lack of preaching on the pagan worldview and spirit communication today. We are always the last ones to see our own blind-spots.
I am using the racist/segregation analogy for its shock value intentionally; to shock Christians, and especially Christian leaders, awake to the fact that we are being just as blind to paganism/spirit communication as our ancestors were to racism/segregation. Just as there was no excuse for their silence regarding beliefs and practices about race, so we, too, have no excuse for staying silent.
I am still in the process of sending out the ‘Open Letter to Christian Paranormal Investigators,’ and as we state in the preface, it is sent with the same spirit and intent of MLK’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” What prompted me to write that letter was the answered prayer of 45 years ago, which has haunted me all these years: “Lord, where are WE blind? Where am I blind?”
In my hometown of Greensboro, NC is where the international sit-in movement got its genesis; four courageous, black Christian men sat at the Woolworth's counter and waited for food. The actions of four college students grew into an international civil rights sit-in movement. They were real change agents. We still have a way to go regarding race, but substantial change has occurred. And it’s my prayer that God would use our humble ‘open letter’ to start a similar awareness and action with regards to paganism and the practice of speaking to the spirit realm, before it’s too late.
Certainly, there are other issues like abortion, but when will Christians see that we, too, have a glaring blind-spot? None of us are above being deceived or blind; like fish accustomed to the water, we have become so accustomed to our generational mindset, that we don’t have the eyes to see the evil and error that has crept in and become ensconced in our culture.
Sadly, in each generation, the very folks who should be quick to see the blind spots are themselves the last ones to see it. Often the secular media picks up on it, and then Christians follow suit. (I doubt that the secular media will ever criticize paganism though). That is wrong, because we should be leading the charge, as salt and light! (See Matthew 5; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 10)
Looking back now, would you have marched with MLK if he came to your hometown, or would you have sneered, or just as bad, said: “I am personally opposed to racism and segregation, but I don’t want to rock the boat?” The unabashed pursuit of personal peace and affluence was/is another blind spot, and has always caused a lack of concern for significant issues. “Just leave me alone to enjoy my life on my terms.” Selfish and dishonoring to God.
Would you have said:”Okay, Dr. King, you made your point—why do you have to keep harping on it?” And the answer is: he HAD to keep harping on it because few others were. Same holds true today.
I know that most Christians, who are engaged in spiritistic practices, detest racism and segregation. But my question to them, and everyone, is: in light of scripture’s clarity, why can you not see OUR glaring blind spot? It is all around us and is opening demonic doors in ways unprecedented in human history.
We cannot scratch our collective heads as to how almost the entire ‘greatest generation’ could have been so blind as to what was happening all around them, every day, when we are just as blind regarding the rampant spiritual adultery that has invaded the church. In both cases, the band played on, until enough people spoke up that it began to have an impact.
We are called in 2 Cor. 10 to “tear down strongholds of evil and error…” (Paraphrase) In the ‘Open Letter to Christian Paranormal Investigators’, and in this blog, my intent is to do precisely that. Note the last verse, in which Paul says he is ready to punish all disobedience. In today’s context what that would look like is this. If I was still a pastor and one of my members was communicating with the spirit realm, they would be privately talked to by the pastor (me); if they resisted then they would be brought before the elders,; and if they continued to resist, then, with tears, would be excommunicated, with the hopes that they would awaken, repent and be restored to fellowship. The purity of the Bride of Christ is at stake.
In closing, I know that spirit communication (in its countless forms of expression) is not as outwardly rampant as segregation was at one point--not yet, anyway. In light of St Patrick’s Day, it is appropriate to mention that IF we do not change, then the USA/Europe will likely become similar to pre-St Patrick Ireland—full of spiritual darkness and Druidic occultism. In the 4th century the church had to fight valiantly against Gnosticism, and now neo-Gnosticism has reappeared 1,500 years later, with Satan much better informed and filled with a furious zeal to destroy the church.
Segregation is to Racism as Spirit Communication is to Paganism. We need to address the cause as well as the effect, and ‘pull them down’ through the omnipotent Word of God and the Holy Spirit.
Mark Hunnemann is the author of Seeing Ghosts Through God's Eyes: A Worldview Analysis of Earthbound Spirits. It's also available in eBook format.