Deceiving Angels in the Church
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr.John Weldon; ©2012|
|The dramatic increase in the number of books advocating angel contact began many years ago with the late Rev. Roland Buck’s Angels on Assignment. The book, however, has little to do with the holy angels.|
Deceiving “Angels” in the Church
The dramatic increase in the number of books advocating angel contact began many years ago with the late Rev. Roland Buck’s Angels on Assignment. The book, however, has little to do with the holy angels. The content of the book involves spiritistic deception. For example, an examination of its history revealed that some of the “angels’” original statements were changed to make them consistent with biblical teaching. Regardless of Rev. Buck’s and publishers Charles and Francis Hunter’s sincerity in publishing the book, the “angels’” teachings reveal their true nature.
One issue of The Christian Parapsychologist, a magazine devoted to merging Christianity and the occult, was devoted entirely to angels. It included five articles, one each by a psychic, a Swedenborgian, a nature mystic, an anthroposophist, and a Jungian. In “Some Thoughts About Angels,” J. Dover Wellman, vicar of Emmanuel Church and author of A Priest’s Psychic Diary, includes virtually all spirits into the category of deceased humans and encourages various occult methods to contact them:
I believe spiritual entities are all around us…. In this matter of our realizing the presence of the angels, the initiative always lies with them as superior beings…. Jesus Christ was, I believe, one of these preexistent angelic beings…. His purpose in dwelling on earth was to inform us of our own potentiality as beings who could be restored to “angelhood.”
When the state of trance frees our spirit-soul from our body-soul, we act as pure spirit. Our extrasensory perceptions function more efficiently, making known to us that which is otherwise hidden…. We are ourselves then approaching the level of the life of the angels…. In this condition… our communion with them would be enhanced and their influence upon us much increased.
Brian Kingslake is a minister of the New Church, which is based on the spiritistic revelations given to Emanuel Swedenborg. He is the author of Swedenborg Explores the Spiritual Dimension. In his article “A Heaven of Angels from the Human Race,” he accepts the common mediumistic and Swedenborgian teaching that “all the millions of spirits inhabiting the spiritual world—angels and devils alike—are human beings who once inhabited this earth, or some other earth in the material universe.” He argues that God’s alleged purpose is to “form a heaven of angels from the human race.”
Dorothy Maclean is a New Age leader and one of several cofounders of the spiritistic Findhorn Community in Scotland. She is the author of several books on how to contact angels and other spirits. In Angels Today, she discusses her personal experience with angels. “I found that I could not make contact with these angels until I myself was in a state of consciousness similar to theirs…. To them we had magnificent divine potentials…. We were gods in the making…. They await our choice to let our lives be guided by our intuitions, by our angelic awareness, that we may cooperate with them….”
In The Hierarchies Regained, anthroposophical student Evelyn Capel, a minister in Rudolph Steiner’s so-called “Christian Community” and author of The Tenth Hierarchy, also encourages the interaction of “angels” and humanity along occult lines. In Angels and Archetypes, Christopher Bryant, a priest in the Society of St. John the Evangelist and longtime student of occult psychologist Carl Jung, observes, “It is probable that all unknowingly we benefit by the ministry of angels who do their work in the unconscious levels of the mind which are in touch with the psychic world.”
The popular late Christian preacher William Branham claimed to speak for God, but throughout his life he was at times guided by lying spirits (his “angels”) who would whisper to him and, apparently, occultly “heal” many people each year. Despite his wide influence in Pentecostalism, he denied the true nature of God. He once said, “Trinitarianism [belief in the Trinity] is of the devil! I say that [with the authority of] ‘THUS SAITH THE LORD’.”
The Rev. Edward W. Oldring, author of I Work with Angels and I Walk and Talk with Angels, supposedly had “angels” appear to him to assist him in “preparing many [Christian] people… to work with God’s angels… and to… cooperate with… the angels.” He teaches, “There is a spiritualism [contact with spirits] that is ordained of God…. It is part of God’s plan….” However, the angels that speak to him give blatantly false interpretations of the Bible.
One striking example is worthy of a more in-depth analysis. G. Don Gilmore is the minister of Plymouth Congregational Church in Spokane, Washington, and host of the daily radio program “Perspective on Living.” He has authored Angels, Angels Everywhere, a book on alleged angelic contact. We have selected this book because Gilmore is an educated clergyman who speaks to Christians, and because his book illustrates how spiritism may be disguised through internalizing or psychologizing spiritistic experiences. Gilmore rejects biblical authority and accepts religious things in general to be reflective of true spirituality or godliness. To him, many ancient and modern traditions of “angelic” contact are received as a “viable and acceptable way of experiencing the diversity of God’s communication with us.”
For Gilmore, “angel contact” encompasses a wide range of phenomena. This includes the occult concept of “thought forms,” or spiritual manifestations allegedly constructed mentally from psychic energy:
I believe that angels are forms, images, and expressions through which the essences and energy forces of God can be transmitted and that, since there are an infinite number of these forms, the greatest service anyone can pay the angelic host is never consciously to limit the ways angels might appear to us.
Here the doors have swung open to virtually all forms of supernatural occult phenomena. Every religious and spiritistic manifestation today claims to be associated with “divine” energy, or the “energy forces of God.” Gilmore claims that “God’s energy” is not only behind the traditional angelic manifestations in various world religions, but behind much more as well.
One of Gilmore’s principal concerns is to develop what he terms “angel consciousness.” This is basically a euphemism for psychic development, “higher consciousness,” or spirit possession. For example, the book Angel Wisdom tells us that the book itself “is designed to help you tune in to your ‘angel consciousness’… the consciousness that we are divine….By accepting angel consciousness, you are accepting the responsibility of being a healer…. Regardless of your situation, the angels are present to help you initiate healing.” In other words, “angel consciousness” allows one to become a psychic healer, which, by definition, requires demonic influence.
Thus, one aspect of developing angel consciousness includes a closer association with the spirit world. Terry Lynn Taylor writes:
You will meet angel guides on the [angel-guided spirit] journeys….These guides are available if you want to make up your own self-love and soul-evolvement council, for the advancement and expression of your purpose for being here on earth. This counsel will be on hand, at all times, to guide you in decisions and creative choices and will always be sending you messages of love….The angel guides are guardians of a particular universal energy system to tap into. Positive energy systems in the universe are guarded by the angels.
“Angel consciousness,” therefore, involves an altered state of consciousness or openness to the psychic realm, which is then interpreted to be involvement with divine energies and powers. A person may develop “angel consciousness” through creative visualization, which supposedly opens the doors to “the moving streams of unlimited energy.” In Pastor Gilmore’s words:
The angel-consciousness is something that can be developed. The question is, how to do it. How does one make an angel contact? More comprehensively, how do you develop an angel-consciousness?… It is the process of stretching the muscles of the creative imagination to facilitate a flow of power. It requires time and attention. Most of all, it requires a thorough-going preparation. Angel forms of the past were not produced out of haphazard sloppy thought. They were developed gradually in the creative consciousness…. [William] Blake made a powerful point on this score: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” So let the doors represent the total apparatus for developing angel consciousness.
Because God’s essential “energy forms” are allegedly everywhere, we are told that it is the Christian’s responsibility to establish contact with them for spiritual growth. As in occult magic, this may even involve the manipulation of “divine” energies for a variety of purposes. Gilmore argues that the modern “angel phenomenon” is continually changing and “subject to an evolving human consciousness.” In other words, as man’s spiritual consciousness expands, the manifestations of divine consciousness via angelic forms accommodate themselves accordingly.
Referring to Evelyn Underhill, an authority on mysticism, Gilmore observes, “Evelyn Underhill often speaks about journeying toward the center—which is God—on the conviction that ‘angels and archangels are with us.’ Their energies are certainly with us, but they are not recognized until people give them a symbol, or image body, through which they might operate.”
In common with much occultism, Gilmore suggests that we can actually “raise” angels through the powers of our own consciousness, just as the occult magician attempts to raise spirits or demons through the circle of power in his ritual. Gilmore cites popular occultist Dion Fortune, who interprets angelic contact as communion with our “higher self.” Here again, “angel contact” is simply another term for psychic development:
Could it be that the highest and best angel form is not external to us but one’s own best and truest self? Dion Fortune once wrote,… “The Holy Guardian Angel, be it remembered, is really our own high self.” … Add to the Outer Self, Self One, the inner body—intuition, genius, sixth sense, ESP, psychic power, inner knowing—and you might have more angel forms to use in your creative work. The angel-consciousness is a product of careful preparation. Generally speaking, one must develop in this area quietly and purposefully for a long period of time. One needs a slow, integrated discipline of trial and error in order to create adequate forms through which divine energy can move.
In utilizing one particular form of “angel energy,” Gilmore writes that contacting angels is easy. “You will be amazed at how often you will make contact with the energy essence of the angel form….” He also encourages positive mental affirmations to facilitate the process of angel consciousness and contact. “God and God’s helpers are never far away…. The Light of God surrounds me…. The Power of God protects me…. Wherever I am, God is!”
Clearly, Gilmore’s “angel” contact encompasses many forms of psychic development, spiritism, and occult manifestations, which is in violation of biblical prohibitions (Deut. 18:9-12).
- Charles and Francis Hunter (as told by Roland Buck), Angels on Assignment (Houston, TX: Hunter Books, 1979), pp. 22-24, 52, 29, 77, 81, 116-130, 142; James Bjornstad, “Angels on Assignment” in Institute of Contemporary Christianity Newsletter, January/February 1980, pp. 2-3 (Box A, Oakland, NJ 07436); Christian Research Institute Fact Sheet, “Angels on Assignment” by Leah Grossman and Walter Martin (1979), Box 500, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693, pp. 1-2, 10-12.
- J. Dover Wellman, et. al., The Christian Parapsychologist, Vol. 5, No. 7, Michaelmass, 1984, pp. 220-21.
- Ibid., p. 225.
- Ibid., pp. 229-32.
- Ibid., pp. 232-36.
- Ibid., p. 240.
- William Branham, Footnotes on the Sands of Time: The Autobiography of William Marrian Branham (Jeffersonville, IN: Spoken Word Publishers, 1976), p. 606; cf., pp. 55-91, 117, 177, 590, 647, 675.
- Edward W. Oldring, I Work With Angels (Vancouver, B.C.: Note of Joy Books, 1979), pp. 14-15.
- Ibid., pp. 126-27.
- Ibid., pp. 65, 68.
- G. Don Gilmore, Angels, Angels Everywhere (NY: Pilgrim Press, 1981), back cover.
- Ibid., p. xi; cf. 164-82.
- Terry Lynn Taylor and Mary Beth Crain, Angel Wisdom: 365 Meditations and Insights from the Heavens (NY: HarperCollins, 1994), Intro., Oct. 20.
- See John Weldon, Zola Levitt, Psychic Healing (Dallas, TX: Zola Levitt Ministries, 1991), rpt.
- Terry Lynn Taylor, Creating With the Angels: An Angel-Guided Journey into Creativity (Tiburon, CA: H. J. Kramer, 1993), pp. 153-54.
- Gilmore, p. 165.
- Ibid., pp. 171-72.
- Ibid., p. 164.
- Ibid., p. 173.
- Ibid., pp. 173,175-76.
- Ibid., p. 182.