Eight Christian Scholars Defend the Faith/Program 5

By: Dr. Walter Kaiser, Jr. , Dave Hunt, Dr. Anis Shorrosh, Dr. Robert

Morey, Dr. John Weldon, Bill Cetnar, Joan Cetnar, Dr. Gleason Archer; ©1995

What is reincarnation? What do those in the New Age Movement believe? What’s the Human Potential Movement? The occult, the “hidden things, the secret things, the demonic.”

Contents

Introduction

Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. We have eight experts concerning the Bible, the biblical languages, theology. Tonight, we have them on the “hot seat.” We’re asking them the questions that the skeptics ask Christians. Our program topic for tonight is the occult; not the cults like Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons, but the occult, the “hidden things, the secret things, the demonic.” And to start with, Dr. Kaiser, I’d like you to give us a little instruction from Deuteronomy concerning different categories that God strictly prohibits. If you would, take it a little slow and define some of the words in Deuteronomy 18.
Kaiser: Deuteronomy 18, John, speaks in terms of the wizards and those who go after mediums and the consulting the dead and trying to go and to learn the future by means of going to the underworld rather than depending upon revelation, as strictly forbidden. Don’t go that way if you want to come God’s way, because God has given a clear set of tests for prophets.
There is, first of all, a prophet has to speak in the name of the Lord. He can’t sort of speak off his cuff and say, “Well, it seems to me that” or “Thus spake Zarathustra” or something that “I” said. You see, you just can’t go that way. You have to say, “Thus says the Lord.” Five thousand five hundred times approximately in the Old Testament that formula occurs. It’s not a throwaway line, it’s an important line. The claim is, “This is what God says.” They’re to be able to perform signs and wonders. They had also to agree with what was written. You couldn’t say something that contradicted what God had already said. If you did, you were clearly out of bounds. So there were tests like these in Deuteronomy 18:15-22, and Deuteronomy 13:1-5 that directed and gave explicit instructions as to what a true prophet was.
Ankerberg: Alright, let’s take a couple of things. Dr. Robert Morey, talk about reincarnation. I think that today we’re hearing more and more people that say, and they’re very smart people, too, and they say, “You know, it just hit me that reincarnation just answers a whole lot of questions” and they’re going that way and they’re advocating it on all the talk shows. They’re even saying that Jesus taught reincarnation by preaching about Elijah and saying he would return. Talk to us about reincarnation and what the Bible really says.
Morey: Well, having examined over a thousand books dealing with the subject of what happens after you die, I think it would be appropriate to define reincarnation as cosmic recycling on a grand scale. But we’re not talking about recycling aluminum cans that keep coming back, it’s that the human soul does not go to heaven or to hell as the Bible teaches but the soul is reborn into another body. Thus, you are reincarnated, re-enfleshed. Now, according to orthodox reincarnation, that can be an insect; it can be an animal; it can be a plant; it can be a rock. According to a few Western New Age types who love the idea of evolution and progress, they say once you’ve gone from being a rock and you were a “good” rock – very good – then you became a carrot and you were a nice carrot and you didn’t do anything bad – bad karma, then you became the rabbit and if you were fuzzy and sweet, then you became the fox and you finally reached and became a human being and you cannot slip back down. And this is Edgar Cayce and some of the more Westernized reincarnationists. From that point you come back as a human being, a male, a female, whatever it is, until you reach the point you have paid off your karmic debt by your suffering, you fly off of the wheel and you get absorbed back into nothing. You see, you were nothing when you began. Your problem is that you think you are something and your only salvation is when you become nothing.
Now, this reincarnation or “recyling” they have only four arguments, though a thousand variations. But it’s only four arguments: one, reincarnation solves the problem of evil – but it doesn’t. They say, “Well, the reason you’re suffering in this life: if you’re born poor or you have a handicap, it’s because of the evils you did in the past life so you’re getting what you deserve. But there was suffering in that life, well, there was a life before that life and you end up in an endless, infinite regression of lives in which you make evil eternal – which doesn’t solve anything, it just makes it eternal. Or, you arrive at a first life for which there was no previous life to explain the suffering you had in that life. So it does not solve the problem of evil. As a matter of fact, it creates evil because it teaches you not to interfere with human suffering. No hospitals; no orphanages. Let them die! They’re getting what they deserve.
Secondly, they say it’s true because people recall it either naturally or under hypnosis or they go to Madam Zsa-Zsa and for $50 she could say, “Yes, you were one of the vestal virgins in the great temple of Isis” or whatever it is and pay your money. “Thank you very much.” More déjà vu, that feeling you’ve been here, or you know these people. But all of those are so scientifically disproven and inaccurate and so riddled with fraud they’re impossible.
Thirdly, they claim that the Bible teaches reincarnation such as that John the Baptist was Elijah and they really say that. And usually I give two arguments: I would say, Who is the one person who should really know whether or not John the Baptist was Elijah? John the Baptist. And they went to him and said, “Are you Elijah?” And he said, “No.” [John 1:21] Does that satisfy you? They say, “No.” I say, “Well, let me give you the final-final answer: In order to be reincarnated you have to first die. Elijah never died. He was alive on the Mount of Transfiguration. He went to glory without death. Enoch, Elijah. How can John the Baptist be Elijah reincarnated when he never died to begin with? They claim that Jesus taught it by saying, “You must be born again” [John 3:7] but we know from James the new birth is through the Word and it’s through faith in Christ and it’s regeneration, not reincarnation.
Then the last argument: The early Christians taught it. These ancient church councils took it out of the Bible and hid it. But when you ask them, “What council? What date? Who was there? Where’s the manuscript?” They always contradict themselves and before you know it they finally tell you, “Well, they only heard about it but they never saw any evidence. And, “Well, there isn’t any evidence. It was destroyed, so the proof that it happened is that there isn’t any evidence.” Which of course, I can prove anything by that methodology. I could say, “Your parents when they died left me all their money but there’s no will because you destroyed it and the fact that there’s no will proves that you owe me all the money because that proves that they gave it to me because of the will which doesn’t exist.”
But the Bible teaches that when you die you don’t go into the ground, you don’t dissipate into the air, you go either into the presence of Christ: “Absent from the body; present with the Lord,” [2 Cor. 5:8] or you are put under conscious punishment in Hades to await the Judgment Day. So it’s either you go into the presence of our Lord and Savior through faith in Him, or you will suffer not endless reincarnation, coming back again and again and again and again, but you will go to what we could call hell to await the Judgment and ultimately the lake of fire. So, reincarnation is not true and the arguments are not valid and we’ve disproved them over and over and over again.
Ankerberg: Yeah, it’s interesting that Shirley MacLaine who is advocating reincarnation now says that she’s a little bit illogical in her belief because she cannot stay away from getting involved with “causes” – to right this and to right that. But if it’s really karma and you’re really going to be reincarnated, then you ought to leave all that alone. But she says, “Knowing that, I still go out there and march and do my thing.” So, if you are going to believe in reincarnation, then you ought to let everybody just do their thing and not care for them and not get excited about causes. But there’s something inside of us that won’t let us do that. Dr. Weldon, let me come to you on another one, and that is, today we have what is called the New Age Movement, kind of an overall banner on a group of people that hold to different beliefs. Why are so many people becoming New Agers and what are some of the basic tenets that they’re holding?
Weldon: I think so many people are turning to the New Age Movement because there’s a real spiritual vacuum in our culture. We’re turning away from Christian faith and there’s a vacuum that’s being filled with all kinds of new cults and philosophies. And people are really searching. A lot of them aren’t finding any spiritual reality in the liberal churches. They have a deep hunger for God and so they’re turning to the New Age Movement and other sources in an attempt to find meaning to life.
Ankerberg: How would you define it?
Weldon: The New Age Movement is basically a philosophy of life that people hold to that really is a form of pantheism: that God is all and all is God. Kind of bouncing off what Dr. Morey said, the concept of reincarnation is a fundamental in New Age philosophy. And the real problem with reincarnation is that the atonement of Christ on the cross proves that it is false; because if Christ died for all of our sins there is no need for us to karmically work off our sins over many lifetimes.
As a matter of fact, even Dr. Ian Stevenson of the University of Virginia, one of the leading parapsychologists in our nation, has put forth a theory that many of these reincarnation experiences can be accounted for by evil spirits, deceptive spirits, that are implanting these experiences into the brain. And this is a secularist saying this.
And that bring us to another common practice in the New Age Movement, which is involvement with spirit entities, spirit guides, which many people in the New Age Movement are convinced are “good” entities, entities from God, “Ascended Masters,” the human dead who have come back to instruct us in spiritual matters or whatever. And yet if you look at the teachings of these entities, without exception – and I’ve gone over many of them – without exception, they deny Christ, they hate the God of the Bible, they distort the Scriptures, they promote very consequential teachings. And a number of lines of evidence prove that these entities are ultimately lying spirits that the Bible identifies as demons. And so when many people are looking to the New Age Movement for sustenance spiritually, what they’re really getting in the long run is a lie. They think that by believing in reincarnation that will give meaning to their life. And yet it’s just as nihilistic, just as meaningless, as materialism; because when you die according to reincarnation philosophy, that’s it. Who you are in this life is forever destroyed and you finally end up being absorbed into the impersonal anyway. So it’s a very meaningless philosophy and they’re getting the same kind of thing in materialism.
Ankerberg: Okay, Dave Hunt, what is the Human Potential Movement? Boy, we’re hearing a lot about this. And a lot of people are advocating that. What are they trying to accomplish and what do you think about it?
Hunt: Well, it’s another word for the New Age Movement which is basically the old occultism. There’s nothing new about it. The only thing that’s new about the New Age Movement is the astonishing credibility and acceptability and respectability that this old occultism is being granted in our society today, and you can trace it right back to the Garden of Eden.
The four basic lies of the serpent in the Garden of Eden: Number one, God is not personal but a force and this force is in all the trees and so forth. So you couldn’t say “You can’t eat this tree, it’ll kill you, because you eat the other trees and that doesn’t kill you, so why would this one kill you? I mean, this force is in everything and because the force is in everything.” As our brother here said, you don’t die, you just get reincarnated, recycled. So that’s the second lie. Satan said you won’t really die. The third lie is, “You can become like God.” We are being recycled and we’re being reincarnated on an upward journey, cosmic evolution, to Godhood and that’s the heart of this lie, which is where the Human Potential Movement comes from. That “I can become like God. I can create my own reality. That I have within me all the power that I need to solve all my problems. And the fourth lie is that the secret is in the tree of knowledge. You need to be initiated into this secret gnosis. You need to find out who you really are and this potential that lies within and that’s where the solution is.
So basically the New Age Movement says you are not separated from God by sin, you are separated from your “higher self,” your “God self,” by ignorance of who you really are. And you don’t need a Savior out here to invite Jesus into your heart as I did and transform my life, what you need to do is look within. That’s where all this power is with the solution to every problem, and it involves nothing about reconciliation to God. It doesn’t deal with the sin problem. It doesn’t deal with man’s guilt. But it simply says we just made some mistakes and the biggest mistake is, we forgot who we were. So let’s look within and that’s where all this potential and power is and so that’s the Human Potential Movement.
Morey: Can I add one thing?
Ankerberg: Sure.
Morey: In addition to the atoning work of Christ making karma unnecessary, the resurrection of the body makes it impossible. When Jesus was resurrected, He didn’t have 42 bodies like Edgar Cayce who claimed that Jesus had been recycled 42 times. You have a date with destiny when you will stand before God. You will be held accountable as a moral agent. You will be reconstituted, body and soul. Reincarnation cannot give you that one body in which you will stand before God. So the resurrection of the body makes it impossible, just like the atonement makes it unnecessary.
Ankerberg: Dr. Weldon, out in California Jach Pursel channels a spirit entity called Lazaris; J. Z. Knight channels Ramtha; Jane Roberts channels Seth; and on and on and on. There’s over a thousand different channelers in L.A. alone. What is this in biblical terms?
Weldon: Biblically this is really demonism. Jesus Himself confronted evil spirits on numerous occasions. I have no doubt that Christ would label the modern channeling as a form of contact with evil spirits, and that’s because the spirits sooner or later give themselves away. The Bible tells us that even Satan masquerades as an angel of light. [2 Cor. 11:14] Now, most people don’t expect that which is truly evil to imitate that which is good, but that is really the most effective way for evil to be evil: to imitate good, to draw people into something they’re not expecting and then slowly to poison the atmosphere and to finally pull off the final rip-off to where they’re insulated against the gospel. They think they’re doing the will of God; they’re convinced they’re in contact with an angel or a divine spirit, and yet ultimately they’re involved with the archenemy of God, a demon.
Ankerberg: Dave, let me come to you and you can follow up on that. Let’s take it from the other side. Obviously a New Ager wouldn’t say, “Come and open yourself up to a demon and listen to him,” so how are they promoting this? Obviously, it’s the supernatural, or what do they call it?
Hunt: Well, they think they’re in touch with who knows what? They have different ideas. It used to be you went into a darkened séance room and you got in touch with Aunt Jane who had a fifth grade education, wasn’t very wise in this life, but somehow when she got to the other side, she had all this wisdom. And so you consulted the dead, you know. But then they got the idea that some of the dead were Ascended Masters, like Ramtha that J. Z. Knight channels: 35,000 years old and he’s ascended up to higher levels. And finally he’s become a god and so he’s bringing all this wisdom.
But I would say the really popular idea comes through psychology. It comes from Jungian psychology which he in fact learned from Philemon, or “Philemon the demon,” his spirit guide, who he said walked up and down the garden with him and taught him these ideas: that you really don’t have to be afraid that you’re getting in touch with demons, some spirit, or whatever. Charles Tart, psychologist at the University of California, says, “Who cares what their identity is? It’s what they’re telling us.” And as John said, what they’re telling us is very consistent: it’s against the Bible. So what they’re saying is, “Don’t worry about demons or spirits of the dead or whatever. What we’re really doing, we’re tapping into deeper levels of our psyche. We’re getting into this ‘collective unconsciousness.’ This is the wisdom of the universe that’s been around.” As a matter of fact, it’s the old lie and it’s very consistent in what it tells. Ramtha, for example, says, “Don’t read that insidious book!” He says, “There is no sin.” He says, “God doesn’t have morals that say right and wrong. Isness is his only business.” That’s what Ramtha says. That you are a God and so forth. I think that’s just a lie right out of the mouth of the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Don’t have any doubt of the source of this.
Ankerberg: Bob?
Morey: If reincarnation was true, would we have testimonies of people who are reincarnated who said, “I am Jonathan Edwards. The Trinity is true. The sovereignty of God. Sinners in the hands of an angry God”? Or someone who, in their reincarnational recall under hypnosis, “I am Charles Spurgeon: Turn or burn!!” Where are the Christian recall experiences? You don’t find them. What do you find? A monolithic Hinduism/monism: “We’re a bit of divine ooze that oozed out of ooze that is oozing back into ooze. And you’re a piece of ooze. You think you’re not ooze but you’re just ooze and you’re going to be ooze when you realize you are just ooze.” That, to me, is very important, because there are no Christian recalls. You mean the only people who get recycled are Hindus and Buddhists? I want to meet Charles Spurgeon, please.
Ankerberg: Dave Hunt, a lot of folks are having these out-of-body experiences. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross says that she’s had one now and other people are advocating that it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. What do you think about these things, out-of-body experiences and what they’re seeing?
Hunt: I can tell you what the Bible says. The Bible says the body without the spirit is dead. [James 2:6] Just as faith without works is dead, so the body without the spirit is dead. They’re not out of their body. They have a demon playing a videotape in their brains. Sir John Eccles, Nobel Prize winner for his research on the brain describes the brain as, “A machine that a ghost can operate.” There’s a spirit in this thing. I’m not just a lump of protein, molecules wired with nerves, although some people may think that I am – a piece of educated beef steak. But there is a spirit. You can’t explain love and joy and peace and a sense of beauty in terms of chemical reactions in the brain. And so there’s something inside, a spirit is running my body in a normal state of consciousness. In an altered state of consciousness, that connection is loosened: under drugs, hypnosis, yoga, whatever. That allows another spirit to interpose itself, tick off the neurons in the brain, create a universe of illusion. That’s where the out-of-body experiences come from. That’s where the delusions of power and unity consciousness and so forth. You’ve got a demon playing a videotape. It’s the old lie and you’ve come under the delusion and the seduction of Satan himself.
Weldon: John, I think what’s really important to note is that what really proves that occult activity is ultimately something evil and demonic is that in the end, these practices always turn out for the worse. I don’t care who it is that’s in the occult. You can examine the life of Edgar Cayce, Krishnamurti, Alistair Crowley. The suffering, the pain, the tragedy, the insanity, the suicide, the deaths, the physical accidents that happened to these people are horrible to contemplate. That’s because they have plugged into evil beings that are imitating good beings in order to deceive them spiritually. They end up destroying them.
Ankerberg: Okay, Dave Hunt, you know, I’ve heard that now the New Age Movement has a hot line into San Francisco of people that have a spirit guide and it starts roughing them up emotionally, if you want. These spirit guides come as benevolent beings and it’s kind of fun to start with. But then all of a sudden you start to get these thoughts of suicide and you start to get other thoughts. Silva Mind Control has more than seven million Americans now that have gone through Silva. And in the third day of the course Silva teaches them how to pick up two spirit guides that give them information they wouldn’t get any other place. That’s just one group. We have est and we have other things all across this country. And people are picking up these spirit guides. Now the problem is, what do they do and what’s the answer? If you have a spirit guide that you’ve picked up and you have contact with and now you can’t get rid of him and he’s causing you big trouble emotionally, what’s the answer?
Hunt: Well, before we get to that, what’s the purpose behind this? You don’t have to be too bright to see the day when these millions of spirit guides are going to identify the Antichrist as the “good guy” and will be believed. So people are being set up for that. But there is the Spiritual Emergency Network that’s been set up by psychiatrists, medical doctors, counselors, yoga instructors and so forth for people who are literally freaking out by the thousands on these practices. And when you call that hotline the first words you hear are, “Welcome to the club.” And then they’ll try to tell you you’re just working your way through. But one of the leaders in this movement, W. Brugh Joy, a medical doctor who turned occultist and got involved in all this, he says, “We don’t know; after thousands of years, we don’t know what these forces are. We don’t know what these powers are. We don’t know where they come from. But, go for it.” It’s like saying the water is filled with piranhas and they may eat you up, but swim for it; and if you get to the other side, wow, it’s going to be fantastic.”
The problem is, nobody gets to the other side. And the only hope for these people, you can’t get it from a yoga instructor. You can’t get it from a psychologist who’s already into this. The only hope for this is to turn to Jesus Christ and turn to the truth, the One who died for our sins, who paid the debt so you don’t have to go through this recycling and so forth, and who offers, as God, to forgive us if we will accept His remedy for our sin and who offers eternal life as a free gift.
Ankerberg: Dr. Morey, is Jesus powerful enough to handle these spirit guides that are roughing up people emotionally?
Morey: Oh, by His name and by His blood He has forever vanquished. And through Him, cast out the evil spirits in Jesus’ name. I have done it. I have seen them flee, not because of Bob Morey but because of Jesus Christ who is Lord!
Ankerberg: Next week we’re going to continue talking with our experts and we’re going to talk about the tremendously important issue of prophecy in the Bible. I hope that you’ll join us.

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