The Seduction of Christianity – Program 3

By: Johanna Michaelson, Dave Hunt; ©1985
Are our churches actually accepting practices and beliefs associated with witchcraft?

Witchcraft in the Church?

Ankerberg: Welcome! We’re glad that you have joined us. We have Dave Hunt and Johanna Michaelsen with us and we’re talking about a great lie that they see is sweeping across America. Dave, you’ve said in your book that not only is this lie in secular society and being accepted there, but in the churches of all denominations of Orthodox Christianity. You are saying that, “Christianity itself may well be facing the greatest challenge in its history.” And you are saying that a series of powerful and growing seductions are subtly changing biblical interpretations and undermining the faith of millions of people. And you are saying that this coming in a disguise. It’s coming not in a frontal attack, it’s coming in seductively. And you are saying this is how it’s coming: it comes to some Christians “in the guise of faith-producing techniques for gaining spiritual power and experiencing miracles.” We’re hearing about the Christian Church all across the country where they are now starting to conduct courses in how to have a miracle; experiencing miracles. “And to others it is self-improvement psychologies”—Positive Mental Attitude and other things along that line—“for fully realizing human potential and they are all seen as neutral scientific aids, to help successfully live the Christian life.” We’d like to hear more about this. Start us off this week. What is this “lie” that is creeping in?
Hunt: Well, John, it’s witchcraft, as Johanna said already.
Ankerberg: Define it. What do you mean by “witchcraft”?
Hunt: Well, witchcraft, sorcery, black magic. It’s an attempt to manipulate or create reality with our minds.
Ankerberg: Because no church is putting in their bulletin, “We having a service on witchcraft this Sunday,” so, I mean, you know, what are you talking about?
Hunt: Of course, right. John, I often put it like this. If a witchdoctor came dancing down the aisle in our churches in his paint and feathers and fetishes and rattles, we would throw him out. But, if a witchdoctor walks into our churches in a business suit or a clerical collar or a nice robe and he tells us that what he is offering is the latest innovations in psychology or theology or self-improvement course, Positive Mental Attitude and Success methodologies, then we don’t recognize him for who he is. And so we already have documented in past programs that the whole Success Motivation world out there is based upon a formula for success that was given to Napoleon Hill, the granddaddy of this thing, by demonic entities., okay? Now, that involves power that is within self that we can activate with our minds. It sweeps over into the religious realm. Let me give you kind of a bridge here, Science of Mind—Religious Science—Ernest Holmes, for example. Norman Vincent Peale says it was Ernest Holmes who made a “positive thinker” out of him.
Ankerberg: What did Holmes say?
Hunt: Terry Cole Whittaker graduated from the School of Religious Science in Los Angeles, and here I’m quoting from the textbook. And Ernest Holmes says, “Science of Mind teaches that man controls the course of his life by mental processes which function according to a universal law that we are creating our own day-to-day experiences by the form and procession of our thoughts. Man, by thinking, can bring into his experience whatsoever he desires.” That’s on page 30 of Science of Mind textbook.
Now, in Positive Imaging, Norman Vincent Peale says, “Your unconscious mind….” Now, we talked a little bit about this, how Freud and Jung’s theories dealing with the unconscious, which nobody can tell you what it is and how it works, came out under hypnosis when they hypnotized patients and so forth. This has been picked up because “surely it’s scientific?” In spite of the fact that E. Fuller Torrey, one of the top research psychiatrists in the world—and I could quote a lot of others, but we don’t have time—he’s on the National Board of Mental Health, Faculty to the Albert E. Einstein School of Medicine. And in his book, Mind Games, he says, “The methods of Western psychiatrists, with few exceptions, are on the same scientific level as the methods of witchdoctors.” We had a test not too long ago where we matched Western psychiatrists against witchdoctors and it came out a dead heat. The only difference was the witchdoctors charged less and released their patients sooner. But, anyway….
Ankerberg: Let’s stop there, because we’ve lost all our psychiatrists and psychologists in the audience. What they need to realize is that when we talk about science, we’re talking about a process that, if you want to see Ivory soap and find out whether or not it floats, you throw it into the bathtub a hundred times. And if it floats a hundred times, you come to the scientific conclusion after examining the evidence, cause and effect, it floats—that’s our conclusion. Now, we say psychology is the same thing. What people don’t realize, and correct me if I’m wrong here, that Szasz and other psychologists and psychiatrists are simply saying in the secular world, as they are starting to turn away from it and trying to buttonhole it, they are simply saying there are 250 different psychological theories of what man is….
Hunt: Right. All contradicting one another.
Ankerberg: All different. Let’s put it that way: all different and contradicting. And also there are 10,000 techniques of how to apply the 250 different theories. Which means, if you go to 10 different psychologists for your problem, you get 10 different answers, or you can get 250 different answers. Now, we can’t call that “Science” because if you’ve got 250, obviously they can’t agree on what man is and what his basic problem is. That’s where it’s coming from and that’s why Torrey is saying that. Now, continue.
Hunt: And it doesn’t work. I mean, the highest percentage of any profession that goes to psychiatrists is psychiatrists. The highest percentage of suicides and divorces and so forth. They can’t straighten one another out. It doesn’t work. So they’re moving into the occult, which is where it really began. So the third and fourth waves of psychology—we don’t want to get too heavily into psychology because we’ve got other things—but Humanistic Psychology and Transpersonal Psychology have gone whole-hog into the occult. In August ‘84 at the 22nd Annual Convention of the Association for Humanistic Psychology—now these are atheists, humanists—half of the….
Ankerberg: What were their courses?
Hunt: Half of the institutes or workshops you could have taken there involved such things as “Mental Alchemy,” “Education as Alchemy,” “Shamanic states of ecstasy” and “Transformation,” “Visualization.” I mean, it was straight shamanism, witchcraft, occultism. But, you see, it’s accepted because it comes under the guise of psychology and it’s scientific and so forth.
Ankerberg: Also, Dave, we’ve got to put in here, because these psychologists are having mystical experiences through hypnosis and through mind techniques. And, Johanna, maybe you can bring us up to date here on yoga, because you used to teach it; you’re experienced it; you’ve had the “out-of-body,” you’ve had all these kinds of experiences. Tell us from the secular side of the tracks, before you were ever a Christian, does this sound like what you were hearing before?
Michaelsen: That’s right down the track what was I was teaching in yoga. As a matter of fact, you know, I used to think, after I became a Christian, I could “Christianize” it, which is what’s happened in the Church today. That I could simply tie Jesus into my meditation as I was focusing on the “third eye” and “centering” and that I could arouse a greater love and devotion for Christ through the practice of this. But at the core of it, yoga means to “yoke,” “union with.” The whole purpose of yoga is to yoke you with your “higher self,” to put you in a state of altered consciousness through which you can realize that indeed you are god. And isn’t that what you’ve been saying, Dave, that all the people in the occult are teaching that?
Ankerberg: Yeah, but come back, Johanna, because when you get “in touch with your higher self,” we would say “that’s the demonic,” okay?
Michaelsen: Yes, but it doesn’t feel like the demonic, you see. And what’s happening now is that the Church is basing its opinions on theology not on the basis of the objective Word of God or absolute Truth or any concept like that, which is deemed negative, but on the basis of their experience. “My experience tells me that when I practice these meditations, it’s holy and good. My experience tells me….” For example, my experience told me that yoga was bringing me closer to God. That I was working my way. What I was doing in the exercises, however, was opening an altered state of consciousness.
Ankerberg: Alright. Let me back up. We’ve got two sides of the track here, and let me see if we can go back and pinpoint this. On the secular side of the fence, a lot of people say Transcendental Meditation is not even religious, so why are you guys talking about that? “Yoga, you know, I can practice that. What does that have to do with religion?” Okay, we’re talking about the human potential and of experiencing and looking on the inside. Now, you are making some religious statements on the basis of yoga and Transcendental Meditation. Would you kind of come back to me on that?
Michaelsen: Well, Transcendental Meditation, to begin with, is a religion. The Supreme Court of the country has recognized it a religion. It is based on the ancient Vedantic writings. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi refers you to his ancient writings, in his own material, that is. He doesn’t tell you that when you’re sitting there in your initial courses, the Puja ceremony, you are bowing down to Hindu demon gods. You know, Dave, you gave an example a couple of programs ago of this young man who began discovering that this personal secret “mantra” that he had been given was the name indeed of a demon god.
Ankerberg: What is a “mantra”?
Michaelsen: A mantra is a little word. It is, in essence, a spell that you….
Ankerberg: Where do you get it?
Michaelsen: Well, they give it to you.
Ankerberg: Who?
Michaelsen: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation teachers.
Hunt: Or the “guru.”
Michaelsen: Or the “guru” or your own master who is giving it to you.
Ankerberg: The teachers, when you are going into TM, okay. And what do they usually tell the people that don’t think it’s a religion, they just tell them it’s a what?
Michaelsen: It’s a science. You can turn it on almost any channel now on cable TV….
Ankerberg: And the word does what? The word, the “mantra,” does what?
Hunt: It’s supposed to be a meaningless sound that will help you relax and develop your full potential.
Michaelsen: A vibration.
Ankerberg: Right. We’ve heard that. Okay, keep going.
Hunt: In fact, it is the name or the code name of a Hindu god.
Ankerberg: Give us some examples.
Hunt: Well, “a-eem” for example.
Ankerberg: That is one of the mantras that is given.
Hunt: Right. There are eighteen basic mantras. But, anyway….
Ankerberg: What is “a-eem”?
Hunt: It’s another god, another Hindu god.
Ankerberg: How do you know it’s another god?
Hunt: Because it’s in Hindu literature. It’s one of the names in their literature for one of the Hindu gods.
Michaelsen: Yeah, it’s in their literature.
Ankerberg: In other words, reading the Hindu literatures themselves, as you read the books you will find out that it refers to that name as a deity, a Hindu god.
Hunt: Of course. Maharishi is a Hindu and this is pure Hinduism he is teaching.
Ankerberg: But, you see, Dave, a lot of people don’t know that.
Hunt: That’s right, because he calls it “The Science of Creative Intelligence.”
Ankerberg: Okay. But you’re saying that if I’m given a word, and I am supposed to take that word and it’s supposed to be just pure science, then it kind of opens me to the higher consciousness. And I don’t know that I’m calling on a “god” in the Hindu religion—whom we would say would be a demon. Now, you’re saying something really happens and something takes place there.
Michaelsen: It doesn’t really matter that you know the meaning of the word or not. You see, it’s irrelevant. The fact is that you are opening yourself up. You are calling out, sending out, if you will, “vibes;” you know, that famous term that we were all growing up with in the Sixties. You are sending out vibrations that are indeed summoning gods to yourself. In other words, demons.
Ankerberg: Because you’re calling its name.
Hunt: You’re surrendering yourself to demons, right.
Michaelsen: Because you’re calling its name and you are surrendering yourself.
Hunt: But, Johanna, you’ve got open there a quote by Robert Schuller about meditation.
Ankerberg: Okay. So that’s what’s happening on that side of the tracks. Now you’re saying on the Christian side of the tracks we’re paralleling that with the same kind of philosophy. Give us the quote.
Michaelsen: Well, more than paralleling it, it is being openly embraced and encouraged and advocated. For example, Dave quoted Robert Schuller here, who says, “A variety of approaches to meditation is employed by many different religious as well as by various non-religious Mind Control systems. In all forms, TM, Zen Buddhism or yoga or meditation of the Judeo-Christian tradition, the meditator endeavors to overcome distractions of the conscious mind.” And then he tells you down here that “the most effective mantras employ the ‘M’ sound.” I mean, this is Dr. Schuller telling us this; that, “you can get the feel of this mantra by repeating the words ‘I am,’ ‘I am,’ ‘I am,’ many times over. Transcendental Meditation or TM,” he tells us, “is not a religion nor is it necessarily anti-Christian.” But at its core it’s anti-Christian. At its core it is Hinduism. And to say that Christians can adopt this openly is beyond understanding.
Ankerberg: Dave, there’s been a guest that has been on television broadcast quite a few time. Tell us about Earl Paulk.
Hunt: Well, Earl Paulk, for example, a pastor in Atlanta, Georgia, with a very large congregation says, “Just as dogs have puppies and cats have kittens, so God has little gods. And until you realize that you are a little god, you don’t really understand what the Bible is talking about.” This idea that we can become gods, that we have this infinite power. You see, God becomes impersonal now, and there is a power that we can all develop. And in expressing these words or thinking these thoughts, we’re expressing this power that’s within all of us.
Ankerberg: Okay, Dave, where does this “looking inside of ourselves” finally lead people, both in psychology and in the secular world? And where is it leading people in the Church who are advocating “self”?
Hunt: Well, if the answer is within, and the potential of power within us is infinite, then we must be “gods.”
Ankerberg: Who is saying that?
Hunt: Well, the whole Human Potential movement. All of them are saying it. But let me just quote you a couple of Christians again. Norman Vincent Peale in his book Positive Imaging—and we’ll get into “Imaging” later—says, “Your unconscious mind,” and, again, that’s a myth nobody knows what that is or how it works. But anyway….
Ankerberg: Let’s just stop there, too. The psychologists keep referring to the subconscious, okay?
Hunt: Right.
Ankerberg: If you want to know what God thinks about that, ask yourself, “How many verses in Scripture command us toward programming the subconscious?”
Hunt: Right.
Ankerberg: When you get all those down on paper, talk to me.
Hunt: Right.
Ankerberg: Okay?
Hunt: Okay. “Your unconscious mind has a power that turns wishes into realities when the wishes are strong enough.” So we’ve got the power within us. Robert Schuller, on his Amway tape, says, “You don’t know what power you have within you. You make the world into anything you choose. Yes, you can make your world into whatever you want it to be.” And the quote Johanna gave us about what Schuller has to say about meditation, these are all forms of tapping into this power. So, we’ve got to get within. Edgar Mitchell, ex-astronaut, commander of Apollo 14 and sixth man to walk on the face of the moon, had a mystical experience on that trip of “Unity Consciousness,” that “I am the universe, I am everything.” It so transformed his life, when he came back to planet Earth he abandoned the outer space program to join the “inner space” program, which is the new frontier of modern science.
Now, we have a Christian pastor, a Baptist, in Seattle, Washington, Rodney R. Romney is his name. He has written a book called Journey to Inner Space, finding God in us. On the back cover in large print it says “Mission: To Find God. Method: By Finding Ourselves.” Now, I could name Nobel Prize winners, such as Brian Josephson, for example, who literally believes that he is going to explore all reality from the microscopic, to the macroscopic to the farthest reaches of the universe, by looking within himself in yoga. And you say, “Well, this guy has really flipped out.” No, they’ve got good scientific reasons for this. Of course, he’s had mystical experiences that have caused him to believe this.
But they tell us that soon the action will no longer be confined to the big screen but we’re going to have three dimensional images running up and down the aisles and all over the theater, called holograms. The interesting thing about a hologram is that no matter how many pieces you cut it up into, smaller and smaller, you still have the whole image, very much like a cell in your body, which is why, theoretically, we can clone an entire human being from a single cell because it has the complete DNA formula for replicating a whole being. Well, now, what could be more logical, then, than for these scientists, because of their mystical experiences, to say “the universe is a hologram and we are each a little holographic image of the whole. Therefore each of us has within himself or herself all knowledge, all power, all wisdom, everything that ever was or ever will be. So, we’re gods.”
Now, that brings us into the Holistic movement, which is another word for the New Age movement. And you will see a triangle of mind, body, spirit—Holistic Medicine. Well, you better ask your doctor, “Doctor, what kind of medicine do you give to spirits.” I mean, “Did you study about spirits in medical school?”
Ankerberg: Because you’re saying, “Mind, body, spirit,” they are dealing with the spirit?
Hunt: Right.
Ankerberg: So when you doctor, if he’s into Holistic Medicine, that’s part of the thing that he has been trained to teach. Now you’ve got to ask him, “What kind of theories are you going to give to me on my spirit?”
Hunt: Right. “Doctor, isn’t ‘spirit’ really a religious term? Would you please tell me, Doctor, what religion is this that you are passing off on your patients in the name of the latest medical science?” And Michael Harner, who is an anthropologist and not a critic like me, on page 136 of his book The Way of the Shaman, and he explains shamanism and witchcraft is identical everywhere on the face of the earth, even in cultures that have been isolated from one another and they are as different as day and night. But when you investigate their witchcraft, it’s the same everywhere. Johanna can certainly testify to that. There’s a common source of inspiration. And he believes in it. But on page 136 he says, “Holistic Medicine is simply a revival of witchcraft, of shamanism, under different names”: visualization, psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, and so forth.
Now, this idea that we can become gods, Jack Gibb, a psychologist, says, “The basic assumption that we’re making in the Holistic movement is that we’re gods.” I’m god; you’re god, and that has great significance. That idea, believe it or not, has come into the Church of Jesus Christ.
Ankerberg: Prove it!
Hunt: Well, a gentleman, a man of God that I respect very much, in 1919 he was out there on the mission field with C. T. Studd. He’s one of the founders of World Evangelism Crusade and one of the founders of InterVarsity Crusade. Norman Grubb has written some classic books like Reese Howells, Intercessor, and he has written some forewords to some of my books in years gone by. He now is involved in what he calls Union Life. And Norman Grubb says, “There is only One Person in the universe [God] and every thing”—be it man, or Satan, or animals—“is just God in one of his various manifested forms.” We are all gods. Johanna, you’ve got something here.
Michaelsen: Well, you’ve got a quote here, too, Dave, where Bill Volkman, the Union Life editor, adds to that. He has written Living As Gods Without Denying Our Humanity, recognizing that “All humans are incarnations of deity, just as Jesus was,” which is what Ernest Holmes was teaching.
Hunt: Right.
Michaelsen: “Yeah, Jesus is God, and so are you, and so am I, and so are we all.”
Ankerberg: You know, we’ve had on our program Garner Ted Armstrong, where Garner Ted Armstrong said that we are progressing to become one with God. The Mormons have been on our program and said that their goal is that every Mormon will become a god. But besides some of these folks in the cults, now you’re having it into secular society where they are saying—which is basically Hinduism, Eastern thought—that we are all “one with God,” that we are all a part of Him and we have to look inside of ourselves, and then they have these mystical experiences that prove it. But now you are saying that it is coming over even into the so-called Orthodox Christian Church. Now, apparently, that fellow that worked with Studd there, he must have changed his mind along the way. What is making these people change their minds?
Hunt: Well, he tells us he began to read the mystics and he got involved in some of these mystical experiences himself which convinced him and gave him a new interpretation of the Bible. But, John, ten years ago when I tried to tell Christians that the goal of every Mormon is to become a god, they wouldn’t believe it. They would say, “Oh, you misunderstood them,” or “You are maligning these fine people.” Now, we have any number of people—as you know, we quote them in the book and document it—that I could quote you who are saying, not that we’re going to become gods, we are gods. That man was created to be the god of this world. Charles Capps, for example, says that. I have it on his own letterhead. Other people on television are saying this. A young pastor, for example, of a very large church in Seattle, I have a tape of him with his congregation repeating, “‘I am an exact duplicate of God.’ Say it after me. Repeat it. Yell it! Louder! Like you mean it! ‘I am an exact duplicate of God.’ When God looks in the mirror, He sees me! When I look in the mirror, I see God! People try to put me down and say ‘You’re so cocky, you must think you’re God.’ Hallelujah! You’ve got the idea. That’s who I am! Are you young people running around acting like gods? Well, you better, because God says we are gods.” They say that we were made to have dominion over this world and that we were created to be little gods to run this world and Satan stole that dominion and became the god of this world, and now it’s up to us to take that dominion back and begin to function as the gods.
Ankerberg: Okay. Give me an affirmative word from Scripture that says just the opposite for people who are involved in that. They’re saying, “What are you offering in its place? What is Scripture saying?” And then we’ll pursue this further next week.
Hunt: Well, Scripture certainly doesn’t tell me that I’m a “god.” It tells me that there is One God and One Mediator between God and men: the man Christ Jesus; that self needs to be denied, as we’ve already said. I need to get in touch with Him. You know, we’ve got about 4.6 billion little gods running around this world, is really the basic problem. And, until we abdicate the throne of our lives and come back under willing submission to the One True God and let Him begin to run our lives and direct us, there is no hope. But that can happen through Jesus Christ.
Ankerberg: Okay. Join us next week and we’re going to pick this up with things about people that when they believe this, what do they start to teach? And we’re going to talk about that next week, so please join us.

Read Part 4


  1. […] Read Part 3 […]

Leave a Comment