The Seduction of Christianity – Program 4

By: Johanna Michaelson, Dave Hunt; ©1985
Many people are being pulled into unbiblical beliefs and practices by very real experiences they have had.

Experience the Lie

Ankerberg: Welcome! Thanks for joining us. We have two folks on stage, Dave Hunt and Johanna Michaelsen, that are talking about a great deceptive lie that is crossing America, that is being imbibed by the secular world as well as the Christian Church. It’s hard to believe what we’re talking about, but we’re documenting it as we go along.
I’d like to give you an example. I think the last time, Dave, that you were with us, we had world-famous Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the one that is the psychiatrist from Switzerland and the medical doctor from the University of Chicago. She was talking about the fact that as a psychiatrist, a medical doctor, [she is] working with those that are in the process of dying. And now she’s got 100,000 courses that are being taught to our hospitals, our nurses and doctors, concerning death, dying and transition. She added the word “transition” in the last few years because of a mystical experience that she had that she described to us on the program. She said that she saw some fantastic things that gave her unconditional love. She painted the whole picture for us.
At the end, I asked you what you thought about that. That experience changed her life and motivates her to continue helping others. And you told her that you felt that she was absolutely deceived like she had been deceived in other things that were written up in People magazine, and the Los Angeles Times; and that this was another case of a power that the Bible calls “Satan” masquerading as an angel of light, giving those experiences, and giving a complete philosophy that goes with that experience that she is passing on in hundreds of courses that are being taught in America.
Now, the scientific community, like Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, is saying things similar [that] mystical experiences—Shirley MacLaine comes out with a book, Out on a Limb—mystical experiences have changed her complete life. What she used to think was “whacko” now she talks about openly and she admits that. Why? Because she experienced it. People in politics [such as] Muller at the United Nations, these people have had real experiences and you’re saying that this is part of the lie. Lead us on from here and tell us about what you are talking about.
Hunt: Well, John, it’s easier than ever for Satan to deceive people now through experiences, because the experience doesn’t even have to be real. If I start to talk to a person, “Well, how can you evaluate this experience? Do you have any objective basis? Are we willing to evaluate it on the basis of some objective truth?” That’s irrelevant anymore, because the psychiatrists are telling us that a vividly imagined experience is just as real as a real experience. Therefore you imagine, you fantasize. That’s the name of the game today, you know, “Let’s get involved in fantasy role-playing games and let’s fantasize and imagine ourselves as something.” It’s amazing! We were talking about Napoleon Hill and what he was taught by these masters and what he did….
Ankerberg: Napoleon Hill wrote the book, Think and Grow Rich. It’s on the newsstands across the world.
Hunt: Right, the “granddaddy” of all the Positive Mental Attitude/Success Motivation volumes.
Ankerberg: Courses that are going on.
Hunt: Right. Given to him by demonic entities that materialized in his presence. What they taught him was “Visualization—we’ve got these powers within us.” We said one or two programs ago that in the occult there are three techniques of mental alchemy transforming the world: thinking; more powerful is speaking—when you enunciate this, you get these vibrations, as Johanna said; and the most powerful is visualizing, because now you create a vivid experience within your mind. And they taught him to visualize nine great men out of the past, nice fellows like Thomas Paine and Voltaire and Napoleon and so forth. And in his mind he sat them around a table. Napoleon Hill said that they became so real. They were more real than reality. They had their own personality. They [each] spoke with his own voice. It was so real it frightened him, and he discontinued it. And then he reassured himself that, after all, it was only “imaginary,” and so he went on with this. And he consulted these nine so-called “imaginary beings,” demons, materialized right there, as he opened the door to them. They gave him advice that made a multimillionaire out of him. He consulted them for his clients and they gave advice that made millions for them. And so he was very successful. Success Through Positive Mental Attitude, he wrote. Now, these ideas, amazingly, are being picked up and are coming into the Church. We’re beginning to “visualize.” Visualize what you’re praying for, visualize “Jesus” even. And I’d like to get into that in a moment….
Ankerberg: Do it. Who’s saying that we ought to visualize any of that?
Hunt: Let me, first of all, just give you a little more documentation from the occult. I’m quoting here from a medical doctor, Mike Samuels, and he’s giving us a little of the history. He says, “The Egyptian followers of Hermes believed that”—and Hermes is a mythical god way, way back there, so you’re going way back in history—“believed that everything is mind. Disease could be cured by visualizing perfect health.” And he comes up to the Navajo Indians. They have “elaborate, concrete visualizations” in which they bring about healings. And he talks about Paracelsus, a Swiss alchemist, and he talked about visualization. Psychic healers Bill Henkin and Amy Wallace today say that “visualization is the most potent technique.” I’ve got a lot of them we don’t have time for. Shakti Gawain, in her book Creative Visualization says, “You’ve got to create your own reality with your mind.”
Now, let me quote a Christian again, Norman Vincent Peale. He says, “There is a powerful and mysterious force in human nature….”—you see, it’s no longer God; we’re not looking to God but we’re looking to a potential within us— “a kind of mental engineering… a powerful new-old idea.” Yeah, New Age is the old occultism. “The concept is a form of mental activity called imaging…. It consists of vividly picturing, in your conscious mind, a desired goal or objective, and holding that image until it sinks into your unconscious mind, where it releases great untapped energies….” And then he says, “You create realities with this.”
Now, Robert Schuller, in the foreword of The Fourth Dimension, a book by Paul Yonggi Cho, who I’m sure is a fine Christian, but he can be deceived just like I can be deceived. In that book he advocates “Visualization,” and he says, “This is how God created the universe—by visualizing it—and since we are in God’s class, we are fourth-dimension beings, we, too, can incubate and hatch reality like a hen hatches an egg, by visualizing in our mind, and we bring in a new existence.” And if you’re praying for something, you’re not going to get your prayer answered unless you visualize vividly what you’re praying for and that’s going to bring it about. In the foreword of that book Robert Schuller says, “I’ve tried it! It works! Don’t try to understand it, just do it! It works!” So, these ideas are coming into the Church.
Now, we’ve got some problems. Norman Vincent Peale in his book Positive Imaging tells how he first learned this from, I think, a Board of Trustees member or something like that, who suggested that he go out and get $5,000 donations from a number of different men. Dr. Peale said, “They’re going to laugh at me.” He says, “You go out and I will visualize them writing out a check for you.” So he goes to the first gentlemen, who, when he asked for $5,000 laughs at him, and then suddenly he says, “Well, I’ll do it.” He pulls out his checkbook and writes a check for $5,000. And Dr. Peale, very ecstatic, goes back to this gentleman and says, “He did it! He did it! He wasn’t going to and he suddenly changed his mind.” And his friend says, “Of course he did. I sent out a powerful thought hovering over you. It hit him between the eyes and it changed his mind and this ought to change your mind, too. Realize from now on, you begin to visualize what you want to come to pass.” Well, forgetting about the occult, we’ve got a bit of an ethical problem here. I mean, I could make people write out checks for $5,000 to me by visualizing what I want?
Ankerberg: Isn’t that the old definition of “sorcery”?
Michaelsen: That’s it.
Hunt: Absolutely!
Ankerberg: Johanna, give us the definition of “sorcery” as you used to teach it.
Michaelsen: Well, I never taught specifically about “sorcery.” I was more involved in the practice of it, although I wouldn’t even have recognized it as that at that time. But sorcery, basically, is the attempt to manipulate forces to do your bidding, to do your will. Now, there are many different ways of achieving that. But I used to do that, for example, in my acting class. We used to sit down and have exercises where the people would stand behind you and try to direct images at you and you would be able to perceive what they were picking up; the theory being that if you could pick it up, you can send it, right? And then I would go out into the dining room and I would try and force people to do what I would want them to do and they would wind up doing it. That’s the basic of sorcery. When you try to manipulate individuals to do your bidding.
Hunt: Or God.
Michaelsen: Or God. And that’s the next one.
Ankerberg: This also comes into what is called the “Positive Confession movement,” Dave. And explain how that relates there.
Hunt: Well, the people in the Positive Confession movement, basically, are not involved in visualizing. They are involved in thinking and speaking, “positive confession,” enunciating it. But many of them, of course, are getting involved in visualization, but not as part of that.
Ankerberg: Give us other examples, then, of visualization.
Hunt: Well, visualization, the woman who brought this into the Church, primarily Agnes Sanford. I’ve got a lot of quotes. I mean, she has probably influenced the Church more than any person in this century.
Ankerberg: Give us one. Who are the people that she has influenced?
Hunt: Well, I’ll tell you right here.
Ankerberg: I want to say right here while you’re looking this up that all of this documentation is in the books that we’re offering. And your book is just being printed and on the way out, and we’re making it available, as well as Johanna’s book. We’re not saying a lot of names, but you actually have said the names in the book and have documented what they have said and for the reason of not trying to be divisive, but simply to say, “What is the Bible saying? And there’s a big lie that’s coming in and we’re accepting that lie right in the Church and we need to repent of that. We need to say, ‘This is not biblical’ and turn away from it.” That’s where you’re coming from, correct?
Hunt: Well, some of the people that she has influenced—I’m quoting now from a book by John and Paula Sandford, The Transformation of the Inner Man, which is the premium book, the greatest book, the most complete book on “inner healing,” okay? And I’m quoting them, now. They say, “Agnes Sanford was for all of us the forerunner in the field of inner healing by prayer, [and] she was also our own first mentor in the Lord, our friend and advisor…. A sound church woman, she…founded the School of Pastoral Care…[where] many pastors, doctors, nurses and others came and learned; among them were Francis MacNutt, Barbara Shlemon, Tommy Tyson, Herman Riffel, Paula and myself…” and I could name many, many others. Robert Wise, for example, a pastor in Oklahoma City. Any number of others; Rosalind Rinker was heavily influenced by her. Ruth Carter Stapleton was heavily influenced by Agnes Sanford. Now, this “sound church woman,” as they describe her, who was their “mentor in the Lord”—let me just tell you some of the things….
Ankerberg: What did she teach?
Hunt: She talks about Jesus lowering His thought vibrations to cleanse the thought vibrations that surround this globe. That’s a Teilhardian—Teilhard de Chardin—idea. “Therefore, He became a very part of the collective unconscious of the race”—that’s a Jungian idea—“and therefore a certain emanation of an invisible and personalized energy of our spirits has already ascended into heaven. His blood, that mysterious life essence, remains upon this earth in plasma form blown by the winds of heaven to every land beneath the sun, exploding in a chain reaction of spiritual power.” She talked of God as “this flow of energy.” She talked about the “high voltage” of God’s creativity. She said, “We are part of God. He’s in nature. He is nature.” She was, you know, give me the word….
Ankerberg: Well, basically pantheist.
Hunt: It’s the pantheist, right.
Ankerberg: “God is all and all is God,” is what you’re saying.
Hunt: Right. She called Him “primal energy.” She talked of Jesus as “that most profound of psychiatrists.”
Ankerberg: How did Jesus heal, then? How does God heal, according to Agnes?
Hunt: By mind power. And we do it by visualization. She says, “She’s got no quarrel with savages in the jungle who dance themselves into a trance or with the Mind Science people who deny the reality of evil…. But,” she says, “that’s not the route I’d go. How, then, shall I create in myself the atmosphere of faith? The feeling that God is answering my prayer. The method I use is the training of the creative imagination.” She talked about the wise men of India, I’m quoting her now, verbatim, “…[who] for many centuries have trod the lofty peaks of spiritual powers and given birth to their over-souls. Spirits of the dead for whom we have prayed are on earth working through us. And you convey this healing power by visualizing. You can even redeem a person by visualizing a sinner as a saint.” She said that her work had grown too large for her to do it and she says, “The Lord has therefore guided me to a broader and more subtle way of prayer. It baffles me in a way, because I cannot tell what my spirit does and whither it goes, but that it does travel and that God does work through my spiritual body,” out there in the astral plane, you know. “Even though my mind is quite unaware of it, it becomes more and more apparent.” She learned that, by visualizing her children, she could literally control her children like Norman Vincent Peale learned that he could get somebody to write out a check. By visualizing them, she could control her children and create a reality. She is the one that brought visualization and inner healing into the Church.
Ankerberg: I had some of the people from Eckankar on the program, the great Eck master. That’s exactly what they said that he did to them from this Eastern cult there.
Hunt: Right, right. So you ask me, how could a woman like this… look, I’m giving you a fraction of the quotes that are in the book. This is not tucked away in some obscure paragraph on a back page. This is rampant throughout her books.
Michaelsen: That’s right.
Hunt: Johanna’s got her books right in front of her. Now, how is it, John… I’m sitting here and you don’t know what this does to me. Why must I or Johanna tell this to the Church? Why does one of our major Christian magazines quote a whole chapter out of one of her books recently? I mean, what’s going on? Well, all I can say is that Jesus said there is a deception that will sweep the world. There’s an apostasy and people would be blind to it. And that’s why I feel I must awaken and arouse the Church to what ought to be obvious to everybody.
Ankerberg: As Johanna said in her book, “Evil is beautiful.” As some people we’ve had on our program, they can’t believe that there would be an evil power out there giving them the most wonderful experiences that they’ve ever had. And yet that’s taking place. The sad part is that the Church, that ought to know better, is starting to take some of these techniques and starting to teach it under the guise of Christianity when the Bible says, “No!” We’re trying to awaken those of you that are in the Church, those of you that are born again Christians, that believe the things of the Bible. Look at the Bible, examine what we’re saying and see if this is true.
Let’s move on here with the area of “Imagination.” You know, it doesn’t sound like something we grew up in Sunday School with; and yet, people in the Church today are saying, “Go to your imagination. The answers are in your imagination.” Johanna, tell us something about this.
Michaelsen: Well, let me give you a quote, first of all, from the Spiral Dance by someone who calls herself Starhawk. She’s a wiccan, a pagan. We would know them more simply as a witch.
Ankerberg: A witch?
Michaelsen: Quite true. And in her book, on page 148, she says something that’s very interesting in talking about keeping dreams and guide-logs and whatnot. “In keeping a dream-log, remembering dreams, sharing them in the coven and re-entering them in a trance or a guided fantasy are all ways of opening the door without a key.” So the occultists—and there are many quotes on that—will tell you that the fastest way to develop occult powers—Silva Mind Control does the same thing—is through developing the power of the imagination, through opening up that door which puts you in the altered state of consciousness through which you can develop these things.
And yet, while they will tell you it doesn’t matter who or what you imagine, you also see that in the Christian Church. C. S. Lovett, for example, who is a pastor in Southern California and an author, has said something that was startling to me when I saw it. He said, “The most notable and glorious purpose of the imagination is to give reality to the unseen Lord.” So, Christians have taken techniques that are used by occultists to develop imagination, to develop ways of seeing, translated that into saying, “Well, let’s Christianize it; let’s imagine the Lord. You want to know that Jesus loves you, you want to know that He’s real, all you have to do is sit down, count yourself down, center yourself and picture Him. Picture an image of Him. And what’s more, He doesn’t care how you picture Him. You can picture Him in his seersucker leisure toga, you can picture Him in dungarees, you can picture Him in a business suit, in whatever way….”
Ankerberg: People say, and I want to come to you, because before you were ever a Christian and when you were actually practicing or going toward the practice of being a full-fledged medium, doing fantastic “miracles,” okay, when you were going that direction, not any part of Christianity, you had a spirit guide that you named “Jesus.”
Michaelsen: Well, you see, I believed at the time that I was indeed a Christian. You know, John, I accepted the Lord as my personal Savior—and I want to give this as background—my freshman year in college, before I got involved with Mind Control, before I got involved with the medium in Mexico City, before I got involved with yoga. I committed my life to Him, and I believed I was a true, genuine Christian, so that when, in Silva Mind Control they said, “Well, who do you want your counselors to be?” I said, “Well, of course, I want Jesus.” What better counselor could I have to give me information, to guide me, to lead me on my path to evolution, right? Because, by this time, Jesus had become for me my great guru, my great guide, my way to God, my avatar, but certainly not in everybody’s way. By that time, that was too narrow-minded, dogmatic, Bible-thumping and fundamentalist.
Ankerberg: And you had a sister that was one of those.
Michaelsen: I had my sister, who was definitely one of those, and I gave her a pretty hard time about it. But when we were presented with this, I said, “Yes, what better guide could I have than Jesus.” And indeed, when we went into our psychic laboratories in Mind Control where we would count down….
Ankerberg: You created that in your mind.
Michaelsen: ….A place that we created in our mind, where we could go to develop our powers, to help people, to send transmissions that would help the world, even as so many of the people in the New Age now are doing—sending transmissions. I decided to image Jesus, and I brought down a special door and there He was! Jesus! In all His glory with lights shining about Him! And a sense, a feeling, an experience of holiness that was beyond description. You know, I can empathize with Kubler-Ross when she says, “You know, I had this experience. How can you tell me that these beings….”
Ankerberg: And Shirley MacLaine.
Michaelsen: And Shirley MacLaine. And these people who give you their experiences of life after life. So, this Jesus was very real. He was definitely there. But it was something that was absolutely demonic. Because when it finally occurred to me after a long series of circumstances to test him according to the Word of God, I found that this beautiful, ecstatic imaginary Jesus that I created for myself was the wrong one. That’s what’s happening in the Church. Are they contacting the real Jesus, or are they contacting a spirit guide who calls himself that?
Ankerberg: We’re going to have you tell your whole story in a couple of programs here, and it’s really something. And you’ve left out all the gory details of what you just said that you will tell a little later on. Dave, give us a recap of what we’re talking about. This has come into the Church. People are having “Jesus spirit guides,” visualizing Jesus. What’s wrong with that and what do we do?
Hunt: Well, they’re visualizing Jesus, but the Bible never tells us to do this. It’s not taught in the Word of God. My Bible tells me that when Jesus suddenly appeared to His ten disciples after the resurrection, it was a miraculous event initiated by Him for His purpose. And that doubting Thomas, who was not present, had to wait a week before Jesus in His own time and way came back and allowed him to put his fingers in His nail-pierced hands.
Ankerberg: And he couldn’t visualize Him on the spot.
Michaelsen: Yeah, couldn’t image Him.
Hunt: We’re being taught that doubting Thomas needn’t have waited five minutes. All he had to do was visualize Jesus. The real Jesus, Richard Foster in his book Celebration of Discipline, page 26 tells you, “It’s more than imagination. The real Jesus will come there.” Calvin Miller tells us, “The doorway into the world of the spirit, of reality, is imagination. You visualize Jesus any way you want.” But any occultist, as Johanna said, will tell you the fastest way to pick up a spirit guide is to visualize anything. You’ve got to ask yourself a question. Protestants would be a bit upset to know that inner healers—because in inner healing you visualize Jesus and He comes back and clears up the traumas in your past and so forth—[that] Catholic inner healers get just as good results visualizing Mary.
Michaelsen: Or Joseph.
Hunt: Or Joseph. Other inner healers get just as good results visualizing Buddha or a coyote, some of them. So you are going to have to ask yourself, “Can we be sure this is really the real Jesus?” He never said, “I’ll be there.” We’ve got Jesus on a string if we can make Him appear anytime we want. It’s tapping into ourselves, the imagination, and we better remember the warnings in the Bible. Jeremiah, for example, tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” [Jer. 17:9] And Jeremiah, any number of times, warns about those prophets who do not speak a vision from the Lord, but they have a vision out of their own hearts. And God says, “I have not sent them. They have spoken from their own imagination.” When we think we can imagine, and whatever we imagine—never mind what vision it is, what He looks like—Jesus will have to step into this and make it real, [then] we have taken occult techniques and tried to Christianize them.
Michaelsen: And, incidentally, I spoke to a witch who’s come out of it now. She was a witch for 20 years. She said, “They are deliberately sending members of their covens into churches and into self-esteem projects, for example, that are so popular in schools in California, and deliberately bringing in guided imagery techniques.” And I said, “Well, does it matter if people image Jesus?” I already knew the answer to that from my own experience.” She said, “Absolutely not! You can call your spirit guide whatever you want. As long as you’re imaging him and he’s speaking to you, you’ve contacted a spirit guide.”
Ankerberg: That’s right. That’s what Elisabeth Kubler-Ross said. “It doesn’t make any difference what you call him. It works.”
Hunt: Right.
Ankerberg: That is deception. And next week we’re going to let it all hang out and we’re going to talk about the broad picture of what’s happening across our country and the world. So please join us

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