Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mediums, Ghosts, and Other Freaky Stuff

Yesterday after my post on 3 reasons I’m not a fan of the “I went to heaven” books one of our readers asked my opinion on mediums, particularly the reality show Long Island Medium.  I thought it beneficial to answer this question about mediums and include ghost and other such paranormal stuff simply because it is a question that I am actually frequently asked. 

The Bible is Clear Not to Consult Mediums

Consulting mediums in the Bible is oft equated with witchcraft.  Just a cursory reading of the Bible will show you that those who practice witchcraft will fair worse in the eschaton than they did in Salem in the 1600’s.   In the Israelite community the position on mediums and witchcraft was pretty obvious:

“A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them.” (Leviticus 20:27 ESV)

It’s clear that the Lord does not view the work of mediums as something innocent—even if is for a seemingly good intention of providing peace for the living.  But why?  Why does God speak so strongly against such a practice?  Is it because it is a sham and there really is no such a thing as communicating with the dead, ghosts, etc.? 

Is it Real?

That seems to be one of the major draws of the thriving necromancy industry.  We are shocked that some dude or lady is able to conjure up some ghost or something that sure sounds like my dear departed granny.  The effect that it has on the audience is an, “oh my goodness it’s real, there really is life after death, oh my we really are somehow connected to this other world”.  Honestly, it’s the same draw that has Christians digging on the “I told you there was a heaven” books. 

I am not for a moment doubting that this Long Island Medium is able to consult with the “dead”.  Nor am I shocked that people are able to go into a haunted building and see some glowing orbs or other weird junk.  The Bible doesn’t seem shocked by this either.  In fact that is one of the reasons why we are told not to consult the dead.  Not because it’s a waste of time or that it’s entirely fake.  But because it’s ill-focused. 

Saul and the Medium of Endor

The story of Saul and the medium of Endor is very helpful in answering questions about mediums, ghosts, and other freaky stuff.  You can read the story yourself here. Basically, what happens is that Samuel the prophet has died.  He had always been the advisor for Saul.  He was the go-between for Saul and the Lord.  If he needed to know what to do in battle he would consult Samuel.  Now he’s dead and Saul freaks out.  He tried praying himself and consulting other prophets but when those came up empty he decided to consult a medium to ask Samuel’s advice. 

Notice in verse 12 that the medium cried out with a loud voice.  We don’t know specifically why but it is apparent that seeing Samuel shocked her.  It implies that previously she knew that she was consulting with demons or at least it was something that she felt that she could control.  But this was different. 

Samuel is ticked off at Saul for “bringing him up”.  And then he rebukes Saul and basically says, “it’s just like I told you through the Lord when I was alive.  I’ve got no new information since I’m now living in another world.  Your kingdom is going to be taken from you just like the Lord says.”  Saul hears from Samuel and it isn’t pretty. 

So it is clear that necromancy can “work”.  But it’s wrong.  Notice what the Lord in 1 Chronicles 10:13-14 says of Saul’s consulting the medium:

So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the LORD in that he did not keep the command of the LORD, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the LORD. Therefore the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse. (1 Chronicles 10:13-14 ESV)

Seeking guidance from a medium is a form of idolatry.  It is pursuing answers outside of that which the Lord has given.  That is the chief reason why even though it is possible that mediums are really talking to the dead, and there may really be ghosts in your attic, etc. that we aren’t to trifle with them.  There are other reasons too…

4 Additional Reasons Not to Engage the Paranormal

  1. It might be granny and it might be Beelzebul.  1 Timothy 4:1 seems to imply that as we near the eschaton there will be an influx of people running after the teachings of deceiving spirits that are actually demons.  More than likely it isn’t granny that you are talking to it’s probably a toothless demon.
  2. It’s a slap in the face of the Spirit.  It is clear that God has given us everything in the Scriptures that we need for life and godliness.  And Christ Himself has left for us His Holy Spirit.  To consult a medium or play around with ghosts is a slap in the face to the sufficiency of the Spirit. 
  3. You don’t need it.  Going along with the sufficiency of the Word, you don’t need a medium to tell you if grandma is okay in heaven.  The Bible clearly outlines how to be a believer.  If granny trusted in Christ she is okay.  If not, it seems that the biblical response is to trust in Christ and repent or you too will likewise perish.  You won’t get that message from a medium.
  4. We are fascinated by the wrong thing.  It’s amazing that we are fascinated by angels and the paranormal and all of that when it’s clear from Scripture that what demons and angels and the departed seem to be focused on is the gospel.  We are discard the gospel and are fascinated by the paranormal.  If you’ve somehow exhausted the excellencies of the Savior and you come up empty then by all means go consult a medium.  But you will never exhaust Christ.  Spend your time basking in His radiance. 

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