Bible Study Discussions with Gary Panell
Question: Please stop demonizing spiritualists; they don't demonize your faith and beliefs, so please stop doing it to them. It's judging others, lies and ignorance about others that causes conflict in the world, Christ knew that. Thanks
Answer: This is the note we received after a person read our article Mediums, Psychics, and "Spiritualism", you may want to see for yourself what they were referring to. The message comes across strong and clear, spiritualists do not want to admit that they are speaking to, what the Bible referrers to as "familiar spirits." Spiritualists truly believe they are speaking to the spirit of those who have died.
You can go to the internet and find many references to Spiritualism and their churches, here is one example and their beliefs: "Spiritualism is not only a Religion that has a tremendous history dating back through eons of time - Modern Spiritualism (considered the New Dispensation of Spirit Communication) dates back to March 31, 1848 with the communication by a murdered peddler (Charles B. Rosna) to teenage girls (Fox sister's) in Hydesville, but it also provides opportunities to educate us about a more spiritual life. It provides education in the wonders of Natural law and the workings of the Spirit Realm.
"As Spiritualists we DO believe in God (contrary to the beliefs of many regarding us) but we believe in God as a Divine energy (Infinite Intelligence) that is part of all that exists. That we are a representation of God's creation, that God is within us and that the Teaching's of Jesus regarding compassion and love are paramount. We also believe in personal responsibility for our actions and that we manifest our existence as a result of those actions.
"Beyond this belief we also recognize that after the physical death life continues (Continuity of Life) in the Spirit World and that we have Spirit Guides available to us during this time on Earth if we choose to learn the communication process with Spirit. These Spirit Guides can be relatives or friends and may even come from different backgrounds of culture, religious orientation (Native Americans, Buddhists, Taoists, Greek Philosophers, Ancient masters) - there are no boundaries to support from the Spirit side of Life except our individual beliefs and mental fears which are of our own creation. They (Spirit) all have one thing in common - to be of service, to provide guidance, and influence for our betterment. You may say they are our "Angels in Disguise" since they reside in the Spirit Realm.
"One learns of their presence and how to communicate through meditation, psychic development and then to the next level of mediumship where one is able to be of service to the community, as a Medium by identifying Loved Ones in Spirit, to affirm that they are ever present and available." (Home Page of Portland Spiritualist Church, Westbrook, Maine)
The problem with this theory, that people can communicate with the dead, and that it is ok, is that the word of God specifically teaches against it! Here is what God says about this subject: "There shall not be found among you anyone who. practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD." (Deuteronomy 18:10-12a) "Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.". "And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people." "(Leviticus 19:31, 20:6)
"So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the LORD, because he did not keep the word of the LORD, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance. But he did not inquire of the LORD; therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse." (1 Chronicles 10:13, 14) "And when they say to you, 'Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,' should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?" (Isaiah 8:19, 20) Think about programs on television like the Ghost Whisperer, and the medium ones, do you really want to take a chance on watching these?
A brother in Christ that speaks about his involvement in Spiritualism in the past says: "Some people have become involved with spiritualism simply because they were seeking excitement or were fascinated by the mysteries of psychic phenomena. However, most of the people who join this religion have lost a loved one through death and are seeking some type of solace in their grief. They feel lost; they don't know where to go or who to turn to. The idea of conversing with their dead loved one is both exciting and comforting to them. The idea of obtaining some guidance from that loved one who now resides in the spirit world is a great relief to them.
"I became involved in spiritualism after my father died. As I lay in my bed in the small room next to his, I heard him scream in terror at his death. I was just a young boy, but I became obsessed with the thought of death. Judaism was my family's religion, but its rituals did nothing to calm the turmoil within me; so as I grew, I turned my back on that religion. At a very low point in my life, I met a spiritualist in a taxi in London. She told me a fascinating story of life after death. When I seemed interested, she sent me to a spiritualist organization. And then began what I call 'my unholy fascination.'
"Beliefs: Spiritualists teach from the Bible. They claim to have the nine miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit (which they claim are used in the séance), and they pray to Jesus. But they do not believe that He is the Son of God; they say He is a medium of the highest order. The religion actually comforts the sinner, because spiritualists do not believe in death, the devil, Hell, or judgment. They believe that God loves everyone, that salvation is gained by good works, and that the door to reformation is never closed. They believe that when a person leaves this life, he goes to reside on a certain plane (depending on how good he was) where someone will be there to help him.
"The church generally has services on Sunday and Wednesday. The typical service would include hymns and prayers. Then a medium (or another person adept at lecturing) would give a trance lecture dealing with metaphysics or principles of daily living. The lecture would often be followed by a demonstration of clairvoyance or clairaudience in which a medium would receive impressions (see picture or symbols in his mind) or would hear voices and relate the messages to the audience. At times, persons could receive the healing ministries after the service concluded.
"Séancesand mediums: A major part of spiritualism is the participation in séances, a meeting in which the members-attempt to contact the dead through a person called a medium. There are many different types of séances, but a basic séance is usually separate from a regular service in the church building. Those who wish to participate in the séance meet in a room in the church building or in someone's home. Except for the times when one person arranges to have a private séance with a medium, the group is composed of five to twenty people. They often sit in a circle in order for all to hear the medium. As a rule, the room is darkened only if a physical phenomena is desired. With one of these, materialization, forms appear. In a trumpet séance, spirits speak through a type of megaphone that amplifies their voices.
"The séance is opened with a prayer to God. Then the medium feels drawn to one member of the group and relates messages to him from the spirit world. The person will then often seek advice and guidance from the spirit. The medium moves to each person in like manner until all in the group have received a message, except when the group is too large. In some séances, the medium will go into a trance. When this happens, the spirit speaks directly through the medium and relays messages to the group, using the voice of the dead person. At times, a person in the group can be healed of physical infirmity at the séance.
"As you can see, the medium is the center of attraction in the spiritualist religion. A medium is a person who is especially sensitive to non-physical forces. He (or she) has what is often called the 'sixth sense.' He becomes a passive vehicle for the spirits of the dead. He allows his voice and very being to be taken over by foreign force. The spiritualists refer to the medium as the 'doorkeeper.' But I call a medium 'substitute savior' because people turn to them in time of sorrow and emotional upheaval and expect them to ease their troubled souls and fill their emptiness.".
"Religious organization: Many organizations claiming spiritual enlightenment are in reality only sophisticated avenues for spiritualism. Here are the names of a few of these groups: Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship (denominational church organizations that practice spiritualism), the Unity Church (believes in reincarnation), Inner Peace Movement (they call their mediums counselors), Association for Research and Spiritual Enlightenment, The Rosicrucians Theosophical Society, Baha'i, and the Children of God.
.In his love Ben (www.espministries.com)
We have looked at looked at Spiritualism from their perspective, from what God says in the Bible, and then we looked at it from a born again believer's perspective. Now let me address the person who wrote us the above note, and those who agree with him or her. I think that I have tried to share with you, in love, what God says about what you are into in Spiritualism. I can see how you might think that this is a great religion. It must be a comfort to think that there is no Satan, no hell, no death and no judgment to come. No doubt you were attracted by these teachings.
The thing I would like to point out to you, though, is that there was another person long ago who was told that there was no death, and that she could be like God. Look at what the serpent (Satan speaking through a snake) said to Eve: "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:4-5) Do you see any similarities in what you believe? Did Eve in fact die, was Satan telling her the truth or not?
You may argue that there are millions of people who believe like you do, and that they cannot all be wrong. Look at how many people were wrong before the flood. You need to think about, but what if I am wrong, what do I have to lose?
Jesus loves you and that is why He left heaven behind! He is one person in the Holy Trinity, the very Son of God. Satan wants to deny that Jesus is God and that He came to earth from heaven. The fact remains that Jesus is the Son of God, and is both God and Man, since He was born of the Virgin Mary.
He lived a sinless life, He died on the cross, He came to life again the third day, He returned to Heaven where He sits at the right hand of God the Father. He sent the Holy Spirit to live in us, that we might be filled with His Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit will lead us to believe all that is written in the Holy Bible as truth. We do not have to make up the rules, or our own religion. We do not have to accept the lies of demons (familiar spirits) impersonating those that have died.
We are commanded not to listen to them, that is why Jesus did not allow the demons to speak when He was casting them out, other than to maybe give their name. ".And He, rebuking them, did not allow them to speak." (Luke 4:41) Through listening to the lies of familiar spirits we have all the false religions in the world. "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron." (I timothy 4:1-2)
I know you believe in God, but that is not enough: "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe-and tremble!" (James 4:19) You must believe that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man, and that He wants you to be saved. "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,." (1 Timothy 2:3-6)
Yes, we are sinners, and the only way we can be saved is through the precious blood of Christ, who died for our sins on the cross. If there was any other way for us to be saved He would not have had to die. We are not good enough in ourselves to ever be in God's presence without being forgiven. In order to be forgiven we must admit we are sinners in need of salvation. Will you right now admit that you are a sinner, and that you want to repent (turn from your sin)? Jesus is waiting with open arms to save you, but you must decide who you will put your trust in for salvation. Are you willing to go out into eternity not knowing where you are going?
Jesus said: ."I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6) "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30) "And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come." (Revelation 22:17)
Please receive Jesus as your Savior, and we will meet in heaven. God loves you, and wants you to be saved. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
In Christian love,
Gary T. Panell
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Keywords: spiritualists, occult, demons