reason for living

Mediums, Spiritists and Prophets

Who speaks the mind of God?
Who is God's envoy on Earth?
How do we know who to believe?


The following notes were originally prepared for the friend of a friend of a brother of a friend!  The purpose of these notes is to explore some of the issues surrounding spiritism and its associated activities and to help Christians decide what their considered response to spiritism, and spiritist churches, should be.

Copyright © May 1993, September 1999, December 2000

All bible quotations are from the translation generally known either as the “New International Version” or as the “NIV”.

List of contents (all items are within this one HTML page)

Some old covenant texts
New covenant Freedom - for who and for what?
Old covenant good; New Covenant better
Who to believe?
Basic Principles
Final words
Base References

Related article

Believing on trust

Some old covenant texts

The God described in the Christian Bible has made two consecutive covenants with his people.  In both cases, one purpose of the covenant was to bring people into relationship with Himself; and in both cases He ordained the ways by which this might happen.  It is important to notice that God wants to have relationships with each of us individually and that it is God who has taken the initiative in establishing these relationships.  There was, and is, no question of God getting the relationship wrong; but for we humans who do not have love, knowledge, wisdom and understanding in anything like the measure that God has, there is every possibility of making mistakes.  For this reason our God took the precaution of giving clear and express instructions regarding some of the more tempting mistakes that his people might make as they tried to build a relationship with him:

Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them.  I am the Lord your God.  Leviticus 19:31

This is pretty clear.  This command was given by God to the Israelites through Moses as part of the law that the Israelites were to keep.  There were no surrounding circumstances that could give rise to a liberal interpretation or additional teachings that could permit conditional application.  There are some who will argue, rightly but simplistically, that as this was given under the Mosaic covenant, it no longer applies as the Mosaic covenant has been superseded by the new.  I shall address this issue later but as far as the Mosaic covenant is concerned let us be clear that this is a very straightforward prohibition: The consulting of mediums and spiritists was FORBIDDEN.

Let us not however overlook that this one verse contains three parts; first the prohibition, second a warning and third a little factual reminder.  The warning was to tell the Israelites that they would be defiled by mediums; As far as God was concerned, there was no question of the Israelites benefiting from the experience.  Given that God knows better than we do, it is God's opinion here that matters.  God ends the command with a reminder that He was their God. It is a statement of possession.  The Israelites belonged to God.  They were his people, he was their Lord.  He was reminding them that he had a claim on their lives — a valid claim for their obedience. 

This one verse however, does not fully highlight the intensity of God's feelings on the subjects of mediums and spiritists.  He goes on to say:

I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.  Leviticus 20:6

In other words the Israelites were not to even begin to considering that mediums and spiritists were occasionally acceptable.  Either they were to consult God OR they were to consult mediums.  The living God would not let them have it both ways.  The verb “to prostitute” means, amongst other things, “to degrade by publicity or commonness”.  Its more popular meaning is of course “to hire out for indiscriminate sexual intercourse” (note 1).  In this sense it perhaps better captures the tone of the event.  Prostitution is socially abhorrent and degrading; God also thinks that consulting mediums and spiritists is degrading and should be socially abhorrent.  God warned that those who pursued this course of action could not expect to remain within the fellowship of God's people.  Yet our God had still stronger words to say on the subject:

...  Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practises divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.  Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out the nations before you.  You must be blameless before the Lord your God.  Deuteronomy 19:10-13

This firmly reinforced God's views on the matter; the consulting of mediums and spiritists was, as far as our God was concerned, on the same level as witchcraft and the sacrificing of children.  Likewise consulting the dead was detestable to our God; It was FORBIDDEN.  (Note 2)

The command was clear; the Israelites were not to consult mediums and spiritists but God still further emphasises the point.  Remember that God wanted relationship with his people and probably rather more so than they desired it with Him.  Our loving God did not want his people even to be exposed to the risk of accidental consultation; nor did he want those that were weak in this area to be tempted to do what he had forbidden.  Our God, who cared passionately about his people, wanted them to have no contact with mediums and spiritists:

A man or a woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death.  You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.  Leviticus 20:27

In his eagerness to protect his people from the defiling influence of mediums and spiritists God was, under the old covenant, quite prepared for them to be killed and so put safely out of reach of his chosen people.  In the 20th century we, God's people of the new covenant, do not have the right to execute mediums, nor, by virtue of God's later admonition through Paul of Tarsus to obey governments and rulers, is the duty imposed upon us.  For this we should be grateful since few of us would want to do so.

In these few short passages we have seen clearly that God expressly prohibited his people, living under the Mosaic covenant, to consult mediums and spiritists.  There were no exceptions; it was a universal ban.  However, as some people will diligently point out, the old Mosaic covenant is not in force any longer because a new covenant has been established.

Now, if the old covenant is no longer in effect then its restrictions do not apply any longer and we are free to do whatever is not excluded by the new covenant.  The question each of us must ask is “Does acceptance of the new covenant preclude me from consulting mediums and spiritists?”

In answering this question we should note that the consulting of mediums and spiritists is not encouraged in the new testament.  On the other hand we should also note equally clearly that it is not expressly prohibited either.

The fulfilment of the Mosaic covenant by Jesus' death and resurrection brought freedom from the restrictions of the Mosaic law; it also marked the beginning of the New Covenant.  What is the nature of this new covenant and how should we use that freedom that it gives us?  The following two sections each address one of these questions.


New covenant Freedom - for who and for what?

Everything is permissible
- but not everything is beneficial.
Everything is permissible
- but not everything is constructive.
1 Corinthians 10:23

It is easy to quote the first line of this passage in support of any activity that we wish to engage in or any course of action that we wish to follow.  It would appear that God has given us carte-blanche to do as we please, and it must be true because His Bible has it written in black and white.

The above passage means exactly what it says: God has given us permission to do whatever we like — everything is permissible.  Pause for a moment and think about those three words.

I think there are probably many Christians who will be distressed at the idea that humans could be given unrestricted freedom and balk at the idea that everything being permissable;  I think that there will probably be other Christians who will be filled with glee.  It is possible however that both groups would respond with too much haste and too little understanding.  The Christians at Corinth were not the first people to be given complete freedom by God; it also happened in the Old Testament while the law was in force.  Now this might seem rather paradoxical; how can it be possible to have complete freedom and yet be under the law?  The answer is easier than might be expected.  Let us study the occasion and see what we can learn:

Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul's head and kissed him, saying, "Has not the Lord anointed you leader over his inheritance?  When you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel's tomb, at Zelzah on the border of Benjamin.  They will say to you, 'The donkeys you set out to look for have been found.  And now your father has stopped thinking about them and is worried about you.  He is asking, "What shall I do about my son?"'

Then you will go on from there until you reach the great tree of Tabor.  Three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there.  One will be carrying three young goats, another three loaves of bread, and another a skin of wine.  They will greet you and offer you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from them. 

"After that you will go to Gibeah of God, where there is a Philistine outpost.  As you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, tambourines, flutes and harps being played before them, and they will be prophesying.  The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.  Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.
1 Samuel 10:5

The key expression in our discussion is again very clear:  do whatever your hand finds to do.  Just like the Christians in Corinth, Saul was given permission to do what he liked.  However Saul was not above the law; he was not far into his kingship when he was rebuked by Samuel for breaking the law (see the first book of Samuel, chapter 13, verse 13).  How then are we to resolve Saul's freedom with his obligations according to the law?  The answer can be readily found in the above passage where we can see that the freedom given to Saul was not an isolated event that was somehow detached from the rest of his life.  Instead it was part and parcel of his becoming the Lord's anointed leader over the Israelite people and in particular his freedom was part of his relationship with God; we would do well to note that the very last clause is for God is with you.

In order to become king a number of things had to happen to Saul; obtaining the freedom to do as he pleased was the last item on the agenda.  Let us look at the sequence of events:

Only after all these things were completed was Saul given the freedom to do "whatever your hand finds to do.", and it is at this last stage that we are told how it is that Saul can do as he pleases: "for God is with you."

Saul's new freedom was accompanied by new responsibilities and by the presence of God in his life.  He was also first changed into a new person.  The freedom was given for a specific purpose and God worked with Saul to accomplish it.  While God was working so powerfully in Saul's life, it is likely that what Saul wanted to do would be exactly what God wanted done and since God would not want to break his own law what Saul would desire to do would be permitted by the law.  Saul's exercise of his freedom would be entirely safe because God had first changed his motives and desires; There was, therefore, no conflict between the the law and exercise of the freedom.  The way in which God changed Saul's motives was by filling Saul with his own (God's) spirit (the fourth step in the list above).  For as long as Saul was obedient to the Spirit of God within him, he could not offend God.  God, acting by his spirit, was hardly likely to do something that he himself disapproved of.  Very much later, Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, records this same principle:

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

In other words, when the spirit of God is with us and working in our lives, the natural effect that he has on our desires and actions will always be in step with what God wants; we cannot offend God by working hand in hand with his spirit.

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with one another, so that you do not do what you want.  But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under law.
Galatians 5:16-18

Now, having studied Saul's situation, and having seen how law and freedom can be reconciled, we are better able to consider the message of freedom that Paul gave in his letter to Corinth.

First of all note that Paul was not writing a letter to just anybody; he was writing quite specifically:

To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of the Lord - their Lord and ours:
1 Corinthians 1:2

What Paul had to say applied to the people he was writing to.  It did not apply to everyone else.  It does apply to Christians today because they are included amongst those who are "sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy".  In other words, Paul was writing to people who were, or who are, already co-operating with the spirit of God.

Second, the message of freedom that Paul gives is followed immediately by a caution that "not everything is beneficial" and "not everything is constructive".  Now if we are to fully grasp the implications of all this we had better be sure that we actually understand what Paul has said; what does it mean to be sanctified or to be holy?  If something is not beneficial, what does it harm?  If something is not constructive, what does it fail to build?  What does it mean to "call on the name of the Lord"?

The word holy, means "set apart for God", in the sense of being reserved for the use of God.  To be sanctified means to be declared, made or regarded as holy and to be freed from sin or evil.  (Note 4)  Now if we are reserved for the use of God then we should only be doing what God wants us to be doing, and if we are to do what God wants us to do then we should be in a condition to do so.  If we are declared, made or regarded as being holy then clearly we cannot of ourselves be holy; since if we were holy in our own right there would be no need for us to be declared or made or regarded as such.  In this context, it is possible to see that what we do does not affect our holiness because we (as Christians) have been declared holy (by God, with whom we do not argue) regardless of our faults.  However, as Paul indicates in his opening address, we are still called to be holy.  In other words, we are encouraged to adopt those patterns of activity and behaviour that are appropriate for a person who is holy and discontinue all inappropriate actions.

If we are to be set apart for God's use, it is not unreasonable to assume that God wants to make use of us and that he has some specific tasks in mind.  However, although God has set us apart and reserved us for his use, that does not actually make us fit to be used.  In our original condition we are fit for nothing.  If we are to be truly used by God we must first change.  In the same way, Saul was first called to the specific task of leadership, then he was changed.

Now if we are to perform some specific role in God's kingdom it is apparent that we need to be in a certain place at a certain time and equipped with particular skills and qualities; we need to be prepared.  It is of this that Paul speaks when he says that not everything is beneficial, that not everything is constructive.  What we do does not affect God's willingness to have us on his team but it will affect the way we, and others, perform within the team.  Like Saul, we must be obedient to God's spirit. 

Peter expounds this concept in one of his letters where he explains that God's power, which is given through God's spirit, is given for a purpose; Peter reminds us of why we should keep in step with God and encourages us to do so:

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But if anyone does not have them, he is short sighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.  For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
2 Peter, chapter 1, verses 3 to 11.

Having seen that our freedom as Christians is for a purpose, let us now look to see if we should use it to consult mediums and spiritists.


Old covenant good; New Covenant better

When God established the new covenant it fully replaced the old one.  This will be made more clear, if necessary, by a study of chapter 10 of the letter to the Hebrews and in particular verses 8 to 10:

First he said, "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them" (although the law required them to be made).  Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first in order to establish the second.
Hebrews 10:8-10

The establishment of the new covenant was announced to God's people well in advance of its inauguration by the prophet Jeremiah:

"The time is coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the Lord.  "This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the Lord.  "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.  I will be their God and they will be my people.  No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, "Know the Lord," because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the Lord.  "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."
Jeremiah 31:31-34

This passage is repeated in Hebrews 8 where the writer concludes:

By calling this covenant "new", he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and ageing will soon disappear.
Hebrews 8:13

It is clear then that the old covenant and its regulations are no longer in force as far as sinfulness and righteousness are concerned.  God has set it aside and replaced it with something new; but not only is it new, it is also better:

But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.
Hebrews 8:6

However, although the covenant has changed, its basic reason for existing has not altered.

...  Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear ...
Hebrews 6:17-18  (See also Psalm 102:27 and Hebrews 13:8.)

Just as the latest model of car might be superior to its predecessor, the basic function of them both is the same; to transport the occupants from A to B.  Nor does a new model of car change our reasons for travelling; we needed to get to work or to the shops before, and we still need to do so now.  What has changed is the efficiency, comfort and reliability of the means of conveyance.  Something similar is true of the two covenants; the need, desirability and purpose of establishing a relationship with God has not changed but our God has very kindly given us a better way and more effective way of doing it.

Now if the basic need and purpose for relationship has not altered and if the new covenant is better than the old, is it likely that God is now going to recommend a practice that he has already ruled to be inadequate?  God did not consider that spiritists and mediums were useful to us or good for us before so why should they be so now?  We do not even need a human priesthood to intercede on our behalf any longer because God has sent his own son, Jesus, to perform the role for us:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through him.
The good news according to John, chapter 3, verses 16 & 17

...  but because Jesus lives for ever, he has a permanent priesthood.  Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
The letter to the Hebrews, chapter 7, verses 24 and 25

These passages demonstrate that it continues to be God's desire that we should have relationship with him.  They also highlight the new means by which God has ordained that we come to know him: the method of the new covenant.  Under the new covenant, we can have a relationship with God by having a relationship with Jesus, who is God.  Now this should reinforce the fact that mediums have no place in our relationship with God.  If we now have direct access to God why should we want to go through some third party?  There is no good reason.

It might however be claimed that the Bible does not give us complete answers and that mediums and spiritists give us access to information that would otherwise be unavailable.  This claim, however, is ignorant of the nature of God's wisdom:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgements, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord?  Or who has been his counsellor?
Romans 12:33,34

God being all knowing and all loving knows what we need to know and when it is beneficial for us to know it.  The colloquial expression “God only knows!” perhaps finds its origin in this passage.  The point, in any case, is just that: Until God makes something known, it is known only to God.  Whilst God has used various individuals through the ages to carry his message to his people he has never used mediums and spiritists and it is hardly likely that he will now entrust delivery of his message to a messenger that he once forbade us to listen to.

It might also be claimed that because of the greater challenges facing us in the 20th century we need extra spiritual help.  Any claim that we need to use spiritists and mediums for our material benefit is however ignorant of God's promises:

This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it — the Lord is his name: Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
Jeremiah 33:2,3

...  So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” for the pagans run after such things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:31-33

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives and everyone who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.  Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:7-11

God then has all the answers and God has our needs in hand.  Under the old covenant there was no reason to consult mediums and spiritists and now under the new covenant God still has not given us any reason to do so; indeed God has warned us very clearly that we must be very careful about exactly who we do consult.  It is this topic that we will consider next.


Who to believe?

Despite God's clear comments on the matter, people in the 20th century continue to consult mediums and spiritists; perhaps they are either unaware of God's purposes and methods or possibly, for some reason, they think that they know better than the Bible.  Let us look then at some scripture verses that should help clear away some of the confusion surrounding the validity of the Bible and of God's will in this matter.

All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17

For those people who only accept parts of scripture as being valid, this passage merely highlights the issue of how they are to decide which passages are valid and which are not.  Those who claim higher revelation from a spiritist or medium might wish to carefully read and then carefully consider the material presented in the document titled "Believing on Trust".  If the objection is that although all scripture is from God, it must be interpreted for today, then the problem is similar: How do we decide which passages retain their usefulness and relevance?  Which passages can be interpreted liberally and which must be understood literally?  In order to address these questions it is necessary to understand why God has said what he has and to see how his instructions and notifications have been applied and interpreted by the prophets, by Jesus and by the apostles.  Again the directions of spiritists and mediums are irrelevant and useless as discussed separately in the "Believing on Trust" document.  Let us also remind ourselves, by way of a passage we have already used, of God's unchanging nature:- What was important to God, is still important to God:

...  Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear ...
Hebrews 6:17-18 (See also Psalm 102:27 and Hebrews 13:8.)

Let us remember again that in the New Testament spiritists and mediums are not mentioned directly and therefore there is no simple prohibition to be found in the New Testament.  Nonetheless, there are various passages that give us a fairly clear view of what our own approach and attitude should be. 

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
1 Timothy 4:1

...  For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.  Their end will be what their actions deserve.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15

Watch out for false prophets.  They will come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
Matthew 7:15

For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect - if that were possible.  See, I have told you ahead of time.
Matthew 24:24 (cf Mark 13:22)

Not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father.  Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out many demons and perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!”
Matthew 7:21-23

Even these short passages should make it abundantly clear that not everybody who claims to represent God does in fact do so.  Nor, as shown in the last passage, does religious activity guarantee favour with God.  What is required is a personal relationship with Jesus.  Look again at the words Jesus uses: “ I never knew you.”  God wants relationship not religion:

Jesus said,

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30

These words of Jesus are an invitation to relationship.  Note especially, however, the use of the first person throughout: Come to meI will give you rest.  ...  my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  He does not offer us help through some third party, he does not send us to someone else for comfort and advice.  No!  The living God meets our needs personally:  Come to me

John, in his first letter, elaborates on the warning against false messengers.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  This is how you can recognise the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.  This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
1 John 4:1-3

This passage appears very simple, and indeed is very simple.  Nonetheless, it is worth a closer look just to be sure of correct understanding.  Apart from warning of the possibility of being misled, John also gives us a means of discerning whether or not we are being told the truth in spiritual matters.  John tells us that those spirits that acknowledge that Jesus has come in the flesh are from God and those that don't, aren't.  We must be clear about this passage.  There are few people today who seriously doubt that a man called Jesus lived in Israel during the time of the Roman occupation and that he led a group of followers, had radical religious ideals and that he was ultimately executed with the collusion of the religious authorities.  However although most people agree that Jesus existed, they do not agree about what he was: Some give him divine status, most give him inspired human status, a few hold yet other opinions.  As there are so many conflicting views about Jesus among those who believe he existed, simple existence is clearly not what John had in mind when he said "come in the flesh".  What John is talking about is that Jesus was not an ordinary human who was born, lived and died but that Jesus was in fact God in the form of a man. 

Those who talk about Jesus being a great moral teacher or a great spiritual master but who deny that Jesus was God are among those who deny that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and are those filled with the spirit of the antichrist that John refers to.  Such people are not to be believed when they teach about spiritual or religious matters.

From the other passages that we have read we should be aware that we cannot decide whether someone is telling spiritual truth by observing their behaviour.  The fact that someone is apparently very loving and pleasant does not preclude them from being filled with the spirit of the antichrist or from being led, knowingly or unknowingly by demons. 

There are possibly some people who refer to the Bible for information but do not accept that it has any real authority; that is, they do not believe that the Bible demands any particular response from them.  For these people there is therefore no biblical reason why they should not consult whoever they like, mediums and spiritists included, about spiritual matters.  Such an attitude, regardless of its biblical standing, simply defies common sense - indeed it is just plain stupid.  To take this discussion further we need to recognise that whenever we take somebody's word about something we are "believing on trust".  Follow this link to explore the topic of Believing on Trust


Basic Principles

As Christians we believe that there is one God (note 6).  We believe that we should follow Him to the exclusion of everyone else and that nothing should come between us and our God7.  We believe that the Bible is God's self revelation (note 8). 

If then we believe these three things we should be careful to apply them.  We must resist the temptation to choose parts of scripture in the same way that we choose tomatoes - rummaging through and picking out those that look juicy or appealing.  If we are to believe any part of the Bible then we have little choice but to believe all of it.  As we have mentioned, there are many people who will claim that not all of scripture is in fact equally inspired and that some parts have become corrupted or have been added later.  Indeed this issue is hotly debated amongst the theologians and academics but what they tend to debate are the finer points of scripture, not the basics.  People who spend time studying scripture in depth sometimes comment that they become aware of an overall cohesion within scripture even though it at first appeared to contain contradictions.  Additionally, an attempt to negate some part of scripture can involve more, and more unlikely, hypotheses than the ones that the critic was originally trying to reject.

There are also people who point out the differences between different translations and therefore claim licence to interpret scripture as they themselves think best.  This is again partly true: There are differences between translations and we are bound to interpret and apply scripture as best we are able.  However we must note two points clearly: first, the differences are minor compared to the full body of scripture and the translations agree vastly more than they differ; second, our right to interpret and apply scripture as best we can imposes upon us a corresponding duty to study as best we can and to search for the truth as hard as we can.  It imposes upon us a duty to use our common sense and not to blindly or lazily accept a hypothesis that even the most cursory study would demonstrate to be false.

We might also do well to remember that our God is the Living God and not the god of the history book or the academic institution.  There are lots of people alive today who will explain how the Living God acted with them.  We have a God who is more interested in relationship than in pedantic exercises.  Some of the testimonies given about our God are perhaps false, or exaggerated or mistaken but there are others where the evidence presented in support of the testimony is not only extremely compelling, but also fits the principles given in scripture.

Final words

At the end of the day there two points that we must act on: First, each of must make up our own mind about what we believe with regard to God and Jesus.  Second, if there are any indisputably reliable sources of information at all about God, then there is only one and that is the Christian Bible.  Other religions either claim to believe the bible yet contradict it in their teaching, or they are at some point fundamentally self-contradictory (and therefore cannot possibly be valid in any sense that we could ever understand), or they deny their own roots and so shoot themselves in the foot that way, or they are based on simple error of fact and are thus just good old fashioned wrong!

The Bible is God's handbook for life.  God has repeatedly warned us against going elsewhere for guidance about life and spiritual matters.  God knows that only he loves us and cares about us fully.  God also knows that there are other spiritual forces that seek to deny us the good things that God wants for us eternally.  Life in God's way is intended to be good; Jesus said:

The thief only comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10

As we have seen, there is no good reason to believe that God's original commands on the subject have been nullified - obedience to them is no longer necessary for our salvation but our salvation is for a purpose and if we want to be useful to God we must listen to God.  God wants what is best for us, Satan wants what is worst for us and is a deceiving liar working in the world through those who are already fooled.  Spiritists and mediums can offer us nothing that God will not freely give us and, as we saw in the section about believing on trust, there is no reason to believe that a spiritist or medium will give us beneficial advice and information.  For our time on earth God has given us, for reference advice and support, His Holy Spirit and His Bible.  Beyond these two we need look no further and if we are to live safely and usefully we should look no further.  Let us therefore end where we started and let God have the last word:

Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them.  I am the Lord your God.
Leviticus 19:31

Related articles that you might like to read:
Believing “on trust”. We all have some sort of beliefs or personal philosophies; but WHY do we believe what we believe and how do we know that it is true?
Irreconcilable differences 1:  Christianity and modern faiths. “All religions will take you to God eventually”?  — Only a fool would think so!
The Karmic cop-out The principle of Karma is widely believed.  However Karma is a myth which is irrational, inhibits compassion and leads to a denial of personal responsibility.
What really happened on that cross? This article gets past the popular misconceptions about the death of Jesus and shows why, for humans who want to be right with God, the death of Jesus was, quite simply, the most important thing that has happened since the planet began.
Take care!  Do not be deceived. Every author in the New Testament warned their readers about the proliferation of false teachers in the church.  So, how come we never meet any?
Gaining knowledge Understanding how we gained some information might help us decide what that information is worth.
Did Jesus ever claim he was God? Some people say he is God, some say he was just a man. What did Jesus claim about himself?


Base References

Warning: Not all of the references given below are used in the text and not all references given or used in the text are listed below.

Demons and such things 1 Co  10:20-23.  Jam 2:19.  1 Tim 4:1.  Rev 16:14.
Mediums & Spiritists

Lev 19:31.  Lev 20:6, 27.  Dt 18:11.  1 Sa 28:3-9.  1 Ch 10:13 (NIV).  2 Ch 33:6.  Isa 8:19.  Isa 19:3.  Jer 27:9.


1 Chr 10:13 (Amp & KJV).  1 John 4:1.  1 Cor 12:10.  1 Cor 14:32-37.  1 Tim 4:1. Eph  6:12.

False prophets Jer 27.  Zec 13:2.  Isa 57.  Rev 2:2-7 (Ephesus).  Rev 2:8-17 (Smyrna).  Rev 2:18-29 (Thyatira).

Isa 47:13-15.  Dan 2:2-10, 3:8.  Dan 4:7, 5:7-11.  Mat 2:2-10.  Rev 8:11, 9:1.  Lk 21:25.  Jude 1:13.


1.  Chambers 20th Century Dictionary, 1980.
2. The promise that God made, to drive out the nations before the Israelites, was fulfilled during the time of Joshua's leadership.
3.  The text given is that quoted in the NIV Bible and is translated from the Hebrew.  The NIV records, however, that in the Septuagint and the Vulgate the passage is rendered "over his people Israel?  You will reign over the Lord's people and save them from the power of their enemies round about.  And this will be a sign to you that the Lord has anointed you leader over his inheritance:"
4. Both definitions, with reference to Chambers 20th century dictionary.
5. The limitations described in the whole of this paragraph do not apply where someone claims to speak as a prophet because a prophet represents God and not just any God but the God described in the Bible.  It is possible therefore for us to check what the prophet claims against what the Bible claims.  If the two contradict one another, then the prophet is definitely NOT from God.  If, however, the two agree then the prophet MIGHT be from God.  We are then duty bound to check and consider further.  The Bible itself can be authenticated to a high degree by comparison with other records: written, archaeological ...  and so we can trust it to a very high degree even before we have religious faith.
6. Deuteronomy 6:4.  Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
7. Deuteronomy 5:7.  You shall have no other gods before me.  (The FIRST commandment)


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