Healing Fanaticism, Hypnotism And Halloween
In the last few decades there has been much discussion about miraculous healing. There are extremes on either side. I am convinced that God is able to help and to heal both with and without the aid of a doctor.
There are many examples I could quote. I have also made it my practice for many years to obey the instructions in James 5:14, “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the presbyters of the church; and let them pray over him.” But in spite of my positive attitude to faith healing, I am utterly opposed to healing fanaticism.
Ex 80: Near the entry to a highway, I saw a woman hitchhiker, whom I took on board. We were soon engaged in a religious discussion. The woman said she had toothache. It was because there was something wrong, she said, with her relationship with Jesus. She had not been to a dentist for years. She only got toothache when she had sinned. If the matter was put right, the toothache would disappear.
I replied that I did not share her conclusion. I go to the dentist when it is necessary. But I always pray when I go, for dental treatment can last six months and cause much pain.
Ex 81: In the USA, I have twice heard even more ridiculous views. Members of one extremist church claim that as a result of prayer, not only can they dispense with the services of a dentist, but that through faith, defective teeth can be fitted with gold fillings. For me there is only one answer to this. I will trust the Lord for everything, but I am convinced that these stories are not true. The only possibility is that it might be a case of spiritistic apports.
I believe in a simple rule. God does not do for us what we can do for ourselves. I cannot sit back in an easy chair and ask God to dig my f lower beds.
Ex 82: One of the followers of Osborn told me an equally ridiculous story.The report also appeared in a printed article. Osborn’s sister is said to have prayed for a boy whose eye had been destroyed in an accident, with laying on of hands. As a result, the story went, the boy could see through his plastic eye. If he took the plastic eye out, he was still able to see through the empty socket. What have we here? Either the story is untrue, or it is a case of mediumistic sight such as is known to Tibetan sorcerers.
Ex 83: In 1963, I gave several addresses in a Canadian church. Several years later, the pastor, an easily influenced parson, fell victim to some extremists who overemphasized speaking in tongues, visions, and faith healing. The minister was no longer willing to be corrected. We lost touch with one another. Eight years later when I was again in Canada, I heard a sad story. The minister’s daughter-in-law had been very ill. The minister refused to bring in medical aid. His extremist friends gathered in the pastor’s home and prayed for the healing of the young woman. She did not recover, but died. The minister would not allow the body to be taken to the mortuary. The group of extremists prayed in the pastor’s home for the raising of the dead woman. This went on for three days. Then the body was collected by the police and buried. The church authorities removed the minister from office. Later, he was accepted for missionary service and sent to Jamaica. When I was speaking in Jamaica, I met him again. The good brother has become moderate once more in matters of faith.
Ex 84: A similar case was reported in a German church paper in the summer of 1975, under the heading Dubious Substitute for Insulin. It said: An American court is dealing at present with an unusual case of homicide.
The parents of an eleven-year-old boy have been charged with stopping the doses of insulin which this child, who had suffered for years with diabetes, needed in order to live. The child died. The parents belong to a group associated with an extreme movement which has been steadily growing in the United States. Adherents of this group have so strong a faith in healing through prayer, that they refuse the use of medicines. According to the evidence given, the father and mother of the dead child did not even go to the burial; because they were of the firm belief, that their son would immediately rise again from the grave, to the glory of God.
Ex 85: On my lecturing tour of California in March 1975, I was given hospitality by a believing brother called W. T. in Santa Barbara. He told me of a sensational case. The famous leader of a sect in the USA advised the mother of a sick child not to go to the doctor but to trust God for healing. The woman followed his advice. The child died. The grief-stricken mother was so furious that she took the man to court who had advised her. This religious leader is a multi-millionaire, and so the court ordered him to make a payment of eleven million dollars to the mother. The California press made much of the case.
The man will probably challenge the sentence; there is as little justification for that as there was for his unscriptural advice.
This list of unscriptural actions could be multiplied with many examples from both sides of the ocean.
The New Testament does not teach such extreme views. Paul says in Romans 13:14 “Care for your body.” Our body has been entrusted to us by God. We must use it according to God’s instructions and give it the help and care which it needs. In 1 Corinthians 6:20 Paul says that we should serve and glorify God with our body and with our spirit. Healing fanaticism and extreme views do not come from the Spirit of the gospel.
The word hypnosis is derived from the Greek word hypnos, meaning sleep. In laymen’s language, one could say that hypnotism is a means of bringing on an artificial state of sleep. It would be more accurate to speak of a state of reduced consciousness.
Opinions on hypnosis differ widely even among experts. The well known Genevan specialist, Dr. Paul Tournier, is opposed to hypnotism because it is an attack on the human psyche. Other specialists, like Dr. Lechler, say that they are prepared to use hypnosis for diagnosis but not for therapy. I have also met a number of specialists who use hypnosis both for diagnosis and therapy. In Winnipeg, Canada, I debated a Baptist missionary doctor who said he would be prepared to use all forms of hypnosis. In the course of the heated discussion, I noticed that this missionary was under bondage. I f asked for my opinion, I would have to admit that I have heard so many ill effects of hypnotism that I am opposed to it .
My chief area of experience with hypnotism has been East Asia. In the Western world, hypnotism was first developed in the time of Anton Mesmer (1778), together with mesmerism and animal magnetism. Hypnotism has been practiced in East Asia for thousands of years. My friends in East Asia have told me of examples of hypnosis and hypnotism of others which would be described in the West as improbable or as untrue.
I have observed examples of self-hypnosis. I have seen pilgrims in religious processions who, by means of self-hypnosis, which is similar to a trance, have made themselves insensitive to pain. I have seen them stick knives or bamboo sticks through their arms or parts of their faces without feeling pain. I have said something about this in another chapter, and also in other books.
The strongest form of self-hypnotism is the reduction of heart activity as practiced by yogis and fakirs. They have themselves put into a coffin and incarcerated in a stone vault for three to ten weeks. Their friends are told exactly when they must take them out again. Then the heart will resume its normal activity. There are examples of this in nature. In Switzerland, I read an article about the hibernation of marmots. The article said that marmots are able to reduce their pulse rate to one pulse per minute. This is similar to the auto-hypnosis of the yogis and fakirs of the Far East.
In the East, hypnosis is always associated with magic, spiritism, and similar twilight activities. This fact has strengthened my attitude of opposition to hypnotism. I have often had discussions with Christian doctors, mainly in the Western world, about the value of hynosis.
Ex 94: One doctor in West Germany, for instance, maintains that he can sometimes cure migraine in one day by means of hypnotic treatment. I had a very useful conversation about hypnosis with the chief consultant at the Sanatorio Cruz Blanca, Esquel, in Southern Argentina.
Ex 95: Now I want to recount an experience which the above-mentioned doctor had with hypnosis. A woman was brought to him suffering from a spider complex. Day and night, the woman was tormented by seeing spiders all over the house: on the floor, on the walls, on the ceiling. She suffered terribly.
No amount of soothing words was of any use. The doctor hypnotized her. While she was in hypnosis he said to her: “When you awake, you will see no more spiders.” The treatment was successful. When the woman awoke, she breathed a sigh of relief. All the spiders had gone. So far so good. But there was another side to the story. The doctor told me that from that day onwards the woman had become an extreme alcoholic. She was free from the spiders, but totally enslaved to alcohol. This experience and another similar one made the doctor resolve never to use hypnosis again. He said that in both cases it was a case of altered symptoms but not of deliverance.
Decisively to be rejected are all shows featuring magic tricks coupled with attempts at hypnotism. Even the experts in the field of hypnosis call such displays a nuisance, which ought to be prohibited. And yet many headmasters or principals allow such shows to take place in their schools, and so cause great harm to their children.
Ex 96: A girl in Tokyo was hypnotized at a school festival by a charlatan. He was not able to wake her from the hypnotic state. The girl emitted animal noises, developed a high temperature, and was only brought back to consciousness by medical specialists several days later.
Ex 97: A woman came to me for counseling and told me the following story. The head of the school had organized an evening entertainment. Various conjuring tricks were performed. The entertainer also made some experiments with hypnosis. In the case of this woman’s thirteen-year-old son, the hypnotism was successful. From that day on, however, the boy had serious nightmares. In his sleep he would often cry out “The black man is coming, the black man is coming. Take the black man away from my throat.” The boy’s nightmares lasted for years. The mother was furious with this conjurer.
The head of the school shares the blame for this unfortunate state of affairs.
Entertainers who practice hypnotism ought never to be invited to take part in an entertainment.
Ex 98: My next example shows even more clearly the connection between hypnosis and occult powers. I was asked to speak at several meetings in a Baptist church in the state of Maine. The pastor of the church told me the story of his son while I was there.
His son had been converted to Christ at the age of sixteen. He was baptized and became a member of his father’s church. He went to college about sixty miles away from his hometown. At the end of the college year, an entertainment was held for the students and teachers. The president invited a certain entertainer, who performed all kinds of tricks and illusions. One thing he did was to pick out twenty-five students and bring them up to the platform to be hypnotized.
One of them was given a big red potato, and it was suggested to him that it was a wonderful apple which he was now allowed to eat. The boy ate the red potato with great delight. To another boy, the entertainer suggested: “You are a baby, and here is your bottle of milk which you must drink.” The boy drank the bottle of milk to the last drop. To a third, he said that it was very hot, that he was by a lake and could now bathe. The boy undressed and put on a pair of bathing trunks. All these tricks were greeted by laughter and applause from the audience. To the pastor’s son he said, “You are in a horse race, and your horse has a chance of winning.” The boy began to ride on a chair placed back to front as if he were sitting on a horse.
When the entertainment was over, the entertainer released them from the hypnosis: all except the pastor’s son, whom he could not restore to consciousness.
The president became angry. But try as he might, the man was unable to bring him back from this hypnotic state. There was nothing to do but to call the hospital. An ambulance took the boy to the hospital, where five specialists tried to deal with the hypnotized boy. They were unable to. The father was not informed until six days later. He drove straight to the hospital by car and took his son home. Then he telephoned his local doctor who came immediately.
The doctor was angry and said, “If he were my son, I would take the principal and the entertainer to court.” The pastor and his wife prayed for the boy, who was still in a hypnotic state. They prayed for days, but nothing happened. Suddenly, the pastor came upon the idea of commanding in the name of Jesus. He looked in spirit to the cross of Christ on Calvary, and cried:
“In the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, I command you dark powers to withdraw.” At once the hypnotic spell was broken. The boy regained consciousness.
At last the horse race ended. This incident shows that the entertainer was a dabbler in the occult. His hypnosis was based upon magic. Such activity is criminal.
Of course I know that specialists totally reject this kind of hypnosis. I have already said so much. Thus we must distinguish between the hypnosis used by doctors for diagnosis and treatment and magically based hypnosis, which is clearly occult in character. But I must not neglect to add, that I reject even the kind of hypnosis used by doctors.
Ex 99: The following incident occurred in Eastern Switzerland some years ago. I was told about it by a Christian doctor. A demonstration of hypnotism was given by a healer in Appenzell. He was able to hypnotize certain people, especially those who were strongly psychic, in such a way that they became as stiff as a board. The doctor, who told me the story, heard about this and took three believers with him to the meeting. They agreed to pray during the demonstration, in order to discover the nature of this hypnosis. The hypnotist began, as usual, by choosing some suitable people from the audience. Then he began his experiment. That evening he was unsuccessful. Finally he said,
“There are opposing forces present. We will stop the demonstration. Ask for your money back at the door.”
The doctor and his friends knew then what kind of hypnosis this notorious healer had been using.
Ex 100: The most sensational example of hypnosis I know of comes from Zurich. It happened about fifteen years ago when I was lecturing for several weeks in Zurich. During this time, a Dutch hypnotist arrived in the city with his subject. The subject’s name was Mirin Dajo. Mirin Dajo is Esperanto for something wonderful. Both men belonged to spiritist circles in Holland. The shows in Zurich drew large crowds. The reason was a unique sensation which had never been witnessed in Switzerland before. The hypnotist plunged a fencing foil through his victim’s chest on the stage. At first, everyone thought it was a trick. In the circus, one sometimes sees tricks in which a person is sawn through, or put into a box and then stabbed from every side with a saber through gaps in the box. The explanation is that the saber folds up. The man in the box is unhurt.
In the case of Mirin Dajo, however, it was not a trick. Proof of this was given by Professor Brunner, then a professor at the University of Zurich. He asked the two men to repeat the performance in his clinic so he could take an x-ray photograph. The men were willing. The x-ray showed that the foil had indeed pierced the man’s chest without going through vital organs like the heart and lungs. The point of the foil was nevertheless to be seen coming out at the front. The two Dutchmen had performed this feat some 500 times in various countries.
When they appeared in Zurich and repeated the experiment night after night, believers in Zurich began to feel very uncomfortable about it. Prayer groups began to meet and to pray to God to ask Him to end these gruesome displays. They suspected that behind them demonic forces were at work. The result? At the five hundred and first attempt, Mirin Dajo died. That was the end of these horrible demonstrations. Of course it would be possible to lay the blame for this man’s death at the door of the believers in Zurich. I do not share this view. The believers did what they believed to be right. They were resisting the public display in their city of such occult, or even demonic, experiments.
It ought to be added that Mirin Dajo felt no pain as the foil was stuck into him. When the foil was removed, the two wounds did not bleed. They healed up within two hours. This is exactly like phenomena I observed in East Asia. The wounds which the East Asian pilgrims inflict upon themselves likewise do not bleed, but they heal very quickly. Nor do they experience any pain. This shows that the experiment with Mirin Dajo is exactly like those in East Asia. This was not a case of fraud or deceit, for it was proved genuine by means of x-ray.
I must add a short concluding paragraph based on my counseling experience. I have often been asked whether a person can be hypnotized against his will. Experience shows that people who have a strong will cannot be hypnotized unless they consent. This is particularly true of believing Christians who arm themselves against hypnosis by prayer. Against this, the hypnotist has no power. If, however, a person has already been hypnotized, it is easier to hypnotize him again. Brennmann, a specialist in this field, has put it in these words, “No one comes unwillingly into a state of hypnosis. But it can be that he is himself unaware of his intention.”
For the Christian, it is a good rule not to use any dubious forms of help.
Perhaps we should remind ourselves of the words of the psalmist: “Our help is in the name of the Lord” (Psalm 124:8).
The article that follows will undoubtedly upset some religious people.
The Catholic church in Europe keeps the Feast of All Saints each year on November 1. Devout people bring flowers and place them on the graves of their former relatives and friends. In some places they put lighted candles in their windows on the eve of November 1, to “help lost souls find their way” as they charmingly put it.
The same Festival is celebrated in the USA, but in a different way. Halloween is more like a European carnival than an act of remembrance. The Americans hold Halloween parties with fancy dress, masks, and plenty of alcohol.
A little example will illustrate how seriously they take it.
Ex 79: I was giving a series of evangelistic talks in a church in Milwaukee. The pastor of the church had invited a colleague. The other pastor refused the invitation. He had been invited to a Halloween party. The fancy dress party was more important to him than the gospel.
All Saints’ Day and Halloween originated in a pagan festival. Before the days of Christianity, the Druids in England (priests of a Celtic race) had the idea that people needed to be cleansed after they had died. The soul of the departed was transferred by magic to the body of an animal. During the night of October 31, the enchanted souls were freed by the Druid god, Samhain, and taken together into the Druid heaven. This Druid festival was always accompanied by animal and sometimes human sacrifices and linked with all kinds of magic. In spite of the coming of Christianity, this pagan festival continued to be kept in England until the sixth century. Gregory the Great (a.d. 0-604) advised the Archbishop of Canterbury to retain the hitherto Druid sacrifices and celebrate them in honor of the Christian saints.
This is one example of the Catholic policy of assimilation, and has parallels on many mission fields. In the summer of 1975, I was visiting a Catholic church in Bogota, Colombia, where I was astonished to find masks of Indian gods on the walls. The guide explained that the Spaniards had used these Indian gods to entice the Incas into the Christian church. In the light of Bible teaching, it is incredible that anyone should try to lead people to the living God with the aid of the demons.
To return to the Druid festival, English settlers brought these customs to America. There the festival enjoys widespread popularity, because it gives people an opportunity for a holiday.
In Germany, the association of All Saints’ Day with the pagan Druid festival has long since disappeared. Only the religious custom has remained, and it is very popular among Catholic people. As long as the decoration of graves is only an expression of reverence for the departed, the custom can remain. The other custom of lighting candles to show lost souls the way is superstition.
What counts in eternity is whether our lives have been lived for Christ or not. There is nothing we can do to alter the fate of the departed, however near and dear they are to us.
Christians and Halloween (by Jenna Robinson)
Are we, Christians, against Halloween? — We are! Halloween is also referred to as Samhain, and is still celebrated as an ancient pagan festival of the dead by wiccans and pagans all over the world. Unfortunately, just giving the date a “holy” name like All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Eve cannot change its grisly character. Halloween is an occasion when the ancient gods (actually demons) are worshiped with human sacrifice. The apostle Paul warns us:
“But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils”
(1 Cor. 10:20).
Halloween is filled with all sorts of pagan characters and customs that Christians need to avoid. The black cat, for example, was believed by the Druids to be evil spirit friends of witches, and even witches themselves. These cats were often kept in wicker cages and burned in animal sacrifices. Witches are worshipers of Satan, and they are an abomination to God (Exo.22:18; Deu. 18:10-11). Why would a God-fearing Christian want to dress-up their child like something that God hates? Scary masks were worn by the Celts to scare away evil spirits. The jack-o-lantern was used for the same purpose, although a turnip was originally used. What the world thinks of as “ghosts” are not the spirits of dead people, but rather EVIL spirits which we are warned about in the Bible (Lev. 19:31; 20:27; II Kgs. 23:24; Mat. 10:1; Mar. 3:11; Acts 8:7; Rev. 16:13). Why would a Christian want to decorate their home with such wickedness? Does God want you to dress your child up like an evil spirit?
Even the orange and black colors of Halloween have a wicked origin. At the Druid Festival of Death for Samhain huge bon fires were used for offering human and animal sacrifices. So the colors of the night were orange flames glowing in the dark. Trick-or-treating finds it’s origin in the custom of peasants going house to house begging for money to purchase necessities for a feast for Muck Olla, the Druid sun god. A blessing was promised to generous givers, while threats were often made to those who were stingy.
Apple bobbing probably comes from the Roman festival of Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees. This festival was merged with the festival of Samhain after Rome conquered Britain. In honor of Samhain, subjects were forced to bob for apples in boiling hot water. Those who lived through this ordeal were set free.
Friend, Halloween is Satanic! You may pretend that it’s a harmless game for kids, but in reality it represents paganism, Satanism, human sacrifice, torture, rape, murder, idolatry, witchcraft, and spiritualism! Did you know that October 31st is considered by Satanists to be their most important day of the year? Friend, WAKE UP! Don’t honor the Devil! Honor God instead by refusing to observe Halloween this year. The Lord Jesus Christ wouldn’t dress innocent children up like the devils of Hell and march them around town, so why should you? Are you a TRUE follower of Jesus Christ? Then SKIP Halloween this year and tell others to do likewise!
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Eph. 5:11)
“The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off theworks of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” (Rom. 13:12)