Effects Of Occultism
We are concluding our excerpts on Dr Koch’s look on occult with a summary of his descriptions of the effects of occult involvements on human beings. I pray this first installment of the effects and his recommendations on how people can be freed from its pernicious effects will be of blessing to the readers and people around them.
It requires knowledge and experience in many areas to be able to distinguish the effects of sins of sorcery from medical and particularly psychiatric syndromes.
As I was writing this chapter, a friend told me of a psychiatrist who had spoken out against my books. This man had said he would read not a single line of them, because I rejected psychiatry. But how does this doctor know that I reject his disciplines if he has never read a line I have written? Anyone who has read my books Christian Counselling and Occultism or Demonism Past and Present will know that I have always maintained that a counselor who has studied psychiatry will find it helpful in dealing with the occult. I resist only the encroachments of those psychiatrists who think they can master religious problems also. Obviously in a case of religious delusions and suchlike, psychiatric treatment is indicated. If, however, there is oppression resulting from occult activities, an experienced counselor is needed.
There are, of course, borderline cases where it is desirable that both a psychiatrist and a counselor should be involved, if possible together. I have used the term counselor. Who is fitted to give counseling advice on the subject of occult oppression? Not a modern theologian, to whom the irrational and the supernatural are foreign and unacceptable. Not a believing pastor who has his mind closed to such counseling on a priori grounds.
Not an experienced counselor even, who thinks that he can do without the help of medical science. The number of counselors fitted for this task is very small. As a result, those few who do exist find that they are so besieged by people seeking help that they do not know what to do. All those friends of mine who engage in counseling those who are occultly oppressed groan under the burden of these demands for help. Who then is qualified to work in this field?
1. Only a person who has experienced a genuine rebirth through the power of the Holy Spirit.
2. Only a Christian who has gained wide experience through much counseling. It may be objected that everyone has to begin without experience. That is true. Beginners should be accompanied for a year or more by an older Christian, in order that they may grow and feel their way into this difficult area.
3. I have often been asked if every Christian should venture into the area of occult counseling. I would reply that no one ought to seek this ministry. If circumstances throw him into such a situation, he should form a prayer group of brethren around him, in order that he may not be shot down by the devil.
4. Among my closest friends, I have six times had the sad experience of seeing believing counselors who have engaged in counseling those bound by occult powers themselves broken in the process. I have frequently felt that a cal l is needed before engaging in this difficult ministry. One who is involved in counseling the occult-bound is usually not understood and indeed opposed even by well-meaning Christians. Without a divine commission, i t is almost
impossible to bear the weight of this onerous ministry.
5. It is very helpful for a counselor in this field to have medical, or even better, a psychiatric training. The study of theology is not as important as a medical training. Theological study is full of historical, philological, and philosophical ballast and often neglects the practical problems of life. I still have notes of the lectures on counseling I received at the University of Heidelberg. These lectures were so thin and empty that they cried out to heaven. But how are theology professors to know otherwise, if they have had neither true faith nor any pastoral experience? Men of God are extremely rare as university lecturers. Many universities have not so much as one man with that training.
These words are not written in spiritual pride. One must, however, have the courage to call a spade a spade. I dare to do so in the name of God. The effects of occult activity are many-sided, and I must confine myself here to the most important types so as to keep the book within bounds.
1. Mediumistic Affinity.
Definition: The term mediumistic affinity is derived from two Latin words. The first is medius, media, medium, a word which has many meanings. Here just one is meant: mediator . A medium is a contact person between the known and the unknown, between the natural and the supernatural,between inquisitive people and evil spirits. The second word is affinitas, close connect ion, contact , relation. Another way of expressing the idea of mediumistic affinity would be to talk of “ability to make psychic contact.” Forty-five years of observation in this field has made it clear to me that, in most cases, mediumistic affinity is unconscious. This has something to do with the fact that psychic powers do not lie in the conscious mind, but in the unconscious. Hundreds of thousands of people are mediumistic, or psychic, without realizing it.
As I have already said in another chapter, mediumship can have any of three roots: heredity, transference, and magical experimentation.
1. The extent of mediumship:
Mediumship covers a very wide area. When forks were bent in the homes of viewers during the Uri Geller show, the unconscious mediumship of the viewers was being tapped and used by the equally unconscious (or conscious?) powers of Uri Geller. If phantoms of the “departed” are made to appear by a medium at a spiritist seance and the medium’s own powers are not strong enough, the psychic participants are tapped and their mediumistic powers are used to assist . People of psychic disposition are attracted by groups in which mediumistic powers are active, like mystic cults, spiritist groups, extreme and fanatical groups, unscriptural sects and movements.
There are some extreme Pentecostal groups which are a regular Eldorado for psychic people. In
many cases mediumship has a covering layer of religion, as for example in the neo-charismatic movement . Even if it seems wearisome to repeat, let it be said that there are in these groups also genuine, faithful children of God, for whom I have the greatest respect. But they do not really belong in these extreme groups.
2. The ethical character of mediumship:
Because mediumship has its place in the unconscious mind, it is always in opposition to a conscious decision to follow Christ. Psychic people find it extraordinarily difficult to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord. Psychic powers originate in the sorcery of a person’s forebears or in his own. These powers are oppressive. Affinity means not only an ability to make contact, but also adhesion. A psychic person adheres unconsciously, or sometimes consciously, to the abominable sins of his forefathers, or to his own sins of sorcery, or he is linked unconsciously to a psychic circle of all those of psychic disposition.
This adhesion to the occult is a great problem on the mission field and in counseling in connection with evangelism. In areas like Los Angeles, Haiti, Rio de Janeiro, the Luneburg Heath, and a thousand others that are similarly infested with occult activities, counseling is so difficult that evangelists shudder. Mediumistic affinity is the breeding ground of the most crazy sects, cults, and lodges. This is why Los Angeles is so rich in these monstrosities from the swamp of Satan.
3. Effects of Occult Involvements: Becoming conscious of a psychic disposition
Unconscious mediumship can occasionally come to light as a result of certain experiences and so become conscious. An example from my counseling will serve to make clear what I mean.
Ex 274: A young woman came to me for counseling. She complained that every time a member of her family or close relative was about to die, she would see a shadowy figure in her room at night. She was afraid of these visions. Two or three days later she would hear of the person’s death.
A parapsychologist would perhaps point to telepathy as the explanation of these experiences. Severe illnesses can sometimes be sensed by telepathy. This explanation, however, does not suffice in this case, for fatal accidents cannot be communicated by telepathy, three days before they happen. The experiences of this young woman present us with the so-called “gift of second sight . ” Those who have this disposition frequently foresee deaths, fires, and catastrophes. What is the origin of this disposition?
After she had told me all about her visions, I asked her if her parents or grandparents had engaged in spiritism. She affirmed at once that they had.“In our family,” she said, “table tapping has been practiced as a party game for at least three generations.” She took part in this game herself as a child. As a result of this spiritistic game, the young woman became psychic. Her mediumship manifested itself in the experiences she had at night.
4. Forms of mediumship and strength of these powers:
Mediumship has many ways of expressing itself. It may be predictive dreams, which are fulfilled some days later. It may be sensitivity to the rod or pendulum. If a person who has never in his life had anything to do with the occult takes a rod or pendulum in his hand and the thing functions without any conscious impulsion, that person is psychic. Mediumship varies in strength. A person with a low degree of mediumship may go through his whole life without being aware of it. On the other hand, a very strong degree of mediumship will make itself known even in childhood. We know, for instance, of certain healing mediums who were able to heal people when the mediums were only ages 4 to 7. I have given some examples earlier in this book.
From a Biblical viewpoint , psychic gifts are the satanic counterpart of the gifts of the Holy Spirit . Satan’s counterfeit gifts are mostly exercised under a religious front,and therefore
their demonic character goes unrecognized. Indeed these counterfeit gifts are sometimes even declared to be gifts of the Holy Spirit .
The most well-known psychic gifts include many forms already mentioned in this book; clairvoyance, telesthesia, clairaudience, ability to go into trance, automatic writing, telekinesis, excursion of the soul, apports, causation of poltergeist phenomena, sensitivity to rod and pendulum, and many other such things. Anyone who suffers from such troubles — for they cannot be called gifts — should not regard himself as important, but should rather be concerned to find deliverance. The parapsychologists, of course, are very pleased when they find a highly qualified medium for their experiments. It furthers their “science” and brings them more fame. The devil ’s strategy is many- sided. To occultists he represents his intrigues as “new knowledge,” while he convinces the rationalists that it is all a matter of tricks, swindle, and superstition.
5. Genuine experiences of God:
In contrast to psychic experiences are genuine experiences of God. God can forewarn and protect His children in various ways. I will give an example. My informant is a long-standing friend of mine in England, Paul Hunt of Englefield Green.
Ex 275: Paul’s friend Richard and his wife are believing Christians. One day they were riding a tandem down a steep hill. Just before a sharp bend, Richard suddenly felt anxious. The hair on his neck stood on end, and his color became white as a sheet. He stopped. “What’s the matter?” asked his wife. “Why are you so frightened?” Richard could give no answer. He just looked anxiously around, but could see nothing dangerous. They went ahead on foot. Just around the bend, the road was blocked. A lamp post had been knocked over by a car and was lying across the road. The car was also standing there, badly damaged. No warning sign had been put up. The owner of the car had gone off to find help. The couple would have ridden their tandem right into the blockage, if Richard had not been forewarned. What is the difference between psychic precognition and warnings from the Lord?
Psychic warnings announce an event which is inevitable. The event cannot be escaped. God’s warnings serve to preserve God’s children from harm. The danger which has been announced can then be avoided. I will give another example.
Ex 276: It was in the summer of 1974. Many German vacationers were staying in Tenerife (in the Canary Islands). At the airport were one hundred eighty German vacationers, waiting for the flight to take them home. Among them was a couple from Bavaria. When the wife entered the airplane, she felt uneasy. “Come,” she said to her husband, “let’s get out of this plane. There are so many people here. I am afraid. Something might happen.” Her husband was not very willing to follow his wife’s wishes, but he did so nonetheless. They went back to the airport lounge, aware that they might well not be able to obtain a refund of money paid for this flight. Some hours later, news arrived that the plane had crashed. All the passengers had been killed. The man from Germany was deeply stirred. He hurried to the telephone and called his children in Bavaria. “Don’t worry about us,” he said. “We were not in the airplane which crashed. We have our Lord to thank, and your mother’s intuition.”
It is encouragement to one’s faith to hear such a story in a world so full of disaster. God has not given our earth up to the demons. His hand reaches down into the chaos of this earth to help and to save. And the time is coming when God will wipe away every tear from the eyes of the children of men.
2. Resistance to the Things of God.
One of the chief characteristics of mediumship is that mediums are immunized against the work of the Holy Spirit. A person of psychic disposition has a resistance to all that has to do with genuine Christian faith. He is insensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and he has no love for the word of God or for prayer. In cases of strong mediumship, a person will become ill to the point of vomiting when he is confronted with clear Biblical preaching. This phenomenon of resistance to the things of God shows itself in another way also. In some cases, people suffering from occult oppression always become ill before the great festivals of the church, so that they are unable to attend the Christmas or Easter services. If an evangelistic campaign or a week of Bible teaching is planned, they always fall ill just before the week begins. It is as if the devil were continually trying to stop them from hearing Biblical preaching.
I can illustrate this best by one or two examples.
Ex 277: Some years ago a young man came to me for counseling. He had availed himself of various kinds of occult help. If he had questions he could not answer, he would go to a fortuneteller, an astrologer, or a dowser. If he was sick he would go to a notorious charmer, with the result that he would actually make a quick recovery. Since he started doing this, however, the young man suffered from fits of mania, especially before the festivals of the church or when an evangelist or missionary was due to preach in his home church. This all came out in the course of counseling, and I was able to show the young man the way to Jesus Christ.
Ex 278: The following example is of particular value because the man concerned was first examined by a Christian psychiatrist. The man in question was a preacher of the gospel who went for treatment to the famous psychiatrist Dr. Lechler, with whom I had contact for many years, and whom I highly respected. The. preacher told the doctor that he had terrible struggles in performing his pastoral duties. This problem had begun as soon as he was converted.When he went to Bible school, it became worse, and he sometimes considered leaving the Bible school. He held out, however, and became a preacher; but his struggles were not over. Especially when he read the Bible, prayed, preached the word of God, and conducted the communion, he was subject to terrible attacks. Dr. Lechler thought the preacher was overconscientious and that his anxiety not to sin had turned into an opposite reaction. Such reactions certainly do happen. I have met such things occasionally in counseling.
The treatment that the preacher was given at the Hohe Mark Clinic did not bring him relief, and so he sought my advice. I asked him to tell me his family history, not only concerning his parents but also his grandparents. It came to light that he had been charmed in early childhood. His brothers and sisters had likewise been treated by a healing practitioner who used magic charms. The result was that all of them suffered with the same symptoms. The problem here was thus neither a psychiatric nor a psychological one, but a spiritual matter which could only be discovered by Christian counseling.
Ex 279: A certain deaconess administered a charm to another deaconess who was ill. Both sisters were one day present at a prayer meeting led by Mother Eva. During the prayer time, the sister who had been charmed began to rave. She had also found difficulty in bringing herself to attend meetings in the chapel. Mother Eva went to the heart of the matter. It turned out that the other deaconess had learned about charms from an aunt. They both confessed their sin and found deliverance through the spirit-filled ministry of Mother Eva. After the spell had been broken, however, both sisters were ill for a while. This reaction is also found sometimes; people who are freed from the ban of sorcery become ill and experience other difficulties.
Ex 280: I had a typical experience when I was lecturing in the Martin Luther Church in Curitiba, Brazil. During the service on Sunday morning there were three disturbances. A woman who was the daughter of a magic charmer and who had had all her children charmed, fell into a spiritistic trance during the sermon and heard nothing. She did not regain consciousness until I said the
final “Amen.” A second woman, a Salvation Army officer, ran out of the church. Later she confessed that she had been unable to bear the preaching. A voice within her had been whispering to her continually: “Cry out aloud, disturb the message!” In order not to make herself noticed, she had left the church. The third person was a girl who had likewise heard a voice saying to her during the sermon, “Curse God, blaspheme Him.” She too left the church. Talking to her later, I discovered that she had been charmed against an illness as a child.
Here we have three examples of resistance to the things of God caused by sins of sorcery present in a single church service. Brazil is full of spiritism. Those who preach the gospel in Brazil come up against it nearly every day, unless they are afflicted with total blindness and avoid all problems of this sort.
Ex 281: Several times people have confessed to me in the course of counseling that although they are quite open to the gospel, they become unable to move every time they try to pick up a Bible, read, and pray. The latest example of this kind, which has not yet even been recorded in my files, is as follows. In a Catholic area in which a great deal of sorcery is practiced, a woman came for counseling. She confessed that when she wanted to read her Bible, she became stiff as a board and could neither hold nor open the Bible.
The state of tonic immobility without loss of consciousness is familiar to me from the study of medicine. We find such conditions in cases of catalepsy and also in myoclonic epilepsy. No such disorder was present in the case of this person. The disturbance only occurred when she wanted to read the Bible or to pray. I inquired about her history with regard to the occult, and was more than shocked. The whole of her family, back to her great-grandparents, had engaged in spiritism and magic of every kind. This was the origin of the frightful oppression which the woman had described to me. The woman was willing to accept Jesus Christ as her Lord. Together we prayed a prayer of renunciation. From that time onward, she came regularly to my meetings. I am well aware that when people are as strongly affected as this, it is easy for them to fall back into being oppressed. Normally, therefore, a prayer group should be formed to intercede for a person who is under such strong psychic oppression.
It is an experience confirmed by thousands of examples that people, who are oppressed because of occult involvement, usually have peace as long as they serve the devil and avoid Christ . I f on the other hand they wish to decide for Christ , dreadful struggles begin. The rule is quite straightforward: the devil leaves those who serve him in peace. Not until he is threatened with losing his victim do his attacks begin. Sadly, it is also very evident that not all those who come to Christ are at once freed of their occult oppression. If the Christian is vacillating in his faith and if all the Biblical rules are not observed, the person may have weeks, months, or even years of great trouble. It is not true, as superficial and inexperienced counselors often assert, that all occult problems are over when a person is converted. I can demonstrate this best with an example.
Ex 282: Some years ago a well-known evangelist came to me for a talk. He said that he had read my book Christian Counselling and Occultism. As a result his eyes had been opened. His work as an evangelist had been under a form of oppression for twenty-five years which he had never been able to account for. Now he had for the first time realized the cause. When he was a young child, his mother had had him charmed against an illness. Later he had been soundly converted to Christ, and after theological training had been serving the Lord for twenty-five years. He had always felt as if he had lead weights on his feet. I was able to show this evangelist the way of deliverance. He took my advice and said a prayer of renunciation. I declared him free in the name of the Lord, and he was delivered. Some months later he wrote me a letter in which he testified that since then his ministry had been completely changed. The lead weights had gone. This was the work of the living Lord Jesus.
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