Demonology - Spiritism - Occultism
Christ in the Weird Postmodern World of the Occult
Genesis 11.1; Deut 18.1-22; I Sam 28.7; Isa 47.13-15; Jer 10.2,3; Amos 5.1; Daniel 2.27,28 (entire book); Acts 1.8; 9.31;16.11-20; 19.18; I Cor 12.10 (chps 12-14); Gal 5.16; Jas 4.7; Eph 6.12; I Jn 2.18; 5.4; II Pet 1.16-21; Rev 19.10.
I. Man’s Insecurity--Wizards of the Future and the Word of God
There are prophets on every hand. Men aspire to know the secrets of the future, especially in times of personal and cultural crisis. Has the computer, ESOP, Ouija Boards, Eastern gurus, Mediums, Witchcraft replaced the God who created the universe in our daily lives? Well over 100 million persons actively participate in some form of occult in America alone: that is almost 1 out of every 3 persons. But as Christians we believe that God has revealed His will in Christ about the nature and destiny of men, the Church and the whole creation (Roms 8.18ff.).
II. Search for Satisfaction: Resurgent Occult (Deuteronomy 18.1ff; I Samuel 28.7ff.)
A. Five times occult has been a major phenomenon: (1) Graeco-Roman empires; (2) Roman Empire in 4th-5th centuries; (3) 14-16th Period of the Reformation; (4) 17th-18th centuries (witchcraft, superstition); (5) 20th century-1950's-1990's largest occult following in the history of the Church.
B. Witchcraft, Reincarnation, Mediums, Consulting the Dead (e.g., the late Bishop Pike, see Merrill Unger’s book, The Haunting of Bishop Pike).
C. The New Super-Spirituality - Drugs, Eastern Mysticism, the New Pentecostalism, and Resurgent emphasis on the Holy Spirit, i.e., Charismatic movements.
D. The Spirit and Religious Establishment - Spirit and Forms, Spirit or Form, Spirit in Form
III. Identifying Characteristics of Our Times: As Christians we desperately need to give prayerful consideration to the following:
a. Lives that are empty and searching
b. Churches that are spiritually dead
c. Absence of the Word of God because of a lack of prayerful study
d. Anti-institutionalism (the counter culture)
e. Resurgent Charismatic and Occult phenomena
1. Witchcraft renaissance
2. First university degree in witchcraft
3. Role of occult in the Manson murders
4. How occultists use the Bible
5. Witchcraft in music and movies
6. Charge-a-hex on credit cards
I. Christ and The Powers - From the first to the twentieth century
A. Phenomenal progress in man’s conquest of the universe.
B. Recorded knowledge doubles every three and one-half years.
C. Can man believe that Demons exist?
D. Can Demonology be explained by merely an appeal to superstition, creative imagination, fairy tales, or folklore a la Lynn Thorndyke (wrote History of Magic and Experimental Science)?
E. Demons after Freud, Bultmann, et al., e.g. Kerygma and Myth, “The idea of Satan and demons is finished.”
F. Demons and psychological medicine and scientific pathology
G. Demonology and comparative religion
H. Demonology and Mission and Evangelism
I. O.T. and Demonology: Deut 18.10ff; I Sam 28 (Israel’s milieu (Sumeria, Babylon (Colossians 2.15)
J. N.T. and Demonology: the noun demon occurs only once in the NT (Matt 8.31; the adjective demonic occurs ca. 50 times).
1. War - Civitas Dei and Civitas diaboli (Eph 6.12)
2. Demonism and “Vox in Rama” (Papal Bull in 1233); Inquisitions, Witch burning, etc.
3. Nature of demons - Luke 4.33; 6.18
4. Activity of demons - I Timothy 4.1; Revelation 16.14
5. Opposition to the believers - Ephesians 6.10-20
6. Doom - Matthew 25.41
W.M. Alexander, Demonic Possession in the NT (College Pres reprint, 1973).
Kurt Koch, Demonology Past and Present (Kregel Press, 1973).
J. Gordon Melton, New Age Encyclopedia (Detroit Gale Research, 1990).
J.L. Nevius, Demon Possession (Kregel reprint).
T.K. Oesterreich, Possession (1930).
M.F. Unger, Biblical Demonology (Scripture Press paperback).
“A Christian Reflection On New Age” (Pontifical Council for Culture, Intercultural Dialogue)