Table of Spiritual Counterfeits
by R. Davis
Biblical and Occult Beliefs, Practices Contrasted & Explained
- There is a world of differences between what the Bible teaches about spiritual gifts and what Charismatic Christians teach. This table highlights the differences with clarity. Similar problems exist with contemplatives and mystics.
- Charismatic teachings and beliefs are essentially occult. The slide from biblical to occult happens point-by-point. This table explains some essential points.
- Charismatics understand in theory that there are biblical gifts and satanic counterfeits. But in practice they have swallowed occult bait hook, line and sinker. This table shows it.
On Spiritual Sanctification
Biblical view – Sanctification comes through the godly practices of prayer, learning (being washed by) the Word, obedience (walking in the will of God and saying “no” to the desires of the flesh), and, also, confession of sin. In these ways we grow in understanding and in the likeness of Jesus. -These are true and precious spiritual practices that require practice, reasoning and thought.
Occult view – Sanctification comes by casting out spirits of pride, gossip, etc. and also by the action – fire, washing, working or digging – of manifest spirit in or upon the heart, which changes us to be like Jesus. Practices such as soaking in the spirit are considered necessary to allow the “spirit” to dig in your heart and “wash” you as if by magic. (Indeed, this is magic thinking.) -Occultists believe study and obedience are for legalists, and reason and thinking get in the way of being spiritual.
Deliverance from demonic oppression or possession
|Biblical view – Deliverance is an answer to prayer and, sometimes, fasting. The victim recognizes his utter helplessness in the grip of Satan and turns to the Lord. God miraculously sets a victim free without personal combat against demons. Afterwards the victim experiences complete & lasting freedom and peace. Deliverance may accompany salvation. -Ed. note: having personally experienced deliverance about 11 months after salvation I can speak with authority on this. The reality of the dominion of demons in a soul and the power of God to set a man totally free is something to which I can confidently witness. My deliverance was powerful but peaceful.|
Occult view – Deliverance comes by personal combat against demons (i.e., exorcism). An elder challenges and casts out demons “in name of Jesus” and gives God the glory. There may be manifestations such as screaming, roaring, vomiting or writhing like a serpent, which are interpreted as the demons fighting back. The victim tries to believe for freedom, understand who he is in Jesus, & strengthen his faith. The victim experiences no release, or partial or temporary release. He may be taught how to rebuke demons. Alas, he may later get worse; for the reality is that by engaging in this sort of occult spiritual warfare the victim has opened himself even more to attack and oppression. -This sort of “spiritual warfare” is disturbingly prevalent among otherwise orthodox believers, who may not understand why they are experiencing spiritual difficulties. The reason is that they have unwittingly become involved in the occult.
“Light” in biblical terms
Biblical view –
Occult view – Spreading the “light” of God means being loving toward others, considered as spreading His kingdom. This is a mystic gospel. It involves empty words – that is, words devoid of Scriptural truth. It is a false gospel that promises peace where there is no peace – that is, where there is no peace with God. Loving behaviors may be referred to as the “fragrance of Christ” but the true light – the light of His Word – is largely or totally absent.
|Receiving God’s love|
|Biblical view – We receive the love of God when we walk in obedience to His will – i.e., on a practical level, when we walk in obedience to His moral & ceremonial commands. Ceremonial commands are those spiritual practice: occultism is forbidden. Moral commands are those contained in the Ten Commandments as expounded by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount and are the believer’s code of conduct regarding morality. If we obey God’s commands He will love us and come to be with us wherever we may be, and we will possess His love in our hearts. -Bible verse: “Jesus answered and said to him, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23).|
Occult view – We receive the love of God when we open ourselves to the inner working and raptures of manifest spirit. Charismatics mistakenly call this receiving the Father’s love. To receive this love often requires invocation and gathering together with others who are like-minded. Practitioners need to soak in the spirit or “tap into the river” and then think they have to lay under the influence of this spirit and let it work in their hearts. – But this is occult communion with the angel of light who knows both how to SIMULATE Jesus’ love and STIMULATE a love response in the human heart. The spirit that manifests during occult spiritual practices is always Satanic, for Satan is the god of the occult. The occult is his domain, and in the course of ensnaring people in it, Satan wreaks havoc upon unwitting men. Bible verse: “Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god” (Psalm 16:4).
|Biblical view – Trusting God means obeying His commands – that is, His commands for moral and spiritual practices – even when we don’t fully understand the reason for them. We trust that His commands are faithful and we trust Him for the outcome, whatever it may be. Among the children of God, those who obey commands against occultism will avoid Charismatic practices and will discover complete freedom from poltergeist experiences and protection from demonic attacks. (Protection from demonic attack does not mean freedom from temptation, for it is by temptation that we are tried and proved.)|
Occult view – Trusting God means opening oneself to manifest spirit without worrying if it might be evil. Occultists are forever saying “don’t worry, just open up to receive the spirit and trust God”, or, “It is far healthier to focus attention on the wheat, and not the chaff, nor on the enemy sowing seeds”. “Don’t worry,” they say, “God won’t send a scorpion if you ask for an egg”. -But if you are involved in occult spirituality you are NOT asking for an egg, no matter what you think. And the scorpion is at hand, just waiting to sting. Bible verse: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
How God’s truth is revealed
Biblical view – God’s truth is revealed in His Word and by biblical preaching and teaching, with the spiritual sense thereof revealed to the minds and hearts of God’s children by the Holy Spirit. Good works glorify God but do not reveal His truth. God may sometimes use dreams to edify believers but He does not use dreams to reveal new truth. God’s truth was progressively revealed in the words inspired by the Holy Spirit and through the prophets and apostles over the centuries that the Bible was being written, but the canon is now closed. -With time may come greater illumination of existing Scriptures, but the Word of God – that is, His truth and His mind – has now been finally revealed to mankind in the Scriptures, and so it will remain until the end of the age.
Occult view – While it may be acknowledged that God’s truth is revealed in His Word, the emphasis is on a mystic Jesus and/or upon good works and loving others to reveal Him. Contemplative prayer is a large movement toward a mystic, mindless “truth” revealed through entering a sacred space, the divine within, etc. The use of reason and the mind to understand spiritual truth is disparaged. –Charismatics believe new truth is still being revealed through the visions, dreams and prophecies of false prophets.
|How God’s truth is received|
|Biblical view – People receive God’s truth as they hear and believe the truth about Jesus and His amazing work of salvation, and His sacrifice for mankind on the Cross; but genuine, saving faith only comes by and through the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of a man or woman. The Holy Spirit also teaches truth to God’s children as they study the Scriptures.|
Occult view – People not only through the Word receive God’s truth, but we can give it to them through our love. Also, they can receive a mystic truth through such practices as soaking and contemplative prayer and hear so-called new truth by giving heed to occult prophets.
|Submission to God|
|Biblical view – Submission to God means exercising our mind and wills to understand and obey God’s Will.|
Occult view – Submission to God means opening up to manifest spirit so it can have its way with us.
|What is the occult?|
|Biblical view – Occultism involves seeking and communing with God through subjective experience and rituals. Well meaning people often make the mistake of getting involved in the occult. Occult practices can be used to further good or selfish purposes, but always end badly.|
Occult view – Occultism is evil, selfish religion. If you are wielding the power of God for good purposes, then you are a good Christian. But if you are using the power of God for evil or selfish purposes, then you are a sorcerer.
|The Power of God|
|Biblical view –|
The power of God is His creation power, His sovereignty over life and death, His control over all creatures, and His awesomeness as displayed in manifold ways in the creation of the universe and the unfolding of all history. He is the alpha and omega whose purposes will always be accomplished and who bows to no creature.Occult view – The power of God means an energy, force or spirit available for use by men and angels, whether for good or for evil purposes. Some believe the power of God is a neutral force that becomes either good or evil in the hands of the practitioner. In this view, the purposes of the creature are supposedly in control.
The role of the mind
|Biblical view – The mind IS THE WAY the Holy Spirit reveals God’s truth to the heart or spirit of man.|
Occult view – The mind GETS IN THE WAY of receiving the Holy Spirit and the truth of God.
|Deceptions and Surprises|
|Biblical view – Many – the disobedient and those who do not treasure the truth – will be deceived. God will send them a strong delusion because they do not receive His truth (2 Thess 2:11). God is only found in His truth as revealed through His Word. And He is faithful to His truth – no surprises.|
Occult view – Don’t believe Christian legalists who emphasize truth; they are unloving Pharisees who don’t understand God’s love. You can’t put God in a box: He blesses whom He will. He likes to surprise us.
|Tolerance for falsehood and leaven|
|Biblical view – A little leaven leavens the whole lump – 1 Cor 5:6, Gal 5:9.|
Occult view – Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater – no biblical support.
|Biblical view – God opens the eyes of blind, lost souls to understand and believe His Word – that is, His truth. In Scripture, this is also referred to as the opening of the heart.|
Occult view – God opens eyes to see into the spiritual realm – especially to see angels and demons. In some religions this is called the opening of the third eye.
Biblical view – Spiritual warfare involves resisting temptation and the desires of the flesh. We battle covetousness, lust, despondency, pride, malice, mercilessness, ambition, self-righteousness, etc., being manifold wicked thoughts that arise in our hearts or temptations thrown at us by Satan. While we do battle with Satan, it is not by the occult means described below. We protect ourselves through constant prayer, reminding ourselves of biblical truths and exhortations, maintaining an obedient walk, and staying in the Word.Occult view – Spiritual warfare involves rebuking Satan and demons, and even casting them out from people or from places. We battle the demon Jezebel, or other demons that have supposedly gained control over a person, a church or a territory. We need to identify the demons, and their characteristics and territories (in Charismatic circles called spiritual mapping. In ancient magic, called demonology.) -We protect ourselves through such means as realizing who we are in Christ, trying to strengthen our faith, repeating certain prayers to gain control over evil spirits or muster our faith, anointing people or places with oil to ward off spirits, and/or consulting people with deliverance ministries.
|The presence of the Holy Spirit|
|Biblical view – The Holy Spirit indwells God’s children who have been called by Him and responded in faith to the Word of God. The Spirit is not given in measure but once for all eternity, through the Word, to those who have truly been saved to keep and guide them in truth. We may lose a sense of His presence (the peace and love of the Spirit of God in our hearts) during times of testing or trials of disobedience, but nothing can separate us from Him.|
-Bible verse: “neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). Jesus is the living Word and those who are in Him have believed through the Word.Occult view – The Holy Spirit comes when called. To sense His presence it is necessary to call the spirit down, soak in the spirit, enter a sacred space through contemplative prayer, or “soak in the river” to receive a blessing. (In fact, the loving presence sometimes felt at these times is nothing less than the presence of the Angel of Light that the Bible warns against.) Charismatics often ask for “more, Lord, more”, because they think the Spirit is given in measure and do not understand that He comes through the Word.
-Bible verse: “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God
does not give the Spirit by measure” (John 3:34).
|The Word of God – the Bible|
Biblical view – The Bible contains the words of God, and they are life giving and spiritual. Those who love the Word and obey it receive life, joy and peace through it. Bible verse: “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).Occult view – The Word is okay, but to be really spiritual you need something more: a subjective “spiritual” experience, contemplative prayer, seeing angels, etc. People who focus too much on truth and the Bible are religious, not spiritual.
|Dealing with past hurts and|
|Biblical view – Emotional wounds suffered by us are of little account when we come to the Lord: He raises up the new man (or woman) in the newness of the Spirit. In fact, like the Psalmist we might say,” It is good that I was afflicted, for before I was afflicted, I went astray”! To focus on old hurts distracts us from what really matters (learning God’s truth) and tends to re-build the old man, the very self we need to destroy. We need the Word and the Holy Spirit to crucify the old man and pour the wine of new life into new wineskins.|
Occult view – Our emotional wounds need to be healed before we can really know God. They are blockages that prevent us from forgiving and going on to spiritual maturity. Try to remember your old hurts, every detail, even back to the womb! Dig up repressed memories so Jesus can heal them and help you forgive. Let manifest spirit enter and work on old wounds. We need the power of Jesus to heal past hurts before we can progress in victorious living.
The book True to His Ways: Purity & Safety in Christian Spiritual Practice, more fully deals with these issues and provides clear guidance on how to avoid occult practices. To order, click here