One of the jobs of a pastor is to protect the church from false teaching. This was a primary concern for the apostle Paul and his churches. It was relational for Paul. He saw false teaching as a kind of marital infidelity between the church and Christ.

He writes to the Corinthians, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2-3).

One of the most dangerous things filtering into the church today is the false belief that dabbling in astrology, mediums, psychics, reiki healing, spells, seances, horoscopes and other forms of eastern mysticism and occult practices are harmless fun. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

A woman in my church, after years of dabbling in tarot cards and automatic writing, found herself demonized. She needed multiple demons cast out of her because of her participation in these occult practices.

Another friend of mine used to watch Long Island Medium on the TLC channel. I believe people are so interested in this stuff because western skepticism has told us there is no spirit realm, yet a part of us still believes there is more out there than what empiricism tells us.

Unfortunately, much of the church has sided with western skepticism rather than adopting a biblical worldview that acknowledges the reality of a spirit realm that contains both light and dark, angels and demons. A large segment of the church doesn’t warn against these occult practices because they see them as “fake” rather than what they are, which is a direct line to “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

So when my friend would watch this medium on TV revealing things about people she couldn’t possibly know, and it seemed like the person was encouraged, then it had to be a good thing. Right? If good things are coming from it, isn’t it a good thing?

Paul responded to something similar by reminding the Corinthians, “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). He warned them not to accept things that come from a “different spirit from the one you received” (2 Corinthians 11:4).

Was this medium hearing from the spirit realm? Yep. But she’s not hearing from the Holy Spirit. She’s hearing from deceptive and cunning demonic spirits. And the same demonic spirits that speak to her about other people also torment her life.

New Age and occult practices are darkness masquerading as light. They invite us to put our trust in something other that God and His word. They are a form of marital infidelity between the church and Christ. They end up being a gateway for the demonic to access and torment the life of those who participate in them.

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