The Spirit World
THE creed of the demons has been compiled. It calls for careful consideration, for it is the rock on which the church will be wrecked. Let us not be deceived into thinking that the warning against giving heed to seducing spirits and their doctrines is intended for the world. God warns His own. We are to beware of these doctrines. The church holds most of these doctrines already. Not the nominal church merely, but those who are aggressively evangelical and uphold vital truths. Many who are loud in their warning against the doctrines of demons hold them, contend for them, and denounce others who refuse to receive them! As an example, a recent review of the seven items of this creed in an ultra-evangelical magazine claimed that five of the seven doctrines of demons are clearly taught in the Scriptures! Ought not the very statement of these teachings be sufficient guarantee that they are not taught in the Scriptures?
The great danger of Spiritism is not apprehended even by those who warn us against it. Indeed, when a teacher upholds five out of the seven cardinal doctrines of this cult, is he not already among those who give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons? We may deny communication with the dead, we may abhor familiar spirits, and yet, at the same time, we may believe and support the baneful teachings which emanate from them, under the mistaken supposition that they are in accord with divine revelation.
It ought to be axiomatic that the doctrines of demons are not in accord with God’s word. We make the most valuable use of them when we doubt every point of our own theology which appears to lend them support. There is danger of some of the saints actually being deceived by the pretentions of Spiritism as to communication with the dead, but there is the far more insidious danger of almost all of us becoming tainted by their teachings.
The creed of Spiritism is sevenfold. All the multitudinous mutterings of the spirits may be reduced to these seven statements:
1. The Fatherhood of God.
2. The Brotherhood of Man.
3. Continuous Conscious Existence.
4. The Communion of Spirits.
5. Personal Responsibility.
6. Compensation and Retribution in the Hereafter.
7. Endless Progression.
Perhaps some of us have been expecting some mysterious, lurid, immoral propaganda to emanate from these so-called “devils.” But would we need any warning against such plain departures? The demons are far more subtle than that. They do not wish to appear opposed to Scripture. And is it not most significant that they have already succeeded in so perverting so-called evangelical doctrine that the Bible itself is appealed to, to show that most of their doctrines are not new but were known long ago? It was the cause of deepest thankfulness on our part when we found that we could agree with none of the seven statements of their faith. If one of them had appealed to us, our confidence in it would have been severely shaken, and nothing but a more thorough search of the Scriptures would have satisfied us of its truthfulness.
One of the most distressing features of the present apostasy is the outcry on all sides against the various defections from the truth, each partly fondly imagining that they are the only ones not infected with the prevailing virus! In almost every case the strength of error lies in its semblance to the truth. Let us all acknowledge that, in some degree, we, also, are involved in the great apostasy, and then it will be possible for us to purge ourselves from the poison which is sapping the very life of the church.
The hold of seducing spirits on the saints does not lie in their unorthodox teachings, but in the teachings of the church which agree with their doctrines. Orthodoxy is the bridge by which the saints cross the chasm from truth to error. It will be of great profit for us to consider the contrastive creeds of Spiritism and the Scriptures and the tenets of the church which hold them in unholy union. We shall give the demons’ lie, the church’s confession, and the truth of God, and hope that it will help some who still cling to the doctrines of demons imagining they are the teachings of Holy Writ.
THE FATHERHOOD OF GOD
This is the cardinal conception which underlies the whole system of demonism. Like every other error, it is simply misplaced truth. In the coming consummation, when the Son hands over the Kingdom to the Father, that God may be All in all, God will indeed be the Father of all. Now the real point in this doctrine is not found in its statement, but in the inference that He is the Father of all at the present time. The effect of this is to obliterate all the distinction wrought by the advent of Christ and the operation of God’s spirit, so that saved and unsaved, believers and unbelievers, reconciled and enemies—all can claim God as their Father, and as a consequence, all the special blessings of God’s children are discarded, and His just judgment of His enemies is repudiated. This spurious “Fatherhood of God” robs us of all the essential truth of revelation. The God it presents is an amiable weakling who regards mankind with sufficient indifference to insure them immunity from discipline, and who has no object or purpose in their creation.
THE BROTHERHOOD OF MAN
Like the second precept of the decalogue, this is but a corollary of the first article of faith in Spiritism. Those who have the same father must be brothers. And, furthermore, they all will receive the same treatment: the same destiny awaits them. God’s purpose and predestination, our faith and sufferings—all these are ignored. The Spiritist claims all men as his spiritual brethren. Mark the word spiritual. All are not brethren by physical ties, for only those of the same family, having the same father are brothers in the physical sphere.
Now how does orthodoxy meet these twin doctrines of demons? The sermon from which the following quotations are made has been reprinted by a representative journal of advanced evangelicalism, which stands true to many of the great facts of our faith. Yet these doctrines of demons are made to emanate from the holy spirit of God! It reads, “The Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man were revealed in the Scriptures long before Spiritualism arose in modern times to give us a New Revelation. Jesus came to reveal the Father, and the Apostle Paul declared that God ‘hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.’”
To whom did Jesus reveal the Father? To the world or to His own disciples? To whom did He say “You are of your father the Slanderer?” True logic would have reasoned that, since our Lord would not allow even the religious Jews the privilege of claiming God as their Father, the Fatherhood of God was a doctrine strenuously denied by Him. And Paul never taught the spiritual unity of mankind, but emphasized its division. The fact that we all sprang from one blood does not make us physical brethren. Far less does it make men spiritual brethren. God created all. He made all. But this is infinitely beneath the filial relationship involved in the Fatherhood of God.
The third article is “Continuous Existence.” We are assured that this is far from a “new revelation,” that was taught in the Scriptures long ago. We are told “Paul said, ‘Whether absent or present, I do always those things that are pleasing in His sight.’” And again, “The words in Revelation, ‘Let him that is holy be holy still, and let him that is filthy be filthy still,’ are words that tell us when the end comes here, whether by death or the coming of the Lord, the life we have settled to is the life in which we shall continue.” In plain words, there is no resurrection. What need is there for it? If the Lord comes we will not die, hence cannot be raised. If we die, we will need neither the resurrection nor the Lord’s coming, for we have “continuous existence!” And not only is this taught in the Bible but it is confirmed by the demons! Of course, the phrase “continuous existence” really is intended to convey the idea of uninterrupted consciousness. Now, while a few ambiguous passages may be wrenched from their context to support such a thought, the Scriptures certainly do not come out clearly on “continuous existence” like the demons. The demons deny the resurrection, and they have so deluded Christendom, that it is most unorthodox to cling to this fundamental of the faith. You cannot hold “continuous existence” and believe in the resurrection unless you degrade it to an unnecessary excrescence on the body of divine truth. Those who are alive cannot be raised from the dead. And how can there be a resurrection of the living?
We are much indebted to the demons for endorsing this doctrine of the church, for their declaration ought to be more than ample to brand it as unscriptural, and to warn us of its seductive nature. We must not expect it to seem unsound. It must appear right. Let us remember that we have to do with seducing spirits, not flagrant offenders against religion or morals or decency.
THE COMMUNION OF SPIRITS
We are assured that “the first three articles of Spiritualism contain nothing new,” but the fourth, “The Communion of Spirits” is “contrary to the word of God.” Yet there is “one case in the Bible of the return of a spirit to this world.” “The only case of the return of a disembodied spirit is that of Samuel.”
Now, if we examine this closely, we will find that the difference between the orthodox view and Spiritism is merely a matter of quantity, not of truth. The demons do not affirm that all do communicate with the dead, but that they can. Now since we are told there is one example in the Bible where this was actually done, the Bible also teaches that “The Communion of Spirits” is possible.
As we hope to have a special article on the Witch of Endor, we will not discuss it at length here, except to point out that if Samuel was dead, and, while dead, was in communication with Saul, then this doctrine of the demons is true! In that case, however, it seems a pity that they have only a single instance to appeal to in all the range of Holy Writ. Moreover, all those passages which speak of the dead as asleep, and even perished, should there be no resurrection, must be revised to conform to this declaration of the demons.
The fifth Article of the Spiritist’s faith ought to lead no one astray who has ever known Christ as his Saviour. Notwithstanding this, the strong insistence on repentance, and works and character, and the prevalence of the probationary idea, has gradually shifted the burden of salvation from the Sin Bearer to the shoulders of the sinner. “Responsibility” is a favorite word in theology and religion but finds no place in the Scriptures. It is interesting to trace back all things to the only One Who is really responsible — God. But the demons, and men whom they have duped, relieve Him of all responsibility in His universe and place it on His creatures.
Personal Responsibility robs us of all the results of Christ’s redemption, repudiates righteousness and reconciliation, and eclipses grace. Like the self-righteousness of the maimcision, it is hardly fit to be cast to the dogs. We stand in Christ, having nothing of our own to mar the effulgence of His favor.
COMPENSATION AND RETRIBUTION HEREAFTER
Concerning this and the succeeding Article of Faith we are told, “These are not new. Both things are taught in the Scriptures.” Is it not staggering to read a sermon against Spiritism calmly commending five out of seven Articles which compose its creed? Where the Scriptural support for “Compensation and Retribution” is found in the Scriptures is difficult to surmise, unless, as usual, we are pointed to the speech of Abraham to the rich man. There, indeed, we have some such doctrine as is here proposed by the demons. In the sixteenth of Luke, we have the Spiritist’s doctrine of Compensation and Retribution succinctly stated. Lazarus had received his evil things on earth, and in hades he got good things to compensate. The rich man had received his good things on earth and suffered in flames to level his account. According to that the poor, the miserable, the diseased, the filthy, are the only ones who dare to look for ease in the future, and that, not by grace, through Christ, but merely as a matter of Compensation. The rich, on the other hand, have no hope, even in Christ, except at the pitiless hand of Retribution. Does it not look as if the Pharisees, (whose teaching the Lord is presenting in this parable) had imbibed this Article of the doctrine of the demons in their day? But how anyone who has known God’s grace in Christ can insist that such a doctrine is taught in the Scriptures passes all comprehension. Suppose we, who believe, receive only what is our due, what would we get? Nothing! And what will we get? All things!
Retribution is a word which is never used in a general way in the Word. The closer we scan God’s judgments the more we are impressed with their salutary nature. They are always the precursor of blessing. The dull and dreadful idea of retribution without any fruit but bitter memories and remorse is foreign to all God’s ways.
So that we are sure that, for the saints, there is infinitely more than Compensation and for the sinner He aims at a result far beyond the meaning of mere Retribution.
PATH OF ENDLESS PROGRESSION
This is the final Article in the creed, and we are assured that it is in perfect harmony with the Bible. No passages are given to support this view. Endless progression sounds much better than ceaseless imperfection, yet the latter is involved in the former, for there can be no progress in perfection. When a man is mature, he ceases to grow. If this is a parable of the growth of the race we can understand something of the goal put before us in the Scriptures. Man peers into the past and dreams of ceaseless progress until the present. He tries to pierce the future and sees nothing but a treadmill where there is “progress” but, as it is endless, it never reaches its goal. He has no commencement and no completion.
God has a definite beginning and predestined consummation. He has an object. He works according to a purpose. There is progress, indeed, but it is not endless. He does not shoot into the air. His arrow reaches its mark. He does not run aimlessly. He reaches His goal. And mark, that, in human history, there is a twofold movement, an ebb and a flow. When man is active there is regress, not progress. The “Path of Endless Progression” of the demons is trod only by human strength. Their faces are all set to the rear. Their feet falter and stumble and fall. They should name it the “Road of Endless Retrogression.”
It is only when God actively intervenes that there is true progress. He not only recovers man from his backsliding but draws him on toward the goal which He has in view.
The progress of man and the goal of God are as diverse as two things can be. Man aims at being a little god on his own account, irrespective of others. He wants to get. His object is to be self-sufficient. God wants to give. He is concerned about His creatures. His goal is to be their All.
In conclusion, let us press this most important fact: The doctrine taught by the demons is “orthodox” to an alarming extent. In other words, the seducing spirits are not confined to so-called “spiritualism.” They have invaded the church and have succeeded in eclipsing the Scriptures. They substitute their own doctrines for the truth. Most of the manifestations parading as gifts of the spirit of God are really due to the obsession of demons. Many of the doctrines set forth in prophetic conferences, as the unadulterated truth are permeated with the teaching of demons. The people of God of all denominations are exhorted to stand by these “great truths” “so rejected in our days,” and “to contend earnestly,” for “fundamental truths,” some of which are the very doctrines of demons against which they desire to shield the saints!
A. E. Knoch
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