The Two Opposing "Kingdoms"

From Chapter 3 of  A Twist of Faith

When Pat was little, Jesus seemed so near. But that feeling of closeness faded when she reached high school. It wasn't that she lacked interest; she just had so many other things to explore: Egyptian and Mayan mythology, ancient mystery religions, Greek and Roman goddesses....  She read books about mysterious people like Edgar Cayce, the "sleeping prophet" who could "see" and heal the sick from miles away.  Miracles like that never happened in her church! But out there, in those mystical realms, there seemed to be something more -- a dimension of spiritual power and knowledge beyond what the Bible taught. The possibilities fascinated her. 

College entrance opened new doors to spiritual discoveries. Each of the world's religions seemed to have something to offer, and the options were endless. How could she pick and choose what fit her needs -- and what could be mixed with her Christian faith? Each new path deepened her curiosity.

In 1980 her mother died. The ache and loneliness that followed the funeral stirred a longing for the loving comfort Pat had known long ago with Jesus. That longing drew her home to her widowed father -- and back to church.

But the magical forces Pat had studied in her college days still tugged at her heart. She couldn't forget Edgar Caycee. His form of spiritism and re-incarnation seemed so compassionate and Christ-like. So did Buddhism. Perhaps her old biblical boundaries were too narrow. After all, Caycee really did receive supernatural insights from the spirit world. Maybe she could try to make the same kind of contacts--even talk with her mother. Or -- perhaps her mother would return in some other body? Either way, they would find each other.

One night she heard an audible voice speak her name. "Pat", it said. She was standing outside near a street lamp waiting for a bus. "Pat!" It said it again, and again. Something compelled her to turn her head toward the north, and suddenly she saw a ball of bright light flash along the high wires above the sidewalk. It shot across the street and shattered into many small lights.

What kind of "sign and wonder" was this? Could it have been Jesus? Pat felt more frightened than thrilled. But the spirit that had spoken to her stayed. It kept affirming her, told her she was special, and did nothing else that was scary -- at least not for a while.   

A few months later, Pat found a sick cat. She knelt down to pet it and felt a large lump on his chest. Urged by her new spirit, she put her hands over the lump. "Heal!" she commanded several times. The next day the cat walked into her yard. She felt its chest. The lump was gone.  This was a miracle! Wow!  She did it! The healing had come through her hands. She felt wonderful, powerful... as if she could cure anyone, anytime.  She named the cat "Angel".

She went inside and tried her healing power on her own cancer-ridden little cat, Toby. But it didn't work. Toby died. Pat felt sad and confused.

The voice began to direct her spiritual training. It prompted her to pick up a New Age magazine, to focus on a name that "shone out" from one of its pages, and to contact one of several people who would help "enlighten" her. Soon her spiritual teachers were opening doors into that vast twilight world of hypnotic visions and occult dreams. She began to "see" fairies, witch covens, pyramids and the glories of the mythical Atlantis.

In one of her visions, she was part of a mystical ceremony. Someone in a long robe gave her grain to eat and wine to drink, a cloak to wear, and a crown of flowers for her head. People from all kinds of cultures were "praying to some deity and placing their gifts on a table illumined by a bright light." Angels, "handsome creatures with wings," flew in and out.

"It was an initiation to something," explained her spiritual guide later.

To heal her from what her guide called her "traumatic past lives", he taught her to alter her consciousness through meditation and self-hypnosis. One such meditation opened her "eyes" to a spiritual being seated on a crystal throne atop a mountain. During another vision, a beautiful woman came toward her with arms wide open. Frightened, Pat pulled back, and the spirit woman turned away from her. Could her fear have angered the spirit woman? Pat wondered -- and worried.

Other people introduced her to the powers of crystals and Native American shamanism. She let her hair grow long and became a vegetarian. Meditating with a group of friends inside a circle of stones one night, she saw signs in the sky: some star-shaped clouds and a cross. What did it mean? She felt confused. The intense sense of peace with the universe -- a feeling she so often enjoyed in the beginning -- became rare and fleeting.     

The spirit inside Pat seemed increasingly possessive. Friendly and affirming at first, it now governed her every move. The initial voice was joined by other voices that talked to her day and night. They told her when to  leave her house, when to cross the street, where to stand on the subway, and what to read. She would call out to God for help, but reading the Scriptures was not an option. The voices refused to let her go near her Bible. She obeyed. What else could she do? Disobedience always intensified the oppression.

She could no longer hold a job, nor sleep peacefully through the night. Her new life of therapy sessions, hypnotic exercises, confusing visions and harassing voices were taking their toll. Things might go well for a few weeks, then... "crash. I guess I would need a hypnosis fix," she explained.

By 1988, Pat knew she needed help -- but not from her spirits or New Age friends. She prayed again to the Shepherd she had known as a child. She asked for peace from the voices that oppressed her. And God, who had never stopped loving her, answered her prayer.

Some Christian friends -- one was with the Christian Research Institute -- invited her to a seminar on the New Age Movement. The speaker, Constance Cumbey, seemed to understand Pat's pain. For  two hours, the well-known author explained the truth about Jesus Christ and the terrors of the occult.

"I cried," said Pat, remembering the demons' hatred for the Bible. "I went into shock, and feared for my life."

A few days later a pastor prayed for her deliverance, and she was freed from the demonic spirits that had controlled her life. She accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior and received the Holy Spirit.  Everything became new and different. For the first time in her life, she could understand the Bible.[iv]  Now God was speaking to her!  "You are precious to me and I love you,"[v] He told her. She knew it was true.

She clung to the promise in John 8:31: "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." The Truth had turned out to be a wonderful Friend who not only loved her and gave her a wonderful Christian husband. He would also keep her safe through the battles ahead. She would need that protection, for the demonic realm doesn't release its victims graciously.

Pat's transformation is described in Colossians 1:13-14.

"He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love...." 

Two powers, two rulers... The greater belongs to God, the King who loves His people more than any earthly king ever could. The lesser is ruled by Satan -- but only as long as God permits. Both promise peace, love, unity, and power, but only one can satisfy. The other keeps its victims on a tantalizing string: always searching, never finding.

Feminist faith in the powers of darkness is based on a person's feelings and experience. In her book Women at the Well, Kathleen Fischer summarizes the feminist view, 

"Attentiveness to a person's experience is, of course, central.... What a feminist perspective adds to this emphasis is belief in the authority of women's experience, confidence that we are engaged in a new encounter with the divine through that experience, and the conviction that it is a norm for the truthfulness of the tradition."[7] 

In other words, a woman's experience, not God's own revelation, determines the truthfulness of a belief.  If something feels good, sounds loving, and seems empowering, it must be right. Wrong! Few seekers heed the warning in Jeremiah 17:9:

"The heart is deceitful above all things.... Who can know it?"

God's truth doesn't matter to those who put their faith in feelings. A leader at the Minnesota Re-imaging conference described the new faith well: "This is not about making sense at all. It is about honoring a process, an imaginative process, a new way of thinking."[8] Then she led the 2200 participants in a "scribbling" exercise designed to free them from their old rational ways of thinking, which blocks their freedom to re-imagine God. It also trained them to resist their conscience and inner warnings.  Just picking up their crayons and scribbling on the paper tablecloths would start the process.  "Make a mark, any mark you want on the paper," urged the leader. "Try again..."

There's nothing wrong with having fun scribbling on tablecloths. But the instructions reached far beyond the simple scribbling time and prepared the women for the pagan suggestions and occult rituals ahead:    

"Some of you have this tiny voice inside that says, 'This is silly. You can't do this.' Well, welcome! That's the inner critic. And we have to deal with that inner critic.... So in big letters... write down secretly all those words that would keep you from enjoying this. Do it now. . .  tear it [the words] out and throw it on the floor. . .. Or take a crayon and scrub them out. Banish them!"[9]

Remember the story about the Emperor's new clothes?  The sneaky tailor talked the emperor into buying a phony suit of clothes by telling everyone that the Emperor's elegant new outfit would be invisible to fools.  Afraid to be called a fool, no one dared admit to seeing nothing but their bare-skinned ruler.  On the day of the parade, they all applauded the imaginary suit -- all, that is, except one little boy. He hadn't heard the rules (and probably wouldn't have cared), so he shouted to the crowd, "He is wearing nothing at all!"

Like the tailor, Satan makes good use of our imagination. He doesn't hesitate to stir our minds to "see" imagined gods or bright beams of light or ourselves as goddess. He delights in focusing our hearts and prayers on sweet images of angels or a new Jesus rather than on the One who made us. Nothing helps him separate us from God more than today's smorgasbord of spiritual images and forces that promise wisdom and power without accountability.   

Millions are ready to listen. Though most of the women at the Re-imagining conference belonged to mainline churches, they had little resistance to the kinds of occult suggestions that beckoned them. Told to ignore the "inner voice" of their Bible-trained conscience, they imagined "new" realities and embraced new mystical experiences. They left the conference with distorted Scriptures, old truths re-interpreted to affirm feminist visions. 

The path chosen by Pat and others headed for the Kingdom of God usually lead in the opposite direction. Notice the difference: 

Basis for Faith

In God's Kingdom

In the Feminist Vision

The Bible

Imagination (or experience)

Spirit-given insights into truth

Experience (or imagination)

Experiences that affirm Scriptures

Selected Bible verses that affirm the experience

To see the conclusion to this chapter, click on A Twist of Faith

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