By Pam Sheppard
I am not the only one who knows the dangers of inducing an altered state. I found the following statement in a book called “Knowing the Facts about the ASC”. By John Ankerberg and John Weldon:
There are no indications in Scripture that people should enter altered states or trances in order to draw closer to God, a common theme in New Age circles. According to 1 Peter 4: 7 (and other Scriptures), Christians are to be “clear minded and self-controlled” so that they may pray or study Scripture. Thus, the biblical means of spiritual growth and sanctification, e.g. meditation on Scripture, prayer, fasting, “are surely not meant to put us into altered states of consciousness” (2659: 79). Further, as we have argued all along, these states are clearly open doors to the intrusion of demonic spirits.”
THE ALTERED STATE AND THE DENOMINATIONS
I have written extensively about the altered state and the Charismatics. Yet even though the denominational side is different, it can be equally dangerous. Over the last few centuries in the US, particularly the southern bible belt and the migration of Southerners to the north, pagan belief systems and practices got mixed into church dogma for several decades. . For example, in 1979, I joined a denominational church where the members not only frequented root workers to deal with the vicissitudes of life, the founding pastor, a native Caribbean, was also a practicing Obeah warlock. Consequently, witchcraft influences coupled with the fact that most denominational pastors and ministers are also active members of a freemasonry lodge, denominational doorways to Satan are less obvious to pinpoint. Add to this mix the Hispanic influence on religion via the practice of Santeria as well as the pervasive mysticism of Catholicism, and denominational paganism, the denominational religious experience may even equal or surpass the pagan power of the Charismatic Movement.
I have found that the affinity for repetition and the stirring up of emotional outbursts, is the denominational doorway to the altered state. Personally speaking, I have seen preachers who hoop their message have the charismatic capability of transforming a quiet, sedate congregation to enter an emotional frenzy through provoking an ASC. Under the influence of the beat of the music and specific keywords within the lyrics, I have witnessed people literally ” go off”, when a soloist or a lead choir singer repeats Jesus over and over again. It goes from Jesus to JEAH, and then congregants start to literally fall out on or over the back of the pew or jump up into the aisle and do what is called the holy dance. Women dressed with fashionable hats, designer suits and high heels find themselves disheveled, hat and shoes knocked off, rolling around on the church rug. If you ask any of them to give a summary of the sermon, you will undoubtedly find that they cannot remember, as their minds went blank. Simply put, they were in the grips of an altered state of consciousness.
Now the denominational side is different but can be equally dangerous. How does one get into an altered state within a denominational church? Well, one of the ways is through repetition. There is a lot of repetition in traditional denominational worship services. I studied hypnosis decades ago. A part of putting a person into a trance involves repetition and visualization. Think of the songs. Many of them are hypnotic. Check out various preaching styles. When the preacher uses a repetitive cadence, it can cause people to enter an altered state. Repetition coupled with a hypnotic cadence can lead to the stirring up of emotional outbursts. For example, I have seen preachers who hoop their message, cause a quiet congregation to suddenly erupt into an emotional frenzy that provoked an ASC. I have seen people go off, when a soloist or a lead choir singer repeats Jesus over and over again. It goes from Jesus to JEAH, and then attendees start to literally fall out or jump up and do what is called the holy dance. You ask them to give a summary of the sermon and they cannot as their minds have gone blank.
Furthermore, the authors also warn about the influences and effects of paganism upon the modern world:
Altered states also have important commonalities. They can all impair one’s ability to test reality, to think critically and logically or to remember. They create a passive state in which mental events seem to develop on their own and are simply experienced rather that being controlled. Many also weaken emotional restraints, allowing moods to swing from wild jubilation to deep fear and depression. In addition, they can all create perceptual distortions and hallucinations and precipitate unusual bodily sensations like numbness, dizziness, tingling or rushes of energy…. They can make people hypersuggestible, so they are open to many strange beliefs and are easily influenced by the suggestions of other people. Altered states have the singular ability to make all kinds of improbable events seem exceptionally real and significant…. One final effect of altered states is their apparent ability to facilitate or enhance mystical experience … (2659: 69-70).
In conclusion, to develop ASCs is not to participate in a form of higher consciousness or true spirituality, as New Age proponents would have us believe. Rather, it often involves abnormal, regressive states of consciousness—ones particularly conducive to demonic contact and manipulation. The radical change in worldview is characteristically toward the occult, encouraging both occult practices and occult philosophy. The growing acceptance of altered states by millions of people, their use in psychotherapy, medicine, education, and many other fields is a reflection of the growing influence of paganism in our society. (Ankerberg and Weldon)
As evidenced and confirmed by my own experience with the occult back in the mid 70’s, I discovered by practicing the altered state through self-hypnosis and meditation, I opened a path of communication between myself and seducing spirits. I did not know this at the time as the spirits identified themselves as people I knew who had died– those whom I liked and wanted to communicate with. Then a sequence of events started to evolve in both the content and style of the communications, aka channeling. Through automatic writing, I received religious messages pertaining to both Hinduism and Buddhism. Since I was an atheist, I was neither interested or impressed with these prolific religious teachings. In those days, I simply wanted to know my future more than anything else.
My point is that evil spirits need the altered state in order to directly communicate with us. If you are not actively trying to enter an altered state through purposeful practice, YOU CAN ALSO ENTER AN ALTERED STATE TODAY THROUGH VARIOUS FORMS OF CHRISTIAN WORSHIP LIKE PREACHING OR SINGING. . The most obvious practices are tongues as a prayer language , fire tunnels, slain in the spirit, various forms of wild intercession prayer, even some deliverance ministry practices. Yet for the sake of this article, I focus on the art of PREACHING, particularly among the denominations, especially the Baptists, the Pentecostals and ever increasingly, the Methodists.
PREACHING AND AN ASC
The last time I went to church, I had a memorable experience. This denomination had removed my name off the rolls in June 2004. Therefore, I did not know why I was returning to a place the Lord revealed that I must leave in order to be used by Him. Yet somehow, I knew in my spirit that I had the Lord’s permission. As I write this, I realize that God sent me back to the denomination for the last time, to be tempted by the devil. I was aware that the churches in the Northeast had recently been assigned a different bishop so I decided to visit the conference. IT WAS JULY23, 2008, a Wednesday afternoon.So I said to myself, “I will just sell some books.” The Fake Jesus had just been published so I brought some paperbacks with me to sell. The denomination’s annual conference was being held just a short distance from my home. I had an inner leading to attend.
I thought I was walking in on the business meeting but the new bishop had changed the programming. I actually walked in on a sermon.
Looking around, I observed that very few was paying any attention to the preacher, a man I knew well. Yet the Rev. seemed to be preaching directly at me but he did not even know I was there. I felt something grab me in the chest. This “force” was trying to make me respond to the invitation, come from the back and walk down that long aisle. They would think that I was returning to them. Or that I was repenting or something. I did not want to do it but it was like hands were pushing me in the back, I gave in and walked that aisle. The music was playing loudly, there were about 10 ministers and the Bishop behind the altar rail. I was in a TRANCE!!! I SNAPPED OUT OF IT WHEN I WAS ASKED “ARE YOU BRINGING YOUR MINISTRY BACK UNDER US? I CAME TO MYSELF AND HOLLERED OUT. NO!!! I JUST LOVED THE SERMON!
Actually Rev. Washington seemed to be preaching directly at me but he did not even know I was there. I paid particular attention to him because Rev. Washington was actually the only minister out of 100 of them who called to support me within a few days after they removed my name from the rolls under the guise that I did not pay my annual dues of $660. He informed me that in 3 months, I could be re-instated.
So as Rev. Washington was preaching, I felt something grab me in the chest. This “force” was trying to make me respond to the invitation, come from the back and walk down that long aisle. They would think that I was returning to them. Or that I was repenting or something. I did not want to do it but it was like hands were pushing me in the back, I gave in and walked that aisle. The music was playing loudly, there were about 10 ministers and the Bishop behind the altar rail. I was in a TRANCE!!! I SNAPPED OUT OF IT WHEN I WAS ASKED “ARE YOU BRINGING YOUR MINISTRY BACK UNDER US? I CAME TO MYSELF AND HOLLERED OUT. NO!!! I JUST LOVED THE SERMON!
Two days later, the Lord explained what happened to me. IT WAS THE PREACHING THAT PUT ME INTO AN ASC. AS TO THE PRESSURE I WAS FEELING IN MY CHEST, THE PUSH ON MY BACK, THE LORD SPOKE AND SAID. “IT WAS NOT ME.” I KNEW IT WASNT ME. SO IT WAS SIMPLE TO FIGURE OUT THAT IT WAS A SEDUCING SPIRIT AKA A RELIGIOUS EVIL SPIRIT OR DEMON.
When THE HOLY SPIRIT made The next statement, I was literally SHOCKED.. He said, the 3 dreams that you had in 1979 that led you to that church and to that denomination “did not come from ME. I NEVER SENT YOU THERE. NEXT He said, “that same power that came on you that Sunday in September, 1979, which fell on you and brought YOU to your knees, causing you to groan, wail and weep, IS THAT SAME SPIRIT THAT CAME ON YOU 2 DAYS AGO!!! Both times, IT WAS NOT ME!!!!!
SO DON’T SLEEP ON THE DENOMINATIONS. The preaching coupled with the emotional worship of the flesh, can also induce an altered state of consciousness and put you in contact with religious demons!!!!!
In conclusion, this particular experience with its subsequent revelations caused me to humble myself and ask God if I was called to ministry. For I recalled yet a similar experience that had occurred in that very church on the day that I responded to the call to ministry in the summer of ’81. At that time, A power DID come on me. A joyous power! The difference is that it was not sudden. Actually for months, I had received at least 10 signs that clearly revealed that I am one of God’s anointed workers. In more than one of those signs, I was called a prophet when I did not even know what a prophet was.
The Holy Spirit answered my question basically out of the scripture. In other words, look at the fruit. Even though He called me while I was in the denomination, He did not send me there as I had believed for 25 years. –I was not to minister to them, or for them or under their religious authority. In fact, the Holy Spirit only revealed my ministry FOR CHRIST UNTIL AFTER I HAD LEFT THEM!!!!
We must try all things.
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