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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

19 April 2006

Mystics and Mediums

Q: I am a Christian — meaning I believe in God the Father and Jesus the Son of God. Recently, a Christian brother advised that he was going to see a mystic to see why certain strange events were happening to him. What does the Bible say about this?

DivinationA: Unless divination, prediction, and the like were practiced as part of the prophetic office, God condemned them. He specifically forbade Israel any such activity in the both in the Law and in the prophets — one clear statement: “There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a wizard or a necromancer, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)”

HellNote that God calls such things “abominations.” New Testament condemnation isn’t as widespread, but what is there reinforces what the Old Testament records. For instance, Luke wrote that Paul drove “a spirit of divination” out of a slave girl in Philippi. Even though this spirit told the truth about the apostle and his companions, Paul was evidently vexed because the testimony was from a demonic source. See Acts 16:16-40 for the account. This is similar to instances when Jesus forced unclean spirits to be silent about who He was.

ParadiseSince earlier Scriptures link diviners and fortune tellers with sorcery, we should pay attention also to the warnings in Revelation 21 as to who would be barred from the New Jerusalem: “As for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.... Nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (vv. 8, 27)”

The following chapter of Revelation also compares the righteous with those practicing wickedness such as you mention: “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (22:14-15)”

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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