“Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.”
John 14:12 (NRSV)
Initial Cautionary Note: This material is written for those who would claim to have, or are exploring Jesus as their Master, have been gifted with psychic abilities, and have already been medically checked for any psychological issues that could be causing such experiences (this should always be firstly taken into account if one is experiencing such matters). It is definitely not “milk” material we’re going to be exploring here, but “meat” (please forgive the non-vegan / vegetarian analogy).
“Psychic” Never has a word raised so many alarm bells in so many Christians who seek to guard against anything that possibly has the whiff of evil attached to it (except maybe “mystic”). Certainly, before I began my research into the Scriptures centring specifically the person of Jesus, the lives of those who lived with and around him, and his words and actions, I would have been running ahead of the crowd in the very opposite direction to anyone mentioning that word; it was nothing more than the purest evil manifested upon humanity – a delusion set up to trap people in Satan’s snare. Sadly this attitude has led many people who have psychic gifts, when encountering the church, to leave due to receiving an uncaring, unloving and/or inadequate response. In conversation with many followers of Jesus, I have noticed the phrase “You’re going to think I’m weird, but…” and then they relay their experiences of the paranormal to me. It is not for me to judge the person for their gift, but for me to listen to them, to God, discern, support and help point them in the right direction to get further help.
Modern Western Christianity has tended to rationalise away the spiritual / paranormal, yet still believes in the person of Jesus, whose life was filled with and exuded paranormal abilities. The Charismatic / Pentecostal movements would claim to hold to a supernatural lifestyle, with prophetic words, healings, manifestations of gold fillings, speaking in tongues etc, but how many would be able to hold a serious conversation regarding psychic abilities? After all, that’s what these expressions of those spiritualities exhibits. I believe it’s due to the “tainting” of the word by well-meaning, but misguided Christian writers, teachers and preachers.
The language of “psychic” to the modern Christian ranges from imagery of charlatan mediums (both on and off screen, exposed by the antics of people like James Randi and Derren Brown), pub psychic nights where you can supposedly meet your great aunt Vera, to stories of dangerous people who practice witchcraft at the dead of night in the woods, sending out evil spirits to attack people.
However, with the great increase in academic level research into psi (Ψ) and the explosion of paranormal television programming in recent times, Christians are often presented in on/offline Christian literature with either of two options:
- ignore anything to do with it and pretend, or reason away its existence, or
- shun anything to do with it as it is purely Satanic and anyone who has presented symptoms of being psychically gifted is forced to repent of that “evil” and renounce anything that was done previously with that gift.
The former would be traditional Western Christianity which allowed part of its spiritual heritage to be eroded by the Enlightenment and Rationalism (this has led many to leave the Church due to their own experiences not being believed and / or receiving an inadequate response). The latter is more mainstream Charismatic / Pentecostal and Reformer type Christianity. This is an over-generalisation of course, and only represents my personal experiences of engaging with the spectrum of Western Christianity. Unfortunately these two options are a false dichotomy, which has often caused many followers of Jesus who have been gifted with psychic abilities much heartache and trouble at being “gifted” with something “evil”.
Certainly there are inherent dangers in engaging in activities which expose one to beings operating in the spiritual realms, and our Guide should always be Scripture and the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Jesus – who will never lead us astray. There have been many followers of Jesus who have experienced a great deal of spiritual hurt in spiritual activities before their decision to follow the Master, and these are not to be overlooked or dismissed as being unimportant. Healing is always required for any harmful effects that have occurred due to engaging in affairs in the spiritual realm. I would highly recommend seeking help from someone called a “spiritual director” who will have been trained in helping those work through their past experiences, and help provide direction for their future.
I also urge caution to those who seek to develop their psychic giftings: concentrate your efforts on your spiritual life in Christ, work out your faith carefully, keep your eyes on Jesus, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness – then your spiritual toolkit will be well developed for working with your psi gifts. Check out the traditions of the Christian Mystics (ancient and modern), learn ancient Christian meditation techniques such as Ignatian meditation, labyrinth, study Scripture with a knowledgeable Christian. Ensure that in your spiritual journey you are accountable to someone more mature who can keep an eye on your progress and help you in difficulties, as well as pray for you on your travels. Many have gone awry and ended up hurting both themselves and other people in seeking to develop their psi giftings without deepening their relationship with God, the source of all gifts. Psychic development before spiritual development leads to an ego-driven application of your gift, which will get you and others hurt by your gift. Developing the spiritual as a foundation for the psychical will lead to a God-centred use of your gift. This applies to any of God’s gifts if we really think about it, including musicianship, preaching and so on.
So, with all those warnings and pieces of advice given, we shall begin exploring Jesus, the true and perfect psychic, who modelled what a Spirit filled life is like, who worked miracles which brought glory to his Father, and who graciously gives gifts to all.
We will be exploring the Scriptures with an open mind and heart to see the wondrous person of Jesus demonstrating what today we’d term telepathy, clairvoyance, mediumship, remote viewing, precognition, apportation, levitation, telekinesis, energy healing and so on, we have to think again about what it means for humans to have been gifted with psychic abilities. Are they purely evil and should be repented of immediately as some would have us believe, or are they something given by God but can, like anything, be used for good or bad purposes? Is there a way to refocus these gifts, and bring glory to our Maker as a result?
By following the Master, one will not go wrong… Our exploration continues in Part Two.
Further research and help can be obtained from these recommended organisations…
There will be those whose objective is simply to feed their already negative attitude towards the psychic and paranormal – to those, I would say that it is the Thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy, especially gifts from God… For every “counterfeit”, there is a “feit”, and it is negative attitudes towards gifted people which have propelled them out of the church and into places which accept their giftings. This material is not written for you and non-helpful / negative-critical comments will be deleted.