Pentecostalism versus the New Age

Please click here for an episode from Extreme Prophetic about the counterfeit powers called “Psychics, New Age, and the Occult.”


I just finished reading Clifford Wilson and John Weldon’s Occult Shock and Psychic Forces (1980). Before you freak out, it is an Evangelical Christian book on spiritual warfare and deliverance. No, I am not “dabbling” in the occult. I read it to gain more of an understanding of the ways of the devil, and his tactics of deceiving people, in order to sharpen my spiritual discernment. (I have been a practicing and Bible-believing Christian for 12 years. I think I have grown in the Lord since I was saved in 1999. And I would not recommend that new Christians read about spiritual warfare extensively. However, sooner or later, although the topic is morbid, it is practical, and helps Christians to keep wise about the enemy; for “we are not unaware of his schemes” (2 Cor. 2:11). This article is far from a book report, but I just want to share some insights that I have gained from reading this book. First, all I got to say is—wow. I had no idea that the occult has so permeated American society in the past 150 years. But it sure has! Particularly in the form of spiritism—the occult practice and belief system of “contacting the dead” (complete with its Ouija boards, séances, psychics, mediums, ghosts, haunted houses, etc).


There are many false religions, many false gods, and many demons. There are many forms of occultism, mysticism, and witchcraft. There are also many philosophies in the world. There is no way I can cover all of the false religions, as I think that would be unnecessary at this point. I am concerned about the dominant or prevailing form of occultism in modern America and England (in others words, in modern Western society). WHY? Some Christians think it is giving the devil more power to think about these things, or that it produces a fear of demons, and superstition. But the Bible tells us to “test all things” (1 Thess. 5:21)—and that is what I am doing. I want more SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT. Because the more I experience spiritual gifts, revelations, and visions—the more I realize that the spirit world is a battlefield of angels and demons, of truth-tellers and deceivers. The devil is the father of all lies (John 8:44). It is my intent, as a Charismatic Christian, to understand just what these lies are—so that I don’t become duped by a doctrine of the devil in some lying dream or vision. Paul warned against this (1 Tim. 4:1).


I also see now how subtle the devil has been in the occult and psychic realms at counterfeiting the authentic spiritual experiences of Pentecostal/Charismatics. For example, the devil speaks to psychics and mediums through dreams and visions and voices (Jer. 27:9)—so does God and the angels (Num. 12:6). The devil uses psychics to heal people through the laying on of hands (2 Thess. 2:9)—so does God and the angels (Acts 3:6-7) (however, in psychic healing, the sickness merely becomes dormant or is turned into some other sickness). The devil primarily speaks to psychic mediums in the form of the “ghosts of the dead,” whose “revelations” encourage further “spirit contact” with them. This is the sin of spiritism (necromancy) and is explicitly prohibited in Deuteronomy 18:9-13 and Isaiah 8:19-20. Yet, in the liberal churches, with the help of PARAPSYCHOLOGY, this has been embraced as “CHRISTIAN!” (Morton Kelsey, Agnes Sanford, etc.) It is a detestable sin and an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.


The ability to receive revelations through visions and voices are called “words of knowledge” and “spiritual gifts” by the apostle Paul (1 Cor. 12:1-10)—but the mediums call them “psychic powers” and “ESP” and “Extra-Sensory Perception” (and, although they are the devil’s counterfeit of God’s spiritual gifts, the psychics have the view that these powers are “gifts” from God, but that they are “natural” powers of the soul—rather than powers from the Holy Spirit coming into the man from God; the psychics view their ESP as “natural talents,” not as external supernatural powers given by God; but, in all actuality, they are demonic powers that come from the demonic spirits that are inhabiting their bodies; and have come into them through the practice of yoga or some other form of psychic meditation).

I also found out that some Christians have bought into the idea that spiritual gifts are natural psychic powers of the soul (ESP)—but actually this is an occult teaching (a “doctrine of devils”–1 Tim. 4:1). Although he was a great Evangelical Christian teacher on many subjects, Watchman Nee’s The Latent Power of the Soul (1972) actually buys into the idea of natural psychic powers. However, he says, no good Christian should ever use them. (And this leads to an almost Cessationist or non-Charismatic viewpoint, albeit confused with psychic concepts. Nee borrowed his ideas from a woman named Jessie Penn-Lewis, who was involved in the Welsh revival.) From a Biblical perspective, however, there is no such thing as innate or natural psychic powers of the soul. When the people saw Peter heal the crippled man, he said, “Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” (Acts 3:12). Supernatural powers come from outside of man, and are given to man, from either God or demons. Pentecostal/Charismatics receive their supernatural powers (spiritual gifts) from God (the baptism in the Holy Spirit) and the ministry of angels. Psychics receive their powers (ESP) from their spirit guides (demons that pretend to be the “ghosts of the dead”); however, many psychics are self-deceived, because they believe what their spirit guides tell them: that their psychic powers are simply “natural talents” from God.


There is much more that I could go into, but if nothing else I wanted to expose and highlight the fact that there are two major streams of supernatural religion in the West:

(1) Psychicism, or the New Age spiritism of today, led by psychic healers and mediums, and finds its origins in the spiritualist movement of the mid 1800s (with the séances).

(2) Pentecostalism, or Charismatic Christianity in general, led by healing evangelists and prophets, and finds its origins in the Azusa Street revival of 1906.

But the supernatural battle goes much further back in history than just 150 years or so. I am merely looking at the spiritual war going on in America and the West—in modern times. It’s really the ancient battle between God and satan, of authentic Charismatic Christianity and the counterfeit form of “Christianity” called Gnosticism. The Gnostics and the Charismatic Christians (Catholic saints, Quakers, Pentecostals, etc) have always been at odds with one another throughout church history. Their doctrines differ, but their powers appear to be similar, and unless we Pentecostals and Charismatics learn how to discern the differences, we will be deceived by the New Age psychicism of today. We must wrestle our way to the truth: for “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers” (Eph. 6:12, KJV).

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