Monday, January 31, 2011

Ghost Debate: Focusing On the Positives

The recent debate over the word ghost being in the Bible should be seen as just that - a debate – and  a minor one at that. We are in agreement on far more than the one issue in which we are not.  We are all passionate in defending our positions, and most of us love discussing our ideas and beliefs.  That is a good thing.  We need more of that instead of blindly following some set line or approach.  Debate and discussion needs to be passionate and needs to occur - otherwise we don't ever come to a point of "owning" our faith.  It's our responsibility to take what has been given us and to incorporate it, through free will and choice, and shape it into a strong, self-aware relationship with Christ that we can defend and call our own.  In this current debate, what should not be lost or forgotten is that we all agree on most things by far.  The preacher and I have been in touch and we are united strongly in saying that spiritual activity and demonic oppression is on the rise, and that Christians everywhere need to be aware of it and ready to deal with it. Coming against Satan and his kingdom, who is real and is increasingly active in our own back yard, is what is most important. 

This means that we all need to be not only aware, but spiritually ready with a strong faith and the necessary empowering of the Holy Spirit to deal with the growing menace. This preacher, who recently conducted a three-part series on paranormal activity at his Church in Natchez, contacted me by email.  He is a good friend of mine and I consider him one of the best teachers of scripture in our area.  I also recently phoned him for help in a situation with someone I needed help with, and he was a big help.  We simply disagree over one issue, and that is whether or not the spirits of deceased people can make contact with the living. Yes, it is true that we are both convinced that our position is correct.  I also want to say that no one knows for sure – in my opinion the Bible is not super clear on the subject.  So, no one should be extremely adamant and dogmatic about this topic, including me.  I have tried to make that clear in my writing on the topic, that this issue is a minor one in the grand scheme of things theologically and biblically.  My approach is to offer an explanation for the millions upon millions of sightings and experiences that human beings have, and that they are not illusions or every single one of them demonic.  Another goal of mine has been to force people to tighten up their definitions.  “Paranormal activity” is what Christians specialize in – iron axe heads floating, people being raised from the dead, other people vanishing, seas being parted, etc.  Christianity is the ultimate paranormal belief system! 

I think it is a good thing that both sides of the issue have been presented, and people can read and decide for themselves whether ghosts are real or imagined, sometimes passed-on humans and not always demons, or not.  The fact is, both viewpoints have their strengths and weaknesses – as is true with almost any position on anything.  The preacher graciously emailed me his three sermons of the series and I strongly agree with 99.9% of what he said.  Spiritual warfare is something that both he and I are very aware of that is lacking among most Christ followers.  The fact that he and I agree on virtually everything in the area of spiritual warfare and “paranormal activity” should be the positive focus, not the one disagreement.

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