Part 1: Making no distinction between Victorian channeling writers of yore and today's Christian authors
Part 3: Walsch, Young, and Beth Moore: ungodly channelers all (Part 3)
Conclusion: How do Christian authors end up channeling spirits and producing books from them? Pride
In part 1 of the comparison between the Victorian spiritist's automatic writing and today's certain Christian authors receiving 'Divine' revelation by invisible force, I had asked "How is receiving a poem through automatic writing after a seance through a spirit guide any different from holing up in a cabin, having a long conversation with God and writing down by invisible force the 'Christian' doctrines that are then published to today's fervent acclaim?"
I laid the historical groundwork to answer this question, with quotes from famous authors who have received written works from the spirit world through automatic writing. Automatic writing is really modern ghostwriting at its most literal form.
I had said that it is easy to look at WB Yeats and note that having received an entire poem (The Second Coming) in a trance while his hand was being used by an invisible force he ascribes to a spirit guide and say "that's demonic." I had wondered why people do not look more closely at some of today's authors who use the exact same methods and come to the same conclusion, "that's demonic." Here are three popular Christian-ish authors who have revealed in interviews that they use the same method, although it goes by a different name now. We no longer hold a seance, call up a spirit guide, and allow our hand to be used as an automatic pen. These authors are today's Christian mystics engaged in receiving divinely inspired writings in toto after a lengthy bouts of contemplative prayer, usually in seclusion, and are yet said to have a special and close relationship with God because they have done this.
Here are the three authors. I use their examples in order from least Christian to most Christian. Neale Donald Walsch, William P. Young, and Beth Moore.
In 1996 Neale Donald Walsch realized his life was a mess. His relationships weren't working. His health wasn't good. He got fired from his job. He woke up one night just angry, really frustrated, and wrote down what was on his mind. God answered. He then had successive conversations with God. These chats became nine bestsellers. Walsch denies his books have been channeled into him, but this is how he explained to the NY Times how his books came about:
"In the spring of 1992...an extraordinary phenomenon occurred in my life. God began talking with you. Through me. Let me explain. I was very unhappy during that period, personally, professionally, and emotionally, and my life was feeling like a failure on all levels. As I’d been in the habit for years of writing my thoughts down in letters...I picked up my trusty yellow legal pad and began pouring out my feelings. This time...I decided to write a letter to God. It was a spiteful, passionate letter, full of confusions, contortions, and condemnation. And a pile of angry questions....To my surprise, as I scribbled out the last of my bitter, unanswerable questions and prepared to toss my pen aside, my hand remained poised over the paper, as if held there by some invisible force. Abruptly, the pen began moving on its own. I had no idea what I was about to write....Out came....Do you really want an answer to all these questions, or are you just venting? ... Before I knew it, I had begun a conversation. ... and I was not writing so much as taking dictation. ... Often the answers came faster than I could write, and I found myself scribbling to keep up. When I became confused, or lost the feeling that the words were coming from somewhere else, I put the pen down and walked away from the dialogue until I again felt inspired--sorry, that's the only word which truly fits--to return to the yellow legal pad and start transcribing again."
He was taking dictation, physically being used by an entity from the other side to write about God. Sorry Mr Walsch, that's channeling. It is also called automatic writing. And therefore anything that comes from the session should be looked upon with extreme suspicion and likely should be disregarded out of hand. And yet the series of books, "Conversations With God" was a huge bestseller. Our church folks have no discernment today. Sadly.
In 2008, William P. Young wrote a story for his kids about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit that his wife encouraged him to publish. It became the runaway bestseller The Shack.
Though Young is not as specific as Walsch, Moore, Yeats, Kipling or other automatic writers as to the exact mechanism of the automatic writing, he does state that the book was generated by whispers from God, dreams, and written pads of conversations he had with Him. "His book, The Shack was birthed from “conversations” and notes he would occasionally write during his 45 minute commutes to work on a commuter train, or from deep thought. “I had a number of those rather ugly yellow pads full of bits of conversations. Sometimes, I would wake up in the middle of the night in the middle of a conversation and grab a notepad to try and remember,” he says."
Christian apologist Norman Geisler wrote of The Shack's origins by quoting from The Shack's afterword, "In the final section of the book titled “The Story behind THE SHACK,” he reveals that the motivation for this story comes from his own struggle to answer many of the difficult questions of life. He claims that his seminary training just did not provide answers to many of his pressing questions. Then one day in 2005, he felt God whisper in his ear that this year was going to be his year of Jubilee and restoration. Out of that experience he felt lead to write The Shack. According to Young, much of the book was formed around personal conversations he had with God, family, and friends (258-259)." Toward the end of writing the book, Mr Young had said that he spent one weekend writing four chapters, and one chapter, came out whole and he never edited it.
Beth Moore is a Christian teacher and writer who is currently very popular. The most visible of the trio (the trio being Walsch of Conversations with God, Young of The Shack, and Moore) her method of producing her written works are remarkably similar to them both, and also to the writers mentioned in the part 1 of this series, such as Kipling and Yeats who were admitted Spiritists engaging in automatic writing.
Beth Moore, from 'Believing God' said: "What God began to say to me about five years ago, and I’m telling you it sent me on such a trek with Him, that my head is still whirling over it. He began to say to me, ‘I’m gonna tell you something right now, Beth, and boy you write this one down, and you say it as often as I give you utterance to say it: My Bride is paralyzed by unbelief. My Bride is paralyzed by unbelief.’ And He said, ‘Startin’ with you.’” God says, “and boy you write this one down”????? "
She states in the Believing God DVD: “You know what He told me not too long ago? I told you when I first began this whole concept, He first started teaching it to me about five years ago, and He said these words to me: ‘Baby, you have not even begun to believe Me. You haven’t even begun!’ You know what He said just a few days ago? ‘Honey, I just want you to know we’re just beginning.’ Oh, glory! That meant I had begun. Hallelujah! But He was telling me, ‘When this ends, we ain’t done with this. Honey, this is what we do for the rest of your life.’ And He said those words to me over and over again: ‘Believe Me. Believe Me. And I hope it’s starting to ring in your ears, over and over again, Believe Me.’”
In her book "When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, in the preface she states,
Now here is the question. Beth Moore says that she holed up in a cabin by herself, and a written work poured out, emerging complete and not by her own hand, so why DON'T say it is not of Godly origin? How is it different when Kipling says "My Daemon was with me in the Jungle Books, Kim, and both Puck books and good care I took to walk delicately, lest he should withdraw. I know that he did not because when those books were finished they said so themselves..." from what Moore says: "When the message of the book was complete, in His estimation, not my own"?? In both cases, disembodied spirits were telling the authors what to write and when to stop!
How is it any different when Yeats says the writing emerged from an invisible force channeled automatically through his hand, and Moore says that she was 'compelled by God to put ink to paper with a force unparalleled'?? In both cases their physical bodies were used by a disembodied spirit to write things down and in both cases they felt like they could not resist the force!
How is it any different when Catholic Mystic Hildegard of Bingen says "And I spoke and wrote these things not by the invention of my heart or that of any other person, but as by the secret mysteries of God I heard and received them in the heavenly places" and Moore saying "Before God tells me a secret, He knows "up front I’m going to tell it! By and large, that’s our “deal.” (Beth Moore, Praying God’s Word, pgs 1-2). Or when Hildegard said she heard a voice say "write what you see and hear" and Moore saying "He began to say to me, ‘I’m gonna tell you something right now, Beth, and boy you write this one down, and you say it as often as I give you utterance to say it..." In both cases, the women were being directed to write what the spirit said, and both were told by a disembodied spirit that they were recipients of secrets extant of the bible but were doctrinally important just the same!
Yet in all the former cases we dismiss the experience from Yeats, Kipling, and Hildegard, easily detecting that they were of demonic origins. Yet we accept Moore's writings from that same source and by the same method without question. Why? Why is it like this?
"He silences the lips of trusted advisers, and takes away the discernment of elders." (Job 12:20)
"The days are coming," declares the Sovereign LORD, "when I will send a famine through the land--not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD." (Amos 8:11).
"Calamity upon calamity will come, and rumor upon rumor. They will try to get a vision from the prophet; the teaching of the law by the priest will be lost, as will the counsel of the elders." (Ezekiel 7:26)
Clarke's Commentary explains-- "Then shall they seek a vision - Vision shall perish from the prophet, the law from the priest, and counsel from the ancients. Previously to great national judgments, God restrains the influences of his Spirit. His word is not accompanied with the usual unction; and the wise men of the land, the senators and celebrated statesmen, devise foolish schemes; and thus, in endeavoring to avert it, they hasten on the national ruin. How true is the saying, Quem Deus vult perdere, prius dementat. "Those whom God designs to destroy, he first infatuates."
If you are infatuated with The Shack, stop. If you are infatuated with Beth Moore, quit. I cannot say more strongly that we all need to pray for discernment in these days just prior to national judgment, we need to seek the truth, not automatically generated spirit writings that offer special secrets or additional insight apart from the bible.
"And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment," (Philippians 1:9)
John MacArthur has written over 150 books. He has preached expositionally from the pulpit at Grace Community Church for 43 years. I would say he is an elder of the faith. In a Q&A session at the conclusion of the Truth Matters Conference he was asked: "What is your perspective that the Holy Spirit leads us by nudging us, or whispering to us or leading through dreams, things like that?"
MacArthur: "Well, I think the Holy Spirit does lead us, but there is no way to perceive that that's happening. I don't have a red light that goes on in my head that goes around and around when the Holy Spirit is leading. I don't know when the Holy Spirit is leading or when I'm following my own impulses or my own desires, or whatever. I have no mechanism to know that. But in retrospect I see it, and I categorize that as the Providences of God. ... For example the Friday they brought me a big list of places they want me to speak, and what did I do? Did I go into a trance and say OMMMM or some see if I can induce the Holy Spirit to know what to do? No. I simply looked at the list and thought, I can't do that one, and I couldn't do that one, and oh, that one looks doable. You know what would happen, if I am open and want to do God's will it is amazing how in retrospect that I can look back and say that it was absolutely critical I be there...
"There is no mechanism that we possess that tells us at the moment when the Holy Spirit is leading us in some supernatural way but that in retrospect we can look back and discern by the Providences of God as it unfolded. ... I'm not interested in the mystical stuff. I don't expect the Holy Spirit to give me special impulses or special revelations."
Interviewer Phil Johnson added, "The mistake a lot of Charismatics make is looking for special revelation when God doesn't lead us by giving us new special revelation. He leads us by Providence but He is just as active in leading us."
The mistake that people like Beth Moore and her followers make is that when special revelation is absent, they believe that God is NOT working, that He is NOT leading. So on the one hand we have a preacher of 50 years who says he has no special direct, auditory, or experiential connection to God nor the Holy Spirit that delivers personal direction to him, nor any mechanism that alerts him to when they are working. And when he writes a book he studies, reads, writes, edits, passes it to his circle of editors for revision and goes around again. And on the opposite end of the scale we have Beth Moore breathlessly saying that God "whisked her to Wyoming" where wholly perfect books are delivered through her hand whilst she is having lively conversations in complete sentences with the Spirit.
You choose which is the more likely the truthful Godly experience...and which is not.