Whether or not practitioners accept the categories, the data point
unmistakably to the conclusion that the essence of occult practice
constitutes a trafficking with demons. From this reality flow a number
of other concerns: idolatry, spiritual deception, the likelihood of
possession, psychological and physical harm, and the immoral, ethically
consequential teachings that inevitably accompany demonic involvement or
revelations. Our purpose is to simply document that God does indeed warn
against the occult.
God teaches that spiritual warfare is a reality (Ephesians 6:10-18; 2
Corinthians 2:11; 1 Peter 5:8) and that supernatural manifestations are
not to be accepted uncritically but to be tested by the Word of God (1
John 4:1; Revelation 2:2; Acts 17:10-12; Deuteronomy 18:20-22; Matthew
24:24, etc.). Scripture also speaks of the reality of a personal devil
and myriads of demons who should be regarded as cunning enemies of both
the believer in Christ and the nonbeliever (John 8:44; 13:27; Matthew
6:13; 9:34; 12:24; Luke 8:12; 13:16; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:13;
2 Thessalonians 2:9; Acts 16:16-18; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 11:3; 2 Timothy
2:26). Indeed, one of the devilís tactics is to masquerade as an "angel
of light" and a servant of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
The Scripture also warns that false prophets are linked to evil
spirits and that there are "doctrines of demons" (1 John 4:1; 1 Timothy
4:1); that there is great power in the occult (Isaiah 47:9); that Satan
is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4); that the whole world lies
in the power of this evil one (1 John 5:19); that demons work through
people by giving them psychic abilities (Acts 16:16-19; Exodus 7:11,22;
8:7); and that Satan and his hordes are active in the affairs of the
planet (Ephesians 2:2; Daniel 10:12,13,20).
In many instances, Scripture explicitly cites Satan or his demons as
the reality behind occult involvement, idolatry, and false religion
(Deuteronomy 32:16,17; 1 Corinthians 10:19-21; Psalm 106:35-40; 1
Timothy 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:9,10; Acts 16; 16-19, etc.). This is one
reason why God considers occult activity in virtually all its forms as
an abomination (Deuteronomy 18:9-12)óbecause it links those for whom
Christ died to evil spirits who are His enemies. Thus, occult
involvement will eventually lead to judgment for those who refuse to
forsake it (Revelation 22:15; 2 Chronicles 33:6).
Scripture condemns by name spiritism, mediumism and necromancy
(Deuteronomy 18:9-12; 2 Chronicles 33:2,3,6); various forms of sorcery
and divination (Deuteronomy 18:9-12; Hosea 4:12; Exodus 22:18; Isaiah
44:25; 29:8,9; Ezekiel 21:21; e.g., astrology, Deuteronomy 17:2-5; 2
Kings 17:15-17; Isaiah 47:9-14); and magic (Acts 13:8; 19:16-19; Isaiah
In their numerous forms these basic categories (magic, spiritism,
divination, and sorcery) cover almost the entire gamut of occult
activity. But the irreducible reality of all occultism is spiritism.
[Spiritism]... is one of the oldest known forms of religious
expression. It is also one of the deadliest where the certainty of
divine judgment is concerned.... It is terminal error, since it
demonstrates not only an active rejection of God, but an active
embrace of his replacement. It is, as the prophets put it, "spiritual
adultery," carried to completion. It is faithlessness fulfilled.
The extent to which a society endorses or indulges in widespread
spiritism, therefore, is something of a spiritual thermometer. It can
give us a rough estimate of our collective state of spiritual
health.... The Bible levies its judgment against spiritism at two
levels. It treats spiritism as a symptom of social decline as well as
an act of personal culpability.
All sin provokes Godís judgment. Advanced or developed sin provokes
it more directly and immediately. As a social symptom, spiritism
represents the final stage of a long process of spiritual decay. It is
the terminal phase of our flight from God. It is terminal because
Godís judgment on spiritism is not meant to admonish or correct, but
to cleanse and extirpate.
On an individual scale, the practice of spiritism is terminal
because it represents an ultimate confusion of values. It trades
humanityís privilege of intimacy with God for sheer fascination with a
liar who secretly hates all that is human and all that humans hold
In 20 years of studying spiritistic contacts and literature and the
effects on the lives of spiritists, we can confirm this view
Clearly, the Scripture warns against the occult. And just as clearly,
those who practice it disobey what Godís Word commands. In essence,
occult activity courts deception and betrayal from the demonic realm as
well as judgment from God for engaging in it, and thereby promotes
spiritual evil under the guise of legitimate religious practice.
Brooks Alexander, "What is
SpiritualismÖ and Why Are They Saying Those Awful Things About It?"
(Berkeley, CA: Spiritual Counterfeits Project, 1986), p. 3.