DaveB: “We will have to disagree on that. The spirits must be tested - against something!”
You don’t think my Scripture-based threads in the pro-universalism section provide just such a test?
DaveB: “We will have to disagree on that. The spirits must be tested - against something!”
Interesting, yes; convincing, no.
BTW I never welcomed you to the forum - I do now, and I’m glad to see your comments and ideas!
Here’s an article today, I received in my email from Guideposts. I’ll share it here for reflection:
5 Lessons, Great article Randy. Thanks, people on this forum may want to start to realize these ides.
(5) Lesson 5 from the Guideposts article posted by Holy Fool refers to Bruce Van Natta’s NDE. I recently haard him speak and asked him questions afterwards. His testimony is all over the internet in various lengths, but here is a succinct short version:
His abdominal area was crushed by a truck to within 1 inch on one side. Angels helped him survive the loss of almost all his intestines. Doctors couldn’t believe he was still alive. No one had ever survived the severing of 5 arteries and he should have bled to death. Then Bruce Carlson, a man Bruce Van Natta had met only once, felt called by God to fly from NY to Wisconsin to pray for Bruce. The result? An astounding healing miracle in which new intestines were created so Bruce could avoid starvation, digest food, and become a healthy fit witness to the power of the Holy Spirit to heal and guide.
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (Jn.14:6)
I am the gate. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture.
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies.
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
Yo need to read my thread on Jesus’ universalist teaching. Jesus can be “the Way” without everyone realizing this or knowing how it applies to them.
I assume you are referring to Inclusivism:
Which many Christians adhere to.
Some of your recent posts remind me of a very interesting & excellent poster from Christianforums.com.
I also noticed that on your summary page it says that you were invited by Alex Smith.
(6) Our small city’s former school superintendent shared with me this ADC involving his niece Tami… Tami died at age 19 from an unspecified illness while a student at Washington State U. Then she often appeared in full-bodied ADCs to her Mom until one day she appeared only from the waist up and lamented, “I’m sorry Mom. I’m about to progress beyond the range in which I can communicate with you in this way. So this is the last time I will appear to you.” That Christmas a family reunion, including Tami’s Mom, gathered at this superintendent’s local home. His wife asked him to drive to a local mini-mart to buy some eggs and milk. His change included a dollar bill and some coins.
He was astounded by what he saw on the dollar bill. Written on it by a black marker was a smiley face signed, “Tami!” The far more common spelling of this name is “Tammy.” This miracle greatly inspired the faith of this Christian family and assured them that Tami was alive and was just dramatically saying “Goodbye” with this paranormal Christmas present.
As everyone probably knows…I subscribe to the Patheos weekly Catholic and Evangelical newsletters. There is a Catholic article today…that has some interesting stuff - relevant here:
Let me quote a bit:
The most famous philosophers in our history have claimed that the way one thinks about death and what happens afterwards reflects the way one thinks about everything else.
I’ve seen this in my study of the ancient mystics, who lived close to death and often focused on it to an alarming degree. Catherine of Siena longed for martyrdom with nearly every prayer on her lips.
St. Francis—who had seen so much death from war and disease—wrote a prayer of praise near the end of his life to his beloved “Sister Death.”
And then there’s Julian of Norwich, an anchorite and mystic in fourteenth century England. Many scholars believe Julian probably lost a husband and at least one child in the Black Death epidemics. The plague likely decimated not only her family but her community as well.
(7) On the subject of Shared Death Experience, George Noory’s recent interview first with Dr. Raymond Moody and then with Dr. Sharon Prentice is “must listening:”
Sharon joined her husband in an interim locale as he died. My only quibble with her new belief system is her cavalier dismissal of hellish planes. She draws this inference from her experience of how loving and compassionate she experiences God to be…
(8) I also should mention what Mike told my prayer partner Gary the other day. I don’t know Mike. He is not a religious man and lives in a town just south of me. He told Gary that, while sitting in his parked car, a man staggered towards him and then fell, hitting his head on the pavement. Mike cried out for someone to call 911 and then saw the man’s spirit leave his body. Oddly, he suddenly knew some basic facts about his stranger’s life like how many children he had and facts about his wife. The man died. Mike is troubled because this unexpected encounter introduced him to a spiritual dimension that he did not believe existed.
In what way are ADC & NDE accounts effective in “evangelistic witnessing”? In convincing people that there is a God, life after death & postmortem consequences (good or bad depending on their premortem life & or beliefs)?
BTW, there is a member at the following forum who posts about NDEs. Such as, for example, the following thread he created. He says:
“I personally believed so firmly in the Soul Sleep Theory
until reading about near death experiences like this.”
“Does his description of a hell…
fit with what you were taught?”
I posted a Topic (Listening to Angels) about two weeks ago which described a NDE/OBE experience I had in the late 1970s. It has been responded to by the magnificent three. I placed it in the Essays category since that was what it was. I guess nobody loves me… sob. So, I’ll never know if my experience will ever have any evidential value for Apologetics.
It’s OK, I’ll try and handle it.
I have just read your essay and have 2 reactions:
(1) A well written piece of work to which I have one disagreement: you claim that only God knows the exact day of our death. My Dad’s friend Helmut always said he would die on his 90th birthday. When the day came, he had breakfast, lay down again, and died peaceably, ust as he always predicted! Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg was invited to a meeting with Methodist founder John Wesley after Wesley’s extended tour of America. Swedenborg expressed regret because he foreknew that exact day of his death and that day would come before Wesley’s return to England.
(2) I’m deeply hurt that you exclude me from “the magnificent three.” Now I know how the other 9 disciples felt about Jesus’ special attention to “the inner circle”–Peter, James, and John!
OTOH, the Topic was viewed 59 times; not small potatoes by any means!
(9) I shared with my friend Kathy Mike the skeptic’s report of seeing a stranger die and then watching his spirit ascend from his body, including Mike’s inexplicable awareness of details of the stranger’s life that were later confirmed. Kathy was reminded of her analogous experience during her father’s death. Her Dad was terrified by the prospect of dying; So Kathy’s deathbed vigil was painful for both of them. Then something happened that she identified as a pivotal moment of her spiritual journey: she heard an audible voice calling her father by name and then saw his spirit ascent, ostensibly to join the caller in his takeaway mission. But then she saw her Dad’s spirit dive back into his body to escape death. But this return was only momentary; shortly thereafter she saw his spirit ascend from his body again, this time permanently, and her father was now dead.
“Near Death Experiences” are exactly that—near death experiences. They are not after death experiences. And there are no after death communications, since no one has yet been raised from death except Jesus.
My maternal grandparents were both Christians; they believed Christians went directly to heaven after death. When Grandfather was about to die, he said to Grandmother, “I will try to contact you after I die—if I am allowed to do so.” Grandmother lived 26 years after Grandfather’s death, and never received any communication from him during all those years.
Either he wasn’t “allowed to do so” or else he couldn’t because he was dead and had not yet been raised from death.
PIaidion: “Near Death Experiences” are exactly that—near death experiences. They are not after death experiences."
Well, the precise moment when one physically dies is scientifically elusive, but there are many cases in which the heart has stopped beating and the brain displays no activity. In those cases, the NDE elements still resemble the standard form.
Paidion: “And there are no after death communications, since no one has yet been raised from death except Jesus.”
First, the issue is not bodily resurrection, but postmortem survival. Indeed, NT scholars widely reject the bodily resurrection of Jesus on the grounds that the Romans likely followed their standard practice of removing Jesus’ corpse (on Saturday night) to dump it in a common pit with the other 2 crucified victims. Remember, no follower of Jesus monitored the tomb after Jesus’ burial was completed until early Easter Sunday morning. The historicity of the Matthean account of Roman guards at the tomb is widely dismissed as a later apologetic lengend because (1) it is unlikely that the Romans would be aware of claims that Jesus would arise from the dead, (2) the Romans would more likely simply dump the corpse in a common pit with the other 2 crucified corpses, and, (3) in any case, none of the other 3 Gospels is aware of this legend. Indeed, Christians would have no way of knowing the details of the conversation between the supposed guards and Roman authorities.
My point is not to side with the modern scholarly consensus, but rather to point out that the rational basis for resurrection claims encounters a rat’s nest of academic hurdles.
Second, the evidence for postmortem survival from ADCs and NDEs is superior to that for Jesus’ bodily resurrection, but precisely for that reason, this modern evidence lends credibility to the Gospel resurrection appearance narratives. There are many apparent inconsistencies in the Gospel resurrection narratives and none of our 4 Gospels can confidently be credited to an eyewitness of any of those appearances. For many reasons, the modern scholarly consensus rejects the claim that Matthew or John the son of Zebedee wrote the Gospels that now apparently bear their names.
Paidion: “My maternal grandparents were both Christians; they believed Christians went directly to heaven after death. When Grandfather was about to die, he said to Grandmother, “I will try to contact you after I die—if I am allowed to do so.” Grandmother lived 26 years after Grandfather’s death, and never received any communication from him during all those years.” Either he wasn’t “allowed to do so” or else he couldn’t because he was dead and had not yet been raised from death."
This is the only important point in your post. I recall a study in the 1970s that found that 50% of Americans and 48% of the British reported contact from their beloved deceased within the first year after their passing. But you rightly raise the question of why so many of the bereaved receive no such contact. I have spent much time researching this question and will post the results of my search in a future post.
Berserk, it sounds like you’ve made a case for not believing the resurrection story. In light of the reasons you’ve given for questioning it, what are your reasons FOR believing in the resurrection of Christ? Can you recommend any persuasive books?