Guarding Against Nice Spirituality — The Angel
Last night I had a nightmare that I was watching a movie trailer for a film called “The Angel.” As far as I am aware, no such movie exists. The premise was that this mother, a military woman, is sick and dying. Just before she dies, she made a promise to her young son from her hospital bed saying, “I’ll always be with you.” Then an “angel” shows up, coming to the little boy, and people take it to be the mom. The “angel” earns people’s trust quite easily and then starts saying creepy evil things to the boy.
Toward the end of the movie (sorry for spoilers for this movie that doesn’t exist), the main characters conclude that the angel is not the mom when they find a video of the mom talking on camera about what a soldier is and what a soldier does. The video happens to falsify the claims made by the “angel,” and the main characters come to realize that this “angel” is not the mother, but instead has been lying about who and what it is.
The moral of the story was to guard against false, but seemingly innocent spiritual beliefs. The phrase “I’ll always be with you,” and the premise for this dream-movie all sound like something from a Hallmark special, but we need to test all things against the Word of God using reason, and not be led astray by nice-sounding ideas.
In the Bible, we read the following:
“Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:19–22 NKJV).
Here we are told not to merely dismiss the spiritual side of the Christian life, particularly prophecy, but to test all things, and hold fast to that which is good. Some things that occur in Christian circles are from the Lord, while others are not.
“And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds”
(2 Corinthians 11:12–15 ESV).
Here we read that the Devil will disguise himself as an angel of light and that his human servants will also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Sadly, when it comes to the spiritual, many people have a tendency to embrace every spiritual thing and every person who seems “nice.” This can include psychics, tarot cards, and the practice of “white” magic, but it can also include false “Christian” teachers such as Joel Osteen, who lead people astray. Even mature believers can be led astray by teachers and theologians who teach scholarly doctrine, but who bring in false beliefs through the back door.
Obviously, not everyone with whom we disagree is a servant of the Devil. However, there have been many cases of likable, seemingly biblical men of God who have taught sound doctrine at one time, and later started teaching obvious and gross error.
In terms of the spiritual, I often think of the play Hamlet, where the main character encounters a spirit who claims to be his departed father. In the play, Hamlet references this passage from the Bible and debates whether this spirit is actually his father or a demon in disguise. We never get a clear answer to this question, but the fruit of the ghost’s message brings only destruction.
Compare that to nearly every movie or TV show, where the spirit of a loved one is seen by the characters and is accepted without question. This pattern has often disturbed me, and no doubt led to the dream I describe in this article.
Most adults are well aware that not everyone who seems to be a nice person is actually their friend. They warn their children not to walk off with strangers, even if the strangers seem “nice.” Yet when it comes to the spiritual, those spirits who seem “nice” are often accepted without question. And this is not just in New Age, Occult, or Pagan circles; this often also includes believers in Christ. This is why we must exercise discernment. In the Bible, we read that if anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask God for wisdom, but we also need to be obedient and exercise the rational faculties that God has given to us so that we are not tossed aside by every wind of doctrine (James 1:5, Ephesians 4:14).
In conclusion, just because something seems nice, does not mean that it is good. That is true of both the earthly and the spiritual. These are rational points that any reasoning adult ought to recognize as being plainly obvious, and do not depend on the specific claims of Christianity. In the 21st Century, there is a tendency to believe every nice thing without question. We ought to recognize this tendency as irrational — and therefore immoral on its face. Even spiritual and religious claims ought to be tested using our rational faculties, and not based on emotional sloppy wishfulness.
For those of us who are Christians, we test all things against the Word of God. But for those who are not rationally convinced of the truth of the Christian faith, there are many resources available to show that Christianity is a faith built on fact and reason, and not on wishful thinking. To anyone interested in testing the truth claims of the Bible, I recommend two books: The New Answers Book, edited by Ken Ham, and More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell. The former answers questions about science and the Bible and shows how science, when properly understood, supports the Bible and the Bible’s claims about history, particularly in the book of Genesis. More Than A Carpenter deals more with the New Testament and the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. These books are an excellent resource for anyone who is interested in rationally investigating the truth claims of the Christian faith.
Thank you for reading my article! To sign up for my newsletter, click the link below! I create content on science, science fiction, economics, politics, philosophy, and the Christian Faith, and I discuss how these topics all tie in with one another. I have several upcoming SciFi stories that I plan to release in the very near future, along with a few that I’ve already published here on Medium as well as on Amazon.