Hi Shawn…In your earlier posting, you referenced a book called Life After Life. There are two such books with that title, but I presume that you mean the one by Dr. Raymond A. Moody of Georgia??
You cited this book after I asserted that I suspect NDE and “back from the dead” accounts may be the result of one or more of several factors –
the consequences of a medical or pharmaceutical application
deceived (that is, lied to) by demonic beings
doing it for financial gain
Your reference to First John 4 is a good one, and it is a worthy sort of question. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.”(NRSV vv 1-3a)
The admonition is to be wary of the fact that there are deceptive individuals out there --wolves in sheep’s clothing, to borrow a phrase from elsewhere. There are “many false prophets,” and such individuals do not wear a neon sign around their neck saying “I am the false prophet. Do not talk to me.”
I rather do not think the passage in First John is eager for us to engage in conversation with false prophets or with evil spirits. What we hear of their teaching and/or methods should be sufficient to raise red flags all over the place.
In the 1980s I read a book by another popular psychologist who recounted an experience of interviewing a demon-possessed individual. This counselor and several other counselors were intrigued by the demon inside this man and began asking the demon about his childhood and so forth. They sounded pretty silly to me…(Is a demon really angry at his mother?? etc)…
Conversations with evil spirits or false teachers are not necessary. “By their fruits you shall know them” — and a key fruit is whether what they teaches conforms to Scripture. That is what John was concerned about in that letter — teachers who were leading believers into false beliefs and practices… If they are “off” by an inch, they are “off” by a mile.
I tried looking into the book Life after Life by Moody. He has an interesting story. I read some of the online Amazon reviews – the good and the bad — and a couple other online things, also the Wikipedia bio, which is incomplete.
If I were interested in pursuing Moody’s work, I would at least expect to consider more deeply some of the criticisms given of his work — such as omitting cases that do not fit his theories (R.T. Carroll); ignores “a great deal of scientific literature” and glosses over the limitations of his methods ( James Alcock).
I was concerned to read in some article that Moody has a chamber in which he engages in paranormal activities and consultations. Ever heard of the Witch of Endor? I suggest you read 1 Samuel 28. It did not go well for Saul in that account, by the way. And Moody seems to be swimming in the same cesspool.
“Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery engages in witchcraft or casts spells, interprets omens or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord” (Deuteronomy 18:10-11).
You may say that Moody is not consulting the dead, but the living – who recently talked with the dead, or claim to have. Same difference, They consulted the dead – or were deluded into thinking they had, just like those psychologists were deluded into thinking they could psychoanalyze a demon, or like others have consulted psychics,.,…
“I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spirits, to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.” (Leviticus 20:6)
“Those who practice magic arts … their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death” (Revelation 21:7)
There are more verses. The fact that Moody is swimming in these dark waters does not say much. When it comes to testing spirits, Shawn, test this one: he is dabbling in things that Scripture does not support.