This is the last entry in this series — which has been one of the most popular I’ve written. I hope it’s been helpful for you and hope you recommend this blog series to your friends as the Bible gives clear principles on which we can rely when making decisions about alternative therapies with spiritual roots. Some have noted that most of the passages condemning occult practices come from the Old Testament. Most theologians teach that Christians are not bound by many of the Old Testament laws, such as those related to worshiping in God’s temple. Does that mean that prohibitions of divination and magic no longer apply to Christians?
Paul makes it clear that events described in the Old Testament remain important teaching tools for Christians. “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. . . . These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come” (1 Corinthians 10:6,11).
We should learn from the Old Testament accounts. For example, occult practices are denounced in the most forceful language possible. Nowhere in the New Testament are we told that these practices are now permissible or that God has changed his perspective on them.
Whenever magic and sorcery are mentioned in the New Testament, they are viewed negatively (e.g., Acts 8:9-24; Acts 19:19; Revelation 9:21; Revelation 21:8; Revelation 22:15).
Those magical and occult practices forbidden in the Old Testament remain forbidden. The Old Testament accounts of Israelites conducting these practices make clear their shame and detriment and remain as examples to us of things not to be practiced under any circumstances, even in the pursuit of healing.
Later in 1 Corinthians 10, Paul addresses our topic more directly. He teaches that Christians should have no involvement whatsoever in sacrifices made to idols or demons. “No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons” (1 Corinthians 10:20-21).
Any alternative therapy involving contact with any spirit other than God is forbidden. Shamanism, Reiki, channeling, divination, and any other “therapy” that attempts to bring knowledge or healing from other spirits or spirit guides should be avoided.
Let us be clear, there can be no such thing as “Christian Shamanism” or “Christian Reiki.”
You can read more on this topic in my book, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook. You can find it here.
Also, citations to all of the studies quoted in this blog are found in the book.
Additional Blogs on Faith-Based Health and Healing: