How are you doing?
First off let me thank God for you and the very informative site you have put together. Also for having ministers such as yourself that have been blessed with the talent of teaching the gospel and blessed with spiritual knowledge and wisdom in Christ. Keep up the good work. Your site has helped me personally in ways you can't imagine and I appreciate it.
I just wanted to get that out of the way before I proceed, as this would be the first time I'm writing to you. I do want to add that I am a member of the Lord's church and have been ever since I was baptized into Christ around the age of 13 and became a child of God (spiritually). Which is why I called you "brother" with no problem. I have strayed away from the faith along the way since then but always end up coming back eventually. One of the turning points in my coming back again after straying was when I stumbled across this site. You showed me how the teaching of the Bible really can be trusted and defended without sounding like an unintelligent person. You showed me how to better reason with people from the Scriptures instead of just my own feelings. A lot of things I've learned in such a short period of time.
However, there is something that seriously bothers me about what some people in the church teach regarding the Bible and what some ministers in the Lord's church believe in and I'm afraid of what it might mean if that belief conflicts with mine. It may shatter my faith in the Bible completely. I do want to offer some insight into a particular matter you addressed - out of body experiences. First off let me say I'm very glad that you did not say that the Bible teaches that this is not possible in happening. If you would've said that, I would've been convinced that the Bible is not the absolute truth it's cracked up to be and that truth really does not exist. Before coming here, I had no idea where to find examples of people leaving their body in Scripture. I barely even knew these examples were even in the Bible. I noticed you've said something in regards to a person asking a question about this along the lines of 'a person leaving their body in spirit can only happen if God directly makes it happen and we cannot do this'
Now, the reason why I bring this up is that I do want to inform you as a member of the Lord's church that this cannot be one of the things that the Bible teaches. Why do I say this? I have experienced out of body experiences first hand for myself. No, I'm not on drugs; no, I'm not delusional; I did it. Yes, I've done them. Yes, this is the type of world we live in, where things like this are possible. There's nothing no one can tell me, minister or not, about it being fake because I know I've experienced them before and God is my witness. However, I'm afraid that if a minister tries to tell me I'm lying, I will be turned away from the teaching of Christianity as a whole. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that God directly gave me visions like those given to Paul and whoever else left their body in spirit, but I do want to let you know as a member of the church that it IS in fact possible for us to still leave the body in spirit and your assertion that it is not possible is not accurate. I didn't bring this up with the intention of starting an argument, I brought it up because I can't help but wonder how does God look at this phenomenon? There are several books written on the subject of what people call out-of-body experiences and if you read some of the experiences people have had (and I have no choice but to believe them because it happened to me) then it can almost make the Christian faith seem completely crumbled. So much of this phenomenon allows us to see for ourselves what the mystery of life is all about. People report of living past lives (though I can't say for sure if this is what they were experiencing, I can say that I believe they have encountered what feels to be that way), seeing dead relatives, and several other things that conflict with the biblical teaching. Which is one of the things blocking me from becoming the Christian I would like God to turn me into because what it looks like to me is, truth really is subjective.
When I first started researching out of body experiences I didn't believe in them either, but then I started believing it was possible and tried a few techniques and one day it actually happened. My life would never be the same again, no matter how much biblical teaching I had received. There is no way you will convince me that it isn't real. Even the Bible supports one of the observations that people have made when out of the body. You know the verse that says - ' Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.' (Ecclesiastes 12:6) The reference to the 'silver cord' is actually a spiritual reality. While I've never seen it and observed it before myself while leaving the body in spirit. There are several people who report seeing a SILVER CORD attached to the back of the head of their spirit body which connects them to the physical. They say the moment they touch it, they are pulled back into the physical realm in an instant; therefore, they realize that there is something significant to this cord and the person's life. People have said that if that cord was to become severed, that person would die in the physical. Though while out of the body in the spirit, it is said that it's impossible to do damage to the cord as the mere thought of it instantly brings us back into the physical or even if we touch it. When I saw that verse in the Bible that gave a reference to the silver cord, my faith was fortified so much. How could the Bible know that such a thing exists? It really must come from God then, I reaffirmed in my head.
Like I said earlier, there's pretty much no disputing the fact that it is still possible for us to leave the body. The question is, how much of the experiences people report are false in God's eyes, and does God even want us doing this? If not, then why are we able to do it, and why not warn us about it in the Scriptures? I don't believe it negates the truth of us needing to obey the gospel message, but I can't help but wonder when I hear people doing these out of body experiences and living out entire lifetimes within a matter of minutes, or them entering into a light source that burns away all their negative thoughts and connects them with everything in existence. It starts to make me feel like God really didn't give us an infallible source to use, just a partially infallible one and then there's no need to wonder why there are so many religious practices and everything in the world because people have been shown that the Bible isn't the only truth there is. I would love to believe we were given an infallible source by an infinite God that is never wrong on any spiritual issue, but these experiences sort of point to an entirely different source of truth which kind of let us know the answers without putting the Bible in it.
I'm afraid of what I may find out will either make or break my faith in Christianity. I don't want to feel like Jesus my Savior just went up on that cross and died for nothing and that the Christian doctrine is false and really doesn't have to be obeyed. I feel like I have had a real relationship with Christ and now it all seems like it was just something my mind was conditioned to believe.
Seriously, this phenomenon is completely mind-blowing in what we are capable of finding out from exploring the 'spiritual realm'. I still do believe that the Bible is God's word, but if it IS God's word, why does He lie and tell us we don't have past lives. What is God going to tell the thousands of people who've experienced the past lives in out of body experiences? I feel like I have to figure this out before I mess myself up eternally and am not able to enter heaven. Please help me with this. I hope I didn't flood you with too much information. This will be the one thing that will either make me one of the strongest Christians I ever could be or it can completely shatter my faith in the reliability of the Bible.
Let's return to some basics. The reliability of the Bible exists regardless of your personal belief in it. Your belief does not prove its reliability, nor does your disbelief prove its unreliability.
It is clear to me that you are struggling with faith. You don't believe in God, at least, not really because you think that God lied. You stated, "... if it IS God's word, why does He lie and tell us we don't have past lives." Your statement is completely contrary to what the Bible states. "In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began" (Titus 1:2). Lying is a sin, and there is no sin in God. "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all" (I John 1:5). It is an essential point because the reason I know heaven exists is that God, in His word, promised it, and I know God cannot lie.
Rather than humbly coming to God to learn from Him what is, you have taken a contrary approach. You have decided what must be and then declared that either God must support your position or your faith in Him will be shattered. "Woe to him who strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay say to him who forms it, 'What are you making?' Or shall your handiwork say, 'He has no hands'?" (Isaiah 45:9). You are sitting in judgment of God. "But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge" (James 4:11).
It is fine to examine God's word, to look at the evidence presented, and judge for yourself whether it is truly from God. "Remember this, and show yourselves men; Recall to mind, O you transgressors. Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,' Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it" (Isaiah 46:7-11). Whether you can make an accurate and righteous judgment, however, remains to be seen. The evidence exists that God does exist and the Bible is His word. "Assemble yourselves and come; Draw near together, You who have escaped from the nations. They have no knowledge, Who carry the wood of their carved image, And pray to a god that cannot save. Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me. Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath" (Isaiah 45:20-23).
Your personal declaration to have seen something does not constitute proof. Even Jesus acknowledged, "If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true" (John 5:31). Claims of personal experience are insufficient to establish what is or is not true. The reason is that we can deceive ourselves. "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise" (Proverbs 12:15).
Without delving into the Scriptures, you have already stated that you believe your position to be contrary to what God has taught.
"There are several books written on the subject of what people call out-of-body experiences and if you read some of the experiences people have had ... then it can almost make the Christian faith seem completely crumbled."
"People report of living past lives ..., seeing dead relatives, and several other things that conflict with the biblical teaching."
"It starts to make me feel like God really didn't give us an infallible source to use, just a partially infallible one ..."
"what it looks like to me is, truth really IS subjective."
"... people have been shown that the Bible ISN'T the only truth there is."
".. these experiences sort of point to an entirely different source of truth which kind of let us know the answers without putting the Bible in it."
Your own testimony concerning the modern-day beliefs in out-of-body experiences is that it is contrary to the Bible and that it undermines the foundation of Christianity. It leads you to numerous false conclusions, such as:
- The Bible isn't the only source of truth. Yet Jesus stated, "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17). And the teaching of the Bible is complete, "as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue" (II Peter 1:3).
- That there is another route to God. Yet Jesus stated, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).
- Truth is subjective. Actually it is quite the opposite. Keep in mind that the Bible is the Truth. "And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (II Peter 1:19-21). The phrase "no private interpretation" means that there isn't one truth for you and another for me. It isn't subject to man's whims.
I can't make you believe the truth. I can encourage you to honestly examine the Scriptures and place your faith in God's teachings. But if you rather believe things which you testify is contrary to God then you are going to believe those things because you do not love the truth. "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (II Thessalonians 2:9-12).
"O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge -- by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen" (I Timothy 6:20-21).