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"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  . . .

The Dangers of Hypnosis

Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D. A publication of Logos Communication Consortium, Inc.
P.O. BOX 173 - Oak Creek, WI  53154
1994, David L. Brown -- Must be reproduced in its entirety. May not be reproduced for resale.

Links to Topics:

Introduction
How to Guard Your Hearts
Satan's Counterfeit
How Do People Make Their Minds Vulnerable to Satanic Control?
What is Hypnosis?
The History of Hypnosis
Why is Hypnotism Dangerous?
Miscellaneous Notes Related to Hypnotism and Those Who Practiced It
Recommended Reading
Footnotes

Introduction

"At the heart of every problem is a problem of the heart." I still remember that phrase. It came from a sermon that I heard Dr. Warren Wiersbe preach many years ago when he pastored a Baptist Church in Covington Kentucky. I believe that he was right because the Bible says in Proverbs 4:23, (KJV) Keep[5341] thy heart[3820] with all diligence[4929]; for out of it are the issues[8444] of life[2416]. The numbers in the brackets are Strongs numbers.

You do not have to be a theologian to see that your heart is important according to this verse, so let's examine the verse closely.

We are told to "keep" our heart.

The word translated "keep" is the Hebrew word that means to guard, to protect or preserve.

We are told to diligently keep our heart.

The word "diligence" is actually another word that means to guard or protect. It means to hedge about, to pay close attention to or watch carefully. In other words protect your heart doubly. Make it your priority to protect your heart.

But why?

The heart is the control center of your being.

The Hebrew word for heart is "LEB" (pronounced labe). The Strongs number is 3820. The Greek counterpart is "KARDIA" (2588). When we think of the heart, we think of the internal organ that pumps blood through our bodies. But that is not the primary way the word is used in the Bible. Zodhiates says in his Hebrew Lexicon, that the main use of the word heart refers to "the totality of man's inner or immaterial mature." I venture to speculate that this explanation is not a lot of help. So let me try a different angle. The heart is the seat of your intellect, feelings and will. It is "almost a synonym for mind." 2 Chr 9:23 And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart.

With this in view, back to Proverbs 4:23. The phrase "issues of life" is a difficult one to translate, but it refers to the heart being the control center or source of our lives. What happens if the control center malfunctions in a machine? There are major problems. The same thing happens when the control center malfunctions in a human being. Since the heart is the control center of life, it would be wise for us to guard our hearts carefully.

How to Guard Your Hearts

Don't allow anything or anyone to control your mind except the Lord through His Holy Spirit and the Bible.

1 Corinthians 6:12 (KJV) --

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

The Word of God is to control your mind. We can see that from 2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

The word of God is to be used to bring our thinking under God's control. Look at 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. It says,

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Further, The Holy Spirit is to be allowed to control our minds. Ephesians 5:18 verifies this when it says, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;" When the Holy Spirit controls the believers life, the Fruit of The Holy Spirit is obvious in the that person's life (Galatians 5:22-23). To the degree that the Fruit of the Spirit is obvious in the believers life, to that same degree that person is Biblically spiritual.

Satan's Counterfeit

Satan has a counterfeit spirituality that he is offering as a substitute for Biblical spirituality. Just as a Christian must open up his or her heart (mind) to the control of the Holy Spirit in order to be Biblically Spiritual, so a person must open up their heart (mind) to the control of the unholy spirits if they are to be "spiritual." Spiritual in this sense means devoted to and controlled by a higher power other the the Lord God Almighty. Ananias is an illustration of being controlled by unholy spirits. Acts 5:3 (KJV)

But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

Ananias did what Ephesians 4:27 calls giving place to the devil. "Neither give place to the devil." He allowed Satan to control his heart.

How Do People Make Their Minds Vulnerable to Satanic Control?

Nobel scientist Sir John Eccles said of the human mind that it was "a machine that a ghost can operate."1 Millions of people are opening up their minds to "ghosts" (unholy spirits) through altered states of consciousness. So what is an altered state of consciousness? According to John Ankerberg and John Weldon, it is "the deliberate cultivation of abnormal states of consciousness (states not normally experienced apart from a specific technique or program to develop them). In fact, "altered states may involve a large variety of subjects -- everything from hypnosis and other trance states to possession states (as mediumism and shaminism) to altered states that are characteristically pathological (as in kundalini arousal and shaminism), to direct visualization and imagery, lucid dreaming, drug-induced states of consciousness, meditation and bio-feedback-induced consciousness, and many others."2

So what's wrong with that? First, "as a person enters or is in an Altered State of Consciousness, he often experiences fear of losing his grip on reality and losing his self-control."3 Why, because he does. Many bizarre things can and do happen when a person is in an Altered State of Consciousness (ASC). That's why the Bible warns that we are not to be under the power of anyone except Him.

To be sure, millions laud the benefits of ASC. Many "proponents claim that altered states allegedly produce a 'higher' state of consciousness or 'being' including dramatic spiritualistic (occultic) revelations, psychic powers, personality alterations, and a 'positive' reconstructing of the participant's worldview along Eastern/occultic lines."4 But, ASC's are not all they are cracked up to be. In fact, "many cases of temporary and permanent insanity, spirit contact, occult transformation and spirit possession have resulted."5 In fact, ASC's can and often do open a person to contact with demon entities.

So why, when I am talking with handling the past biblically, do I bring up the issue of Altered States of Consciousness? Probably the most common means counselors use in uncovering the past apart from psychoanalysis is hypnotism. Hypnotism brings a person into an ASC. Let's take a closer look at hypnotism.

What is Hypnosis?

"Hypnosis, mental state of heightened suggestibility, characterized by trance-like sleep. The basis of hypnosis is the fixation of the subjects attention upon a gradually narrowing source of stimulation, until he is attendant upon only the directions of the hypnotist. This is variously achieved by repetition of instructions in a low, level voice, or having the subject fix his gaze upon a light in an otherwise dark room. The subject remembers nothing of what he did during the hypnotic period. Certain effects may be suggested to continue after the subject returns to consciousness; these are called post-hypnotic suggestions."6

The History of Hypnosis

You do not have to go very far back in researching hypnotism to see that it is associated with the occult. According to Dr. Cathy Burns, Ph.D. hypnotists themselves referred to hypnotism as seances as recently as 24 years ago.7 In fact, historically hypnosis has been viewed as part of the occult. Prevention magazine carried an article by Kerry Pechter that made that very clear. The article said, "like alchemy and astrology, the practice of hypnosis once belonged to the world of the occult."8 Another author went on to say, "Witchdoctors, Sufi practitioners, shamans, Hindus, Buddhists, and yogis have practiced hypnosis..."9 In India, Hindu conjurers call it Jar-phook according to an old book I have. It says, "The Jar-phook of Upper India [is] a system of treatment practiced by the Indian conjurors, or Jadoo-walla, by stroking and breathing on the limbs or body."10 But you don't have to go across the ocean to find hypnosis associated with the occult. In fact, "ritual hypnosis and dance were integral elements of shaman's communication with the spirits..."11 among the American Indians. A shaman is a medicine man. Both Sitting Bull (Tatankaya Iyotake) and Big Foot of the Sioux used hypnotism.

An honest researcher cannot deny the occult connection of hypnotism. Since that is true, Christians should not have anything to do with the practice. And upon what basis do I say this? Deuteronomy 18:10-12 for one --

There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

Note the two emphasized words, "enchanter" and "charmer". According to cult/occult researcher Dave Hunt the ancient practice of enchanting and charming involved "exactly what has recently become acceptable in medicine and psychiatry [known] as hypnosis. I believe this both from the ancient usage of this word and from occult traditions.12 In light of this, hypnotism is unacceptable for believers to participate in.

Why is Hypnotism Dangerous?

Hypnotism is dangerous for a number of reasons not the least being that it opens the mind to believe almost anything. As one researcher put it,

"hypnotic induction...consists of a system of verbal and nonverbal manipulation to lead a person into a heightened state of suggestibility -- more simply, a condition in which one will believe almost anything."13

That statement should alarm you because in essence it is saying that a person who is hypnotized can be told a lie and believe it. But does this really happen? The answer is yes. Bernard Diamond, a professor of law and clinical professor of psychiatry wrote in an article for the California Law Review that people who underwent hypnotism would

"graft onto their memories fantasies or suggestions deliberately or unwittingly communicated by the hypnotist and that after hypnosis the subject cannot differentiate between a true recollection and a fantasy or a suggested detail."14

The second reason that hypnosis is dangerous because the mind loses its ability to distinguish between fact and fantasy (truth and error). That can be dangerous because if you can be easily deceived, Satan can and does take advantage of the opportunity. Let me give you one example. Over a five year period, in the late 70's and early 80's, a massive study was done of more than 6,000 people who had undergone hypnosis. It was discovered that one-fifth of those people who had been hypnotized said that they had lived previous lives on other planets! That is bizarre to say the least! But let me tell you about some other experiments. According to one of Peter Francuch experiments "The person [who was hypnotized] was able very precisely to describe in minute detail what was happening in another friend's house 300 miles away. At the same time, the person was able to describe exactly what was happening a month ago, a year ago, and ten years ago in the same place..."15

One might ask, "How is that possible?" My answer is by demonic contact! One New Age author puts it this way -- "Hypnosis can be an open door to psychic experiences of many kinds, and in an emotionally unstable, insecure, or neurotic person the possibility of obsession or psychic invasion of one kind or another is always present..."16 It only takes a brief look at Acts 16:16-18 to discover the source of psychic powers.

Hypnosis is dangerous. At the least, it hinders one's ability to discern the difference between real memories and suggested/engrafted memories. Even more dangerous is the fact that hypnosis opens the "heart's door" (mind) to demonic invasion. If you have not been hypnotized, don't be. If you have been hypnotized I suggest that you renounce your association with the practice by praying --

Dear Lord,
I come to you in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. I confess that I have participated in Hypnotism. I ask your forgiveness and renounce hypnotism as contrary to the Bible which warns me not to be brought under any power other than yours (I Corinthians 6:12). I identify myself as a child of God by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who has been redeemed by His (Christ's) precious blood. Amen

Miscellaneous Notes Related to Hypnotism and Those Who Practiced It

Frederick Mesmer (c. 1733-1815), a German physician. One of the earliest exponents of hypnotism, his treatments by hypnotism known as mesmerism and popularly believed to be based upon electricity and magnetism, attracted a cultish and fashionable clientele in Paris. His practice was denounced by a royal commission. Hypnotism was used by Charcot, Janet, and Freud in the study and treatment of hysteria. It proved impractical because not everyone is capable of hypnosis and effects are frequently temporary. Hypnotism has found its greatest use as an adjunct to medicine in relieving or diminishing pain as in childbirth or dentistry, especially when use of an anesthetic is dangerous or impractical. Hypnosis in medicine was approved by the American Medical Association in 1958. (The University One-Volume Encyclopedia; 1967; Franklin Dunham; p.391)

Jean Martin Charcot, 1825-93, French neurologist. He was a pioneer in the use of hypnotic methods of treating hysteria, and influenced Freud with his belief that some diseases have their origin in the emotions. (The University One-Volume Encyclopedia;1967; Franklin Dunham; p.158)

Pierre Janet, 1859-1947, French neurologist and psychologist. Working independently of Freud and using hypnosis, he made important studies of the origins of hysteria.(The University One-Volume Encyclopedia;1967; Franklin Dunham; p.421)

Sigmund Freud, 1856-1939, Austrian psychologist, b. Marovia. Formulating his early theories from observation of hysterics under hypnosis, he developed the science and method of treatment of neurosis known as psychoanalysis.(The University One-Volume Encyclopedia;1967; Franklin Dunham; p.310)

Braidism -- The theories concerning the phenomena attending artificial induced sleep set forth by Dr. James Braid (1842) (A Scottish surgeon, 1795-1860, noted for research in mesmerism, which he named hypnotism), developed by him from mesmerism. (Funk and Wagnalls New Standard Dictionary; Copyright 1913; p.324)

Electrobiology -- Mesmerism

Mesmerism -- Originally, the doctrine or theory, as propounded and exemplified by Franz Mesmer (1733-1815), that one person can produce in another an abnormal condition resembling sleep, with or without somnambulism, during which the mind of the subject remains passively subject to the will of the operator. (Funk and Wagnalls New Standard Dictionary; Copyright 1913; p.1557)

Artificial Somnambulism --Artificial somnambulism an old name used for hypnotism. This is not to be confused with natural or spontaneous somnambulism which is "the act of walking and performing other positive actions during sleep" (Funk and Wagnalls New Standard Dictionary; Copyright 1913; p.2319). In simple terms, sleep walking.

Neurohypnotism -- Nervous sleep induced by hypnotic action (Funk and Wagnalls New Standard Dictionary; Copyright 1913; p.1669).

Hypnosis, Electrobiology, Mesmerism, Braidism, Somnambulism, Jar-phook, Neurohypnotism are all names that are related to hypnotism.

Recommended Reading

Hypnosis: Cure or Curse?
Dr. Cathy Burns; 16 pages;
Sharing
212 - H E. 7th St.
Mt Carmel, PA. 17851-2211
 
Hypnosis and the Christian
Martin and Deidre Bobgan; 61 Pages; Bethany House Publishers
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55438

Footnotes

  1. America: The Sorcerer's New Apprentice; by Dave Hunt; Harvest House; p 19
  2. Can You Trust Your Doctor?; by John Weldon & John Ankerberg; Wolgemut & Hyatt Publishers; p 147
  3. Frontiers of Consciousness; by John White; Avon; p16
  4. The Facts on Holistic Health and The New Medicine; Ankerberg/Weldon; Harvest House Publishers; p 9
  5. ibid
  6. The University One-Volume Encyclopedia; 1967 - Franklin Dunham; p 421
  7. Hypnosis: Cure or Curse; 1993 Sharing publication; p 4
  8. Prevention; July 1985, Vol 37, No. 7; Article -- When I snap my fingers, you will be free of pain; by Kerry Pechter
  9. Hypnosis and The Christian; by Martin & Deidre Bogan; Bethany House; p 13.
  10. Mesmerism and Hypnotism; July 1890, p 244)
  11. History of The Occult; by T. Wynne Griffon; Mallard Press; p 33
  12. Hypnosis And The Christian; by Martin & Deidre Bogan; Bethany House; p 50
  13. Ibid, p17
  14. California Law Review, march 1980; Article: Inherent Problems in the Use of Pretrial Hypnosis on a Prospective Witness; by Bernard L. Diamond; p 314
  15. Principles of Spiritual Hypnosis; by Peter Francuch; Spiritual Advisor Press, 1981; 924
  16. Many Lives, Many Loves by Gina Cerminara; Wm Morrow and Company, 1963; p 83 E-mail: FirstBaptistChurchOC@gmail.com

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