Gary: Now, Religion in the News. This week’s item is from the Portland, Oregon, Oregonian, with the headline, “’Medium’s Talk Show Aims to Connect Guests and Deceased Loved Ones.’ Crossing Over, with John Edward, is a talk show with a difference. The audience is live, but the guests are goners, outta here, and into the hereafter—in other words, dead. Host Edward is on hand to act as a go-between. He’s a grown up version of the boy in The Sixth Sense. ‘What you are about to see is real,’ we are told at the beginning of the new Sci-Fi Cable Series. Edwards crisply leads New York audience members and celebrities, including Linda Dano and Carmen Electra through heavenly exchanges with late relatives and friends.
“The host tells one woman that a man, apparently her late husband, is reaching out to her. She is unnerved when Edwards relates details of a trip she took to Niagara Falls with the couple’s daughter. ‘Did you find a feather there? And did you tell your daughter that was her daddy,’ Edwards asks the woman, who nods, weeping. ‘Is there a husband or brother for you that’s passed?’ he asks another woman in the same episode? ‘Yes,’ she replies. ‘This has got to be an ex-husband we’re talking about, because he is removing himself from you,’ Edwards says. ‘He wants to be known as “the ex”—that’s how he’s coming across.’
“Edwards compares his visions of the dead to daydreams, in which information is delivered by sight, sound, and feeling. He hasn’t been briefed, according to the show. ‘If someone is into New Age or spiritual programming, they have a show like ours,’ supervising producer Paul Shavelson said. ‘Imagine trying to sell a show like this a decade ago.’”
Tom: Well, here we are, Dave, séances come to cable. Basically that’s what this is. The Bible calls it “necromancy.” It condemns trying to communicate with the dead. But as the guy says, “Hey, there are people out there who are interested—New Age and….” But I’m also concerned that people who believe they’re Christians get into this.
Dave: Yeah, well, this has been around since the beginning, of course. We get that from the Bible. And you quoted from Deuteronomy 18, where it condemns—you’re not to try to communicate with the dead. I mean, why?
Tom: Why not?
Dave: Yeah, good question. Because the dead can’t communicate with you. But there are seducing spirits who will pretend to be the dead and who will lead you astray. And this has happened, you know. We’ve written some books about this, we’ve researched it. This has happened down through the ages! Some of the…well, Queen Victoria was very much into this through one of her servants, and she thought she was communicating with the dead. Lincoln’s wife wanted very much to communicate with the spirits of their dead sons.
You could bring it up to date: the information I have. The CIA—they may deny it, but the CIA has even consulted some of these people to contact the spirits of dead agents. This was in the days of the Cold War—maybe they still do it. Find out how they were betrayed, what secrets they may have given out when they were tortured, you know, and so forth.
This has been a common belief of mankind, the desire to look beyond, you know. And you probably—maybe some of our listeners would remember James Pike, an episcopal bishop.
Tom: Yeah, we’ve mentioned him before.
Dave: Yeah, well, he thought he was in touch with the spirit of his dead son. Always it’s like you have here the demon who is impersonating, and sometimes even put on the voice; but can tell of things that only the deceased and the survivor know about, supposedly, and that convinces people: “Well, it’s got to be,” because here comes factual evidence.
Tom: Dave, on the one hand, we quote the scripture where necromancy, communicating with the dead, is condemned.
Dave: Mm-hmm. Forbidden.
Tom: On the other hand, we have the example of Samuel and Saul.
Dave: The witch of Endor.
Dave: And here comes Samuel—did we talk about this before? I can’t remember…
Tom: We mentioned it, but I think it related to this, so I think we should go over this again.
Dave: Well, first of all, you have one example. So that’s not enough to base… “Well, now I’m going to do this because it happened once.” I believe —and now, there are differences—I think Samuel really did appear. The witch was shocked, it says, and here he comes! I believe that God allowed it as an exception, and Samuel, in fact, says, “Why have you disturbed me?” So, obviously, he wasn’t flitting about on the Astral Plane, ready to be interviewed by anybody, so that would indicate that this is an unusual instance.
Dave: I believe he came because God allowed him to, and he pronounced judgment. He told Saul he was going to die. Now, that’s not the kind of a message you want to get from beyond the grave. That would make…that wouldn’t encourage too many people.
Tom: But it’s also a fulfillment of the commandment. God said, “Don’t do this.” The penalty for it was death, and Saul, indeed, died.
Dave: That’s right. Yeah, so definitely there…well, there are a lot of phonies out there. I think we mentioned it in one of our books—there’s a whole community of them, and they have their networks, and they gather information on people, and they pass it on, you know, to others. And you can come out with some pretty impressive things.
On the other hand, there are those who are really in touch with the spirits of the dead so-called, being impersonated by demons. They are really the dangerous—well, they’re all dangerous! Part of the problem, is, Tom, and I think in some of our books we’ve given examples of people who have gone to these séances and been led astray, and disasters have come into their lives. And the scripture says in Isaiah:8:20…Why consult the dead? Why is Aunt Jane, who wasn’t too bright when she was alive, how come she’s so all-wise now, and you want to consult her spirit and get all this information? The Bible says, “To the law and to the testimony!” Let’s go to what God has to say, not to what these deceiving spirits have to say. And “if they speak not according to this word, there is no light in them.” And one of the things this Word says is “Don’t consult them!”
Tom: Yeah. The sad thing about this, Dave—people are attracted to that because they’ve lost a loved one, and they want to be comforted, they want to be counseled, but they’re not going to get truth. They’re not going to get what they hoped for, even though it’s a lie that may soothe them for a while, but that’s what it is—it’s a lie.