Michael Harner declares that primitive shamanism is being revived in the Western world through the use of ancient occult techniques under modern names and for modern purposes: in medicine and psychology, in mind dynamics courses, and in motivational training in the business world. As one professional journal noted, “Ancient shamanic practices are currently being adapted for contemporary use in healing illnesses….” The major shamanic practice, of course, is visualization.
We now have an “American Association for the Study of Mental Imagery” (visualization). The “First World Conference on Imagery,” presented by Marquette University and the Medical College of Wisconsin, was held in San Francisco during June 20-23, 1985. Others have followed. These conferences cover the use of visualization in medicine, psychology, education, business, and other areas. Yale University Professor of Medicine Bernie Siegel said years ago, “…applied to physical illness, the most widely used and successful [technique] has been…imaging or visualization.” Says Phil Jackson, “Visualization is an important tool for me….”
Visualization has become an important tool among evangelicals as well—which doesn’t purge it of its occult power. Yonggi Cho has made it the center of his teaching. In fact, he declares that no one can have faith unless he visualizes that for which he is praying. Yet the Bible states that faith is “the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews:11:1). Thus visualization, the attempt to “see” the answer to one’s prayer, would work against faith rather than help it! Yet Norman Vincent Peale declared, “If a person consciously visualizes being with Jesus that is the best guarantee I know for keeping the faith.”
The quote at the beginning of the chapter by Calvin Miller, one of the most highly regarded evangelical authors today, that we must create the only Christ we can know in our imagination, is blasphemy. Richard Foster and many others teach basically the same occultisms, which we will deal with in a later chapter. Listen to Miller again:
“Still, imagination stands at the front of our relationship with Christ…in my conversation with Christ…I drink the glory of his hazel eyes…his auburn hair…. What? Do you disagree? His hair is black? Eyes brown? Then have it your way…. His image must be real to you as to me, even if our images differ. The key to vitality, however, is the [imagined] image.”
Once more, this is contrary to Scripture. Of Christ, Peter said, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter:1:8). In the previous verse he refers to a future “appearing of Jesus Christ.” John likewise speaks of “when he shall appear” (1 John:3:2), and Paul speaks of loving “his [future] appearing” (2 Timothy:4:8). Visualizing Jesus would seem to be an unbiblical attempt to have Him appear before the proper time—unless, of course, one insists that it is only imagination. Yet those who are involved attribute results to this process that could scarcely be explained as resulting from fantasy conversations with oneself.
Furthermore, a “Christ” who would take on any color of hair or eyes and any form to suit the visualizer is not the real Lord Jesus of the Bible and history. Then who is this entity that appears in response to this occult technique to deceive Christians?