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 Vol. 4, No. 3 

 

March, 2002

Since You Asked

~ Page 18 ~

 

Fountain Pen Transferring of Spirits

By Louis Rushmore

Do you have any information of transferring of spirits? Can a person protect themselves from this? If so, how? ~ Regina A. Postley

The contemporary religious jargon of "transferring of spirits" refers to the belief that: (1) Bible miracles still occur today, (2) those miracles may be good or bad, (3) owing to either the Holy Spirit or evil spirits respectively indwelling a person, and (4) especially indwelling by evil spirits may be involuntary by the person possessed by evil spirits. "As much as it is a fact that the Holy Spirit is given through the laying on of hands, it is also a fact that daily evil spirits are also transferred from one person to the other." (Harold F. Weitsz, Little Falls Christian Centre, Zambia)

Further, what is attributed to be transferring of an evil spirit into a person: (1) really is the effect of engaging in sin, (2) purports to be an uncontrollable outburst, (3) is a means of controlling persons and preventing them from coming under the influence of other religious leaders, (4) is deduced from even medical illnesses, and (5) diminishes personal responsibility for one's sinful conduct. Note the following excerpts pertaining to these points.

A young and innocent girl meets a boy and has an illegitimate affair with him. The change of her character is instantaneous. She becomes rebellious to her parents and develops a life of failure and misfortune. ... A man is convinced to partake in corrupt financial deals and become part of an illegal evil syndicate. He rolls around on the floor with demons roaring through his mouth. ... A person opens himself to a para-ministry teacher not submitted to any spiritual oversight or authority and suddenly follows a new doctrine. Suddenly the established and proven church is wrong and needs to be corrected, or the person becomes critical and judgmental. ... A girl has a sexual relationship with an unclean spirited man and from there develops female organ problems, or bodily pains in the lower stomach area, or headaches that seem to be incurable. ... Case after case happens as demons climb over onto new victims and change of character instantly happens. (Ibid.)

The question about transferring of spirits above shows fear of involuntary demon possession and an instantaneous, irresistible corruption, which is precisely the fear tactic employed (see the last sentence of the indented quotation immediately above this paragraph) by those teaching the "transferring of spirits." Another writer proposes that either the Holy Spirit or evil spirits can be transferred by casual or incidental contact. "Simply keep your discernment tuned in when you're around them so that if there's any transferring of spirits, it will be the Holy Spirit from you rather than an unclean spirit from them." (familyontheweb)

Distantly, the idea of transferring of spirits draws from the biblical account of first century demon possession or repossession (Matthew 12:43-45; Luke 11:24-26). This temporary evil miracle afforded Jesus the opportunity to demonstrate his superiority over the spirit world (Luke 11:20), similarly as he also demonstrated his superiority over the physical universe by his miracles (Mark 1:34).

The primary purpose of miracles was to confirm new revelation from God (the Gospel or New Testament) and those who proclaimed it (Mark 16:20). In the case of Christ, his miracles verified that he was who he claimed to be, the Son of God (John 20:30-31). Miracles completed the purpose for which they were given (Hebrews 2:3-4). Consequently, Bible miracles were prophesied to end (1 Corinthians 13:8-13; Ephesians 4:11-14). The exercise of Bible miracles concluded about the end of the first century when the "perfect law of liberty" (James 1:25) replaced the partial, temporary revelations formerly afforded through miracles during the infancy of the church (1 Corinthians 13:8-9).

Consequently, with the ending of miracles there was the ending of demon possession, too. Demon possession in the modern garb of "transferring of spirits" does not happen today. Transferring of spirits is simply a new twist on the denominational error of Pentecostalism.

For additional, more in depth, articles that address the purpose and duration of miracles, please select from the following URLs.

http://www.gospelgazette.com/gazette/2001/feb/Page13.htm

http://www.gospelgazette.com/gazette/2001/oct/Page17.htm

http://www.gospelgazette.com/gazette/2001/sep/Page4.htm#unity

typewriter Baptismal
Regeneration

By Louis Rushmore

Do you folks believe in baptismal regeneration and are you Campbellites? Thanks ~ Cheryl Dee, Australia

Mr. Rushmore, I was searching the internet and ran across your page. I saw that you taught "Baptismal Regeneration". I was wandering how the "Church of Christ", "Mormons", and "Catholics" view the converts in Acts 10 that were saved by faith, 'before' water baptism. The bible says only those who obey God may recieve the Holy Ghost (Acts 5:32). examples:

Before dealing with the questions regarding "baptismal regeneration," let me briefly respond to the notion that others and I religiously are "Campbellites." The appellation "Campbellites" is a derisive slur that historically has been assigned to the Disciples of Christ, the Christian Church and the churches of Christ by their antagonists. I hope that is not the spirit in which this question is posed and that your choice of words is an honest, uninformed oversight.

Thomas Campbell and his son, Alexander Campbell, were Presbyterians and later identified with Baptists before opting to go behind denominationalism and attempt to practice New Testament Christianity by relying solely on the New Testament for religious instruction. However, preceding them by several years in independent efforts were James O'Kelly (formerly a Methodist), Abner Jones (formerly Baptist), Elias Smith (formerly Baptist), Barton Stone (formerly Presbyterian) and others, too. Between the latter years of the 1700s through the 1800s, in the United States and Europe, religious people left various denominations by the tens of thousands to practice predenominational, simple New Testament Christianity. Their goal was to be simply Christians and members of the church Jesus died to establish and about which one reads in the New Testament. None of these people ever referred to themselves as "Campbellites," but the term was maliciously coined owing to the notoriety of the Campbells.

The churches of Christ honestly endeavor to be the one church over which Jesus is the head (Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4) that he promised to build (Matthew 16:18), for which he died and which he purchased with his blood (Acts 20:28). Hence, they rely upon the Bible alone for their doctrine, practice and sole means of cohesion as independent congregations (1 Peter 4:11; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Whereas their religious neighbors subscribe to the biblical notion of this one church that Jesus died to establish, the churches of Christ seek to become the physical manifestation of that church (even as that church about which one can read in the Acts of the Apostles and the New Testament epistles was not merely a notion but was represented by real congregations in various first century cities). Anywhere one plants the seed of the kingdom, which is the Word of God (Luke 8:11), into honest hearts, the result is pure New Testament Christianity -- the church for which Jesus died, over which he is the head and for which he will return someday.

Regarding baptismal regeneration, nowhere in the pages of Gospel Gazette Online nor anywhere in my writings and not even amongst writings by others with whom I am acquainted have we applied this terminology to any of our beliefs or practices. Historically, the phrase baptismal regeneration has been applied to a number of different religious groups that acknowledge that baptism has some relation to salvation. "Baptismal regeneration. The view that water baptism is necessary for, and brings, the new birth." (Paul S. Karleen, The Handbook to Bible Study, (New York: Oxford University Press) 1987.) However, the definition of baptismal regeneration varies depending upon which religious group one has under consideration. For instance, some religious groups (e.g., Catholics, Lutherans) view water baptism as a ceremonial rite which by itself exclusive of anything else proffers salvation. However, the New Testament does not teach that respecting water baptism. Further, they practice sprinkling for baptism, which the New Testament does not teach, instead of immersion, which the New Testament does teach regarding water baptism (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12; Acts 8:38; John 3:23).

The affirmation that "the converts in Acts 10 that were saved by faith, 'before' water baptism" is an assumption that is not supported by biblical evidence. The erroneous assumption regarding the salvation of "the converts" in Acts 10 stems from a misunderstanding of (1) the mission and work of the Holy Spirit, and (2) what the New Testament teaches about salvation.

First, nowhere does the Bible ascribe to the Holy Spirit the responsibility of saving anyone from anything. The Holy Spirit brought about new revelation from God (2 Peter 1:21; John 14:26; 16:13) and confirmed that revelation with miracles (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:3-4). God chose human instrumentality through which to communicate the saving message to sinners (Acts 2, Peter; 8:26-39, Philip; 10 & 11, Peter). The added purpose for which the Holy Spirit appears in Acts 10 & 11 was to prove to Peter and the Jews that the Gentiles also were intended by God to be the recipients of the Gospel blessings (Acts 10:34-35).

Second, the New Testament attributes saving power to a number of different elements. Many people simply choose the ones that they prefer (usually "faith") to the exclusion of the rest as though the others are not even there. That is not handling aright the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15). In truth, all of the elements to which Scripture attributes saving power work together for the redemption of souls. Just how, though, do these various elements to which the New Testament ascribes saving power work together, and where and how does baptism figure among these?

Here is a summary of some of the elements to which the Bible ascribes saving power, and indication of whose involvement in each is required: God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit or mankind. God the Father's part: love (John 3:16), grace (Ephesians 2:8), mercy (Titus 3:5), the Gospel (Romans 1:16). Christ's part: the blood of Christ (Revelation 1:5), our Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5). Holy Spirit's part: providing revelation (1 Corinthians 2:6-16), placing baptized persons in the "one body" (1 Corinthians 12:13). Man's part: Bible faith (John 8:24), repentance (Acts 17:30), baptism (1 Peter 3:21), obedience (Hebrews 5:8-9), purity (Revelation 22:14), faithfulness (Revelation 2:10), love (1 John 2:10), hope (Romans 8:24), works (James 2:24), endurance (Matthew 10:22), confessing Christ (Romans 10:9-10), being born again (John 3:3-5), laying aside evil (James 1:21), preaching (1 Corinthians 1:18, 21), calling on the name of the Lord (Romans 10:14), knowledge of the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15).

Since the religious world assaults God's redemptive plan chiefly respecting baptism, perhaps more verses in the New Testament deal with that aspect of the plan of salvation than any other part. Notice some of the verses that attribute salvation to baptism:

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved ..." (Mark 16:16).

"...Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins ..." (Acts 2:38).

"And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).

"...baptism doth also now save us ..." (1 Peter 3:21).

Add to the forgoing the following verses that indicate the essentiality of baptism. Baptism puts one into Christ (Romans 6:3-5); by baptism one puts on Christ (Galatians 3:27); baptism is commanded, therefore, not optional but obligatory (Acts 10:48). Baptism puts one into the death of Christ (symbolically) (Romans 6:3-5) where Christ's saving blood (Ephesians 1:7) was shed.

However, immersion in water by itself, without purposing to receive the remission of sins, without faith, without repentance, without mercy, without grace, etc. would be merely a bath (1 Peter 3:21) and would be wholly void of any saving affect. In short, baptism alone would be baptismal regeneration (which the Bible does not teach), but baptism in conjunction with the other elements to which the Bible ascribes saving power saves a soul from his past sins. Baptism is the culmination of God's redemptive plan and the point at which one's sins are remitted.

For further information regarding God's redemptive plan, go to the archives of Gospel Gazette Online and use the site search feature to learn more about each facet of God's plan of salvation (e.g., faith, repentance, confessing Christ, baptism, grace, mercy, etc.). May God bless your quest for truth.

Image Insights from the Psalms, Vol. 2
by John T. Willis
paperback, 105 pages
$6.95 + S&H   Order: rushmore@gospelgazette.com

Nichol's Pocket Bible Encyclopedia
by C.R. Nichol
paperback, 209 pages
$2.50 + S&H   Order: rushmore@gospelgazette.com

Copyright 2002 Louis Rushmore. All Rights Reserved.
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