Addendum: The Emperor Has No Clothes
Part 3: The Chicken Little Syndrome and Spirituality
By Lawrence A. Pile
Light on "Abnormal" Experiences*
Extract from a book published in Germany by Pastor Ernst Lohmann Translated from the German.
Just as in a caricature the outstanding features of the true picture are to be found, so that a likeness is unmistakable, so phenomena which we find in heathen systems, in theosophy so-called, or new Buddhism, in spiritism, etc., resemble to some extent the Divine manifestations called forth by the working of the Holy Spirit upon the spirit of man. They also produce revelations and prophecies, speaking and singing with tongues, healing and miracles.
It is of importance that we should study this subject to find an answer to the question as to how these phenomena are brought about. It is self-evident that they are not manifestations of the Holy Spirit. The numerous and exact investigations which are being made in our day into the subject are giving us increasing insight into this dark realm. Powers and possibilities have been discovered in man, which until now have been totally unsuspected. They are designated "subliminal powers", and we speak of "subconsciousness". What physical occurrences accompany these phenomena? The lower nerve-centres (the ganglionic system, or the "vegetative" nerves, as they are called), which have their chief seat in the region round the pit of the stomach, are excited to increased activity.
At the same time the central region of the hither nervous system (the cerebral system), which in a normal state of affairs is the medium of conscious perception and action, becomes paralysed. There is a reversal of the order of nature. The lower nerves take over the duty of the higher ones (a sort of compensation). This state of things comes to pass negatively by the higher organ losing its natural supremacy under pressure of illness, or artificially by hypnotism, auto-suggestion, etc.; and positively by the lower nerves being in some way excited artificially to increased activity, whereby they get the upper hand. These nerves then display abilities which our ordinary organs of sense do not possess, they receive impressions from a realm usually closed to us, such as clairvoyance, presentiments, prophecy, speaking with tongues, etc. The Mohammedan sooth-sayer, Dschalal-Ed-Dinrumi, describes the trance-state, as follows:
"My eyes are closed, and my heart is at the open gate".
Anna Katharina Emmerich (1774-1824)
"I see the light, not with my eyes, but it is as though I saw it with my heart (with the nerves which have their seat in the pit of the stomach) . . . that which is actually around me I see dimly with my eyes like one dozing and beginning to dream; my second sight is drawing me forcibly, and is clearer than my natural sight, but it does not take place through my eyes. . . "
When in a state of somnambulism, the inner sense, heightened in its activity, perceives outward things as clearly and more so than when awake, when it recognizes tangible objects with eyes tightly closed and absolutely unable to see, just as well as by sight; this takes place, according to the unanimous declaration of all somnambulists, through the pit of the stomach, i.e., through the nerves, which have their seat in this region . . . And it is from this part that the nerves are set in action which move the organs of speech (in speaking with tongues, etc.). . .
Numberless cases of false mysticism through all the centuries of Church History display the same characteristics, the sub-consciousness being always the medium of such perception and functions. They are morbid, coming under the garb of Divine manifestations to lead souls astray. Now, it is very significant that according to the assertions of the leaders, it is an activity of the sub-consciousness that we meet with in the "Pentecostal Movement" (so called). We read in a report of an "International Pentecostal Conference":
"'On Tuesday, a Pastor introduced the discussion. The main topic was the working of the sub-conscious mind in messages and prophecy. Much confusion prevailed concerning the relation of our consciousness to our sub-consciousness. The Scriptural discrimination was preferable (I Cor. xiv. 14, 15), where they were spoken of as understanding and spirit':
"'When Christ lives in us He lives in our hearts and in the heart are two chambers. In one room lives the conscience and through the conscience I can know that Christ lives in me. In the other room of my heart there is the sub-consciousness, and there also Christ lives. We look at I Cor. xiv. 14, For if I pray in a tongue my spirit prayeth but my understanding is unfruitful'."
Notice the expression "my spirit" (my sub-conscious mind), and also the expression "my understanding", i.e., "When my spirit prays in tongues, my sub-conscious mind prays!" In the Declaration of the Second Mulheim "Pentecostal Conference", September 15th, 1909, we read:
"In I Cor. xiv. 14 (Luther's translation) Paul makes a distinction between the understanding and the spirit of man. By the word understanding he means the conscious, and by the word spirit the unconscious spiritual life, life of man. In this unconscious spiritual life in modern language also termed sub-consciousness' God has placed the gift of speaking with tongues and prophecy. . . ."
According to this, the spiritual life of the believer is synonymous with the sub-consciousness of the somnambulist. And the more highly developed this sub-consciousness is in any individual, the more highly developed would be their spiritual life. Just try substituting the word sub-consciousness in those passages where the Scripture speaks of the spirit of man; for example Ps. li. 17, Ps. lxxvii. 6, Isa. lxvi. 2, Acts vii. 59, Acts xviii. 5, Acts xx. 22, Romans I. 9, Romans ii. 29, Romans viii. 16, I Cor. ii. 11, I Cor. iv. 21, 1 Cor. v.5, Gal. vi. 1, Gal. vi. 18, Eph. iv. 23, I Thess. v. 23. Those in whom the sub-consciousness becomes active in the manner described above, feel as it were an electric stream passing through the body, which is an exciting of the nerves, which have their central seat in the pit of the stomach. It is from thence that the jaws are moved in speaking with tongues. One of the leaders of the "Pentecostal Movement", in describing the process of this so-called Baptism of the Spirit in his body, made use of the singular comparison that it seemed to him as though there were in his body an inverted bottle. The simile was incomprehensible to me, but this way of expressing it was most strikingly illuminated when I find an almost identical expression used by a Mohammedan sooth-sayer. Tewekkul Beg, a pupil of Mollah Schah, was receiving instruction from his master as to how he could get into the ecstatic state. He says:
"After he had bound my eyes . . . I saw something in my inner being resembling a fallen tumbler . . . When this object was placed upright a feeling of limitless bliss filled my being."
This feeling of bliss is another characteristic feature of this class of occurrences. By exciting the lower nervous system a feeling of intense rapture is regularly produced . . . At first we find connected with it usually, involuntary contraction of the muscles and movement of the limbs, in consequence of the unnatural inversion of the nervous system. Pastor Paul again says:
"If anyone is to prophesy in the way I have now learnt, God must be able to move the mouth of the one prophesying, as He formerly moved the mouth of Balaam's ass. The ass understood nothing of the words which she spoke, she only said what she was to say. There is a danger in uttering things we understand. It is so easy to mix in one's own thoughts, and then to utter what one thinks. This occurs without our intending it in the least. That is the reason why God trains His prophets in so preparing them that they utter exactly what the Spirit gives them. Speaking in strange tongues is a good preliminary school.
"There one learns to speak as the mouth is moved. One speaks without knowing what one is saying by simply following the position of the mouth. Just so in prophecy; there, too, one speaks as led by the position of the mouth. Speaking with tongues and prophesying are both on the same principle."
It is evident that in these phenomena we have the exact opposite of what the Scriptures understand by the communication of the Spirit. When the Spirit of God takes possession of the spirit of man, he is brought back to a normal condition; the spirit acquires the full authority given it by the Creator over the powers of the soul, and through the soul over the body. The conscious personal life is once more completely under the authority of the spirit. The dependency upon God, which man sought to break off, in his mania for exalting himself by setting his reason, his emotions, or the flesh upon the throne, is restored again. The Spirit of God can exercise once more His controlling and quickening power. The deeds of the flesh are put to death by the Spirit, the powers and the gifts of the Spirit developed, the man becomes spiritual, full of the Holy Spirit.
Note by Mrs. Penn-Lewis
"The light given by Herr Lohmann will open the eyes of many perplexed believers, and give them intelligent understanding of much that has distressed them, and caused painful division among the most devoted children of God. It will also confirm the statements we have made concerning the working of evil spirits in the circumference of a believer, at the very same time that, up to the extent of his consciousness, he may know nothing against himself before the Lord; for Satan and his emissaries are well aware of the laws of the human frame, and work along their line, arousing and exciting the natural life, under the guise of its being spiritual. The false conception of 'surrender' as yielding the body to supernatural power, with the mind ceasing to act, is the highest subtelty [sic] of the enemy, and is exposed as such in this book, for it brings about as Herr Lohmann explains the paralysis of the 'cerebral' systems, i.e., the action of the mind, and allows the 'vegetative nerves' full control and activity, excited by evil spirits, for the Holy Spirit dwells in, and acts through the spirit of man, and not through either nerve centre, which have both to be under the control of the spirit. We have also pointed out again and again that 'claiming the blood' cannot protect us from the enemy if in any way he is given ground, e.g., if the cerebral nerves cease to act by 'letting the mind go blank' (!) and the vegetative nerves are awakened to act in their place, so that the latter are excited to give 'thrills' and 'streams of life' through the body, no claiming of the precious blood of Christ will prevent these physical laws acting when the conditions for action are fulfilled. Hence, the strange fact which has perplexed many, that abnormal experiences manifestly contrary to the Spirit of God, have taken place whilst the person was earnestly repeating words about the 'blood'. Moreover, the arousing of the 'vegetative nerves' to such abnormal activity that 'floods of life' have appeared to pour through the whole body. . . [that]
dulls the mind and makes it inert in action,
causes a craving in the recipient for more of this "Divine" life,
leads to the danger of ministration of it to others, and all that follows as this path is pursued in honest faith and confidence of being "specially advanced" in the life of God. Should any reading this discover their own case depicted let them thank God for knowledge of the truth, and (1) simply reject by an attitude of will, all that is not of God; (2) consent to trust God in His word with out any "experiences"; (3) stand on Rom. vi. 11, with James iv. 7, in respect to the Adversary. John xvi. 13, "Through the Eternal Spirit".
* From The Overcomer of 1920.
J. Grasset, "Le Psychisme InfrÈrieur," 1906, writes: "Psychical proceedings fall into two groups:
those of a higher order conscious, volitional, free;
those of a lower class unconscious, mechanical, involuntary".
On this subject Dr. Naum Kotik says in "The Emanation of Psycho-physical Energy":
"Under ordinary conditions in the activity of the brain, the sub-consciousness hardly makes itself felt, and for this reason we have no suspicion of its existence. There are conditions of the psyche, however, such as somnambulism, in which the sub-consciousness comes to the front, takes over the complete control, and forces the super-consciousness back into the position in which it (viz., the sub-consciousness) rightfully belongs. The actions which attest the activity of the sub-consciousness independently of the super-consciousness, are usually termed automatic."
Emphasis not in original. I have "colorized" a bit of what struck me.
Lawrence A. (Larry) Pile
Wellspring Retreat & Resource Center
PO Box 67
Albany OH 45710
Included here by permission of Lawrence A. Pile.
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