Churches are supposed to places where people can learn about spiritual truth. If you call up a pastor of any church in town and ask, “Will I learn about spiritual truth there?”, the answer invariably will be yes.
But too often, this is not the case.
I recently spoke with a man whose seeing gift basically started after he came to Christ. Now, he sees spirits all the time, basically everywhere. Giant spirits, short spirits, shadowy spirits, little animal-like spirits with claws… He even sees conflict between certain kinds of spirits.
This is not unusual. I’ve spoken to and received emails from hundreds just like him.
When this man brought up his ability to perceive things in the spirit realm to his church, his pastor said, “That’s not biblical.” He then suggested seeking treatment for a mental illness.
Yep. A pastor of a Christian church said to a new believer that the ability to see spirits is not biblical.
So much for a church that will teach spiritual truth.
Let’s break this down. It’s not that hard.
Eyesight is biblical.
The Bible mentions lots of times when people used their eyes to see. How about this one:
Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Mark 8:25
So eyes are biblical. Check!
Spirits are biblical.
There are lots of times when the Bible mentions spirits. How about this one?
That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. Matthew 8:16.
Or this one:
Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord. 2 Chronicles 18:20
Okay, so the reality of spirits is biblical. Check!
Seeing spirits is biblical.
About half the Old Testament consists of people seeing spiritual revelation with their own eyes. But are there any situations where the Bible mentions someone seeing spirits with his or her eyes?
“A spirit glided past my face;… A form was before my eyes;
there was silence, then I heard a voice:” Job 4:15-16.
He not only saw the thing, he also heard it. In this case, the vision was blurry. But are all visions of spirits blurry? And what about a spirit that some people could see but others couldn’t?
“I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude. And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision.” Daniel 10:4-7
It’s not rocket science. It’s right in their own scriptures. Seeing spirits is biblical.
Get a Shrink?
But I hear this a lot: Christian leaders say people who see spirits don’t need spiritual guidance: they need a shrink.
No they don’t.
Well, to be sure, most people would benefit from seeing a therapist, but the power to see spirits is not a sign of a mental illness.
Even the DSM-5 disagrees. This manual, used by American mental health professionals to diagnose mental illness, does not count spiritual visual “hallucinations” or auditory messages in a religious context towards a diagnoses of schizophrenia. 1
Why? Because it turns out loads of people see spirits or hear from God (or other spirits) and they function perfectly well in society.
They don’t need a pill. They need a pastor.
Too many Christians choose to isolate themselves from a body of believers – a local church. They refuse to be under the care of a local pastor. And this goes for many Christian seers and other outcasts, who find themselves ostracized or misunderstood. But is this a mistake? What does the Bible say about the lone wolf stay-at-home-from-church approach?
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
It’s time for you outcasts to get back into a church – an actual church with face-to-face contact, where they actually say, “Greet your neighbor” and expect people to shake hands or exchange hugs.
And it’s time for pastors to begin welcoming them, to stir the outcasts up towards love and good works! This includes those with spiritual gifts that make you uncomfortable.
Jesus Gave Gifts to the Church
Pastors, you are shepherds, which means you want to care for and protect your flock. You are God’s gift to the church. Never forget that.
But Jesus also has gifted the church with more than just pastors. God has gifted the church with apostles, teachers, evangelists and prophets.
- Apostles bring new territory into the Kingdom – the rule and reign of God.
- Teachers uncover biblical truths, with an eye towards application and building faith.
- Evangelists bring the lost to the Lord.
- Prophets bring correction to leaders.
The church needs all of these gifts functioning, even when some are at odds with each other by nature. That was God’s design. A little conflict is okay in the context of God’s love. It builds a strong, healthy, vibrant, and diverse community (just like Heaven).
But wait. There’s more!
God has also gifted the church with the power to heal, to prophecy, to speak in tongues, to interpret tongues, to tell the difference in kinds of spirits, to work miracles, to grow faith, to help, and to administrate.
Can you see how people who can see spirits might help in several of these areas? If not, contact me, and let’s talk.
And if you are a seer, and don’t know what to do with your gift, start here.
The bottom line: Yes. The gift of seeing spirits is biblical.
- American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed), (Washington: APA, 2013), 103. ↩