Archives for posts with tag: Spiritism

WWJS2 PP Slide PEGTheresa Caputo is a mega star. Everything about her is big — the hair, the audience, the high heels, the energy and the excitement. She does not lack confidence and is not deterred by critics. Her success, it appears, has turned her into a sort of female Elliot Ness of reality T.V. She is untouchable. But is she a real medium or a charlatan? Helping people or preying on their emotions at a time when they are most vulnerable?

The answer depends on who you talk to. Her detractors are convinced she is a fraud. From a journalist from her hometown, who wrote a highly critical story after she saw Theresa live, to a mom who was willing to say she got everything wrong, to a fellow medium who wrote about her stage rudeness, the list is endless. Even Andy Cohen from Bravo TV and Anderson Cooper from CNN have joined the ranks of the skeptics, not to say anything about Inside Edition and Wired Magazine.

But before you throw her under the proverbial bus, beware. Her fans number in the tens of thousands. They buy advanced front row tickets to her live shows, receive special surprise gifts, and personal thank you cards — all for $19.99 per month.

Instead of giving a definitive answer about whether Ms. Caputo is a fraud or not, let’s look at some of the claims made by the so-called “Long Island Medium.”

She claims she can speak with the dead. Well, no one can prove that claim. But there are hints. Theresa states that everyone also has the same kind of ability she has. One of the first things she says in her live performances is that she is not trying to make a believer out of anyone. She actually lets everybody know they don’t need to consult a medium, which makes me wonder why the people were not informed of that before they bought their tickets, but that’s just an aside. The reason you don’t need a medium is because you may already be a medium, she says. You just need to cultivate that gift. That’s like speaking with both sides of your mouth.

She claims that our loved ones are always with us, as in the following quote: “… the souls of our loved ones are still with us, loving, guiding, and protecting us from the other side, and that’s what I can give people.” Theresa calls this a “soul bond.” That’s an example of mixing truth with falsehood. “Soul bond,” in the sense of a deeply felt connection we may feel with a departed loved one is perfectly understandable. But that does not mean that there needs to be some kind of physical, sensorial connection with the dead. That’s what we would like to believe because it makes us all feel good, but what we know from Scriptures is that when a person departs this physical world, that person goes to another place to wait the final resurrection and the day of judgment. No one is hanging around dispensing opinions on your cooking or telling you if you should buy a Fiat 500 or a Kia Soul. There is no body-guarding being done by the disembodied.

She claims that this presence can be perceived by odd and weird things. They don’t have to be specific (of course, that would be easier to detect when you are off mark), just oddly familiar and easily detectable. Some of the examples she gives are things like suddenly smelling your mom’s perfume or receiving change in a supermarket that features a coin with the year your loved one died or was born. She calls these “little hellos from heaven,” and urges us to embrace them. But could they be the fruit of an over active brain besought with grief? I have a vivid sensory memory but that doesn’t mean the smells are coming from the beyond. Plus, there are some people whose smells I would rather not embrace… If the dead are sending us messages in every little thing, then the uniqueness of contacting the departed, if there ever was one, would all be lost. Odd and weird things could also only be that — odd and weird things.

She claims to be doing the work of God. In all the barrage of negative comments from acid critics, Ms. Caputo finds comfort in her belief that she has been given by God this incredible gift of helping people in their greatest hour of grief. That she is helping people, at least temporarily, is undeniable — her fans are legion. That the help is from God, I highly doubt, because God made clear to His people in Scriptures that consulting the dead was a wanton act of rebellion, punishable by death in the Mosaic law.

That God would go to great lengths in the Bible to warn us multiple times about this sin, even calling it an “abomination,” seems to indicate to us that there is something that could potentially bring great harm to the believer if s/he were to engage in this practice. My personal conviction is that God knew that behind every so-called “spirit” of a departed one, there is a demon. People may well be talking to someone but I don’t think it’s their dead relatives. It’s the enemy masquerading as an angel of light, giving people false hope based on a lie, and thus derailing them from the path where real peace and real hope come from — a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Theresa Caputo indeed has many gifts, but in my humble opinion, speaking with the dead is not one of them. The rest of her motives, I will leave it up to God to judge. And I will pray for her, as we all should.

Pastor Ivanildo da Costa Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA

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When I was attending the university one of my fellow students lost his mother. Un-consoled, he went into a deep depression and started missing classes. Weeks later, he was back. I asked him how he was doing. He told me he was going to a séance and was able to hear his mother talking to him. I tried to warn him that maybe it was not his mother. He retorted: “It is my mother; her voice, her mannerisms, everything. Plus, she reveals details about my life that only my mother could know.” Soon, he was deep into the Alan Kardec brand of Spiritism.

This was not an atypical story in my previous life. I came across many other examples of Satan’s schemes to lure people into engaging in communication with the spirit world. Examples in pop culture abound, perhaps the most blatant one being the singer Nicki Minaj, who has an alter ego by the name of Roman Zolanski, whom she claims “… is a crazy boy who lives inside me, who says the things that I don’t  want to say.”

She has created an elaborate scheme which includes Roman’s mother, who is traditional and wants to see her son exorcised. It is even more dramatic because Roman is supposed to be a blond homosexual male from London who sometimes poses as a female. Nicki insists that he will never be exorcised even when they throw holy water at him. Meanwhile, mothers flock the malls where Nicki makes appearances, so their five and six year old daughters can get a photo op with Nicki. Something is wrong with that picture.

We learn from Scriptures that there is such a thing as “evil” or “unclean” spirits (Matt. 10:1; Luke 7:21). Demons are nothing more than evil spirits that fell when they joined Satan’s rebellion against God. Demons are highly intelligent and as Satan’s emissaries they are capable of doing things that mere mortals cannot do. They can speak in the voice and personality of the deceased and they can reside inside someone and even help them produce rich art that can earn them a shot at the Grammy’s.

Katy Perry, the singer, also made news this week. Her performance at the Grammy’s deserved a comment by the E! Online magazine in their Twitter account. They asked, “Um. Did we just witness actual witchcraft during Kate Perry’s performance at the Grammy’s?”  Notice: this is not a conservative blogger or a Christian pastor asking that question. It is E! Online. Now whether Katy was being sarcastic when she said that she “sold her soul to the devil” after her career in gospel music didn’t take off, those who have taken her literally will have another reason to believe so after her performance at the Grammy’s.

Satanism is alive and well and not only in Hollywood. And Christians need to learn what is true and what is false about demon possession and demonic activities in the Bible world and today. So this Sunday we will launch a brand new series called “Do You See What I See – The Truth About Spiritual Warfare.” And we will start talking about demon possession.

The good news though is that in spite of our Enemy’s superior intelligence and super-human powers, when the curtain closes, he will be lying on the ground with all his myriad of soldiers, because we know who triumphs at the end. Satan and his demons are powerful, but they are still created beings and as such they are not omnipotent and omniscient as God is. So when the big drama unfolds, God will bring Satan and his demons to their knees. And we will be talking about that in the next several weeks. In the process, I believe, you will also learn how to live your life in freedom from fear, from self-doubt and from the negative influences that many times plague our lives.

“… They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:9-10).

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade