By Dennis L. Shaver
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit” (Joel 2:28,29). A few years ago a television show, Sixth Sense, used this passage of scripture to prove that E.S.P. was a gift from God, and a reality. Whatever E.S.P. might be, I know this passage does not refer to it, and to use it in this manner is to pervert God’s will. In Acts 2:16-21, the entire prophecy of Joel is quoted. The time is the day of Pentecost, the first gospel sermon, and the establishing of God’s kingdom. Some in the audience accused the apostles of being drunk. But Peter stood up and proclaimed: “For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel . . . ” (Acts 2:15). Peter states that Joel’s prophecy applied to that which was happening at this time. This in no way comes close to what people call E.S.P. today.
What About E.S.P.?
I cannot explain many things that take place in the human mind. Can you tell me why a man will plant himself on top of a building and murder 8 or 10 people? Can you explain why men have mental breakdowns? The workings of a man’s mind are complex and hard to understand or explain. I would not try to prove that extra-sensory perception is nonexistent. I have seen many things that I do not fully understand nor would I attempt to explain. Everyone is intrigued with the unknown, and especially so when they think they can look into the future. It is this attitude that helps E.S.P. and other mysteries gain such a large following. A Christian needs to be careful lest he allow this preoccupation with any subject lead him away from the Lord. Many children of God have been led away with preoccupation of one thing or. another. Therefore, concerning E.S.P., I feel that we should ask a few basic questions, and examine this “phenomenon” in the light of God’s word.
1. Will E.S.P. help me live a better life in service to God? I am afraid that if anything, it gives man a feeling lie can control anything. It gives him a feeling of self-importance and self-reliance. Anything that would cause man to trust less in the Lord cannot be helpful in living as God intends. Jeremiah said, “O, Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his own steps” (Jer. 10:23). If heaven is the home I desire, I must trust in God (Psa. 25), and be faithful to His will (Rev. 2:10). I don’t believe that E.S.P., or any other mysterious power can help me live a better life in service to God. If so, we would have to throw out such passages as 2 Pet. 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:16,17; Heb. 1:1,2; etc. Rather than giving much thought to E.S.P., “set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2).
2. Can E.S.P. give me more knowledge of’ God’s will than Bible study? I am firmly convinced that the Bible is God’s inspired revealed will of God. The only way I can understand His desire and command is to study His word. Peter said “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called you to glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:3). The prophet Hosea stated, “My people are destroyed. for lack of knowledge . . . ” (Hos. 4:6). Which is best, study or waiting for special powers to learn God’s will. Jesus stated that we must hear, be taught, and learn of the Father (Jn. 6:44,45). Waiting for F.S.P. to give me more knowledge will be a long wait.
3. Will E.S.P. help convert the lost to Christ? Each child of God has a responsibility to convert the lost (Jn. 15-1-8; Mk. 16:15,16; Ezek. 3:18-21, etc.). If E.S.P. were to help in converting the lost I would say it has a good use. However, in New Testament time the apostle Paul declared that the “gospel” was God’s power for salvation. I believe the same is true today.
What then should the christian do about E.S.P.? “Wherefore the rather brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall; For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:10,11).
Truth Magazine XX: 45, pp. 717-718
November 11, 1976