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Jim Croft: Charismatic Superstitions and Misconceptions

One final statement by Mr. Croft on this subject is worth noting: “Most everyone would agree that any minister who could send His disciple to retrieve a gold coin from a fish’s mouth to pay taxes could not possibly qualify to be called poor” (ibid.). This is an amazing statement—if Jesus was indeed rich, why did he tell Peter to go to all the trouble of getting the coin from a fish, if he could have simply gotten the money from their “treasury”?

3. Mr. Croft also confronts the “misconception” that “[there] is no biblical evidence for the phenomena called near death experiences” (p. 110):

There is a portion of Scripture that mentions the existence of a silver cord that is broken at death when the human spirit returns to God (Eccles. 12:5-7). This cord fits the description of the tunnel of light that people allegedly travel during near death experiences. It might be a type of spiritual umbilical cord that sustains our lives from above while we are living here on earth and provides even the unconverted with the potential for communication from the eternal realm (Job 32:8; 33:4; 34:14) (ibid).

This is a case of eisegesis—reading preconceived notions into the text, rather than allowing the text to speak for itself. There is nothing within that passage of Scripture that indicates it is a reference to near death experiences:

Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed [Septuagint and Vulgate read “broken”],

or the golden bowl is broken,

or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,

or the wheel broken at the well.

Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,

and the spirit will return to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:6-7).

All of these images are used in the sense of the fragility of life and the finality of death, and stress the importance of “remembering” our Creator all the days of our lives, in light of the fact that life is short and may end unexpectedly at any time (cf. verse 1). Robert Davidson, in the “Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon” volume of The Daily Study Bible Series (Westminster John Knox Press (Louisville, KY: 1986)), describes the imagery this way:

Two simple, yet vivid, pictures in verse 6 stress the finality of death. Both may have as their background the lordly manor and estate described in verses 3-4. The first is that of an expensive golden bowl or lamp, suspended from the ceiling by a silver chain. A link in the chain snaps or is removed; the golden lamp falls, to lie smashed on the floor. The second is that of the well in the estate. To it the women used to come every day to fill their pitchers with water drawn from the depths of the well by a pulley worked on a wheel. Now there lies beside the well only a broken pitcher and a broken wheel (p. 87, emphasis in the original).

If Mr. Croft wishes to equate the “silver cord” with the tunnel of light described in near death experiences, he would also have to explain how the “golden bowl,” the “pitcher,” and the “wheel” fit into the same experiences. Rather than trying to stretch the imagery into such a nebulous interpretation, it would make better sense hermeneutically and logically to take the imagery at face value, as the simplest interpretation.

In the end, it is this reviewer’s opinion that Mr. Croft would have produced a better volume if he had spent the 115 pages in exposition of true doctrinal deviations and misconceptions, rather than approaching the subject from his own preconceptions, which overwhelms the useful parts of this book, and can leave the reader drowning in murky doctrinal waters consisting of one part truth and three parts error.

Reviewed by Mike J. Knowles

 

This review originally appeared on the In Depth Resources index on the Pneuma Foundation website. The Pneuma Foundation is the publisher of PneumaReview.com.

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Category: Fall 2015, In Depth

About the Author: Michael J. Knowles earned his Bachelor of Theology degree at Summit Pacific College in Abbotsford, BC, Canada, and has published numerous articles and book reviews. He and his family currently live in Washington state, where he teaches health education at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, and also works as a pharmacy technician in Bellingham.

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