Question from an email friend:

Shalom. I’m from Indonesia. I have read The Bondage Breaker and I want to thank you. Your book has helped me to overcome my spiritual battles. I want to ask about hypnotism. Should a Christian be involved with hypnotism?

First, let me differentiate between hypnotism, where the subject has completely lost conscious awareness of their present environment, with some therapeutic techniques where the therapist is helping their client relax. In the latter case the client is conscious and is rationally involved. I wouldn’t personally practice that, but I see no problem with it as long as the mind of the client isn’t being bypassed or manipulated.

I am very much opposed to any kind of hypnotism where subjects lose conscious control of their minds. A Christian should never surrender control of their minds. God never bypasses our minds, and that is exactly what the devil and occult practices seek to do. Counterfeit gifts also bypass the mind. In the context of teaching about the proper use of prophesy and tongues, Paul wrote, “I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. . . . Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature” (2 Cor. 14:15,20). We are transformed by the renewing of our minds and the next verse says, “think so as to have sound judgment” (Rom. 12:3). Paul instructed us to let our minds dwell on that which is true, lovely, right, etc. (Phil. 4:8).

Hypnotism is a parlor game, or entertainment, for some, but it is also used by secular doctors and therapists to retrieve information from the subconscious. Psychiatrists and psychologists know that there are root issues imbedded in people’s memories so they employ hypnosis to retrieve them. They may uncover some hidden memories that way, but they are also leaving the mind open to suggestion and deception. We have something, actually Someone, infinitely better. God knows every detail of our lives, so why not ask Him? That is what we have enquirers do when we lead them through the Steps to Freedom in Christ. If people get stuck, we have them ask the Lord to show them what still needs to be dealt with. Let’s follow the example of the Psalmist, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Ps. 139:23,24).

Dr. Neil

For Spanish, see http://www.ficmm.org/blog