Theology and Paranormal Activity

Posted: January 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

The film Paranormal Activity was a lot of fun and possibly the best horror movie since The Blair Witch Project.  The marketing of the film made it look like a ghost story but it’s actually about demon possession.

The film raised a lot of interesting discussions with some friends at church about the supernatural.

It’s not the first time I’ve been asked about demons and demon possession by Christians.  A few years ago, I was teaching an early morning Bible study on Luke-Acts and the question was raised, “Why don’t we see the miraculous as often today as in the early church?”

I think that’s a really good question.

Some scholars have speculated that miracles ceased once the New Testament was finished.  Yet, many, including me, have seen isolated examples of what we believe to be “supernatural” events.

Other scholars have opined that the lack of faith in our culture is to blame but it seems to me that the 1st century pagan culture was not really that different.

So, what are we to make of all of this?

I don’t have an answer as to why the church today doesn’t possess the power that the first century apostles used to heal others but I have raised the question as to why it is that certain segments of Christianity report facing demonic opposition while others don’t.  

 The question itself raised a lot of ire for some reason but I still think it is a good question.

Why do more conservative streams of Christianity report supernatural events (albeit not often) while more liberal streams don’t? Is it because the former is imagining it? Is the latter blind to it? Or is one more dangerous than the other? Would the latter become more dangerous if it took the darkness more seriously? Or is this a subject only for campfires while reflecting on films like Paranormal Activity?

  1. lawdawg23 says:

    Personally, I wonder if miracles were actually as commonplace as we think they were in the first century. For instance, aren’t Paul and Peter the only two apostles specifically mentioned to have ever performed signs and wonders? I realize this isn’t the point of your blog, but it’s something I ponder from time to time. In my opinion our view of the New Testament is very spotty and could benefit from some serious revision based upon a better grasp of the chronology and overall narrative of the first-century story. What I mean is that we’re a little too “cut-and-paste” in our approach to the scriptures, which makes it easy to read into the New Testament things that are not really there, such as a daily occurance of supernatural happenings.

    Anyway, it’s just a thought. Sorry if this was totally unrelated to your post.

  2. Revolution says:

    Not at all unrelated and I appreciate the comment but after teaching through Luke-Acts I would argue that it was at least much more commonplace than today. Also, I guess I would ask, what was special about Peter and Paul? Weren’t they also sinners saved by grace? Wasn’t it God who performed the miracles while they were simply the vessels? Anyway, just been on my mind a lot lately. Thanks so much for the comment. Blessings,

  3. lawdawg23 says:

    I didn’t mean to say there is anything special about Peter or Paul, only making the point that they are the only two mentioned to have performed signs.

    Nice to meet you, by the way. 🙂

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