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Now it’s time to talk about ghosts

I saw the following article on a Baptist missions site.   David* never imagined he’d use ghosts as a way to share the Gospel. A Christian worker in Cambodia, David was surveying floating villages on Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, and was in need of a b…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
I saw the following article on a Baptist missions site.
 
David* never imagined he’d use ghosts as a way to share the Gospel.

A
Christian worker in Cambodia, David was surveying floating villages on
Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, and was
in need of a boat and driver. Andrew,* whom David had led to Christ 18
months earlier, agreed to take the job.

It was on one of these
survey trips to the village of Kbal Taol that David met Tim*. The two
began to talk of spiritual things, and David gave Tim a Bible. After
several more visits, Tim invited David and Andrew to dinner in his
home. Before they arrived, Andrew gave David some advice.

“The way you talk about God is good, but it would be better to start differently,” Andrew said.

“How should I start?” David asked.

“You need to talk about ghosts,” he replied.

“Ghosts? Why ghosts?”

“Because
the people here are afraid of ghosts,” Andrew said. “They need to know
that this Creator God is more powerful than ghosts.”

Until 2008, no one in this village had ever heard the story of Jesus. But that changed the night David and Andrew arrived at Tim’s house for dinner.

Tim
had invited a few neighbors to join them, including Andrew’s father,
who lived next door. After dinner, the talk turned to spiritual things.
Tim had begun reading the Bible David gave him and had many questions.

“Tim
and I had been talking for about three hours, and the other men were
falling asleep,” David said. “Then about 9 o’clock Andrew pulled me
aside.”

“Now is the time to talk about ghosts,” Andrew told him.

So
David began a discussion about ghosts by sharing the story of the rich
man and Lazarus from Luke 16. He explained that ghosts are not spirits
of the dead but rather fallen angels and evil spirits sent out from
Satan.
 
“The men woke up,” David laughed. “[Now] they were paying close attention.”

At midnight, however, the visitors left to get some sleep before their early morning fishing trip. But Tim still had questions.

Finally, Tim asked David, “Now, tell me how someone can become a child of God.”

David explained the Gospel, and Tim prayed to receive Christ. It was 3 a.m.
 ———–
*Name changed

Comments (13)

  • What was going on in 1 Samuel 28? Saul goes to that witch of Endor and calls up Samuel- and Samuel appears from the grave. Was that really just a fallen angel?

  • Seth, I would like to hear more from a Biblical stance about Ghosts. Are they really fallen angels? Are they all bad?
    I don’t know if you remember when mark brought me over to your house and we talked and prayed about my fear of the dark. I think that kindof plays into it. I’m also so afraid to be alone in a house.

  • maybe I’m wrong here… but I don’t think the point is “what Ghosts are or aren’t”… It’s about using culture to open the Gospel to people who are otherwise numb to it. Paul did a similar thing with the Unknown God talk in Acts.

    thanks for sharing this story. It reminds me that my christianese probably only communicates to me. Intentionality. beautiful.

  • Sorry Seth, I’m confused. I get your point Chris (about the cultural significance), but what does Luke 16 have to do with ghosts on earth? I just reread it and all I saw it talk about was a dead man in hell (not on earth). Do you have any other scripture about ghosts? I’d love to hear more about it (this is not something I ever discussed in sunday school- haha!)

    I get that ‘evil spirits, spirits, demons, etc’ (or good spirits) would either be angels or fallen angels. But what about GHOSTS – meaning the soul of a dead human being? It was always my understanding that they either went to heaven or hell. But with what Scott just brought up, could they in fact be on earth?

  • (Again, Chris- totally agree about your view and love the fact that he met people where they were to lead them to Christ…but now that we’ve opened up the subject, I’d like to know more!)

  • I totally agree with the “point” of the message, but it raised questions in my head that have never been adressed biblically! I think God speaks to us in things like this and we can each take away something different and unique to apply to our lives.

  • There is nothing quite so special as a changed life. That is the power of the Gospel. Acts 17 is one of my fasvorite passages in Scripture and is preceded by Paul doing “market research” in Acts 16.

  • There is nothing quite so special as a changed life. That is the power of the Gospel. Acts 17 is one of my fasvorite passages in Scripture and is preceded by Paul doing “market research” in Acts 16.

  • There is nothing quite so special as a changed life. That is the power of the Gospel. Acts 17 is one of my fasvorite passages in Scripture and is preceded by Paul doing “market research” in Acts 16.

  • i have also wondered about the “witch of Endor”, was it really Samuel who appeared or a deceiving spirit. People today are making all sorts of claims of visits from O.T. characters which I believe are really demons. The “Visitation of the Four Patriachs” (google will find this) being a classic example, but many in the church who support Israel believe this rubbish. Any comments?

  • “man has been appointed once to die and then the judgement”………there are many deceiving spirits….if these are REALY people who have died I dont see them mention the judgement much?

  • Well this has gone off on an unintended tangent, I think! But an interesting one nonetheless.

    I don’t personally believe in ghosts. I do believe in spiritual beings or spirits, be they angels who obey God or angels who disobey him. I don’t think there is any intermediate kind of kingdom – it’s either one or the other. It’s easy for evil spirits to come up with significant information to give their appearance “truth”, in either “ghostly encounters” or the way mediums use “spirit voices.” Deceit always contains some fact to give it credence and build your awe or fear and make you agree with the rest of what it has to say.

    I think the story that Jesus told in Luke 16 was just that – a story, an idea, something that would make sense to his listeners because maybe it borrowed from common storytelling ideas. He often did that, drawing from local culture, local life, nature, storytelling styles.

    Parables are simply storytelling devices that are not literal – they contain details that are irrelevant but aid the story. They are more like myth – a story invented to explain the deeper truth in a way that makes sense.

    Allegories are different – they are this equals that and this equals that. Every point is symbolic and specific, nothing is extraneous. This story in Luke 16 is not an allegory, I think it’s a parable or a story. So it isn’t a justification for the existence of ghosts, but rather intended to lead you towards understanding something of eternity and your ability to make choices about it.

  • This reminds me of my kids in South Africa who had all kinds of nightmares. I was able to share with them about the spiritual realm and how in Christ we have authority over those spirits.

    Perhaps that is always a good question to ask. “What are you affraid of”? Fear is one of the more common ways that Satan tries to control people. It was a big deal for me to understand spiritual authority and finally take control of my mind again.

    Perhaps in practicing those subtle but probing questions, we can learn more about how the enemy is working in somebody’s life and provide the answers that would give them the most hope.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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