John Bunyan's "NDE"

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by AresMan, Sep 7, 2006.

  1. AresMan

    AresMan
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    Upon an attempted suicide, John Bunyan claimed that he had a near death experience.

    Is this account:
    1. An actual event that really happened to him?
    2. A subconscious "dream" from an OOBE that seemed very real, but was only mental?
    3. A made-up account.

    ?

    http://www.near-death.com/forum/suicide/000/05.html
     
  2. gb93433

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    The best book I read on the subject was "To Hell and Back: Life After Death Startling New Evidence" by Maurice S. Rawlings . Rawlings was a medical doctor who was not a Christian and later became a Christian by what his patients descibed when NDEs happened to them.
     
  3. Marcia

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    I believe that NDE's are either caused by physiological changes, like oxygen deprivation, or result from some trauma or fear.

    One reason I believe this is that NDE experiences vary with the cultural and religious beliefs that the person has been surrounded by or raised with. I've read that Hindus see Hindu gods in NDE's, and Buddhists see Buddha or bodhisattvas.

    I read that book "To Hell and Back" but I just don't believe he really saw or heard (I can't recall his story now exactly) real, though I think he thinks he did. I was not convinced, and it seems there were other things in the book that he said that really bothered me. That didn't help.
     
  4. John of Japan

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    Hi, Marcia.

    I don't think we can completely rule out NDE's. There is a Biblical incident related by Paul, possibly a NDE which some believe occured when he was stoned and left for dead.

    "1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter" (2 Cor. 12:1-4).

    I've read Rawlings' book and heard a live testimony of a NDE, and lean towards the possibility that some are real.
     
  5. AresMan

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    I have read that book too. I think NDEs can be used of God. However, I am hesitant to believe many NDEs because I have read many of them and they vary greatly.

    I am suspicious of the idea that there are demons in hell who torture people. I don't see this substantiated in Scripture, and it seems that hell is a place where everything in it is punished and that nothing in it has the authority and power to derive pleasure by punishing others.
     
  6. Marcia

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    I have to disagree, John of Japan. This was totally initiated by God, not man. And I don't think it's an NDE - it's a revelation from God to Paul. And, most importantly, Paul was not allowed to reveal it!

    I don't think we can base truth on someone's experience. Maybe it's true, maybe it isn't. But it certainly does not prove NDEs to be real. I do recall after reading the book that I would not recommend it to anyone and I threw it away. So I know there was stuff in there that bothered me theologically or I would not have done that.

    I had so many experiences before I was saved. I "remembered" past lives. I saw entities whom I thought were dead people. I had out of body experiences. How could you as a Christian have convinced me at the time that these were not what I thought they were? You couldn't have. I was convinced of the truth of what I thought these things were based on because of the experience itself.
     
  7. Marcia

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    AresMan, I'm so glad you said this because it reminded me of another point I meant to make in my first post here, but I forgot!

    It's exactly what you say -- how could this experience be real when it does not measure up to the bible? Demons don't torture people in hell; they themselves will be suffering. It seems that this kind of NDE goes along with the popular notion that Satan and demons torture people in hell - this is folk myth that we see in cartoons and is popular in the culture, but it's not biblical.

    This substantiates what I said earlier -- that NDE's seem to be based on personal and cultural conceptions of what happens after death, either good or bad.
     
  8. James_Newman

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    Hey Marcia, I heard some guy plugging you on Point of View the other day. Do you have a book?
     
  9. Marcia

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    Thanks for asking!

    Yes, that was Ron Rhodes you heard (he emailed me about it). I have a book from Cook that came out Sept. 1st., SpellBound: The Paranormal Seduction of Today's Kids. The Foreword is by Norman Geisler.

    I announced it on the Books and Publications Forum because I didn't think I could start a thread here announcing it.

    Here's the thread on it. Several have posted they are ordering a copy!
    http://www.baptistboard.com/showthread.php?t=33228

    Here is a page on my site about the book:
    http://cana.userworld.com/cana_SpellBound.htm

    It can be ordered from Amazon, CBD, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble, the Lifeway site, of course Cook, and others. Also, Family Christian Bookstores will carry it.
     
    #9 Marcia, Sep 8, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2006
  10. John of Japan

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    These are valid points. But I hasten to say that there is nothing in the Bible that disallows NDEs.
    Naturally we must have Biblical guidelines about what we will believe in this area and use apologetically. It is true that Satan deceives many in the area of death and the afterlife. How about:

    (1) A NDE is false if it uplifts any deity but our Lord.
    (2) It is false if it contradicts any Scripture.
    (3) It is false if it gives hope of salvation through person or means other than Christ.
    You had to have been convinced by Scripture. Just the same, there have been many, many believers down through the years who have approached death with incredible peace, "dying grace," as it is called. (Some may consider this a different subject than NDEs.)

    My great-grandmother Rice said at death, "I see Jesus and my baby!" She was speaking of a baby who died at birth. Dr Monroe Parker, the director of our mission board for many years and a level-headed scholar (earned Ph. D. in theology), used to tell a sweet story of how his mother saw flowers and heard music on her deathbed, though there were no flowers in the room and no music being played. Also, I was there with my own grandfather who, while deathly sick in the hospital in the middle of the night some months before he died, seemed to have a direct conversation with the Lord--though he never mentioned it later.

    On this subject see Last Words of Saints and Sinners, by Herbert Lockyer. Maybe this would be more convincing than Rawlings' book, since Lockyer was a well-known Bible teacher and author with no mystical tendencies. He tells of Christian poet Elizabeth Browning who said, "It is beautiful" (p. 104), and Joseph Addison (poet) said, "See in what peace a Christian can die" (p. 112). On the other hand, a noted infidel named Kay could only say, "Hell! Hell! Hell!" (p. 134). I could give many more examples from the book.
     
  11. rsr

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    To return to the original post, the work referred to is often attributed to Bunyan but was in fact written by his publisher, George Larkin, in 1711 after Bunyan's death.

    It has often been included in anthologies of Bunyan's work but is spurious. (If you read it and compare it to Pilgrim's Progress, the differences are noticeable.)

    The original title was The World to Come, the Glories of Heaven and the Terrors of Hell Lively displayed under the Similitude of a vision. (FORGERIES ON JOHN BUNYAN, London Notes and Queries, Volume s2-VIII, Issue 199, Oct. 22, 1859, pp. 321-322.)

    My two cents is that Bunyan's real autobiography, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, (in which he tells of having terrible dreams as a boy, lending some truth of color to Larkin's later recount of Bunyan's visions) is a more powerful work as it recounts the Bunyan's extremely lengthy — and wrenching — conversion process.

     
    #11 rsr, Sep 9, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 9, 2006
  12. Marcia

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    JoJ, I agree with your post, but I don't consider what you describe above to be NDE's. NDE's are usually tales of people who claimed to have died and come back, or who were pronounced dead or believed to have died and come back.

    What you describe here are people who are actually dying and what they see right before death. I just don't consider that an NDE because NDE means Near Death Experience. What you talk about here are actually cases of people dying and who died, even though with your grandfather it was a few months later. Totally different category, in my book.

    Let's not forget one of the most deceptive of all NDEs, Betty Eadie's Embraced by the Light. Because she dedicated it to Jesus, "my Lord and Savior," many thought she was a Christian. I think she wrote it before I was a believer, but after my ministry started and I was speaking, people would often ask me about it. So I got a copy and read through it.

    Yikes! Not Christian at all! Then I found out she was a Mormon, a faithful Mormon. Not only that, she had imbibed a lot of New Age beliefs, which I find very common among some Mormons (and Mormon authors like Stephen Covey).
     
  13. John of Japan

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    Okay, different subject for a different thread some time. :thumbs:
     
  14. John of Japan

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    You know, I wondered about that. Thanks for the information. It didn't sound quite like Bunyan to me, and I was going to check my copy of Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners to see if that story was in it.
     
  15. rlvaughn

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    Marcia, I also heard Ron Rhodes on Point of View the other day. I just didn't know that you are that you!

    rsr, thanks for the clarification on Bunyan.
     
  16. Marcia

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  17. John of Japan

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    Way to go Marcia!:applause: :thumbsup:
     

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