(5-minute read):
There is an alarming trend amongst some influential televangelist and modern prophets. They relate subtle out of body experiences and visions relating to the same realities mentioned by the Old Testament patriarchs and New Testament Saints (Isa.6, 2 Cor.5:8). Recently, Prophet Leon Du Preez announced that he could leave his body and move into other household areas. These are but a small example of how these teachers promote vicarious practices described in the Scriptures but are not stated as normative practice for the believer.

Click here: To see Prophet Leon’s Claims. Scripture calls for us to discern every Spirit that we encounter;

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1.

The Roots of this type of Theology is actually introduced in the 1916’s via “the International New Thought Alliance” (formed 1914) that agreed upon a purpose that embraces some central ideas of most groups:

“To teach the Infinitude of the Supreme One; the Divinity of Man and his Infinite Possibilities through the creative power of constructive thinking and obedience to the voice of the indwelling Presence which is our source of Inspiration, Power, Health and Prosperity.”

In 1917, at St. Louis (Missouri) Congress, the alliance adopted a “Declaration of Principles.” It was modified in 1919 and was printed in New Thought until revised in the 1950s.

“This purpose and these principles emphasized the immanence of God, the divine nature of man, the immediate availability of God’s power to man, the spiritual character of the universe, and the fact that sin, human disorders, and human disease are basically matters of incorrect thinking…

Many New Thought groups emphasize Jesus as teacher and healer and proclaim his kingdom as being within a person… New Thought leaders… have increasingly stressed material prosperity as one result of New Thought… New Thought implies a kind of Monism or view of the oneness of the World, but it also has strong Gnostic (i.e., Dualistic, matter being opposed to spirit) undertones; that is, though New Thought is open to all, spiritual healing and strength of the mind and body are available only to those who have the insights and who have been initiated into the movement at some point.”[1]

For the Christian, we are cautioned to look at the merit of all kinds of spiritual experiences, and if the experience is lacking or wanting, we should take no part in those practices. Paul writes to the Church in Ephesus (5:10-11); 

“And try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

My fear is that Prophet Leon’s teachings are metaphysical rather than charismatic and the Church cultic than Christlike.

The sad reality is that many teachers claim mystical experiences because they want to show their affinity with the supernatural; others do it because they believe these practices are in the bible and should be normative. This is not normative at all, as I will show, but the hidden danger is that teachers proclaim these experiences so that they can claim some preponderance due to these practices. Scholar David A. De Silva cautions An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods & ministry formation. Pg.873-874 that;

“Once authority becomes located in the teacher’s alleged access to the divine, it is quite difficult to bring external, objective standards to bear on evaluating their claims.”

 Out of Body experiences?

Paul makes it clear that “to be out of the body is to be present with the Lord” in his letter to the Corinthians (2 Cor.5:8). First, we can acknowledge that Paul and earlier Prophets experienced a MODE of detachment in apocalyptic or ecstatic visions. Graig Keener noted;

“Like many biblical prophets, Paul regularly experienced visions (e.g., Ezek 1:1; Dan 7:1); … Although visions “of the Lord” may specify simply their source (cf. Ezek 1:1; 8:3; 40:2; perhaps Rev 1:1), they may well be visions whose object is the Lord (cf. 3:18; Gal 1:12, 16; Is 6:1; Ezek 1:26), as in the example in 12:8–9.”

“Some Greeks sought mystical vision of God through contemplating the divine or rituals… Jewish mystics also sought visions of God’s throne chariot, through secret knowledge, fasting and other means.”

We can conclude that ecstatic experiences as MODE of special revelation were not novel neither limited to Biblical figures; the ancient Jews and Greek soothsayers also experienced these ecstatic realities. Truth is not mystical experiences! Truth is Christ’s word (John17:17). Therefore, Keener observes that it is essential to notice the SOURCE and not just the MODE of these experiences. Keener adds about the SOURCE of Paul’s revelations;

“Paul… is here boasting in visions (12:1). Luke also claims that Paul had multiple visions (e.g., Acts 9:12; 16:9), many of these involving the Lord himself (9:3–6; 18:9;22:17).[2]

The SOURCE is, therefore, easy to identify. From Christ to Paul. The Source of these revelations was not wrought by Paul’s will but by the will of Christ. Therefore, ecstatic experiences are not to be sought by anyone but are given by God’s initiative as the Spirit wills. Peter (2 Pet.1:21) the Apostle says;

“for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

Even Paul (1 Cor. 12:11) affirms that the gifts functioned via the initiative of the Spirit of God;

“All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”

Paul affirms God’s design, not man’s commands (1 Cor.12:18);

“But in fact, God has arranged the members of the body, every one of them, according to His design.”

The author of Hebrews (2:4) even speaks of God’s Sovereignty when he adds that the various giftedness in the early Christian community was given by God’s will and not men. And He delivered signs and wonders to affirm His presence BY HIS WILL;

“This salvation was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, and was affirmed by God through signs, wonders, various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will.”

People believe Prophet Leon to be a Biblical Prophet and a Biblical Scholar at the same time. In my opinion, I don’t think he is either. Another Scripture that is seemingly mentioned is where Paul mention his letter to the Corinthians (2 Cor.12:1-6);  

“I must boast, although it does not do any good. Let’s talk about visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man who belongs to the Messiah. Fourteen years ago—whether in his body or outside of his body, I do not know, but God knows—that man was snatched away to the third heaven. I know that this man—(whether in his body or outside of his body, I do not know, but God knows) was snatched away to Paradise and heard things that cannot be expressed in words, things that no human being has a right even to mention. I will boast about this man, but as for myself I will boast only about my weaknesses.”

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says;

“Whether heavenly things were brought down to him, while his body was in a trance, as in the case of ancient prophets; or whether his soul was dislodged from the body for a time, and taken up into heaven, or whether he was taken up, body and soul together, he knew not. We are not capable, nor is it fit we should yet know, the particulars of that glorious place and state. He did not attempt to publish to the world what he had heard there, but he set forth the doctrine of Christ. On that foundation the church is built, and on that we must build our faith and hope.”

Paul the Apostle dare not say anything about the details of these revelations as the Prophet Leon boasts neither endeavored to make this experience normative for the believer. He is relating an account of something unexplained and obscure to his understanding. The point is that when we are out of the body as believers, we are with the Lord, and that is the clear intention of all O.B. E’s mentioned in Scripture. Dr. Thomas L. Constable in his notes on 2 Corinthians notes on the passage “being out of the body”;

“because we are absent from the Lord, while we are living in our mortal bodies, we desire to leave these bodies and take up our new residence in the Lord’s presence. Note that there are no other alternatives for the believer. We are either in our mortal bodies and absent from the Lord or we are with the Lord and absent from our mortal bodies. This is a strong guarantee that when we leave our mortal bodies we will go immediately into the Lord’s presence. There will be no purgatory. Being “at home with the Lord” implies a closer fellowship with Christ than we experience now, as well as closer proximity to Him (cf. 1 Thess. 4:17; Phil. 1:23).”

An involuntary out-of-body experience or a near-death experience should be treated in the same way as a dream in the life of a Christian—an unexplained phenomenon that may make a good story but does not give us the truth. The only place we find absolute truth is in the Word of God. All other sources are merely subjective human accounts or interpretations based on what we can discover with our finite minds.



[1] https://www.britannica.com/topic/faith-healing

[2] 1 & 2 Corinthians, Pg. 238