Deceived by the Light

Article ID: DE305 | By: Douglas Groothuis

Discernment


Summary

Betty Eadie’s surprise bestseller, Embraced by the Light, has triggered a tremendous interest in near-death experiences (NDEs). Eadie claims to have died and encountered Jesus Christ along with other spiritual wonders. While some Christians have appreciated her account, Eadie’s story dissolves under close scrutiny. Although she uses biblical language and dedicates her book to “my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” she denies biblical orthodoxy — such as the Trinity, the reality of hell, and salvation by faith alone — throughout the book. Her world view is an odd mixture of Mormon and New Age thought. Tragically, her false ideas contributed to the suicide of a young woman named Allison.

The gospel of Jesus Christ has always proclaimed exclusive deliverance from the fetters of sin and death. Jesus declared that He was “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25) and backed up His words by giving “many convincing proofs that he was alive” after His crucifixion and resurrection (Acts 1:3). The Book of Hebrews affirms that Jesus’ death destroyed “him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil — and free[d] those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Heb. 2:14-15). Nevertheless, this tremendous truth is often counterfeited.

An increasing number of people proclaim that death is not the end, that it ought not be feared, that there is no hell, and that death is simply another stage in one’s spiritual development. These death-denying assertions are not based on Scripture, but on the testimonies of people who claim to have been clinically dead for a short time and to have experienced visions of a world beyond — a world of intense light and love.

A BESTSELLER IS BORN

Several recent bestsellers on near-death experiences enthusiastically declare the desirability of the world beyond. The most popular one is probably Betty Eadie’s Embraced by the Light (1992), which supposedly is a firsthand report of Eadie’s own near-death experience (NDE) and events related to it. Within six months the book was on the New York Times bestseller list, where it stayed for well over a year, selling more than a million copies. Paperback rights for the book were sold for nearly two million dollars, after which the paperback edition became a bestseller as well.

Clearly, Embraced by the Light has tapped into a tremendous human desire to find peace, fulfillment, and freedom from fear. The clearest message of Eadie’s story is that there is nothing to fear. Beyond death’s door awaits a glorious Light, full of unconditional love and acceptance for everyone who crosses that threshold. Consider Eadie’s account of meeting Jesus after she “died” in 1973 following surgery:

I saw a pinpoint of light in the distance….I was instinctively attracted to it….As I approached it, I noticed the figure of a man standing in it, with the light radiating all around him….I felt his light blending into mine, literally, and I felt my light being drawn to his….And as our lights merged, I felt as if I had stepped into his countenance, and I felt an utter explosion of love….I went to him and received his complete embrace and said over and over, “I’m home. I’m home. I’m finally home.” I felt his enormous spirit and knew that I had always been a part of him, that in reality I had never been away from him….There was no questioning who he was. I knew that he was my Savior, and friend, and God. He was Jesus Christ.1

The testimony is certainly appealing. Nevertheless, it calls for a dose of healthy skepticism. Eadie refuses to release her medical records or provide any corroborating evidence that she had actually died. She simply expects us to take her word for it.2 In view of what is at stake — the eternal state of one’s soul — a number of significant questions need to be asked about Eadie’s theology.

Having been raised in a Christian setting (but apparently without understanding the gospel),3 Eadie identifies herself as a Christian and places considerable emphasis on Jesus, even dedicating her book “To the Light, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” In fact, Embraced by the Light is often requested, and sometimes sold, at Christian bookstores around the country.

As we look at points of disagreement between Eadie’s teachings and those of the Bible, we should remember the Bible’s repeated warnings about false Christs (Matt. 24:5), false gospels (Gal. 1:6-10), and false teachings (Acts 20:28-31). We should “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1).

Eadie writes of a personal God who knows and loves her. She speaks of Jesus as God, Savior, and Lord. She mentions Satan and demons, as well as angels who guide and defend her. She rejects reincarnation4 and briefly mentions resurrection.5 Despite these assertions, a closer examination shows her theology not to be biblical. It is quite common for someone to use a biblical vocabulary, but not use the Bible as a dictionary. In fact, Eadie’s ideas on spirituality are a strange mixture of Mormon and New Age themes.

Eadie is a Mormon, a fact veiled in the current edition of Embraced by the Light. It was originally marketed in the heavily Mormon areas of Utah, Arizona, and Nevada as a Mormon testimony.6 The first edition contained a one-page flyer, entitled “Of Special Interest to Members of the Church of Latter-day Saints,” which recounted Eadie’s conversion to Mormonism and told of her desire to convert others.7 The first edition also contained several obviously Mormon references altered in the mass-market version.8

EADIE’S JESUS


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Eadie claims she was shown that Jesus is a separate being from the Father during her NDE. This view of Jesus aligns with the Mormon doctrine that there is no Trinity but three separate Gods, each in charge of his portion of the universe.9 Scripture, however, declares that there is only one God (Deut. 6:4), who exists as three distinct but coequal and coeternal divine persons: the Father (Matt. 6:9), the Son (John 1:1), and the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4). Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), a teaching that rules out a plurality of gods because of its emphasis on the oneness of essence shared by Jesus and the Father. Although Eadie at least twice speaks of “the Spirit of God,”10 she fails to mention the Holy Spirit by name or as a distinct member of the Trinity. Yet the Bible claims He is as divine as the Father and the Son, and that His ministry is essential in enabling people to understand divine truths (John 14:26; Eph. 3:5).

Although Eadie calls Jesus “Lord and Savior,” she says absolutely nothing about His death on the cross, by which our salvation has been made possible. Yet Jesus identifies this as the reason He came into the world (John 12:27). He died and thereby bore the penalty for sin in behalf of those enslaved by sin in order that God’s justice might be served and His love be demonstrated (John 3:16; Rom. 5:1-8). The cross of Christ is conspicuously absent in Embraced by the Light.

The supreme authority or lordship of Christ is also conspicuously absent from Eadie’s account. When Jesus and “the council of men” asked Eadie to return to earth, she apparently suffered from no sense of obligation to obey Christ. Instead, she protested and bartered with them. She consented to return only after she was told about her “mission” on earth and after she “made them promise that the moment my mission was complete they would take me back home….They agreed to my terms” (emphasis added).11 In Eadie’s view, Jesus is simply a member of an assembly that suggests alternatives; she herself has the final authority over her own life and her own death.

The Bible, however, says only Jesus holds the keys of life and death (Rev. 1:18). The apostle Paul, after speaking of the incarnation and crucifixion of Christ, affirmed that Jesus has been exalted to the highest place so that all should confess His Lordship. One who meets Jesus is in no position to complain, barter, or demand (Phil. 2:9-11).

Eadie says that when she met Jesus, she “knew that God was our mutual Father.”12 She seems to view Jesus more as an advanced spirit-brother than as absolute Savior and Lord. Again, this echoes the Mormon teaching that Jesus became divine through a process, as we can.13 But the Bible teaches that Jesus is the eternal Son by His divine nature (John 1:1). Those who have been forgiven of sin are made to be God’s “sons” through adoption by God’s grace (Eph. 1:5; 1 John 3:1). Yet this adoption does not make us divine.

Eadie claims her heavenly visitation taught her that all religions should be accepted as appropriate for the people they serve. This sentiment is a staple of New Age syncretism, which asserts that all roads eventually lead to God. The Jesus of the Gospels, however, is more concerned with whether or not one has truly heard and obeyed His word; for God will not accept those who do not hear and obey. Jesus also declared that He is the only way to the Father (John 14:6; cf. Acts 4:12). Likewise, the apostle Paul’s zeal for the gospel caused him to say that if even an angel from heaven should declare a gospel different from the authentic apostolic message, that angel should be eternally condemned (Gal. 1:8-9).

PREMORTAL EXISTENCE

The premortal/preexistent soul is an idea repeatedly taught in Embraced by the Light. Eadie says that when she saw Jesus, she remembered Him from a time before her physical birth. She also speaks of spirits awaiting and choosing their physical bodies. Here Eadie repeats Mormon teaching at one level and denies it at another. She agrees with Mormonism that we exist as spirits before birth; she contradicts Mormonism by claiming that each soul chooses the body it will inhabit.14

The Bible teaches that a person comes into existence at the moment of physical conception, not before (Ps. 139:13-16; Zech. 12:1). Several passages speak of God knowing people before they were born (Isa. 49:1; Jer. 1:5), but they do not refer to a spiritual existence before physical birth. They rather indicate that God knows His plans for a person even before that person exists, comparable to how an architect knows the building he or she has designed even before the foundation has been laid.15 Only Jesus Christ spiritually existed before His physical incarnation (John 1:1-3, 14). Eadie, however, says every human is similarly incarnated. Her claim diminishes the biblical emphasis on the uniqueness of Jesus.16

The idea of the spiritual preexistence of the human soul is an ancient Greek and Gnostic belief that is affirmed in Mormon17 and New Age theology. The notion that premortal souls somehow contributed to the creation of the universe, as Eadie claims, also diminishes the character of God as absolute Creator, recorded in Genesis 1. God neither needs nor uses any human assistance in creating, fashioning, or maintaining the cosmos (Job 38:4; John 1:3; Acts 17:25). By insisting on human cooperation in creation, Eadie breaks down the separation between the uncreated, all-powerful Creator and His finite creation.

In a television interview, Eadie used the idea of spiritual preexistence to explain the presence of evil in the world. She claimed that those who were tortured and killed during the Nazi Holocaust had chosen these earthly situations before birth.18 She seemed to think this somehow made the situation more tolerable. But the ethical implications of such thinking are astounding.

Even if we grant Eadie’s unbiblical idea of preexistence, what sane spirit being would choose to suffer such unspeakable atrocities on earth? And if all Holocaust victims were not really victims at all but willing participants, then the Nazis should not be morally condemned; they were simply complying with the wishes of their subjects.

SIN AND SALVATION

Eadie’s teaching on the premortal soul is closely tied to her understanding of human nature and salvation. For her, the central human problem is a “‘veil’ of forgetfulness” that we receive when we take on physical bodies.19 Although we have a spiritual origin and identity, our embodiment causes us to be out of touch with this reality. Eadie echoes Plato when she comments that “birth is a sleep and a forgetting,”20 which implies that the preexistent, disembodied state is far better than being in a physical body.

The biblical view of bodily resurrection teaches that in the final state believers will be in their perfected bodies (1 Cor. 15:12-58), while those that reject God will suffer “everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:2). The body, therefore, is not intrinsically inferior to the soul; the Creator can refashion it to become eternal and perfect. Eadie mentions resurrection in passing, but her basic ideas are unbiblical.

Although Eadie uses the word “sin” several times (often putting it in quotation marks), she says this “is not our true nature. Spiritually, we are at various degrees of light — which is knowledge — and because of our divine, spiritual nature we are filled with the desire to do good.”21 She does not regard sin as an offense against a holy God, but as a misuse of natural laws, due largely to ignorance. Repentance, therefore, involves forgiving oneself rather than confessing one’s sin before God and asking for His forgiveness.22 During Eadie’s life-review, Jesus allegedly told her to lighten up on herself and not to take her acts of wrongdoing so seriously.23

Eadie mentions nothing of the need to repent of one’s sins against God (Ps. 51:4) or to place one’s trust in Christ to find forgiveness and eternal life (Matt. 11:28-30; Acts 16:31). Instead, she says we must “look within” and “trust our abilities,”24 particularly the inherent power of our thoughts.25 This emphasis on mind power squares well with the New Age emphasis on the limitless power of human consciousness.

Eadie also distorts the biblical teaching on the entrance of sin into the world. Eve “did not ‘fall’ to temptation as much as she made a conscious decision to bring about conditions necessary for her progression.”26 This view is similar to Mormon27 and Gnostic28 teaching, but alien to the Bible, which clearly affirms that Eve succumbed to the serpent’s temptation to sin by disobeying God and that Adam fell into sin along with his wife (Gen. 3; 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:14). The Scriptures teach that all people since the first couple have inherited a predisposition to sin (Ps. 51:5), which is so ingrained and severe (Mark 7:21-23; Rom. 3:10-20) that it cannot be altered apart from God’s supernatural help, which He offers through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ (John 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-4).

Eadie views salvation as the acquiring of knowledge, which leads a person from an earth-bound perspective to a more spiritual one. Her words often affirm the Mormon doctrine of eternal progression. She speaks of each individual’s “eternal progress,”29 and says that God is “the Man behind” the “Universal Power,” and “that God wants us to become as he is, and that he has invested us with god-like qualities.”30

Eadie seems to hold the Mormon belief that the heavenly Father is really a glorified Man, and that, in time, we too can attain to this status, as Jesus already has. In other words, we are all potentially gods. When Eadie claims she became omniscient during her NDE, she resonates both with the New Age idea that humans are inherently divine and the Mormon doctrine that humans can progress to deity. Yet the apostle Paul clearly taught that there is but one God and one mediator between God and finite, sinful humans, and that mediator is Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:5-6). While God is unlimited in His knowledge, humans will always be limited in what they know, both in this life and the next (Rom. 11:33).

WORSHIP

The concept of worship, so central to the Bible, is entirely alien to Eadie’s account. She never worships Jesus or the Father, nor do any of the other spiritual beings she encounters. Although the Bible does not record any near-death experiences, the first chapter of Revelation tells of John’s encounter with the resurrected and exalted Christ. John, a committed follower of Christ, beheld His glory face-to-face. But instead of being “embraced by the light,” John fell on his face like a dead man, so overwhelming was the presence of a holy God (Rev. 1:17). In the biblical account, there is first awe and worship, and then comfort (see also Isa. 6:1-7). In Eadie’s account, there is only comfort.

When Eadie says she was “embraced by the light” such that she couldn’t tell where her own light left off and the divine light began, she sounds the New Age theme of merging and fusing with God. Eadie also harmonizes with New Age ideas when she speaks of having always been a part of Jesus.31 In a passage that would bring mystical chills to anyone enthralled with the New Age, Eadie says that during her NDE she gazed upon a rose and “felt God in the plant, in me, his love pouring into us. We were all one.”32 If “all is one,” there is no One to worship.

Yet Paul taught that although God is revealed through Christ, He “lives in unapproachable light” (1 Tim. 6:16). Paul’s statement clearly distinguishes the transcendent God from any of His creatures, Eadie notwithstanding. The Book of Revelation is filled with saints and angels worshiping before the throne of this transcendent God (Rev. 5). Eadie and her angels have other things on their minds.

DEMONS AND HELL

Embraced by the Light omits any reference to hell. Although Eadie does refer to Satan and demons, apparently they are unsuccessful in seducing anyone into hell. She teaches that all humans will return to their heavenly home through Jesus, thus excluding any divine punishment for unforgiven sin.33 (It is unclear whether she thinks Satan and the demons will also return to God.)

Yet Jesus Himself often preached on the awful state of those who reject the love of God, and even highlighted the eternal torment of those whose actions betray their lack of trust in Him (Matt. 25:46). In warning of spiritual impostors, Jesus declared: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evil-doers’” (Matt. 7:21-23, NRSV).

SPIRIT GUIDES

Eadie also writes of “Warring Angels” and strange but lovable “monks” who assist her on her spiritual sojourn. Although she portrays these creatures as benevolent spiritual beings, a biblically oriented approach cautions us to look beneath appearances. The Bible does speak of angels as God’s messengers and instruments (Ps. 34:7: Heb. 1:14),34 but many New Testament passages warn that clever impostors also populate the spiritual plane with intent to deceive the unwary. Satan can masquerade as an angel of light and his fallen angels as servants of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:14). Assuming that Eadie had the NDE as she describes it, her monastic escorts may well have been less than saintly; for the message Eadie received from them and the other spiritual beings is at odds with biblical teaching. Not everyone wearing a robe is reliable.35 Fallen angels can lie; they can promise a false heaven.

HEAVEN

Eadie’s heaven is a place of magnificent wonders and intense fulfillment. She rhapsodizes about the “embrace” of Jesus and the warmth of his unconditional love. According to Eadie, heaven is our natural right: it is where we all will return; there is no threat of forfeiture. She even states she knew she was “worthy” of Jesus’ unconditionally loving embrace.36 (She does not explain how one can be worthy of unconditional love.) These homecoming themes resonate with all of us because, as Solomon wrote, God has put “eternity in [our] hearts” (Eccl. 3:11), though we remain exiled far from the place for which we yearn.

If we turn to the Bible’s explanation for our frustrated groanings, we find that human rebellion against God’s rule has severed our connection with the Creator. After our first parents’ disobedience, God barred them and their descendants from eating of the Tree of Life so that no one would be permitted to live forever in the state of sinfulness. Death came as a punishment for sin (Gen. 3:22-24; Rom. 5:12-14).

Because of sin, heaven is not a natural entitlement, not a human right, not a guarantee; for we are all unworthy of God’s blessings. Heaven is the fulfillment of all that is good and true and beautiful, but it will be enjoyed only by those who humble themselves in repentance before God and accept His love as demonstrated through the sacrifice of Jesus — the “Lamb of God” and the focus of heaven’s worship. Only for the adopted citizens of heaven, who have been redeemed through Christ’s atonement, will the Tree of Life bloom again (Rev. 22:2).

ALLISON’S STORY

Unbiblical ideas about life and death may lead to tragic consequences. Allison (“Alli”) Bierma was a popular, bright, active, and attractive 18-year-old high school senior from Greeley, Colorado, who was headed for college in the fall of 1994. Although Alli had been involved in a Christian church and had the support of a loving family, her life took a troubling turn. Her boyfriend went through a crisis of faith followed by depression and his tragic suicide.

Her family did not think Alli had been feeling suicidal or overly despondent. But on May 19, 1994, just a few days after her boyfriend’s death, she disappeared. Her car was found in Rocky Mountain National Park, and a massive hunt began. After nearly three weeks, on June 5, her body was found at the bottom of a cliff. An eight-page, hand-written suicide note was in her pocket.

In the hope that her story might warn others, Alli’s parents talked to me at length and let me read a copy of the note. As I read and reread Alli’s note, I did not detect the anger or deep despair often found in many suicidal statements. She was clearly distressed over her boyfriend’s death. But it seemed from the note that her decision to commit suicide was prompted more by anticipation of the afterlife than by disappointment with this life.

In the note, Alli underscored her love for her family and friends, and urged them not to let her death bring them down. She told her family that “we must have planned to come to this world together and be a family a long time ago.” She emphasized her desire to go “home” to be with “my Heavenly Father.” Alli wrote that she could have learned more lessons on earth, but “I will always continue to grow no matter where I am.” She told them to “take comfort in knowing that if God still wants me on this earth, I will not leave….I will be more than willing to return if God asks me to.” Alli asked her parents to “pray that I may have assistance on the other side.” She said “death is not so bad” and on “the other side” she would be reunited with her boyfriend and eventually with everyone mentioned in the note.

By now, Alli’s comments should sound familiar. Her parents told me she had read Embraced by the Light about six months prior to writing her suicide note, and that she had read it again shortly before she drove to the mountains, hiked to the top of a cliff, and plunged to her death. Her parents are convinced that some of the ideas expressed in the book played a key role in their daughter’s death.

Certainly a variety of factors apart from Eadie’s book contributed to Alli’s suicide — not the least of which was her boyfriend’s suicide. Moreover, Eadie never recommends or in any manner encourages suicide in her book. At one point Eadie even states that “we must never consider suicide,” because this would deny us “opportunities for further development while here on earth.”37

Nevertheless, the overall spirit and gist of Eadie’s book does seem to glorify death and regard earthly life as something of a necessary evil. For example, at the end of her NDE, Eadie refused to leave the spirit world, crying out, “I’m through with earth!”38 She did not agree to return until the men in charge promised to bring her “back home” as soon as possible. She was “not willing to spend a minute on earth longer than was necessary.”39 After Eadie had recovered from her surgery and had returned home, she “wanted terribly to return” to the “beauty and peace of the spirit world.”40 Moreover, Eadie’s belief that we choose how we live and even how we die could also lead a person to conclude that her life is hers to give — or to take — however she pleases.41

In view of these and other considerations, I believe Alli’s parents may be correct in thinking that the unbiblical and overly romantic view of death and the afterlife in Embraced by the Light contributed to the fatal choice of an emotionally distressed young woman. In a statement read at Alli’s funeral, her father, who became a Christian through the ordeal, said: “Alli fell victim to subtle distortions of the truth. She was searching for an end to the pain she was feeling inside….She read books and developed concepts that glorified death and made her hunger ‘to go home.’…However, the only way to get closer to God is through His Word, and that Word can only be found in the Bible.”42

If Alli had been firmly grounded in God’s Word, she would have been less susceptible to being influenced by an appealing but false doctrine. If she had been thinking biblically, she would not have rationalized her suicide by believing that she and her family had been together in heaven before their earthly lives; that they would all be together in heaven again (even though her father was not a Christian when she wrote her suicide note); that she would have the opportunity to choose to return to earth if her death were premature; that death is a glorious gateway to paradise for all who pass through it; and that heaven is a place where everyone eventually will be reunited in eternal bliss.

Embraced by the Light departs from biblical teaching in several important respects, and at many key points of disagreement the biblical view is more likely than Eadie’s to restrain a person from suicide. Eadie’s book teaches: (1) there is no hell or punishment in the afterlife; (2) heaven is everyone’s eternal home no matter what; (3) death is not to be feared for any reason; (4) God is not to be feared for any reason; (5) we have no ultimate responsibility before God for any wrongdoing; (6) we choose when and where we come to earth; (7) the person who is near death chooses whether or not to return to earth; (8) the purpose of life is the spiritual development of the self, which continues for everyone after death; and (9) embodied, earthly life is a spiritual constraint, from which we are released at death.

By contrast, the Bible emphasizes: (1) our life on earth is a gift from God that we have no right to resent; (2) we are morally accountable to a holy God for the obedient stewardship of our life; (3) eternal life comes only through trusting in the atoning work of Jesus Christ; (4) death is an enemy that will be finally defeated only at the end of the age; (5) God can redeem any earthly situation for good; and (6) we need to stay alive in order to evangelize others who might inherit heaven and avoid hell.

Spiritual error can have lethal consequences. Despite the American penchant to believe in anything that seems spiritual and uplifting, there is no room for untruth in matters of heaven and hell. Eadie’s story, for all its sensationalism and acclaim, falls far short of the revealed truth. We should therefore reject Eadie’s message in favor of the sure doctrine of the risen Christ.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., is the author of five books, including Deceived by the Light (Harvest House, 1995). He is Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Ethics at Denver Seminary.

NOTES

1Betty J. Eadie with Curtis Taylor, Embraced by the Light (Placerville, CA: Gold Leaf Press, 1992), 40-42. 2See Doug Groothuis, Deceived by the Light (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1995), 116-21. 3See ibid., 14-15. 4Eadie, 93. 5Ibid., 43. 6Richard Abanes, “Embraced by the Light” and the Bible (Camp Hill, PA: Horizon Books, 1994), 29. 7Ibid., 28. 8Ibid., 30, 217-20. 9See Rex E. Lee, What Do Mormons Believe? (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Company, 1992), 21. 10Eadie, 110. 11Ibid., 119. 12Ibid., 47. 13See John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Cult Watch: What You Need to Know About Spiritual Deception (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1991), 26-28. 14See Abanes, 51-52. 15See David A. Reed and John R. Farkas, Mormons Answered Verse by Verse (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992), 57-58, 80-81. 16See William L. Probasco, The Lie at the End of the Tunnel: A Critique of “Embraced by the Light” (Gadsden, AL: Church Ministry Resources, 1994), 17. 17This belief is grounded largely in the Mormon scripture The Pearl of Great Price in the Book of Moses 3:5 and the Book of Abraham 3:21-22. 18Interview with Hugh Downs on 20/20, ABC-TV, 13 May 1994. 19Eadie, 44. 20Ibid., 97. 21Ibid., 49-50. 22Ibid., 70. 23Ibid., 113. 24Ibid., 94. 25Ibid., 71. 26Ibid., 109. 27See Craig Branch, “Clues to a Near-Death Experience,” Spiritual Counterfeits Journal 18:4/19:1 (1994):37. 28See Douglas Groothuis, Revealing the New Age Jesus (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1990), 73-118. 29Eadie, 45. 30Ibid., 61. 31Ibid., 41. 32Ibid., 81. 33Ibid., 85. 34On the biblical view of angels, see Ron Rhodes’s Angels Among Us (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1995). 35See Gary Kinnaman, Angels: Dark and Light (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Publications, 1994), 99-110. 36Ibid., 41. 37Eadie, 70. 38Ibid., 118. 39Ibid., 119. 40Ibid., 131-32. 41See ibid., 67-68. 42Written statement by Robert Bierma, 9 June 1994.