Reformed Reflections

Christian Counseling; and Occultism by Kurt Koch;
Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Mich.;1981, 21st.edition; Softcover,338pp

Ours is an age of neuroses; it has lost its sense of security due to economic problems, nuclear threat, high unemployment, international tensions and inflation. Since World War II there has been a flood of psychological disturbances and a noteworthy increase in occult practices. The talk about the occult and even the demonic has become a malady of our time.

In Koch's study the occult is defined as “those phenomena which on a rational plane we can hardly believe, manifestations which reach over into the metaphysical and metaphysical sphere, relationships between the sensory and the super sensual realm." The demonic is dreadfully real. Yet, it is the least understood among Christians in North America, There is a spiritual warfare being waged at this very moment. Any student of Scripture, who accepts the historic view of inspiration and inerrancy, must conclude that the powers of darkness are actively opposing the work of God. The Cavites Diaboli manifests itself through palmistry, astrology, magic, both black and white, and many other such practices.

Dr.Kurt Koch, a German theologian, wrote Christian Counseling and Occultism as an aid for those who are psychologically disturbed as a result of occult activity. The book is designed primarily to help pastors and counselors in their ministry with those who are oppressed or possessed by demonic powers. Koch discusses the much-debated relation between occult subjection and mental illness. His point of departure is the fact that the New Testament both recognizes and clearly distinguishes between ordinary physical illness and demon possession. He is cautious in his analysis. He warns that convinced occultists, spiritists and, sadly, often simple and solid Christians also sometimes accept without question a belief in spirits and demons where it is completely unnecessary.

Dr.Koch's ministry has been largely confined to continental Europe, but he also lectured extensively in other parts of the world, particularly in North America. I recall hearing him speak in Toronto in the late 1950’s. He is a prolific writer, and an expert in his field. Though Koch relates perhaps too many case-studies, he still manages to direct the reader to Christ's victory over Satan. Our hope is in the glorious deliverance and salvation through Jesus Christ, the crucified, risen, ascended and returning Lord.

How do we oppose Satan's power? Through prayer, the Word of God, identification with Jesus Christ, and the sacrament of the Lords Supper. " In the Lord's Supper the person liberated from occult subjection is brought into participation in the Christ event. The liberated person experiences by means of visible signs his fellowship with the body and blood of Christ, his incorporation into the church of Christ, the realization of membership in the Kingdom, and thus the strengthening of his spiritual resistance against demonic influence attacks."

Those who are making a study of the relationship between the demonic and mental illness will find in this volume a wealth of information and an excellent Bible exposition. Satan is hard at work in our time. Since it is imperative to know our enemy and his tactics, Koeh's study is an excellent extra weapon for our arsenal in our spiritual warfare.

Johan D.Tangelder