Nothing like a trip off into the occult to generate some interest.
That seems to be the formula for ratings success at the venerable early morning network institution Good Morning America.
Today we were treated to a recycled round of reincarnation.
The idea of past lives is a predictable wind of doctrine that blows in and stirs up the public imagination at regular intervals.
But in this case the purveyor of this perspective isn’t some Hollywood starlet with too much time and too large an ego on her hands.
This time it is the odd story of a now eleven year old boy.
Parents Think Boy Is Reincarnated Pilot
Could a Little Boy Be Proof of Reincarnation?
Six decades ago, a 21-year-old Navy fighter pilot on a mission over the Pacific was shot down by Japanese artillery. His name might have been forgotten, were it not for 6-year-old James Leininger.
Quite a few people — including those who knew the fighter pilot — think James is the pilot, reincarnated.
James’ parents, Andrea and Bruce, a highly educated, modern couple, say they are “probably the people least likely to have a scenario like this pop up in their lives.”
But over time, they have become convinced their little son has had a former life.
From an early age, James would play with nothing else but planes, his parents say. But when he was 2, they said the planes their son loved began to give him regular nightmares.
“I’d wake him up and he’d be screaming,” Andrea told “Primetime Live” co-anchor Chris Cuomo. She said when she asked her son what he was dreaming about, he would say, “Airplane crash on fire, little man can’t get out.”
Over time, James’ parents say he revealed extraordinary details about the life of a former fighter pilot — mostly at bedtime, when he was drowsy.
They say James told them his plane had been hit by the Japanese and crashed. Andrea says James told his father he flew a Corsair, and then told her, “They used to get flat tires all the time.”
In fact, historians and pilots agree that the plane’s tires took a lot of punishment on landing. But that’s a fact that could easily be found in books or on television.
Andrea says James also told his father the name of the boat he took off from — Natoma — and the name of someone he flew with — Jack Larson.
After some research, Bruce discovered both the Natoma and Jack Larson were real. The Natoma Bay was a small aircraft carrier in the Pacific. And Larson is living in Arkansas.
“It was like, holy mackerel,” Bruce said. “You could have poured my brains out of my ears. I just couldn’t believe it.
Another slightly spooky bit of sensationalism straight from the Shirley McClaine School of Spirituality, right?
But what really grabbed my attention was an even more revealing aspect of this story.
And it is not to be found on a tabloid in the grocery store check out line.
It ran on today’s Christian Post web site.
Father of ‘Reincarnated’ WWII Pilot Says Christian
The father of a boy who he believes his son was a World War II fighter pilot in “a past life” says his Christian faith has remained in tact despite his new belief while his wife says the situation has “enhanced my belief system.”
“I am a Christian, and this has only reaffirmed the strength of my Christian faith,” Bruce C. Leininger said in an appearance Monday on Good Morning America.
“It’s a new reality,” he added.
“Him (James) giving us the name of the ship, the name of the man he flew with, the location where he was shot down, and then three years of hard work verifying all the details right down to an eyewitness account seeing the face of James M. Huston Jr. (the WWII fighter pilot) being shot down, describing the way the plane hit, matching exactly what James described. The overwhelming details were there,” Leininger recalled Monday. “I had to give up the battle.”
Leininger said the events of the past few years have given him a “much deeper understanding of the fact that our spirit has an eternal life.”
“And we really don’t know. We still have to go on faith on what happens,” he stated. “He (James)’s just an example of a spirit deciding to rejoin us.”
The really scary part of this story has little to do with a four year old in a slight dream state revealing details about Corsair aircraft.
What is really frightening is the revelation of how even professing Christians process spiritual experiences today.
I would not dismiss the possibility that something spiritual was taking place in this situation.
But the real question is, what was the source of this spiritual phenomenon?
The Bible tells us that not every encounter with the supernatural comes from God, or is designed to lead us to the truth.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (I John 4:1)
How are we to test the source of a spiritual message?
Not by the sign itself.
But where the sign points us.
And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:19-20)
So what does God’s Word have to say about reincarnation?
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27)
The message of the Bible is one of resurrection, not reincarnation.
In fact, reincarnation as taught in Eastern mysticism is not a good thing.
Reincarnation is a way of balancing the books, so to speak.
If you caused suffering in a past life, you will suffer in this one.
So rigid is this so called Law of Karma that the idea of helping the suffering is considered pointless in Hinduism, as you are just forcing them to come back again and pay their debt.
No wonder no less a committed Hindu than Ghandi called reincarnation “a burden too great to bear.”
How strikingly different is the message of resurrection in Christ.
By faith not in an endless cycle of our own works, but by the finished work of Jesus we are now the dearly loved sons and daughters of God.
And as such we have a sure and certain final destination.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:1-6)
When we stop and consider how clear and direct Jesus teaching is about the afterlife, it certainly casts a different light on books like “Soul Survivor”.
Where are you going to put your trust on a subject as important as life after death?
The sure and certain words of the only One Who died and rose from the dead?
Or the half conscious statements of a four year old?
How sad that professing Christians set aside such solid assurance because of an experience.
And sadder still, that they would attempt to package the idea of reincarnation as compatible with Christianity.
But saddest of all is that a professing Christian would “give up the fight” and embrace an occult experience without checking it out according to Scripture.
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