A former New Ager who became a born again believer in Jesus is explaining the link between the use of psychoactive substances and the occult.
In a video released on his YouTube channel Sunday, Steven Bancarz, who shared his remarkable testimony with The Christian Post last year, unpacked the spiritual darkness tied to the use of psychedelic drugs.
"Psychedelic drugs are a class of substances that interact with the seratonin receptors in the brain, causing an alternation in perception and sometimes resulting in visionary or hallucinatory experiences," he explained, the most common of which are LSD, DMT, mescaline, and Psilocybin mushrooms.
These substances have been used for thousands of years among practitioners of pagan religions of all kinds, Bancarz noted. He made the video in response to the many questions he received about this after dispensing his New Age beliefs, and said he has some personal experience with mushrooms.
The use of psychedelics has profound spiritual implications, he stated. And although the phrase "psychedelic drugs" never appears in text, Scripture forbids it. And these same biblical prohibitions apply to other drugs like marijuana, meth, and cocaine, he said.
The use of psychedelics thwart the meaning of life, Bancarz said, which for the Christian is "fellowship with God through Jesus." Whatever the appeal of using these drugs like "expanded perspectives," "contact with the spirit world," or fulfilling human curiosity, "the end of human life is to be restored to relationship with the Father, through faith in Jesus."
"Biblically speaking, the shifting of our consciousness with drugs is not something God calls us to do. It does not bring us closer to Him," Bancarz said.
He noted that several passages of the New Testament forbid drug use, which is contained in their condemnation of "sorcery," such as in Galatians 5:19-21 where it is listed alongside sexual immorality, jealousy, and fits of anger — sins the apostle Paul calls "works of the flesh" that inhibit people from inheriting the Kingdom of God.
"The Greek word used here is pharmakeia," Bancarz said, "which is where we derive the word pharmacy from."
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While "sorcery" refers to magic in its witchcraft sense, it also includes magic with drugs, like substances and medicines used for spiritual, recreational, religious ceremonial, and other non-medicinal purposes. The Book of Enoch, while not a canonical book of the Bible and should not be considered God-breathed like the rest of Scripture even though part of it is quoted in Jude 14-15, affirms this definition, Bancarz added.
The Book of Enoch also describes how fallen angels taught humans how to utilize plants and cut roots to tap into their psychedelic compounds and to elicit metaphysical experiences and cast spells.
"If transpersonal mystical experiences coming alongside the use of drugs cannot be called pharmakeia, I don't know what can. This is literally what the word means."
Elsewhere in Scripture, such as in 1 Corinthians 6:9, "drunkenness" is condemned, and Bancarz maintained that drug use falls under this category. The word used in that passage is "methe," which primarily refers to intoxication through alcohol but includes any kind of intoxicant. Whatever the substance, anything that impairs someone's physical and mental faculties is grievous to God.
Moreover, Scripture also exhorts Christians to be sober, he continued.
1 Thessalonians 5:6, 2 Timothy 4:5, and 1 Peter 1:13, and several other instances all emphasize the importance on being sober-minded, being temperate in our thinking.
"And we can't be sober in our minds and in our thinking if we are intoxicated under chemically induced states of consciousness," Bancarz said.
The use of psychedelics is also a pagan practice, and to employ them is to disobey God's call to be separate and distinct from the world, a holy nation, a pure people for himself, he stressed.
"[God] wants us to look different, think different, and act different," Bancarz explained, "and historically speaking, the only cultures that used these [psychoactive] substances were pagan."
In light of all this evidence, "we need to turn away from our sin, put away the use of these substances, put our faith in Jesus for our salvation, and follow the straight and narrow path that leads to everlasting life," he concluded.
Bancarz's website, Reasons for Jesus, is an apologetics resource hub that helps Christians understand the deception of occultic spirituality and the demonic realm.