Skip to comments.(Protestant) Minister Who Had Near-Death Episode Believes In Purgatory
Posted on 03/08/2006 7:22:57 PM PST by churchillbuff
Howard Storm, a former atheist whose brush with death turned him into a Protestant minister, says that he now believes in purgatory.
"It only makes sense," he says, "but I have trouble discussing this with my fellow ministers."
Featured here a couple months ago and also on MSNBC during Easter Week -- where he told his incredible story to a national audience -- Reverend Storm, considered by experts as one of the most convincing near-death cases, recounted his "dying" in Paris in 1985 from a perforated duodenum and after leaving his body finding himself with a group of hideous beings who attacked him as they led him to a foggy zone that descended toward "hell."
Storm says he was saved by Jesus after desperately pleading to God. After an extensive hospitalization he recovered -- and learned that a nun who had once been a student of his had been praying for him for years.
Storm credits that with saving him; after the episode he left his job as an professor at Northern Kentucky University and entered a seminary, becoming a minister.
He is now with the Zion United Church of Christ in Norwood, Ohio (near Cincinnati), and while some churches in that denomination can be ultra-liberal, he openly preaches against abortion and the New Age.
Still, we try to be careful with these cases, and we always issue the disclaimer that we can't endorse every view of such experiencers -- some of whom tend at times to put their own (and sometimes a nearly New Age) spin on what occurred. Like any form of mysticism, it is to be carefully discerned.
This is true in the case of Reverend Storm -- who himself acknowledges that some of his views have shifted since he became an active Christian ( including a few expressed in a book which was written before his faith was fully formed). These episodes are told through the filter of a person's framework.
But he is a man who exudes love (the single most important element of Christianity); many believe his experience was real; and he says he now believes not only in heaven and hell but also a state in-between where souls are "purged."
After his horrifying brush with death the concept of purgation was explained to him by a priest, says Reverend Storm, and "just rang so clear to me in my experience."
He says that when he "died" he was taken through a "foggy" region strikingly similar to what has been described in mystical literature [see An Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory] -- and also similar to descriptions by modern visionaries who have told of a great "gray" area between hell and heaven.
Although a devout Protestant, Storm says that he considers Catholicism "the Mother Church" and is even interested in the Catholic apparition site of Medjugorje. He says God doesn't want division and that the main reason why he was on the road to hell was lack of love, pride, and disbelief.
I believe he was in the church Building Committee meeting.....
For 1500 years no Christian had a problem believing in this example of the great mercy of Our Lord.
"He says God doesn't want division and that the main reason why he was on the road to hell was lack of love, pride, and disbelief"
"He says God doesn't want division and that the main reason why he was on the road to hell was lack of love, pride, and disbelief."
So saith the gospel of Howard Storm.
I've heard of him before, read his account. It's fascinating and sobering. Not the usual NDE, with the white lights and angelic-like beings, where everyone goes to heaven because they lived 'right' or even if they didn't, but more like a possibility for those who aren't on the side of good.
"My Descent into Death" is a fantastic book and has converted many to come home to Christ.
Uh, Mr. Storm. Acording to the Holy Scripture, YAHWEH, GOD MOST HIGH is the Head of the Church, whether Catholic, Episcopalian, Methodists, Presbyterian, etc.
This means that HE ALONE is to behonored & exalted above churches or denominations & divisions.
That is mischaracterized. It is NOT approved by the Catholic Church or the local bishop and is very controversial. I am not saying Medjugorje is in all respects an illusion or a hoax, but he would do better to investigate Fatima, Lourdes, etc.
Idolatry... man's oldest and favorite sin.
paging Art Bell...!
Depending on which divinity school he went to that might not have been much of change.
I do as well. There is No Other NAME by which we are Saved.
There is nothing an individual has left to atone FOR.
After Christ's all-sufficient atonement, my own personal efforts to atone "just a little bit more" are like a few drops of water in an overful cup of water--they'll just overfill the cup. Christ filled the cup of forgiveness right up to the very brim.
Adding more to it is useless, and demeans His atonement for us, treating it as, well...insufficient.
Hmm. Anyone know when this doctrine first showed up, or was made official by the church? It isn't found in Scripture.
wow, imagine that. dying and waking up in New York City.
Uh, I'm sure he would agree with you. By "mother church", I believe he means a church that gave "birth" to many others. If he thought the Catholic church was somehow better or more exalted than any other, he'd be a Catholic, doncha think?
and on the subway, no less...
Just a guess, but it could be a reference to when Christ's spirit left His body and ministered to the captives.
But what did Our Lord mean when he said, "If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself, take up his cross, and follow me." ? Matt 16:24
And what did St. Paul mean when he said, "Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christs afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church." ? Col 1:24
indeed. after I reread the posted post, I was remiss that I didn't substitute "on the L train" for "in New York City."
Personally, I believe that purgatory exists and that we're in it.
People will believe ANYTHING in a oxygen deprived, hallucinogenic state, I suppose.
It said he died in Paris...so it was probably one of those muslim ghettos he woke up in.
Hmm. Anyone know when this doctrine first showed up, or was made official by the church? It isn't found in Scripture
Actually, the concept of pergatory dates back to pre Christian days and based on early old testament books. These books or as Protestants refer to them as the Apocrypha were accepted teaching by the Church and part of the Vulgate, the Latin translation of the Bible by St. Jerome. Luther had them removed partly due to their references to pergatory.
No doubt that this is a place of suffering.
Protestant Christianity split off from the Latin Church. I doubt that many of them are even aware of the Eastern churches, or that they and Rome share much of the same beliefs.
How would you explain away Pam's NDE?
People Have NDEs While Brain Dead
Dr. Michael Sabom is a cardiologist whose latest book, Light and Death, includes a detailed medical and scientific analysis of an amazing near-death experience of a woman named Pam Reynolds.
She underwent a rare operation to remove a giant basilar artery aneurysm in her brain that threatened her life. The size and location of the aneurysm, however, precluded its safe removal using the standard neuro-surgical techniques.
She was referred to a doctor who had pioneered a daring surgical procedure known as hypothermic cardiac arrest. It allowed Pam's aneurysm to be excised with a reasonable chance of success.
This operation, nicknamed "standstill" by the doctors who perform it, required that Pam's body temperature be lowered to 60 degrees, her heartbeat and breathing stopped, her brain waves flattened, and the blood drained from her head. In everyday terms, she was put to death.
After removing the aneurysm, she was restored to life. During the time that Pam was in standstill, she experienced a NDE. Her remarkably detailed veridical out-of-body observations during her surgery were later verified to be very accurate.
This case is considered to be one of the strongest cases of veridical evidence in NDE research because of her ability to describe the unique surgical instruments and procedures used and her ability to describe in detail these events while she was clinically and brain dead.
When all of Pam's vital signs were stopped, the doctor turned on a surgical saw and began to cut through Pam's skull. While this was going on, Pam reported that she felt herself "pop" outside her body and hover above the operating table.
Then she watched the doctors working on her lifeless body for awhile. From her out-of-body position, she observed the doctor sawing into her skull with what looked to her like an electric toothbrush. Pam heard and reported later what the nurses in the operating room had said and exactly what was happening during the operation.
At this time, every monitor attached to Pam's body registered "no life" whatsoever. At some point, Pam's consciousness floated out of the operating room and traveled down a tunnel which had a light at the end of it where her deceased relatives and friends were waiting including her long-dead grandmother.
Pam's NDE ended when her deceased uncle led her back to her body for her to reentered it. Pam compared the feeling of reentering her dead body to "plunging into a pool of ice." The following is Pam Reynolds' account of her NDE in her own words.
Pam Reynolds' NDE
The next thing I recall was the sound: It was a Natural "D." As I listened to the sound, I felt it was pulling me out of the top of my head. The further out of my body I got, the more clear the tone became. I had the impression it was like a road, a frequency that you go on ... I remember seeing several things in the operating room when I was looking down.
It was the most aware that I think that I have ever been in my entire life ...I was metaphorically sitting on [the doctor's] shoulder. It was not like normal vision. It was brighter and more focused and clearer than normal vision ... There was so much in the operating room that I didn't recognize, and so many people.
I thought the way they had my head shaved was very peculiar. I expected them to take all of the hair, but they did not ...
The saw-thing that I hated the sound of looked like an electric toothbrush and it had a dent in it, a groove at the top where the saw appeared to go into the handle, but it didn't ... And the saw had interchangeable blades, too, but these blades were in what looked like a socket wrench case ... I heard the saw crank up. I didn't see them use it on my head, but I think I heard it being used on something. It was humming at a relatively high pitch and then all of a sudden it went Brrrrrrrrr! like that.
Someone said something about my veins and arteries being very small. I believe it was a female voice and that it was Dr. Murray, but I'm not sure. She was the cardiologist. I remember thinking that I should have told her about that ... I remember the heart-lung machine. I didn't like the respirator ... I remember a lot of tools and instruments that I did not readily recognize.
There was a sensation like being pulled, but not against your will. I was going on my own accord because I wanted to go. I have different metaphors to try to explain this. It was like the Wizard of Oz - being taken up in a tornado vortex, only you're not spinning around like you've got vertigo.
You're very focused and you have a place to go. The feeling was like going up in an elevator real fast. And there was a sensation, but it wasn't a bodily, physical sensation. It was like a tunnel but it wasn't a tunnel.
At some point very early in the tunnel vortex I became aware of my grandmother calling me. But I didn't hear her call me with my ears ... It was a clearer hearing than with my ears. I trust that sense more than I trust my own ears.
The feeling was that she wanted me to come to her, so I continued with no fear down the shaft. It's a dark shaft that I went through, and at the very end there was this very little tiny pinpoint of light that kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger.
The light was incredibly bright, like sitting in the middle of a light bulb. It was so bright that I put my hands in front of my face fully expecting to see them and I could not. But I knew they were there. Not from a sense of touch. Again, it's terribly hard to explain, but I knew they were there ...
I noticed that as I began to discern different figures in the light - and they were all covered with light, they were light, and had light permeating all around them - they began to form shapes I could recognize and understand. I could see that one of them was my grandmother. I don't know if it was reality or a projection, but I would know my grandmother, the sound of her, anytime, anywhere.
Everyone I saw, looking back on it, fit perfectly into my understanding of what that person looked like at their best during their lives.
I recognized a lot of people. My uncle Gene was there. So was my great-great-Aunt Maggie, who was really a cousin. On Papa's side of the family, my grandfather was there ... They were specifically taking care of me, looking after me.
They would not permit me to go further ... It was communicated to me - that's the best way I know how to say it, because they didn't speak like I'm speaking - that if I went all the way into the light something would happen to me physically. They would be unable to put this me back into the body me, like I had gone too far and they couldn't reconnect. So they wouldn't let me go anywhere or do anything.
I wanted to go into the light, but I also wanted to come back. I had children to be reared. It was like watching a movie on fast-forward on your VCR: You get the general idea, but the individual freeze-frames are not slow enough to get detail.
Then they [deceased relatives] were feeding me. They were not doing this through my mouth, like with food, but they were nourishing me with something. The only way I know how to put it is something sparkly. Sparkles is the image that I get. I definitely recall the sensation of being nurtured and being fed and being made strong. I know it sounds funny, because obviously it wasn't a physical thing, but inside the experience I felt physically strong, ready for whatever.
My grandmother didn't take me back through the tunnel, or even send me back or ask me to go. She just looked up at me. I expected to go with her, but it was communicated to me that she just didn't think she would do that. My uncle said he would do it. He's the one who took me back through the end of the tunnel. Everything was fine. I did want to go.
But then I got to the end of it and saw the thing, my body. I didn't want to get into it ... It looked terrible, like a train wreck. It looked like what it was: dead. I believe it was covered. It scared me and I didn't want to look at it.
It was communicated to me that it was like jumping into a swimming pool. No problem, just jump right into the swimming pool. I didn't want to, but I guess I was late or something because he [the uncle] pushed me. I felt a definite repelling and at the same time a pulling from the body. The body was pulling and the tunnel was pushing ... It was like diving into a pool of ice water ... It hurt!
When I came back, they were playing Hotel California and the line was "You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave." I mentioned [later] to Dr. Brown that that was incredibly insensitive and he told me that I needed to sleep more. [laughter] When I regained consciousness, I was still on the respirator.
For practical purposes outside the world of academic debate, three clinical tests commonly determine brain death.
First, a standard electroencephalogram, or EEG, measures brain-wave activity. A "flat" EEG denotes non-function of the cerebral cortex - the outer shell of the cerebrum.
Second, auditory evoked potentials, similar to those [clicks] elicited by the ear speakers in Pam's surgery, measure brain-stem viability. Absence of these potentials indicates non-function of the brain stem.
And third, documentation of no blood flow to the brain is a marker for a generalized absence of brain function.
But during "standstill", Pam's brain was found "dead" by all three clinical tests - her electroencephalogram was silent, her brain-stem response was absent, and no blood flowed through her brain. Interestingly, while in this state, she encountered the "deepest" NDE of all Atlanta Study participants.
Some scientists theorize that NDEs are produced by brain chemistry. But, Dr. Peter Fenwick, a neuropsychiatrist and the leading authority in Britain concerning NDEs, believes that these theories fall far short of the facts. In the documentary, "Into the Unknown: Strange But True," Dr. Fenwick describes the state of the brain during a NDE:
"The brain isnt functioning. Its not there. Its destroyed. Its abnormal. But, yet, it can produce these very clear experiences ... an unconscious state is when the brain ceases to function. For example, if you faint, you fall to the floor, you dont know whats happening and the brain isnt working.
The memory systems are particularly sensitive to unconsciousness. So, you wont remember anything. But, yet, after one of these experiences [a NDE], you come out with clear, lucid memories ... This is a real puzzle for science. I have not yet seen any good scientific explanation which can explain that fact."
NDE Evidence for Survival Index
From the local parish newsletter...
Missing from main sacristy (Please help) A paper bag containing 50 bright brass St. Benedict medal pendant crucifixes has disappeared from the sacristy counter where it was left in December. The crucifixes are 3 and have flared or budded tips. The corpus and inserted medal are silver colored. These items were blessed in Medjugorje and their loss is very upsetting.
If you know anything about these missing items please
call Mary Palmer at 264-2356/269-0785 or the church office.
Return (all or partial) accepted with no questions asked.
Whatever happened to him, it did him good. Many in our society believe (1) that death brings only annihilation, or (2) that everybody goes to Heaven. But they can only hope for such outcomes, for we "see through a glass darkly."
Satan's religions appeal to the mind of man, but not the Mind of God. Purgatory is a slap in the face to Jesus who paid in full for the sins of those whose trust is in Him.
The origin of the doctrine of Purgatory was established in 593 AD by Gregory the Great. It was proclaimed dogma by The Council of Florence in 1439.
It's a lie.
"It's a lie."
Indeed it is. Still people prefer a lie over truth!
Hell is going ot be a VERY crowded place.
And heaven will be filled with some that you didn't think deserved to be there. Just remember that it's not your call, and the position of supreme being is filled.
Now that made me spit coffee on the keyboard!
hahahaha, spewing coffee this morning. thanks.
SOmetimes, God does use experiences to help us realize we need the Savior. However, one should not rely on experience to trust in one's salvation. One should wholely trust in God's Word because experiences can be explained away. God's Word remains, no matter what experience we have.
And this is the great problem with exalting experiences above the Word of God. To a person like this, their experience - though in conflict with what the Bible teaches - trumphs everything. In fact, you can't have rational conversation with someone like this.
LOL. If you really step out of line, you will be consigned to debate color schemes for pews and carpet for the rest of eternity.