Q. I was wondering what the LCMS view is on "near death experiences."  Do we as a church validate the spirituality claims made for such experiences (e.g., bright lights in a tunnel, talking to supreme beings, etc.).  Just what do we believe on this subject?

A. The LCMS has never addressed this topic in any of its official resolutions or statements.

Since the Scriptures do not address this question, the validity of all claims of "visionary" experiences--including near death experiences--belong  in the category of human opinion, not divine certainty. Today we have no way of knowing whether a given experience is from God or from elsewhere (including from the Devil, who we know disguises himself as an "angel of light" [2 Cor. 11:14]). Thus, we can make no definitive claims about a given experience, however one might feel about the physiological or psychological causes of a given phenomenon.

  November 2020  
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