Question: What About Stigmata?

Someone wrote to ask about stigma or stigmata.  Here was my response:

Stigma or stigmata, in Catholic tradition, refers to marks on a person's body that allegedly correspond to the marks of Christ's crucifixion.  It's based on apocryphal tradition, not God's Word, and it distracts us from the unique and paramount event that was Christ's crucifixion.  Always be careful when someone comes claiming a sign or wonder.  Jesus warns in Matthew 16:4, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign."  He also warned in Mark 13:22, "For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect." The Apostle Paul said, "See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8).

Always hold fast to the Christ of Scripture, believing in what He taught and in what He did --- not in the imaginations of others.

The gentleman followed up that he really believes these experiences to be from God, and that he has personally experiencing them.  Considering his urgency that someone needed to see his marks, and that he indicated that he was having other spiritual encounters, here’s my follow-up.

Hmm... It may be that God is allowing some experiences in your life to keep you thinking about spiritual realities.  But, God would want you to repent of your sins and place your faith fully in  Christ to pay for those sins.  He would then want you to turn to His Word for His grace.

Consider this: even the Apostle Peter places the Word of God over the experiences he had in Christ.  In 2 Peter 1:16-21, he talks about seeing the transfiguration of Christ and hearing the voice of God.  Even so, in verse 19, he says, "And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed," meaning that the Bible is a more reliable guide than what Peter personally experienced. 

The Holy Spirit, Who inspired the Bible, will protect you and solidify your mind and will in Christ.  One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control (Gal 5:23), which means He wouldn't bring experiences to cause you to lose control physically, intellectually, or in any other way. 

As an aside, I feel it's also important to note that  mysterious marks appearing on your body warrant an examination from medical professionals, as it could be indicative of a disease or malady.

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