By L. Putnam
Filled with monks, monasteries, mystics, mentors, meditations, methods, and imaginations Mansions of the Heart by R. Thomas Ashbrook is a dangerously deceptive work; for while its author mentions and discusses salvation, many scriptures, and maturing spiritual growth he mixes in mega doses of Catholic mystical prayer practices centered round the Teresian mansions and John’s dark night making this book a virtual gold mine of contemplative resources.
Mark the Foreword: Meet the Two Mystic Masters of Spiritual Life
From the get go the foreword endorser, author of the famed Message “Bible” Eugene Peterson, says we’ll be immersed in the idea that “that good thing” the Bible was just not enough and that we need something more . . .
And who can give us that something more? Why it is two master mystics, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, who will introduce us, according to Peterson, to “matters of the soul,” and to the “sweet mysteries of prayer.” So, says Peterson, just as I was introduced to Teresa and John by a long ago friend, so likewise today Thomas Ashbrook will immerse you in the holy wisdom that you too can learn from these mystics!
Mark the Preface: More in the Mansions
Frustrated and confused Ashbrook claims there has got to be something more! And the place to go for this something more is through the many doors of the Teresian mansions which will lead you into a new and wonderful life with our Lord. So, come explore!
Mark the Acknowledgments: Ashbrook Meets a Monk
It is in his “Acknowledgments” that Ashbrook mentions “Brother Bon” not only as the one who taught him to “be still and know God,” then simply to “be still,” and finally to just “be;” but “Monk Bon” as the one who had also introduced him to Teresa showing him what the seventh mansion looked like. And says Ashbrook, “I will be eternally grateful to him for calling out the monk within me.”
Mark Chapter One: “Is This All There Is?”
Chapter One, “Is This All There Is?” is the crux of Ashrook’s theme tracing Ashbook’s mission to find more. And where did Ashbrook find his answers. Ashbrook found them in a monk, in the monastery, in the Renovare movement, in spiritual direction, in spiritual formation, in the Spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, and in various contemplative practices. Still this was not enough, until he
discovered that “ancient yet timeless roadmap” –Teresa of Avila’s “Seven Mansions!”
Mark Ashbrook’s Monastery Story
Ashbrook began his monastery getaways with visits to the Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity* in Utah just to find a quiet place to work. And, as Ashbrook described in his story, almost immediately he was worshipping with the monks in their two-story Quonset church.
*Note Ashbrook identifies the monastery this way “The Holy Trinity Abbey” rather than using its full name with “Our Lady” in it. Click here to read this entire book review.
Understand The Times and Lighthouse Trails recently received a report from the widows in Kenya who we are assisting to establish small business opportunities. This report follows.
Also we would like to take this opportunity to update our readers on our upcoming plans for the Bryce Homes in Kenya. First, we will be purchasing a solar-powered system for Pastor Achilla so that he can effectively continue directing the Bryce program. He has presently been without electricity for several weeks, causing undue hardship and difficulty. We will also be supplying the rest of the water purification systems as well as adding two more water collecting systems in the next few months. We are grateful to our donors who have designated funds so that this can be possible.
SBO SEED PROJECTS TESTIMONIES
Dear SBO donors,
We the beneficiaries of the SBO supported by the Bryce Home Program are very grateful to the Almighty God for this far we have come. In order to express individual views of the project, here we have translated reports from the thirteen of us, whom have been given the seed money to start businesses.
1. WIDOW FLORENCE - Baking and selling donuts in Rongo rural.
I have been able to earn profit for:
1. purchase of books for children
2. meet my travel cost
2. WIDOW IRINE - Baking and cooking chapati & donuts for sale in Rongo rural.
The business has made me settled until there is no more stress. My children and I have seen a big improvement in our living standard.
Click here to continue reading the testimonies of the Bryce Home widows.
LT Note: Please remember to buy one of the braided baskets from Lighthouse Trails. The baskets are made by our widow sisters in Kenya who are under Pastor Achilla’s care and then shipped to Montana to Lighthouse Trails. The money from the sales (minus shipping and materials) goes directly to the widows who make the baskets. Currently, there are about 12 women who are involved in the basket project. We have a large inventory of these baskets ($35 each) on our shelves right now just waiting for homes. These are sturdy, beautiful, and hand-made, and the money these widows are earning makes a huge difference in their lives.
SOME USES FOR THE BASKETS:
1. Take to a farmer’s market to carry your produce in.
2. Use in your home as a place to keep magazines and books.
3. Fill with books, tea, and other Lighthouse Trails items to give as a gift basket. We actually offer a “discernment” gift basket where you can choose which items you want to put into the basket.
4. Use to hold lovely arrangements of dried flowers.
5. Great for picnics and other outdoor family outings. These baskets hold quite a bit of stuff.
6. Keep your grandchildren’s books and toys in the baskets, handy for when they come to visit, and it’s a great opportunity to tell them about our brothers and sisters who live in a country under conditions of dire poverty and disease.
Click here for more photos, a slideshow, or to buy a Kenyan widow basket. UTT and LT are doing the SBO and the basket project to help these families become self-sufficient.
Is religion to blame?—War, Religion, and the Interfaith Global Peace Agenda by Carl Teichrib i is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Is religion to blame?—War, Religion, and the Interfaith Global Peace Agenda by Carl Teichrib, click here.
“Is religion to blame?—War, Religion, and the Interfaith Global Peace Agenda”
[A]ll modern trends point to the specter of a terrifying, bigger and more pitiless conformity.1—Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn
If a global motto exists, it would have to be “Give Peace a Chance.”2 From every corner of the world, from every academy and institution, from every school, public office and even many churches, the cry for global peace is being sounded.
Peace is a noble idea; but since mankind has had a written history, we have never known true peace. The scattered, bleached bones of human history testify to this brutal truth—millions upon millions of times over.
So is mankind incapable of achieving ultimate peace on Earth? In a nutshell, yes. But accepting this reality doesn’t imply that we are to automatically embrace conflict and strife. If anything, it gives us a window into who we are and how we operate. Unfortunately, the view from this window isn’t very pretty.
How do we collectively respond to this sad state of affairs? By perpetuating a lie!
Religious Guilt and the Death Factor
It has been popularly said that religion is responsible for the majority of the world’s conflicts. Posted on a BBC News Talking Point discussion board on the relevance of religion, one commentator boldly asserted, “Just look around the world today. Religion is the cause of all war and hate.”3
Expounding on this line of thinking is an Internet petition seeking “world peace” by the outright banning of “organized religion.” This petition, which needs to be viewed for what it is—an exercise in dissent—makes it very clear that organized religion “in all its factions, is responsible for most of the worlds wars and the entire ‘War on Terrorism.’” A number of petition signers, some showing immense tolerance by resorting to obnoxious and crude language, repeat the mantra “Religion is the cause of all wars.”4
In a more serious fashion than this off-beat online petition, interfaith founder of the metaphysical Integral Institute and a contributor to BeliefNet.com Ken Wilber writes:
Throughout history, religion has been the single greatest source of human-caused wars, suffering, and misery. In the name of God, more suffering has been inflicted than by any other manmade cause . . . for every year of peace in humankind’s history there have been fourteen years of war, 90% of which have been fought either because of, or under the banner of, God by whatever name.5
Has religion really inflicted “more suffering” than any other man-made cause? Is this assumption, one shared by a large segment of society, an accurate notion? Certainly it’s a position that’s well ingrained.6 Demonstrating the imbedded nature of this popular impression, history professor Pat Johnson writes:
I challenge my classes to comment on the following statement: Organized religion has caused more suffering, wars and violence than any other cause. Almost all the students raise their hands in agreement.7
Logically, if religion has been the major cause of the world’s wars and death, then religion should shoulder the burden of responsibility towards making peace. Today, this rationale underscores much of the global interfaith movement, including the 2005 United Nations Conference on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace.8
But can the finger of guilt really point to religion as the primary cause of war and strife?
The Killing Century
In analyzing this hypothesis of religion’s global war guilt, let’s examine the role of religion as the primary killing factor in the bloodiest century of all time—the last one hundred or so years. As Winston Churchill explained during the MIT Mid-Century Convocation:
Little did we guess that what has been called the Century of the Common Man would witness as its outstanding feature more common men killing each other with greater facilities than any other five centuries together in the history of the world.9
So was religion the prime death factor, the “single greatest source” of war and suffering, for this very cruel and brutal century?
In order to understand the answer to this question, let us take a look at the major wars and human-caused genocides that occurred during this time frame. And in order to do this in the space allotted for this booklet, we need a lower stop-limit number—let’s say 1.5 million as a minimum death total.
Please bear in mind that this list will not be able to separate-out all examples. Some, such as the death figure for World War II, could be broken down into holocaust tabulations, single battle totals, etc.—but we’ll try to keep it simple.
Furthermore, it’s important to note that many historical conflicts and killings lack accurate death tabulations, and in some instances the numbers given in our list may actually be too low.
Other problems arise from the lack of concrete death totals. For example: the Mexican uprisings of 1910-1920 variably run between 750,000 and 2 million dead, likewise the decades-old Rwanda/Burundi conflict falls into this statistically difficult range. Because of the variance in accounting up to the 1.5 million mark, I will leave out these two examples along with many others that display complex numerical discrepancies up to the 1.5 million figure.
However, the following death-inventory will suffice for our brief review.10 Notice how few of these mass-killing events had classical religion as its central cause. And yes, religious factors do come into play in some instances, yet even in these examples there are other causes and motivations that go beyond religion.
Congo Free State (1886-1908): 8 million—with some estimates up to 13 million; control of colonial profit and power base.
Feudal Russia (1900-1917): 3.5 million; political control and consequences of political struggle.
Turkish Purges (1900-1923): 3 to 5 million; political control before and surrounding the Ottoman collapse, Islamic/ethnic factors within political/national expansionism—Pan Turkism.
First World War (1914-1918): 15 million; balance of power.
Russian Civil War (1917-1922): 9 million; political control.
Stalin (1924-1953): 20 million—with some estimates up to 60 million; political control.
China Nationalist Era (1928-1937): 3 million; political control.
Second World War (1939-1945): 55 million; German/Japanese expansionism, balance of power
Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945): 17 to 24 million; Japanese expansionism into China. Note: this number may or may not include the Henan Famine of 1942-43, which started as a drought but was horrifically accelerated by the Chinese government in Chongqing. If the numbers for the Sino-Japanese War do not include the Henan Famine, than add 3 to 4 million more dead. Furthermore, it must be recognized that the Sino-Japanese War blended into the Pacific Theatre of World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Soviet Repatriations—Victims of Yalta (1944-1947): 1.5 to 2.8 million; end-of-war and post-war repatriation of “Soviet citizens” from Western Allied-controlled territory to the Soviet Union.
Post-World War II German Expulsions (1945-1950): 2.2 million—with some estimates at 5 million; post-war retributions and displacement actions of Germans from Eastern Europe, consequences of Allied policies and Soviet “reparations in kind.”
Yugoslavia (1941-1987): 1.5 to 4.8 million; political control, ethnic/religious issues play an important role. Note: The history of conflict, genocide, and democide in the Balkans is complex and the accuracy of the numbers are difficult to ascertain. That said, the numbers given represent WWII and up to the immediate post-Tito era.
Chinese Civil War (1945-1949): 2.5 million; political control.
Mao Zedong (1949-1975): 45 to 70 million; political control and consequences of collectivist policies. Note: Approximately 45 million perished during Mao’s Great Leap Forward alone, due to starvation, collectivized and forced labor, beatings, and executions. The higher number of 70 million would include the death toll of the Great Leap Forward.
North Korea (1948-today): 2 to 3.5 million; political control and consequences of collectivist policies. Note: The numbers may be much higher due to famine/starvation.
Korean War (1950-1953): 3 million; political control.
Second Indochina War (1960-1975): 2 to 4 million; political control. Note: The higher figure represents the expanded capacity of the Second Indochina War beyond Vietnam and into surrounding nations.
Ethiopia (1962-1992): 1.5 to 2 million; political control and the exasperation of famine conditions, ethnic issues come into play.
Nigeria-Biafra War (1967-1971): 1 million but up to 3 million due to starvation; political control, religion and ethnic issues played a role.
Pakistan-Bangladesh Genocide (1971): 1.7 to 3 million; political/economic and social control over East Pakistan, ethnic and religious issues come into play.
Khmer Rouge (1975-1978): 2.5 million; political control and collectivist policies.
Afghanistan (1979-2001): 1.8 million; political control, Soviet expansion, religion (Islam) and tribal/ethnic factors played a role in internal strife.
Second Sudanese War (1983-2005): 2 million; historical ethnic struggles, Islamic issues played a key role, resource control and usage.
Congo (1998-today): 3 to 5.5 million; political control and regional debasement, ethnic strife, resource and territorial control.
The sheer horror and brutality of mankind throughout the twentieth century cannot be properly demonstrated in a simplistic chart. However, it’s more than apparent that the principal causation of the majority of these awful events—especially those with death numbers more than five million high—cannot be laid at the feet of classical religion.
Remember Professor Johnson and his statement, “Organized religion has caused more suffering, wars and violence than any other cause”? Professor Johnson just baited his students, and as the good professor tells us, “Almost all the students raise their hands in agreement.” He adds:
I then demand that they provide dead bodies as evidence. They usually mention the Crusades and one or two other religious wars they might have heard of but in none of their examples can they come up with a million deaths . . . I then point out that most of the people who have died as a result of war, have done so in the 20th century and that most of the killing was done in the name of secular ideologies. I then ask them who is the ‘baddest’ of them all. Most guess Hitler. I then tell them that he is rated #3. Some then guess Stalin, and I inform them that most scholars place him at #2 with 20 million killed. Almost no one gets #1 who, of course, is Mao who starts with an estimated 45 million. I then point out that the top two were Communists, and Hitler was a radical proponent of Social Darwinism. All of these ideologies are based on atheistic systems.11
Matthew White, a librarian who has done a tremendous amount of study in genocide/war issues and is the author of the online Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century, gives this Q&A response to the question of “religion”:
Q: Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?
A: No, of course not—unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century—Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union—no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion.12
Major John P. Conway, studying at the US Army Command & General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, commented in an article “War and Religion: Is Religion to Blame?”:
Most times, it can be argued that religion may play a key and significant role in the conduct of warfare on a psychological and cultural level, but is it the cause of warfare? Do nations, states and kingdoms wage war over religion? Is religion a primary cause of conflict between governments? Many have argued that it is. Another popular statement is, “Religion has been the cause of more wars than any other factor throughout history.” This is commonly accompanied by “people have been killing each other in the name of God for centuries.” Upon closer examination, these statements exude an element of mythology versus fact . . . A fundamental analysis of past wars commonly attributed to “religion,” as the causal factor, may reveal an uninformed and reactionary misjudgment. Throughout the course of history, the cause of warfare between sovereign states, kingdoms, and governments is attributable to many factors, but can rarely be attributed to “religion” as is so often the assertion.13
Major Conway continues:
[I]t becomes apparent that those who make the claim “religion has been the cause of more wars than any other factor in history” may speak from ignorance or have ulterior motives for the assertion. Further, this type of assertion seems rooted in anti-religion posturing . . . Men and nations have a history of warfare and the root of conflict is power and gain . . . Occasionally war is fought over religion, as is perhaps the case during the reformation period in Europe. More often than not however, the cause of war can’t be laid at the door of religion.14
Certainly religion plays a motivational and ruse factor in various conflict scenarios. All kinds of pretexts can be used in inciting and snow-balling hostilities; in 1969, for example, soccer played a key role in exploding tensions between Honduras and El Salvador. But as a whole the main cause of the major genocides and wars of the last one hundred years lie outside of purely religious stimulus. Moreover, even wars that contain a deep religious element often have multiple causation, including economic, political, and territorial grievances.
None of this is to say that religion is innocent when it comes to strife. Historically, we can cite the Catholic Crusades and the resulting Reformation genocides, and the mass slaughters done in the name of Allah—such as during the Wars of Apostasy.15 In modern times, we can see the effects of Catholic-Protestant clashes in the British Isles, Hindu-Islamic hostilities in India, the Islamic-Christian slaughters in Sudan, Buddhist-Hindu warfare in Sri Lanka, Moslem-Christian fighting in Indonesia, and the constant struggle in the Middle East between Israel and her Moslem neighbors. Islam as a religious/cultural/political system does play a dominant role in many regional conflicts and localized tension-points. However, in terms of the largest concentration of outright killing capacity, communism, national socialism, and imperial expansionism—all power struggles based on centralist political methodologies—have been the grandest contributor to war and human-caused mass death. Nothing else comes even remotely close.
Clearly, to exert that “religion is the cause of all war and strife” demonstrates a severe degree of historical naivety or deeply distorted emotional blinders or the outright broadcasting of disinformation for an ulterior motive (see Major Conway’s previous quote).
For the students of Mr. Johnson’s class, naivety is the most probable reason for their belief in this religion-war mythology. But for others, ulterior motives exist.
Wrong Assumptions, Wrong Peace
When wrong suppositions are employed, wrong results are guaranteed.
As already demonstrated, the war/religion assumption is nothing short of faulty. While religions today and historically have been culpable (Islam is a prime example in both modern and ancient contexts16), religion has not been the prime cause in every instance of war and strife, not even in the most extraordinary cases of the 20th century. Embracing this mythology as fact, the quest for world peace already finds itself building on a shaky foundation.
But regardless of the incorrect nature of the above point of view, many religious authors and spiritual leaders hold to this assumption. Then, taking motivational cues from this war theory, a response is formulated around another faulty assumption.
In a nutshell, this line of reasoning goes as follows: As faith communities are to blame for the world’s sorrows, then religions need to unite under a common umbrella to ensure peace and security prevails. Therefore, by uniting faiths in the push toward world peace, the divisions that drive humanity to mass violence will be bridged. Today’s global interfaith movement takes this approach, as do many such as Ken Wilber.
Postulating this idea of religious unity under the assumption of religion’s historical war burden, Wilber states:
If humanity is ever to cease its swarming hostilities and be united in one family, without squashing the significant and important differences among us, then something like an integral approach seems the only way. Until that time, religions will continue to brutally divide humanity, as they have throughout history, and not unite, as they must if they are to be a help, not a hindrance, to tomorrow’s existence.17
So what does it mean to be religiously “united in one family”?
Marcus Braybrooke, president of the World Congress of Faiths, explores this theme in his book, Faith and Interfaith in a Global Age:
My hope—though certainly not the hope of all in the interfaith movement—remains that dialogue will eventually bring convergence or, at least, that theology will become an inter-religious discipline or “global theology.”18
German Catholic theologian Hans Küng describes a similar pan-spiritual unification:
[A]fter intra-Protestant and intra-Christian ecumenism we have irrevocably reached the third ecumenical dimension, ecumenism of the world religions!19
Küng and Braybrooke’s concept of interfaith or interspirituality is shared by a large assortment of spiritual thinkers and even some religions. John Davis and Naomi Rice—both connected with the Coptic Fellowship International—succinctly tell us:
[T]he ultimate objective is a fellowship of religions, and the gradual appearance of a world-faith, which in its broader concept will be able to encompass all humanity.20
Similarly, the Bahá’í International Community, the global representative of the Bahá’í faith, openly asserts, “The key to interfaith harmony and co-operation is to focus on the essential oneness of all religions.”21
To a global public sick of war and bloodshed, the above unification ideology becomes a very appealing venue. Yet this postulation flies in the face of anthropology, sociology, history, and theology. The belief sets of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Animism, Hinduism, New Age, and so on, are fundamentally and irrevocably disconnected from one another—including who God is (or is not), the constitution of Man, the problem of evil, and the redemption solution to humanities failed state. Furthermore, the concept that all religions are “equally valid” is logically inconsistent when their theologies are in opposition to each other.
If all religions are authenticated as valid, we must then admit each spiritual expression into this new “global religious club” as legitimate forms. Therefore, cults-of-death—such as the Aum Supreme Truth movement, which was accused of delivering nerve gas inside a Tokyo subway train—must be more than just tolerated; they must be embraced as legitimate sources of truth. Satanism too, along with any other anti-social belief system, no matter how disagreeable, must be accepted on par and received into this universal fold. In time, Bible-believing Christians will be singled out as unacceptable ingredients to this global ecumenical soup.
Clearly, this “world faith for world peace” assumption is also lacking in credibility. However, this shouldn’t come as a surprise; after all, this flawed unity concept is designed around the first fabrication—the guilt of war.
It can never be said that a House of Truth is built on lies, yet the perfect dream of world peace is being constructed on that very foundation. Waving the flag of tolerance and solidarity, religion is looking to re-invent itself to a new level of “planetary responsibility”—devoid of truth, logic, and reality.
Indeed, as mankind sacrifices truth in the pursuit of peace, the only peace gained will come at the sacrifice of liberty. Why? Because such a system, misdirected from the onset, can only coerce and enforce. And whenever man imposes a utopian peace design—that is, the “creation of peace” at the expense of reality—it inevitably becomes a “bloody utopian dream.”22
Paradoxically, by its nature, a “world faith,” world peace structure may actually become a type of self-fulfilling prophecy, ultimately raising the terrifying banner; “Peace is the destruction of all opposition.”23
For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3)
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division. (Luke 12 :51)
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.—Jesus (John 14:27)
To order copies of Is religion to blame?—War, Religion, and the Interfaith Global Peace Agenda by Carl Teichrib, click here.
1. Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse (Arlington House Publishers, 1974), p.17.
2. The song “Give Peace a Chance” by John Lennon, recorded on May 31, 1969, has become a type of global anthem often sung at peace rallies.
3. BBC News Talking Points, “Is Religious Faith Still Relevant?” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/1885779.stm, April 9, 2002).
4. Caution: some of the language is very foul and would not be suitable for young readers, http://web.archive.org/web/20050115081421/http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/Ban%20religion/signatures.
5. Ken Wilber, “Why Do Religions Teach Love and Yet Cause So Much War” (www.beliefnet.com/story/147/story_14762.html BeliefNet column).
6. See Carl Teichrib, “Casting Stones: Christianity and the History of Genocide” (http://www.jashow.org/wiki/index.php/Casting_Stones_-_Part_2#Casting_Stones_-_Christianity_and_the_History_of_Genocide).
7. Professor Pat Johnson, responding to an online Christian apologetics discussion regarding war as an excuse against Christianity (http://net-burst.net/hot/war.htm).
8. The U.N. Conference on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace was held on June 22, 2005, in conference room #4 at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. A reading of the various speeches and documents that surround this event demonstrates the link between religion as a conflict force (and the guilt this implies) versus what religions can now do—unite under the banner of world peace and development.
9. Winston Churchill, MIT Mid-Century Convocation address, March 31, 1949.
10. Sources for this chart include the work of R.J. Rummel, Matthew White, and a host of other encyclopaedic resources.
11. Professor Pat Johnson, op. cit.
12. Matthew White, FAQ section on 20th century history (http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/war-faq.htm).
13. Major John P. Conway, US Army Professional Writing Collection, “War and Religion: Is Religion to Blame?” (http://web.archive.org/web/20130415011457/http://www.army.mil/professionalWriting/volumes/volume1/december_2003/12_03_2.html).
15. For more information on these historical conflicts and slaughters, see The Encyclopedia of Military History by R Ernest Dupuy and Trevor N. Dupuy, The Age of Faith by Will Durant, The Crusades by Zoe Oldenbourg, Judgement Day: Islam, Israel and the Nations by Dave Hunt, Martyrs Mirror by Thieleman J. van Braght, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Foxe, A History of the Jews by Abram Leon Sachar, and The Arabs in History by Bernard Lewis, etc.
16. See Dave Hunt, Judgement Day: Islam, Israel and the Nations (The Berean Call, 2005) and Dore Gold, Hatred’s Kingdom (Regnery Publishing, 2003).
17. Ken Wilber, “Why Do Religions Teach Love and Yet Cause So Much War,” op. cit.
18. Marcus Braybrooke, Faith and Interfaith in a Global Age (CoNexus, 1998), pp.15-16.
19. Hans Küng, Preface to Willard G. Oxtoby’s, The Meaning of Other Faiths (The Westminster Press, 1983), p.10.
20. John Davis and Naomi Rice, Messiah and the Second Coming (Coptic Press, 1982), p.111.
21. Bahá’í International Community, “At the UN, Governments and Religious NGOs Convene a Peace Conference” (One Country, April-June 2005, p.14, http://www.onecountry.org/story/un-governments-and-religious-ngos-convene-peace-conference).
22. See the “Bloody Utopian Dreams” series by Carl Teichrib: http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/05/teichrib/utopian-dreams-1.htm.
To order copies of Is religion to blame?—War, Religion, and the Interfaith Global Peace Agenda by Carl Teichrib, click here.
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
Jude was called by God to send a message to the church. It seems the simple gospel of Jesus Christ was being compromised. Apparently, “certain men had crept in” and were the cause of great concern. He began by making an emphatic statement:
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Now, imagine if you were a member of a church that had received a letter from Jude. He was the half-brother of Jesus Christ. His message certainly must have carried some weight. His letter opened by saying that although he had intended to write and share about salvation that has been accomplished through the finished work of the cross, his mind was somehow changed. Instead, he felt it imperative to deal with a major problem that had developed.
Apparently, “certain men” had “crept in unawares” and actually had become an enemy of the simple gospel. Rather than being a messenger of the gospel, these imposters had become stealth deceivers who needed to be exposed before more innocent followers of Jesus were led astray. What had happened was the very thing that Paul had previously warned the church about at Corinth when he had written to them and stated:
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. 
Paul warned the church at Corinth about one of Satan’s most effective plans to deceive the brethren. Further, in the book of Acts, chapter 20, Paul warned what would occur after he had departed the scene. Click here to continue reading.
Editor’s Note: As we continue on with our coverage regarding evangelical leaders and their ecumenical moves toward Roman Catholicism, we once again wish to state that we bear no animosity toward individual Catholics, but we are compelled to challenge these leaders on their compromise of the Christian faith according to Scripture.
As Lighthouse Trails has been reporting on over the past number of months, evangelical church leaders are coming out of the woodwork like never before in showing their willingness to unite with and give credibility to the Catholic Church.
In March of this year, we posted Roger Oakland’s report on charismatic leader Kenneth Copeland’s open embracing of the Roman Catholic church (see “The Unification of Hyper-Charismatics and the Catholic Church”). In that article, Oakland stated:
[H]ow close we are to the unification of Rome with “Charismatic evangelicals” and eventually all religions. This is something that Understand The Times has been predicting for some years as the present Pope Francis and the last two Popes, Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul, have been active in promoting the New Evangelization.
The purpose of the New Evangelization is to promote the Roman Catholic gospel by reaching out to all religions as well as the separated brethren and introducing them to the Eucharistic Christ.
Oakland’s report includes a video clip of Kenneth Copeland and Tony Palmer (an evangelical “evangelist” for the Catholic Church who was recently killed in a motorcycle accident). This video is worth watching and will help show how far the evangelical church has gone on the road to Rome. In the video, Palmer who was speaking at Copeland’s church told the congregation that he was coming in “the spirit of Elijah” similar to that of John the Baptist. As you watch this video, you will see that the “spirit” in which Palmer was coming was what he called “reconciliation” (meaning Protestants reconciling with the “Mother” church). Incidentally, Catholic priest Henri Nouwen put much emphasis on this type of “reconciliation,” and as Ray Yungen showed in A Time of Departing, Nouwen used the means of contemplative mysticism to remove the walls between biblical Christianity and Roman Catholicism.
Also in March, we posted a short piece titled “A Picture Says a Thousand Words,” which showed a banner from Ambrose University that stated “Catholics and Evangelicals in God’s Mission Together” (just one of many examples where Christian colleges are showing an affinity with Roman Catholicism.
Back in February of this year, we posted “A Word of Caution: Ecumenical-Backed Movie, “Son of God,” May Send Subtle New Age/Roman Catholic Messages.” We issued this warning about the Son of God movie because of the New Age/Roman Catholic influence that the producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey would have on the making of the film. In fact, Downey stated clearly that her intention in making the movie was to “bring people together.”1 We know that means to break down the barriers between Christianity and Catholicism. And yet, many popular evangelical leaders gave raving endorsements of the film (e.g., Max Lucado, Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Erwin McManus, Pat Robertson, Luis Palau, and others).
Last December, Moody Bible Institute showed its favor toward Rome, which you can read about in our article “Embracing Contemplative Shows Ill Effects at Moody Bible Institute in Ecumenical “Road to Rome” Event.” This photo to the left shows some of those who were involved with the event. While it was a student-led event, a professor from Moody helped to moderate it (interesting because he is a convert from Catholicism to Protestantism).
Then in May of this year, we posted Roger Oakland’s 5-part series on Rick Warren’s interview on a Catholic television network where Warren admitted: he is influenced by Catholic mystics, calls Pope Francis “our Pope,” and tells how he and his wife Kay turn to Catholic ceremonies for comfort and encouragement.
Most recently, in August of this year, we posted “Is Beth Moore’s “Spiritual Awakening” Taking the Evangelical Church Toward Rome?” making a number of different points to show that Beth Moore is showing more and more signs of heading toward Rome including a video where she illustrates on stage that she considers Roman Catholicism on par with Protestant Christianity. That article also showed James Robison’s strong propensity toward Roman Catholicism.
Now, Lighthouse Trails has learned that at the August 15-17 2014 gathering called “Three Rivers Festival of Hope” in Pittsburgh, PA, Franklin Graham (who led and organized the event) brought in Catholic Bishop David Zubik to give the opening prayer on stage with the large audience. During the bishop’s prayer, he acknowledged his belief that Protestants and Catholics are all part of the same church. While Graham’s public stand against homosexual marriage and his work to help the poor and needy is commendable, his giving a thumbs up to Roman Catholicism is moving the church closer and closer to complete apostasy. While we know that Graham’s father, Billy Graham, allowed Catholic counselors at his own crusade meetings (which sadly set a precedent), it’s a big jump to give a Catholic priest the platform at an evangelical event to lead in an ecumenical prayer that puts Catholicism on par with Protestant Christianity.
In a newspaper article advertising the Franklin Graham event, it states:
Bishop David Zubik said the festival dovetails with calls by recent popes to a “new evangelization,” bringing back cradle Catholics who drifted or became estranged from the faith.
“We felt as long as there was a Catholic component to this particular crusade, we wanted to be a part of it,” Bishop Zubik said.
Those who respond to Rev. Graham’s invitation to make a decision for Christ, and who identify as Catholic, will be given the opportunity to go to Epiphany Church — adjacent to the Consol Energy Center — for the sacrament of reconciliation, or confession.
“We’re right next door,” Bishop Zubik said.
Bishop Zubik said Catholics don’t share all of Rev. Graham’s controversial political statements but added: “That’s not what this is all about. The whole point is to bring people back to Jesus.” (source)
The question we have at Lighthouse Trails is, which Jesus is Franklin Graham sending these people to when he sends them to the Catholic Church for the sacrament? We believe the answer to that is “another” Jesus as the Bible warns will happen (2 Corinthians 11:4).
According to one article, nearly 26,000 people showed up to the Graham revival meeting with around 1700 coming forth to commit or recommit their lives to Jesus.
In an article written by Bishop Zubik titled “The Church Evangelizing!,” Zubik expresses his support for the papacy’s “New Evangelization” program that Roger Oakland has warned about in his books Another Jesus: the new evangelization and the eucharist christ and Faith Undone. In the article by Zubik, he states: “As Catholics, we invite others ‘to come to Jesus’ not only at events in stadiums, but to come to Him in the sacraments, most especially the Eucharist” (p. 8). Ironically, the Catholic Church as a whole holds the official position of “closed communion,” which means that only converts to Catholicism can legitimately partake in the sacrament of the Eucharist. Many evangelicals do not understand what the Catholic church teaches about the “sacraments” and the “Eucharist.” They do not realize that the Catholic belief is that Jesus Christ is actually in the wafer and his blood in the wine, and this “transubstantiation” takes place only when a Catholic priest prays over the bread and the wine. This continual re-crucifying of Christ is the benchmark of Catholic Church doctrine to the point of martyring those who would not accept that Jesus Christ was in a wafer (see Foxe’s story about a woman who was burned at the stake for refusing to accept the Catholic belief on the Eucharist.)
This woman, Mrs. Prest, gave up her life because she understood that the Catholic “Gospel” is a religion of works based on participation in the Eucharist and the other sacraments. According to Catholic doctrine, salvation is never certain because it is based on earning something that was meant to be free as opposed to the clear statement of the Bible that we can have full assurance of salvation in that it is based on grace through faith alone in the perfect, one-time sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. The Christian Gospel cannot be reconciled with the Sacrament of the Eucharist, but many are deceived into thinking they are one and the same thing merely because they are both focused on the Cross. But a gift that is earned is no longer a gift; in short, the free gift of salvation has been rendered useless by turning it back into a system of works. If you have not read Roger Oakland’s article and booklet The New Evangelization From Rome: Finding the True Jesus Christ, we urge you to do so as it lays out the Bible Gospel versus the Catholic “Gospel.”
Another aspect of the Catholic “Gospel” that shouldn’t be ignored can be seen on an interesting video (see video) on YouTube of a man who is being interviewed who tried to go into the Franklin Graham meeting but was denied access because he was carrying a statue of Mary, and security guards would not allow him to bring the statue in. What is worth noting is that this Catholic man states that the way to truly know God or Jesus is through Mary and that she will actually even usher in world peace and the second coming of Christ.
Frankly, what is the point of keeping a statue of Mary out of the Graham crusade but allowing a Catholic bishop to give the opening prayer? Perhaps Franklin Graham does not realize that embracing Catholicism cannot be a smorgasbord where you pick and choose which elements you want. Catholicism has a whole plethora of anathemas for those who differ on various unscriptural doctrinal points.
Lest you think that the Catholic Church’s “New Evangelization” program is only trying to reach “backslidden” Catholics, we need to ask the question, Who is the Catholic Church’s “New Evangelization” program trying to reach? The answer: Everyone! As Bishop Zubik states in his article: “Pope Francis has made it clear that our witness [for the Catholic Church] must be to and for everyone—to each other as fellow Catholics, active or not, as well as to other Christians, to non-Christians and to nonbelievers.”
While we believe that at least part of the motivation for these evangelical leaders to join forces with the Catholic church is politically and morally motivated to “help bring America back to God,” we believe this unifying for the sake of political and moral issues is going to backfire on the evangelical church as the Catholic papacy and leadership (including the Jesuits) are using these issues to “bring back the lost brethren to the Mother Church.” And the question that must be asked is, if this united ecumenical body of evangelicals and Catholics is successful in bringing in a new White House administration that holds to traditional moral values, will the compromise of Christian faith by evangelicals be able to be reversed and separation of the two different belief systems be restored? Not likely considering the level of spiritual deception the evangelical church is at today. In essence, a paradigm shift has already taken place. And what will happen if the ecumenical evangelical/Catholic effort is unsuccessful in bringing in a morally conservative White House administration in the next election in 2016? We can be sure that the now-very-blurred lines that have in the past distinguished evangelical Christianity from other belief systems will erode all together because unrepentant compromise never produces good fruit but only leads to further compromise. Rather, the foothold that Satan presently has will throw the door wide open for the making of a totally corrupt and apostate church.
For those evangelical/Protestants who believe we have much in common with the Catholic Church and can unify with it, consider these statements, which Warren B. Smith cited in his book “Another Jesus” Calling. They are taken from the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is the official source for all Roman Catholic doctrine today. After reading these quotes, can any Bible-believing Christian say they share the same faith as Roman Catholicism?:
“Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God’s grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ.” (#795)
“For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” (#460)
“The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.” (#460)
Finally, what is it that we as Christians should hope for? For those who hope to see the church at large turn around from the apostasy that is upon her, there will be great disappointment. The Bible indicates such a falling away is going to happen. Our purpose should not be to hope that all of this will turn around but rather that those who have ears to hear and eyes to see will comprehend the times in which we live and remain steadfast in the faith and to the truth of the Gospel, which God has committed to us.
For biblical believers in Jesus Christ who see this taking place and refuse to become part of this apostasy, they will find themselves on the outside looking in, but when that day comes (and it’s not far off), it will be the safest place to be.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.(1 Corinthians 15:58)
Provided by Christian News Network
The Obama administration on Friday announced new measures meant to accommodate religious nonprofits and some private employers who don’t want to pay for birth control under ObamaCare, on the heels of Supreme Court rulings that weakened the law’s so-called contraceptive mandate.
The changes had been expected, particularly after the Supreme Court ruled in June that the government can’t force companies like Hobby Lobby Inc. to pay for birth control, as originally required under the Affordable Care Act. Days later, the high court also sided with religious nonprofits such as Wheaton College, an evangelical school, which argued that an existing accommodation required them to sign a form that violated their beliefs.
In response, the administration is making two changes. Click here to continue reading.
To Lighthouse Trails:
My grandsons had been playing a game called Minecraft. It was apparent to me that it was not good and I tried to warn my daughter. I prayed for God’s protection of my grandsons and also that their parents would see its evil. Recently, they have become aware of demonic activity in their home. I will not go into detail, but the whole situation has opened their eyes. The whole family took turns smashing the game in their garage.
I am writing to you, because I want to warn others. From what I understand, this game is very popular nationwide. There are also Minecraft toys and clothing, besides the video game. My family disposed of everything that had to do with Minecraft.
God’s blessing on you and your work.
LT Comment: For parents who do not understand the occultic nature of many of today’s games, books, toys, and videos, please read Berit Kjos’ book How to Protect Your Child From the New Age and Spiritual Deception. It contains numerous chapters that contain the names and descriptions of many names of what’s most popular today as well as alternating chapters full of practical and biblical tips on how to protect your children. Below is one of the practical tips chapters from that book which follows a chapter that discusses toys and games such as Pokemon, Power Rangers, several New Age occult toys and games, Ouija Boards and several others.
“Protecting Your Child From Harmful Toys & Games”
By Berit Kjos
When eight-year-old Joshua’s parents found out what he wanted for Christmas, they felt put on the spot. Joshua only had eyes for the newest rage—Nintendo—along with its most popular game, Super Mario Brothers II. Anything else was “boring.”
Joshua’s folks had heard disturbing stories about Nintendo addiction—or whatever you call that intense focus that tolerates no interruption. So they didn’t relish battling that obsession at bedtime—or any time. A rather pricey toy, Nintendo promised to zap a sizable hole in their budget, and the local stores had already sold out of their holiday allotment of SMB II.
Last year it was simple for Mom and Dad. Joshua just wanted more figures and accessories for his Masters of the Universe toys. The cost was tolerable, and they provided a year’s worth of imaginative play. Of course, the gruesomeness of some of the figures caused them uneasiness.
Heidi’s parents faced a similar dilemma. Their six-year-old daughter asked for Barbie’s Dream House—fully furnished, of course. “They fit together,” she explained, “and everybody has them.”
Barbie’s long-time popularity fails to endear her to Heidi’s concerned parents. They often wonder if the doll’s curvy figure and flashy clothes might encourage values and sophistication inconsistent with their hopes for Heidi. What kinds of aspirations are built by these symbols of self-centered materialism and the body image issues they instill in young girls at an early age?
If Barbie were the only messenger of image-based hedonistic self-interest, a few more accessories would hardly matter. But pagan decadence beckons children everywhere. “Just throw off all restraints,” it shouts, “and let human nature lead the way. Follow your feelings.”
It’s tough to teach restraint to children who are begging for gratification. Schools and the media have often declared parents the “bad guys.” We, as parents, keenly and distinctly feel the confusing values gap and flinch at the thought of being a killjoy once again. Yet we must. God has told us, the parents, to train our children to follow His way, and we can’t turn back now. Also, He promises to enable us. Fortified with truth, let’s make sure our children have toys that enhance their progress toward God’s kind of maturity.
Step One: Develop a Sensitivity to Evil
A young mother driving a carload of children—including two from her church—posed this question: “Who is the master of the universe?”
“He-Man!” shouted a chorus of voices. The mother grieved as the youngsters praised their idol. Her heart sank further when one boy pulled an ugly figure from his pocket and waved it in the air. “And this is Hordak,” he shouted. “He’s bad! He fights He-Man!”
Current delight in false gods and demonic creatures may have begun with winsome magicians such as Papa Smurf and Rainbow Brite. As people welcomed these nonthreatening (in appearance) harbingers of occult forces, they unknowingly opened the door to the grotesque and disturbing realms of the dark occult as well.
At first, we parents closed our eyes to this trend—we didn’t want to overreact. Even within the church community, talk about Satan and his dark realm has often been regarded as too negative or heavy-handed. Since we failed to resist, we gradually adapted and then accepted these practices. Now it’s time to retrench, take our positions, and fight to regain our discernment and freedom.
How do we do this?
Continue to read and apply Scriptures.
Share your own observations. Spark awareness in a young child with comments such as, “That monster looks gross!” or “That creature reminds me of a snake,” along with “Did you know that in the Bible, serpents always represent Satan and evil?”
To express your feelings to a young child, comment, “Who would want that evil-looking figure? I don’t even like to look at him. Let’s find something that makes us feel happy inside.”
Model wise decision-making. Tell your child why you wouldn’t want to buy certain things.
When a child wants something questionable, ask questions that are prayerfully adapted to your child’s age, such as:
What does the toy (or game) teach you (about power, about magic, about God, about yourself)? Discuss both the obvious and the subtle with your child.
Have you seen movies, cartoons, or comic books that made this toy (game) part of a story? What did the story tell you about it? Does the toy (game) remind you of someone who uses magic or supernatural power? Did someone pretend to be God?
What does it teach about violence or immorality and their consequences?
Does the toy have any symbols or characteristics that associate it with either the light or dark side of New Age occultism?
Whatever is lovely, gracious, and good originates with God. Satan cannot produce anything new. All he can offer is counterfeits or clever distortions of God’s gifts.
Step Two: Encourage Your Child To Choose the Good
Develop a mindset that seeks the best, not just the “OK.” You have identified and rejected the worst toys. But the rest are not necessarily good either. Discuss these questions to help your child learn to choose only the best. Phrase the questions according to your child’s age level.
1. Does it present a true picture of life? In a time when even adults base their lives on counterfeit dreams and false illusions, our children need to learn to tell what is flight of fancy and what is real.
2. How long would the interest last? Fad toys are fun for the moment, but they whet the appetite for every “in” thing, so that decision-making centers on the question, “What will make me feel happy right now?” Determine not to buy that lie. Unfortunately, many quality toy companies have been bought up or squeezed out by giants who can pay the high price for television promotion. The range of major toy lines is narrowing to those that look glamorous on the screen.
3. Will this toy be used for playing alone or with others? A child needs a healthy balance of solitary and social play. Good toys will help her interact both with her imaginary world and with the real world, harmonizing the two. That may require some interaction with you. Perhaps you could agree together to find toys that will help you, the parent, participate in your young child’s imaginary world.
4. Does it build godly character? Many toys, hobbies, and games do. Review the biblical principles suggested for evaluating movies and television programs.
Step Three: Train Your Child to Follow God, Not Peers
We want our children to feel good about themselves, be liked by their peers, and not miss out on the fun. But as we realize what their friends choose, we wonder how our children will respond to the peer pressure. How can we prepare them to make wise choices?
Counter peer pressure. Children naturally compare us to the parents of peers, challenging us to match their “generosity.” That hurts, since we want them to feel our love for them. We see what they don’t realize: that getting the toys they want will not make them feel secure in our love. It’s more likely to increase their craving and stir discontent. Also, it teaches them to equate love with material things. If your child is old enough, explain this process to him.
Discuss whether “showing off” might be their motive for wanting a toy. Feeding that feeling produces bondage and increased insecurity. Children as well as adults crave superior luxury items, and toy manufacturers are quick to comply.
Be a trendsetter. Have an abundant supply of ideas and tools to help your child and his friends use their imaginations and develop their own play: dress-up clothes (thrift stores are a good resource), fabrics for making puppets, scrap wood for outdoor structures, a refrigerator carton for making a playhouse, etc.
Look to the Bible for guidelines and authority. God understands our desires to follow the crowd; He feels our struggle to be “in” the world but not “of it” (John 17:16-18). According to age readiness, review Romans 12:1-2 together and then discuss 3 John 11 and Jude 18-20.
Self-denial seems out of place in a nation consumed with self-indulgence and self-fulfillment. But God commanded it, and Jesus demonstrated it. Dare we refuse to acknowledge it? According to the age of your child, discuss Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:24 and then allow the Holy Spirit to direct your application.
Don’t get me wrong. Far more than earthly parents, God wants His children to be happy and have a good time. But He doesn’t want cream puffs to satisfy our hunger and turn us away from the meat of truth. Self-discipline produces the kind of maturity that brings genuine happiness forever, not merely a pleasant moment today.
Our Heavenly Father, who models parenting better than any of us, doesn’t major on the superficial. He knows better than to give us all the things we want. For just as most children will choose pop over milk, and chips over carrots, so do we, as adults, often choose that which cannot satisfy. God does not want vain deceits, as He calls them (Colossians 2:8), to mold our appetites, satisfy our hunger, and replace the very best.
It’s hard to teach restraint to children who are begging for gratification. Wanting to please rather than overreact, we flinch at the thought of having to continually censor our children’s wants, preferences, and desires. Parental authority simply doesn’t fit the fast-spreading new views of social equality taught through the media and the schools. Yet, we must obey God. He has told us to raise our children to choose His way, and we must rise to the occasion, fight the good fight, and not shrink back.
After hearing God’s warning and praying for His wisdom, nine-year-old Alan Brannan decided to throw away all his Pokémon cards. “My friend did the same,” said his mother. “Her twelve-year-old son had been having nightmares. But after a discussion with his parents about the game and its symbols, he was convicted to burn his cards and return his Game Boy game. That night, he slept well for the first time in a month.”
“It seemed to us that these cards had some sort of power,” continued DiAnna Brannan. “Another nine-year-boy had stolen money from his mother’s purse ($7.00) to buy more cards.” When questioned, he confessed and said he had heard the devil urging him to do it. The family quickly gathered in prayer, then saw God’s answer. Both the boy and his little sister burned their cards, warned their friends, and discovered the joy and freedom that only comes from following their Shepherd.
Training Kids to Love Good More Than Evil
Don’t play games with the occult! Ouija Boards have always invited oppression, but they are far more likely to invoke unwanted “spirits” today. So it is with the new generation of occult games and DVDs as well.
I became aware of this change back in the nineties when a Canadian psychologist called me. He had read my book Under the Spell of Mother Earth and wanted to share some observations with me. In past years, he said, many women would come to scenic Alberta to do a Native American “Spirit Quest” in search of their personal “animal spirit.” Few succeeded. But times have changed, and the “spirits” that now answer the summons are numerous as well as oppressive. Treating the scary symptoms as “multiple personality disorders” is no help at all.
Popular occultism is spreading fast, and the “spirit world” has become increasingly more accessible. But few families are equipped to resist it. Contemporary churches offer little or no help. Most simply ignore the danger or endorse the “fun.” To avoid offense, the word evil is dropped from their vocabulary.
The primary victims of this blindness end up being our children. Unless we teach them to recognize and resist these dangers, many will come to embrace the darkness.
Those who love and follow God will be repelled by occult myths. And those who love today’s popular occultism will run from God’s unchanging truths and wise and loving boundaries. For if we are filled with His Spirit and follow His way, we will—by His life in us—“abhor that which is evil: and cleave to that which is good” (Romans 12:9).
The world cringes when it hears these truths because its fiction and fantasies are too enticing. That’s why people find all kinds of arguments to justify their misdirected love.
To prepare your child for daily battles against tempting spiritual counterfeits, consider these three other outlines of vital truths:
The Armor of God—These six truths expose and counter today’s most popular deceptions. Even more important, they show us the way to an intimate relationship with God.
The Lord’s Prayer—These truths parallel the ones in the armor of God and serve the same purposes.
The Beatitudes—Jesus’ message, recorded in Matthew 5, show us a standard for holiness that is far higher than we can achieve, but it comes with the promise that—by His life in us—He will make us all He intends us to be. It ends with the reminder that those who follow Jesus will also share in His suffering. Therefore, our children need to be prepared for persecution. Uncompromising faith and God’s unchanging truths have become intolerable in today’s postmodern age.
Popular occultism is spreading fast, and the “spirit world” has become increasingly more accessible. But few families are equipped to resist it.
This has been an excerpt from How to Protect Your Child From the New Age and Spiritual Deception by Berit Kjos.