Posts Tagged ‘Berit Kjos’
By Garrett Haley
Christian News Network
GOOCHLAND, Va. – Hundreds of concerned parents in Virginia recently voiced opposition to a controversial policy that allows school officials to grill homeschool parents and students on their religious beliefs.
In 2013, Goochland County Public Schools began requiring homeschool parents to reapply for a religious exemption to public education once their children turn 14 years old. The school district also requires homeschool families to write statements describing their religious beliefs.
“Before the School Board takes action on a request for a religious exemption, the parent must submit the application, a letter of statement explaining their bona fide religious beliefs and in the case of a student age 14 or older, a statement from the child stating his/her bona fide religious beliefs,” the school policy states.
The policy also gives the school board permission to schedule meetings with homeschool parents and students to question their religious beliefs. Click here to continue reading.
LTRP Note: For information on how to protect your children spiritually and educationally, read Berit Kjos’ book, How to Protect Your Child From the New Age & Spiritual Deception.
By Berit Kjos
(author of How to Protect Your Child From the New Age & Spiritual Deception)
Humanism has paved the way for the New Age, but most of us didn’t notice. Just as termites can chew away at a home’s foundation for decades before the damage shows, so humanist educators have sought to undermine the public school system. Suddenly we had to face the fact that many schools teach goals and values that contradict biblical values. And the humanist-oriented educational establishment promotes its beliefs as aggressively as any other religious group. Listen to their war cry:
The battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being.
These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level—preschool, day care, or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new—the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent in its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of ‘love thy neighbor” will finally be achieved.1
American philosopher and educator John Dewey kindled the fire of educational reform. The first president of the American Humanist Association, Dewey was determined to weed out Christian absolutes and reseed with “truths” that could adjust to changing cultures. The Humanist Manifesto, which Dewey signed in 1933, declares the heart of the movement. This is part of its introduction:
There is great danger of a final, and we believe fatal, identification of the word religion with doctrines and methods which have lost their significance and which are powerless to solve the problem of human living in the Twentieth Century . . . Any religion that can hope to be a synthesizing and dynamic force for today, must be shaped for the needs of this age. To establish such a religion is a major necessity of the present.2
Without the 3.2 million-member National Education Association, considered one of the nation’s most powerful political machines, Dewey’s ideas might have been confined to university campuses. Supported by the NEA, comprised of textbook writers and superintendents as well as professors and public school teachers, Dewey’s vision spread like wildfire. Through its militant leadership, the whole educational system became involved—with or without the personal support of local educators, many of whom didn’t realize what was happening.
Few textbooks have escaped the watchful eye of NEA censors, who have doggedly followed Dewey’s plan to provide a “purified environment for the child.” Historical facts that clashed with “progressive education” have been distorted or erased. The NEA has sought total control of curriculum content, control of teachers’ colleges, and sex education, free from parental interference. Though a high percentage of American teachers consider themselves moderate or conservative, the NEA supports abortion on demand (without parental consent), preferential treatment of homosexuals, and teaching evolution, while omitting creationism from the classroom.3
One book, Censorship: Evidence of Bias in Our Children’s Textbooks, unveils some alarming facts. Christianity, family values, and certain political and economic positions have been systematically banished from children’s textbooks. For example, in 670 stories from third-and sixth-grade readers:
No story features Christian or Jewish religious motivation, although one story does make American Indian religion the central theme in the life of a white girl.
Almost no story features marriage or motherhood as important or positive. . . . But there are many aggressively feminist stories that openly deride manhood.
In an original story by Isaac Bashevis Singer, the main character prayed “to God” and later remarked “Thank God.” In the story as presented in the sixth-grade reader, the words “to God” were taken out and the expression “Thank God” was changed to “Thank goodness.”4
While some elementary history textbooks still tell about Thanksgiving, they do not explain to whom the Pilgrims gave thanks. Pilgrims were defined as “people who make long trips.” The Pueblo Natives “can pray to Mother Earth—but Pilgrims can’t be described as praying to God.”5 Overt attacks on Christianity through distortion, depreciation, and ridicule have caused even more damage than omissions. Many of the books students are required to read refer to boring church services, self-righteous ministers, and lustful evangelists. One psychology text equated the historical Jesus with mythological gods:
A great many myths deal with the idea of rebirth. Jesus, Dionysus, Odin, and many other traditional figures are represented as having died, after which they were reborn, or arose from the dead.6
When children are subjected to such suggestions and pressures year after year, many yield to the hostile forces that oppose their beliefs.
The chart below lists several of the humanistic standards being passed down to a new generation of young people and compares these with traditional Christian values.
There is no God.
The world is self-existing.
Everything exists for the fulfillment of human life.
The goal. . . is a free and universal society where people cooperate for common good.
Man is responsible for the realization. . . of his dreams.
Values are relative and changing, determined by human need.
Man has within himself the power to create a new world.
We trust in a living, personal God.
God created the world.
“For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever.” (Romans 11:36)
Our goal is to “know” Christ and the “power of his resurrection.” (Philippians 3:10)
“In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.” (Psalm 62:7)
Biblical values are absolute and unchanging. (Matthew 24:35)
“The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)
1.. John Dunphy, “A Religion for a New Age” (The Humanist, January/ February 1983), p. 26.
2. “The Humanist Manifesto I” (1933)—the first public declaration of the views and objectives of humanism—rejected God and His values, but affirmed humanist faith in the power and evolution of man. (See: http://www.americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_I.) “The Humanist Manifesto II” (1973) reaffirmed and amplified this man-centered, relativistic, utopian belief-system.
3. Bill Sidebottom, “This Teacher’s Union Agenda Has Little to Do with Education” (Citizen, September 1988), pp. 10—11.
4. Paul C. Vitz, Censorship—Evidence of Bias in Our Children’s Textbooks (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1986), pp. 3—4, 18—19.
6. Mel and Norma Gabler, What Are They Teaching Our Children? (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), p. 38.
Other Articles From Berit’s book:
The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth by John Lanagan 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 The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth, click here.
The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth: How Eugene Peterson’s The Message Omits Homosexual Sin—and Other Strange Deletions, Additions, and Alterations
By John Lanagan
Can we just say it? Homosexuality is going to be the dividing line between the true church and the rising apostate church. And Eugene Peterson’s The Message is being used by those who want to avoid or deny the truth that homosexuality is a sin.
The Message flat out deletes homosexuality as sin from two key New Testament passages and gives a politically correct spin to a third (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Timothy 1:8-11, Romans 1:25-27).
For this reason, The Message and other ungodly imitations of the Bible will be increasingly promoted by those who practice a “form of godliness” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) that includes acceptance of homosexuality.
Preaching and teaching from The Message rather than the Bible also makes it easier for those who are unwilling, afraid, or just too tired to resist the politically correct juggernaut of homosexuality.
I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing. (Hosea 8:12)
Pastor Carl Lentz oversees Hillsong Church in New York City. Like its parent church in Australia founded by Brian Houston, Hillsong NYC is enormously popular. Celebrities flock there, younger people rave about Hillsong, and secular media give it a free pass.
Such popularity and acceptance would cease if Carl Lentz treated homosexuality like any other sin (i.e., biblically). But Lentz refuses to do so from the pulpit, during interviews, or in any public forum. Among other excuses, he claims he does not deal with homosexual sin publicly because “Jesus rarely dealt with morality or social issues” but with “the deeper things of the heart,” he says.1
During one of his sermons, Lentz used The Message version of 1 Thessalonians 5:14 to assert that Hillsong is biblically obedient in refusing to “make polarizing statements about certain things in our Christian community.”2
According to 1 Thessalonians 5:14 from The Message:
Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs.
Lentz waxed eloquent over one particular phrase from the passage. He repeated, “Be ‘attentive to individual needs.’ That’s interesting. Isn’t that cool? That’s why some churches want us to give blanket answers on huge issues, well, my Bible says be ‘attentive to individual needs.’ So we’re not gonna make polarizing statements about certain things in our Christian community right now. No matter who says what we won’t be pressured into giving blanket statements to individual needs. Never!”3
That sounds kind of heroic, doesn’t it? There is one slight problem: The phrase “attentive to individual needs” is not in any reputable translation of the Bible. It is not in the original Greek. It can only be found in The Message.
In other words, Carl Lentz used a non-existent verse to justify Hillsong’s politically correct silence about homosexual marriage and homosexual sin!
In another sermon, Lentz lamented about biblical illiteracy—and then, ironically, proceeded to teach from The Message. He said:
If you don’t know the Bible, it’s okay. Get to know it. We have a biblically illiterate generation coming up right now where you’re gettin’ second hand information, second hand revelation, second hand stuff that don’t get you through the first hand battle, so make sure you know it for yourself.4
Lentz then told his audience to go to, “James, chapter three. . . . I’m gonna read from The Message.”5 This is further irony because chapter three of James begins by warning that teachers will be more strictly judged.
On more than one occasion, Lentz has assured his audience that The Message is a valid text. Speaking at Judah Smith’s City Church, Lentz stated:
And this morning I’m reading from The Message paraphrase. It’s not a literal translation, but I believe if you check it with all the other translations, it’s right on the money.6
Lentz depends on a phrase not found in genuine translations to justify Hillsong’s politically correct silence about homosexuality.
The Message Versus the Word of God
On a homosexual website, a former evangelical pastor, now living as a homosexual man, uses The Message to assert homosexual relations are God-honoring if performed in love rather than lust.
Tim Evans, author of On Being Gay, relies on The Message versions of 1 Corinthians 6 and Romans 1:25-27 to make his case. He writes:
Reading these renditions and then re-reading the traditional texts without the lens of prejudice, the point is as plain as day. Lust and abuse is wrong and destructive, but love—now that is a different matter.7
Let’s compare The Message passages with those from a genuine Bible.
First, here is 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NASB):
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Now, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 from The Message:
Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who do not care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.”
How many people even realize what Peterson has done here? Peterson’s version claims those who “use and abuse the earth” will not be saved! Homosexuality has been removed, and nature/earth reverence has been added! Homosexuality out, earth reverence in! Yet, the Lord tells us:
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:2)
The second passage used by the author of On Being Gay is Romans 1:25-27. Here is the passage from the KJV:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another; men with men, working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
Compare that with Romans 1:25-27 from The Message:
Refusing to know God they soon didn’t know how to be human either—women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men—all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it—emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretcheds. (emphasis mine)
All lust, no love? Commenting on Eugene Peterson’s altered meaning of this passage, Berit Kjos, the author of “What Kind of Message is The Message?,” notes:
This strange wording may leave loopholes for homosexuals that make “sex” seem permissible as long as it is viewed as an expression of “love,” not lust—which many gay couples claim today.8
As Tim Evans has ably demonstrated in On Being Gay, The Message serves as a potent weapon for those who deny that homosexuality is sin.
Before examining one final verse where the sin of homosexuality is deleted in The Message, let’s briefly look at a few other verses that have been changed. This is simply to demonstrate there are deletions, additions, and alterations throughout The Message.
For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (Acts 20:27)
Remember, a generation has now been raised on this “Bible.” For many, it serves as a preferred or even primary text. Nationally known pastors like Rick Warren and Carl Lentz frequently teach from it.
So, just to get a sense of what Eugene Peterson has done, below are two psalms, a verse from Romans, a verse from John, and one from Colossians. We’ll compare The Message versions with those from the KJV.
First, Psalm 1:1:
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
Now, The Message, Psalm 1:1:
How well God must like you—you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon, you don’t slink along Dead-End Road, you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College.
Eugene Peterson’s psalm evokes images of clowns pouring forth from a tiny car, running around in helter-skelter fashion, honking their hand held horns.
Sin-saloon! (Honk, honk) Dead-End Road! (Beep, beep) Smart Mouth-College! (Honk honk, Beep beep)
Several years ago during a radio interview, I read aloud Psalm 1:1 from The Message. The Christian talk radio host exclaimed, “That sounds like a cartoon!”
Let’s compare verses from another psalm. Here is Psalm 32:1-2, KJV:
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
Now, Psalm 32:1-2 from The Message, Eugene Peterson’s “lucky” psalm:
Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean. Count yourself lucky—God holds nothing against you and you’re holding nothing back from Him.
Eugene Peterson has taken away “blessed” and added “lucky,” thus changing the very meaning of the verse.
The Lord warns us:
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5-6)
Now, let’s see what has been done to Romans 15:13, The Message:
Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! (emphasis mine)
What God of “green” hope? Here is the same verse from the KJV:
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Romans 15:13)
Just as he did in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, where he deleted homosexuality and added “use and abuse the earth” as a sin, Eugene Peterson has inserted a potential God/nature reverence interpretation into Romans 15:13 that is not in any reputable translation of the Bible.
Should we care for the environment? Of course. Should we insert our man-made agendas into passages of Scripture? That is blasphemous.
Keep in mind that many brand new Christians are given The Message because of its readable, everyday language.
I and the Father are one heart and mind. (John 10:30, The Message, emphasis mine)
I and my Father are one. (John 10:30, KJV)
The Message version of John 10:30 changes understanding about Christ’s relationship to the Father. Eugene Peterson changed the very words of Christ.
The following verse is also bold on Peterson’s part, considering the Lord hates attempts to divine or foretell the future. Why the mention of a forbidden practice (along with telescope and microscope) as if it were a legitimate activity?
You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. (Colossians 2:10, The Message)
And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2:10, KJV)
Why has Eugene Peterson done all this? The Message, bluntly stated, seems written to make Christians less knowledgeable about the Word of God. While that may seem a strong comment, please consider what Eugene Peterson himself said about the Bible:
Why do people spend so much time studying the Bible? How much do you need to know? We invest all this time in understanding the text, which has a separate life of its own, and we think we’re being more pious and spiritual when we do it. . . . [Christians] should be studying it less, not more. You just need enough to pay attention to God. . . . I’m just not pleased with all the emphasis on Bible study as if it’s some kind of special thing that Christians do, and the more they do the better.9 (emphasis mine)
In contrast, the Word of God encourages us:
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
The Lord commands us to neither add to nor delete from the Bible. We see this in Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32, Proverbs 4:20-21, 30:5-6, 1 Corinthians 4:6, 2 Corinthians 4:2, and Revelation 22:19.
It is a mistake to consider Eugene Peterson as some kind of elder statesman of the faith. Not only has he spawned The Message, Peterson has also endorsed two heretical books: The Shack, and Rob Bell’s sly ode to universalism, Love Wins. The latter disputes whether the unsaved will really spend eternity in Hell.
Peterson has been praised and admired for so long that it may be difficult for some to accept that The Message is an offense to God. Yet, as Paul writes:
And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Let us heed Paul’s admonition, and not put “men above that which is written.” Not our pastors. Not Christian authors and musicians. And certainly not Eugene Peterson.
That being said, this deception is spiritual in origin as Scripture tells us:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
The Message’s Effect on the Church
Now, let’s return to the issue of homosexual sin. We are at the point where many in the church are wavering about homosexuality.
As with 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, homosexuality is again deleted in 1 Timothy 1:8-11. According to The Message:
It’s true that moral guidance and counsel need to be given, but the way you say it and to whom you say it are as important as what you say. It’s obvious, isn’t it, that the law code isn’t primarily for people who live responsibly, but for the irresponsible, who defy all authority, riding roughshod over God, life, sex, truth, whatever! They are contemptuous of this great Message I’ve been put in charge of by this great God.
Here is 1 Timothy 1:8-11 from the NASB:
But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. (emphasis mine)
The Message is weakening the church. Our long-term acceptance and use of The Message explains in part why many Christians are lukewarm on the issue of homosexuality. Society continues to undergo a paradigm shift. Christians are daily being exposed to a barrage of pro-homosexual propaganda via media, entertainment, politics, and education. Certainly, The Message is not the only factor—but place this “Bible” in a person’s hands, and it can have, over time, significant influence.
This booklet has not been written as a weapon against homosexuals. Far from it. My wife and I (and many others) have repented of this sin and trusted the Lord with our lives. True love is holding to what the Bible says about homosexuality, rather than glorifying the sin, which is what is happening in the culture.
I believe The Message will be increasingly used by on-the-fence churches, apostate churches, and by homosexual “Christian” activists.
The Bible says: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11).
But how can we understand God’s Truth when Truth is no longer there to be read?
Satan has always tried to twist or deny the truth of God’s Word (Genesis 3:1-5). Jesus Christ Himself showed us the importance of the Word of God. When the devil tempted Him in the wilderness, Christ fought the devil’s lies and temptation by answering with Scripture. Three times our Lord responded with “It is written” (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10).
Men like Tyndale and Wycliffe put their lives on the line so common people could have access to the unadulterated Word of God. Now, centuries later, there is relatively little objection when the Bible is altered, revamped, or tinkered with.
Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16)
If you have been using The Message, please don’t feel embarrassed or condemned. After all, The Message has been endorsed by numerous well-known Christians and has been with us for a long time now. People appreciate its everyday, accessible language. So this booklet may come as a bit of a shock.
We have primarily concentrated on the passages where homosexuality is deleted or given a politically correct spin. We have noted what seems suggestive of earth/nature reverence in two other passages, and we have also looked at two altered psalms; then we examined a verse from John and found that The Message offers a different understanding of the relationship between the Father and Christ. Eugene Peterson’s “horoscope” verse was also examined.
The fact is, there is so much wrong with The Message it would take a book (maybe two books) to cover it all. Some other “Scriptures” in The Message you might want to investigate by comparing them with the real thing are: Romans 8:35-37, Matthew 6:9-13, Ephesians 2:1-3, Galatians 5:19-21, and Romans 16:19-21. There are many others.
It is rather amazing how the earth reverence insertions and the altered or deleted passages about homosexual sin play into current political correctness. The Message is seemingly made for worldly churches. But I have often wondered if The Message is the precursor to a sinless, Christ-less “Bible” that will be used by the false church.
That “Bible” will have so-called sins included in it, but more along the lines of the 12 Steps—more generic in nature. A “Christ” figure will be included as well—but not the sinless Savior, our King of kings. Homosexuality will not be a sin but will be treated with reverence.
Christian use of The Message is not a good thing.
The Message is not a translation of the Bible. It is not a para-translation, as its publishers have so cleverly called it. Nor is it a paraphrase, because Eugene Peterson has omitted, and he has added.
The Message should not be used by the body of Christ at all.
To order copies of The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth, click here.
1. Carl Lentz with Katie Couric http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3wLm6pPvRY.
2. Carl Lentz, Huffington Post interview with clip of Lentz preaching (go to18:01 in video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrdJd1vD2MM.
4. Carl Lentz, LOVE IS RED Conference (go to14:38 in video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wqXIAS9B0A.
6. There Goes The Neighborhood (go to 6:19 in video) hhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_60hICs834.
7. Tim Evans, On Being Gay (http://www.courage.org.uk/articles/article.asp?id=219)
8. Berit Kjos, “What kind of message is The Message?” (http://www.crossroad.to/Bible_studies/Message.html).
9. Michael J. Cusick, “A Conversation with Eugene Peterson” (Mars Hill Review, Fall 1995, Issue No. 3, http://www.marshillreview.com/sojo/peterson.shtm), pp. 73-90, quoting Peterson.
To order copies of The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth, click here.
By Berit Kjos
(From her book How to Protect Your Child From the New Age & Spiritual Deception)
High on a ridge overlooking the valley stood the King, framed in the sun’s fading light. His form rose like a monument of unyielding strength. Above his head swirled hostile, black clouds. Raging winds snatched at his coat. Yet, he who could quell their assault with a word refused to be distracted. He had fixed his eyes on the valley below. Capturing each tiny detail, he traced the movement of gathering armies. Suddenly, his gaze rested on a shadowy form hidden from ordinary sight. Anger and agony flashed across his noble face.
“I created that imposter,” he mused, “but the Prince of Darkness only loved himself. I made him strong and beautiful, but he used my gifts to build his own throne. Did he imagine that his mutinous force could quench my power and hinder my plan? Has he spoken his own lies so often that he has deceived himself as well as my people? His foolish pride kindled this war, but soon even his blinded slaves will see the triumph of my kingdom.”
The King’s focus moved from the enemy headquarters to the city nearby. Its people slept unconcerned, smug, and oblivious to the scheming, waiting legions.
Tears stung the King’s eyes as he spoke to the city he loved. “If only you had listened,” he whispered softly. “If only you knew. But you ignored my warnings and went your own way. You followed your own foolish dreams—lies and deceptions that were more pleasant to your ears than my saving truth. My foolish people, open your eyes and see. I came to love and care for you, but you turned away. The thief came to steal, kill, and destroy, and you worship him. If you only knew where you are heading.”
Far below, near the edge of the city, where the forest opened to a wide clearing, the grim armies merged into a ghostly, quaking mass. Suddenly, without a sound, a message burst into their consciousness: The prince has arrived. As one, they bowed in fearful surrender, breathing their salute, “Hail, Prince of Darkness! Master of the Force! Hail!”
Before them rose the tall, dark figure of the prince. “My friends,” he purred, “I hear you have done well!”
A wave of relief swept over the mass.
“Report your progress!” his voice cracked like a whip over the trembling slaves. “Have you captured the city? Are its people ready to follow?”
Silence hung like an ominous sword striking terror into the hearts of the trembling warriors. Brash tyrants away from their master, they cowered like frightened dogs in his presence. Finally, a creature stepped forward. “Sir, the coup is almost complete. The city has yielded to your control.”
“How did you win their allegiance?” demanded the prince.
“We followed your plan, Sir. You told us to target the children, to reform their schools, pollute their movies and music, infiltrate their churches—”
“Stop, stop! I want details. Who handled the schools?”
“I did, Sir.” A burly figure lumbered to the front line. Under the heavy shrouded cowl, which hid his features, his body was shaking.
“Explain your strategy.”
“We followed our ancient plan, Sir. You told us to change labels to fit contemporary tastes—and it worked. First, we whispered doubts about the King’s repulsive Book of Truth. Then we planted tantalizing visions of the New World into the minds of educators. We showed them irresistible images of their own greatness, the power of Self, the pleasures of sex, and the peace of global unity under your mighty reign.”
“Slow down and describe their response.”
“Those open to transformation were thrilled with their new discoveries. They quickly fit your ideas into their curriculum.”
“Is that all?”
“No, there’s much more! We also told them that the King’s values hinder the freedom, growth, and happiness of Self. To build a better world, they must discard obsolete boundaries and pave new paths to higher consciousness and spiritual oneness. Quick to catch on, the kids are learning to ridicule the King’s archaic standards and narrow-minded subjects. Soon they’ll hate all who oppose your plan!” He giggled.
“Well done,” grimaced the prince, “but control yourself.”
Scanning the dark mass, he shouted, “Who’s in charge of music?”
A squat, slinking creature crept forward. “I am, Sir.”
“Report your progress!”
“We have revived your fool-proof formula: drugs, chants, sensual delights, and throbbing drums. This formula blocks logic, dulls reason, and keeps our connections open. We show them a good time—and make sure they come back for more. With more advanced subjects, we no longer hide your identity. They crave your savage malevolence.”
“Well done!” The prince rubbed his hands together in sardonic glee before he shouted, “Next! Who transformed television?”
“We did,” answered a shrill voice. A short, stocky figure pushed his way to the front. “One battalion loaded cartoons with wizards amid superheroes winning battles by your cosmic energy. Kids want supernatural power, so we’ve showed them yours. Camouflaged, of course.”
“Splendid!” The prince’s cruel voice rose excitedly. “Soon they’ll want more, and when they’re hooked, they too will be glad to see me. Ha! I will be their god, and they will learn a new form of worship! Go on. Tell me more.”
“We have been showing our vision for the New World Order to reporters, producers, and writers,” he snickered. “We convinced them that the King’s values block progress. Today children choose their own way—or rather, our way. . .”
“My way, you mean!” shrieked the prince.
“Your way, Sir!” quaked the commander.
“You met no resistance?”
“Not much. Your brilliant ideas usually excite them.”
“What about the King’s subjects?”
“Many don’t notice. Since we keep them too busy to study the Book of Truth, they can’t tell your plan from the King’s. Those who notice are afraid to speak up, and the few fools who do complain face our correction squad. Ridicule and exclusion usually silence them.” A cacophony of cheers arose.
For a moment, the prince gazed silently into that dark mass of veiled warriors. Fear and hatred, not love and loyalty, bound these miserable subjects to do his bidding.
“Watch every rebellious subject!” he shouted. “Find loopholes in their armor. Distract and discourage those who pray. And above all, hinder their use of the Book.”
Lightning cracked the sky, and the distant thunder grew to a deafening roar. But the King kept his watchful position high above the city, waiting for the precise moment . . .
Suddenly he raised his right arm. “Be still,” he cried into the storm. And the storm stilled around the summit.
He raised his left arm, and a battalion of soldiers dressed in white appeared before him.
“It is time! I have awakened my remnant. I have spoken to all who have ears to hear and eyes to see. To everyone not blinded and bound by deception. To those who have not bowed to the Prince of Darkness.”
“I have told them to rise, take their swords, and fight for their families and children. You must take your positions at their sides. Sing with them the song of victory, then conquer the forces of evil in the name of the King.”
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:11)
Kjos Ministries: Excerpts from The Gospel in Bonds | Part 1 In the Soviet Gulags: Imprisoned for His Faith
“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved…. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.“ (Psalm 62:5-8).
From Kjos Ministries
The Gospel in Bonds draws us right into the spiritual battlefield that now rages in almost every part of the world. Today as in Stalin’s days, Biblical Christianity is despised and outlawed, and America is headed in the same direction.
Until recently, Christians in America were relatively free to follow our Shepherd without interference. That treasured liberty is fast fading from the West. Today, many of our politicians and leaders seem bent on purging Christianity from schools as well as the workplace, the media, and the lofty chambers of Washington’s ruling elite.
In other word, those who despise our God and serve His adversary are becoming a forceful threat to those who love God and long to share His Word. But that doesn’t stop God’s faithful people!
As Georgi Vins shares his amazing story in the weeks and months ahead, we will be reminded of the eternal treasures we have in Christ. No matter what challenges we might face in the coming years, He will surely guide us!
“…thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 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.” (I Corinthians 15:57-58) Click here to read more.
By Berit Kjos
As our culture increasingly embraces the New Age and mystical practices, meditative music (much different than rock n’ roll), specifically created to provide an atmosphere for meditation is becoming more and more popular, and parents need to be on the alert. The emerging church has introduced “sensory worship” using candles, dimmed lights, and soft repetitive music. This “vintage” Christianity has been introduced into thousands of youth groups across North America. Roger Oakland, author of Faith Undone, explains:
Stimulating images that provide spiritual experiences are an essential element of the emerging church . . . many are bewildered as to why their churches are darkening their sanctuaries and setting up prayer stations with candles, incense, and icons.1
Mark Yaconelli, a leader in the contemplative prayer movement, teaches youth leaders how to bring their young protégés into the “silence.” He states in his book Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus:
The environment can be a help or hindrance when leading kids in contemplative prayer. Set a mood that’s conducive to silence. Turn out the lights and light a candle. Go outside under the stars. Play some music that helps youth settle down. Make sure there’s plenty of space. Better yet, ask the youth to set up the room for contemplative prayer. I find that youth are very receptive to contemplative prayer, especially when led by adults who are experienced in prayer and can lead it with a sense of “lightness.”2
In an interview with Christianity Today, contemplative advocate John Michael Talbot compares this contemplative music to New Age music:
There is an aspect of music, of sacred music, that can speak the unspeakable . . . The only other style of music that attempts to go to the deeper place of the silence that is music is New Age music.3
John Michael Talbot says he “began practicing meditation, specifically breath prayer . . . Tai Chi and yoga.”4
While Christian contemplative music specifically for children has not become popular yet within the evangelical church, there is plenty of music designed to help children meditate in New Age, Catholic, and mainstream (Episcopal, Orthodox, etc.) circles. One CD, Children’s Yoga Songs and Meditations plays songs repeating various mantras such as “Om,” “Sa Ta Na Ma” (a form of Kirtin Kriya yoga), and other Hindu and Buddhist chants. On one Christian CD titled Open Our Hearts—Christian Meditation for Children, the description reads:
Each track on this CD is designed to lead the children through a period of meditation from beginning to end. The meditators listen to the music and scripture, join in the song and the mantra and continue repeating this sacred word silently throughout the timed silence which begins after the sounding of three chimes. Similarly, the chimes sound again to signal the end of the meditation.5
Contemplative music certainly doesn’t have the loud blasting sounds of heavy metal, but it is every bit as dangerous, if not more so. Teaching children to meditate leads them to a panentheistic, interspiritual spirituality that has no room for the Cross or the Gospel.
(Berit Kjos is author of How to Protect Your Child From the New Age & Spiritual Deception. This is an excerpt from Chapter 17, “When Popular Music Becomes Obscene & Immoral”)
1. Roger Oakland, Faith Undone (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2007), p. 65.
2. Yaconelli, Mark (2011-03-22); Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus (Youth Specialties) (Kindle Locations 2592-2596). Zondervan/Youth Specialties. Kindle Edition.
3. Douglas LaBlanc, “A Troubadour and His Guitar” (Christianity Today, October 22, 2001, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2001/octoberweb-only/25.103.html), interviewing John Michael Talbot
4. John Michael Talbot, Come to the Quiet: The Principles of Christian Meditation (New York, NY: Tarcher/Putnam, 2002), p. 8.
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.