Posts Tagged ‘demons’

“Shack” Theology: Where Is the Devil?

By Warren B. Smith

I wonder you should ask me whether it is essential to keep the patient in ignorance of your own existence. That question, at least for the present phase of the struggle, has been answered for us by the High Command. Our policy, for the moment, is to conceal ourselves.1 – C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

The Shack’s author, William P. Young, quotes C.S. Lewis favorably and frequently in his books, but The Screwtape Letters by Lewis is not one of the books from which he has quoted. I bring up Lewis, not as an endorsement, but to point out a discrepancy. The Screwtape Letters is a novel that presents some of the many ways Christians can be effectively seduced and deceived by Satan and his demons—a subject that is completely ignored in The Shack and in Young’s other books. The discrepancy is that Young  chooses quotes from authors like Lewis to serve his own personal and theological agenda while conveniently ignoring writings by the same author that actually contradict his agenda. The Screwtape Letters is a perfect example.

The Screwtape Letters consist of a series of letters sent by a senior seducing spirit named Screwtape to his young understudy Wormwood. In the letters, Screwtape teaches Wormwood how to subtly undermine and eventually destroy the faith of his Christian “patient.” In the quote cited above, Screwtape tells Wormwood to conceal himself in such a way that the designated individual remains unaware of his spiritual presence. And this is exactly what we find in The Shack. The Devil and his deceptive spirits are never mentioned—not even once. It’s no wonder Young avoids The Screwtape Letters when he quotes C.S. Lewis. Acknowledgement of a real Devil and seducing spirits plays no part in The Shack and its supposed expression of  Christian theology.

Young has a witty but innocuous C.S. Lewis quote at the beginning of The Shack’s main chapter on relationships.2 But where The Screwtape Letters serves to expose and warn about the ways Satan thwarts and undermines a believer’s relationship with God, Young’s novel—and in particular this chapter on relationships—says absolutely nothing in this regard. Given The Shack’s emphasis on the importance of  “relationship,” it seems odd that no mention is ever made in Young’s novel about a believer’s uninvited yet inevitable “relationship” with his Spiritual Adversary—Satan the Devil. There is no acknowledgment, no warning, no advice, no anything in The Shack concerning the Devil, his seducing spirits, and their many wiles.

Contrarily, the Bible tells believers to put on the full armor of God, so they can stand fast against the wiles of the Devil and powers of darkness that are very real (Ephesians 6:11-13). We are admonished to be “sober” and “vigilant” because our Spiritual Adversary is walking around like “a roaring lion” and “seeking whom he may devour”—whether that be in a shack or anywhere else (1 Peter 5:8-9). We are told to resist the Devil and his temptations with the Word of God—not with human wisdom and “relationship” (Matthew 4:1-11).

Young’s easy dismissal of the Devil implies that our Spiritual Adversary is not someone we have to contend with in our lives and relationships. Young goes so far as to teach that “evil and darkness” don’t even exist. Young puts these words in the mouth of his “Holy Spirit” character “Sarayu”:

Both evil and darkness can only be understood in relation to Light and Good; they do not have any actual existence.3

But this is what the universal New Age Christ teaches—that “evil does not exist.” This false universal Christ states:

Innocence is wisdom because it is unaware of evil, and evil does not exist.4

With darkness having no existence of its own, it’s no wonder that Young’s presentation of evil and darkness agrees with the teachings of the New Age rather than the teachings of the Bible. His expressed disbelief in the existence of independent evil goes right along with his self-confessed universalist leanings.5

 Hidden in Plain Sight

The Shack’s Papa “God” cites a number of inhibiting factors concerning “relationship” in what Papa calls “all the limiting influences in your life that actively work against your freedom.”6 These limiting influences are also referred to as “that confluence of multifaceted inhibitors.”7 But again, Young fails to make any mention of the Devil as one of these influences or inhibitors. For a man who likes to quote C.S. Lewis, Young might want to read or reread The Screwtape Letters. It would seem that Wormwood-like seducing spirits have effectively convinced Young they have no existence. As a consequence of this spiritual deception, Young has defined the Devil right out of existence—out of The Shack, out of his “Christian” theology, and out of the Bible. Sadly, most Shack readers become so emotionally caught up in Young’s novel, they never notice that the Devil is completely absent from his Shack story and Shack theology.

So where is the Devil in Young’s novel? Be sure of this—the Devil’s presence completely overshadows and thoroughly permeates the pages of The Shack. Cloaked in humor, clouded in human wisdom, concealed in flattery, tucked away in mockery and sarcasm, and hidden in half-truths and lies, the Devil thoroughly inhabits the many conversations that ultimately produce Young’s universal, New Age-flavored Shack theology. The Devil may appear to be absent from The Shack, but for those who have the eyes to see, the Devil is the unspoken force that inspires Young and purposely and cunningly drives his novel. As they say, the Devil is in the details. The Devil is not absent from The Shack, he is just hidden in plain sight.

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:16)

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us:  for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

Endnotes

  1. C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York, NY: Macmillan Company, 1960), p. 39.
  2. William P. Young, The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity ( Los Angeles, CA: Windblown Media, 2007), p. 104.
  3. Ibid., p. 136.
  4. A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume (Glen Ellen, CA: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1975) (Text) p. 38.
  5. Wm. Paul Young, Lies We Believe About God (New York, NY: Atria Books, 2017), pp. 118-119. (Young states that he believes in universal salvation.)
  6. William P. Young, The Shack, op., cit., p. 95.
  7. Ibid.

Related Information:

BOOKLET – The Shack and Its New Age Leaven by Warren B. Smith

The Shack’s Universal Papa

“The Shack,” TBN, and the New Age

 

Understanding Shamanism

LTRP Note: For those who think that shamanism is a far cry from the contemplative mysticism being practiced in the church today and that this warning has nothing to do with Christians, think again. The realms reached are the same, and the results can be the same too.

By Nanci Des Gerlaise
(author of Muddy Waters: an insider’s view of North American Native Spirituality)

Basically, shamanism is the belief system that utilizes shamans in order to make contact with the spirit world. According to the Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, traditional shamanism “is where the shaman functions as healer, spiritual leader, and mediator between the spirits and people.”1

Shamanism is found in most cultures. In Western society, Native Spirituality is the main venue, but it is not confined to Native Spirituality. The New Age movement began incorporating shamanistic rituals into their own New Age spirituality:

New Agers have felt attracted to shamanism for a variety of reasons. A major factor in this attraction is that, while the shaman is a kind of mystic, the focus is on the forces of nature rather than an otherworldy mysticism. . . . Other attractions are the use of mind-altering drugs, including peyote, and the romanticized images of nature. 2

Within Native Spirituality, shamans depend heavily upon drumming, singing, dancing, and chanting in order to get spirits to enter them and to help them. What many people probably do not realize is that shamanism is very dangerous.

Photo of Chief Shoefoot, a former shaman turned believer in Christ.

Photo of Chief Shoefoot, a former shaman turned believer in Christ. (see video below)

In biblical terms, shamanism is the use of supposed spirit guides to attain spiritual power, knowledge, and healing, but the cost is ghastly, and the “dangers of shamanistic initiation”3 are many. Some of these dangers and symptoms would be identical to what happens in Kundalini, which is a dangerous and powerful energy coming from deep meditation. This list shows what can happen when demonic realms are accessed through deep meditation practices in Native Spirituality, shamanism, and the New Age movement. Shockingly, Christians are now practicing this occultic meditation through the contemplative prayer movement:

Burning hot or ice cold streams moving up the spine.
Perhaps a feeling of air bubbles or snake movement up through the body.
Pains in varying locations throughout the body.
Tension or stiffness of neck, and headaches.
Feeling of overpressure within the head.
Vibrations, unease, or cramps in legs and other parts of the body.
Fast pulse and increased metabolism.
Disturbance in the breathing—and/or heart function.
Parapsychological abilities. Light phenomena in or outside the body.
Problems with finding balance between strong sexual urges, and a wish to live in sublime purity.
Persistent anxiety or anxiety attacks, due to lack of understanding of what is going on.
Insomnia, manic high spirits or deep depression. Energy loss.
Impaired concentration and memory.
Total isolation due to inability to communicate inner experiences out.
Experiences of possession and poltergeist phenomena.4

Other dangers would include insanity and psychosis. What’s more, the use of shamanism in contemporary culture is widespread and the results are often devastating:

[S]hamanism often involves the shaman in tremendous personal suffering and pain (magically, he often ‘dies’ in the most horrible of torments) . . . it often involves the shaman in demon possession, insanity, sexual perversion, and so on.5

Such a terrifying perversion of God’s merciful ways is completely unnecessary, for Christ gives the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of love and goodness—to all who call upon His name and put their trust in Him (Romans 5:5).

Colossians 2:9-10 states the truth for Christians:

For in him [the Lord Jesus Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”

(To understand more about the contrast between Native Spirituality and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, read Nanci’s book, Muddy Waters and watch the film I’ll Never Go Back by former shaman, Chief Shoefoot. Many Christians are involved with this same kind of occult practice through the contemplative prayer movement.)

An excerpt from I’ll Never Go Back:

Notes:

1.. John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1996); (taken from http://www.ankerberg.org/Articles/_PDFArchives/new-age/NA3W0801.pdf).

2. John P. Newport, The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s Publishing Co, 1998), p. 34.

3. John Ankerberg, John Weldon, Ankerberg Theological Research Institute (http://www.ankerberg.org/Articles/archives-na.htm, scroll down page to section on Shamanism – 8 parts).

4. “Kundalini, Short Circuits, Risks, and Information” (http://kundalini.se/eng/engkni_1024.html).

5. John Ankerberg, John Weldon (Ankerberg Theological Research Institute, http://www.ankerberg.org/Articles/archives-na.htm) quoted from Joan Halifax, Shamanic Voices, (New York, NY: Penguin, 1979), pp. 7-27.

Letter to the Editor: Reiki in Society? Now Shamanism!

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

SHAMANISM? A recent Columbus Ohio magazine had a story about a reiki center. Among other “professional therapies” offered at that location was “shamanic services.” Shamanism is defined by Webster’s as: “religion . . . characterized by belief in an unseen world of gods, demons, and ancestral spirits responsive only to the shaman.”

It’s interesting that reiki practitioners (including ones billed as “Christian reiki”) tend to speak in terms of “energies” and deny the fact that reiki has anything to do with actual spirits; yet now, facilities offering “therapies” like reiki might also offer shamanic healing, which is openly acknowledged as a calling on/connecting with spirits.

Until now (at least, in my experience) references to shamans were pretty subtle. Tiny blurbs in the occasional magazine. But this week, thumbing through the newest issue of a little New Age mag . . . whoa! Several stories/ads about shamans/shamanic healing. In one ad, the shaman even promises to “make death an ally.” (No thanks.)

I decided to search “Christian shaman” online—hoping to come up empty. But I spotted several references. Shaman, sorcerer, witch doctor, medium . . . whatever you want to call it . . . It makes me so sad to think of people engaging a mediator to connect to lesser “spirits,” when everyone is invited to go directly to THE Spirit, the Lord Almighty Himself.

Lynn Lusby Pratt (name used with permission)

Lighthouse Trails is the distributor for a film called I’ll Never Go Back. It’s the testimony of a former shaman who is now in Christ. Because shamanism is taking the same path as contemplative spirituality, we encourage you to watch a clip of this film below. And if you know someone who is involved with any kind of meditation, then get the DVD if you can and share it with that person.

IMPORTANT ALERT: Christian Homeschoolers Targeted by “Christ-Centered Energy Healing” Organization

“Are you looking for reliable, Christ-centered information and healing that is safe, affordable and that really does work? Are you sick & tired of being sick & tired? Are you a healer or are you searching for effective healing that is Christ-centered? You have found your tribe.”

So says Tammy Anderson Ward, President of Hope Haven Events, who presents the “Christ-Centered Energy Healing Conferences.” If Christ-centered energy healing sounds like an oxymoron, that’s because it is. And all one needs to do is cruise around on the  website to see that the nature of these conferences is blatantly New Age. But we’ll get to that in a little bit. The group is reaching out to a broad audience and is being billed as “the world’s largest Christ-centered energy healing conference;” but what caught the attention of Lighthouse Trails and author Ray Yungen more than anything is that they are reaching out to homeschool kids and parents, a traditionally conservative segment of the population.

It’s understandable that Tammy Anderson Ward is trying to reach homeschool families, she is a homeschool mom who has eight children, and we don’t doubt that she loves her children very much and seems to be a person of good will. But when you hear what these events are promoting, we think you will agree that this should NOT be called “Christ Centered.”

In the video below, Tammy Anderson Ward explains how her family got involved with energy healing.

What is energy healing? For those of you reading this who have been reading material from Lighthouse Trails for some time, you know that energy healing is supernatural in nature and is generally connected with an occultic worldview. In Ray Yungen’s booklet titled The Truth About Energy Healing, he explains how energy healing is tied in with the chakras, which are said to be “energy centers” or “spinning balls of psychic energy.” The chakras are the basis for energy healing. The energy healer places his or her hands on or over (touch is not necessary) the patient, and this energy is transferred from the practitioner to the patient. It is believed by energy healers that the chi energy connects everything together. This may sound like science fiction or something completely surreal, but after years of study and research, Ray Yungen has come to the conclusion that this transferred energy is demonic because of the underlying belief  that God is in all things and man is divine. There are many theologians in the church who would agree with his assessment.

bigstockphoto.com

bigstockphoto.com

Evangelical Christianity has always presented healing in a religious sense (i.e., we pray to God and ask Him to heal with His power, not a power within ourselves that we learn to manipulate and utilize). New Age healing is always presented in a therapeutic context. In other words, it’s something you tap into or learn to do (which explains the need for conferences – you have to go there and learn to do it). Some may be thinking right now that perhaps Tammy Anderson Ward is merely calling her techniques energy healing but does not bring chakras into the picture. A study of speakers she invites to her conferences throws that assumption out the window. On the Christ Centered Energy Healing store site, there is a section selling products from past conferences. Here are some of the titles: Chakras and the Armor of God, Chakras: Know Your Energy Centers, The Spirit of the Chakras, Are Chi and Chakras for Christians? (no doubt, this speaker says yes), and Energy Healing: Dance to Heal Your Chakras. If you feel like you have just been read a list of New Age titles, we hope this news article we are writing will deeply concern you.

From Christ Centered Energy Healing website; used in accordance with the US Fair Use Act for the purpose of critique and review

This past March, Hope Haven held a “Christ Centered Energy Healing” conference in Mesa, Arizona. Some of the seminars that were offered were: Creating Health: The New Era, Healing Games to Play With Your Children, Crystal Connections: Another of Heaven’s Tools, Group Energy Healing, The Peace & Power of BE-ing Present, and Sailing into the 5th Dimension, Gracefully. By the way, the 5th dimension is referring to the altered state of consciousness reached during deep meditation. Sheena Davis, one of the presenters at March’s conference, taught a workshop called Healing Methods for everyone. The website describes the class:

In the following YouTube video, you can learn more about Reiki (one of the more popular forms of energy healing):

Vital Recommended Resources

 

 

 

Letter to the Editor: Occultic Minecraft Game Brought My Grandchildren into Danger

Minecraft

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.

PR

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.family read the Bible in nature

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.

Letter to the Editor: Guideposts Magazine Managing Editor Tells Readers – “I Start My Day With . . . Centering Prayer.”

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

I was given a subscription to Guideposts magazine.  In the February issue, there is an article titled “Summoned” written by Anne Simpkinson – Online Managing Editor.  The first paragraph reads as follows:

I start my day with prayer. Centering prayer, in which, rather than saying prayers aloud, you sit in silence, letting go of thoughts and distractions and resting in God.  The point isn’t to talk to God, or even to listen to him, but to simply be with him.

Further down, the article reads:

 I close my eyes and try to open to God’s presence.  The sixteenth-century mystic Saint John of the Cross wrote that God’s first language is silence, and I’ve chosen centering prayer as a way to connect with God-beyond words, beyond thoughts, beyond emotions.

I would have to write the whole article to give you all she relates in it.  She brings her cat in to it, also.

I did not realize Guideposts was going down this path.

D. R.

Our Comments:

The article referred to above was in the print Guideposts for February. While we do not have access to the printed issue, we found a similar article written by Anne Simpkinson, managing editor of Guideposts titled “Praying with Mimi.”  Added to what was stated above, Simpkinson said:

First I read a devotion from one of the books I keep beside the chair. Then I put the book down and hit the start button on the meditation timer app I downloaded onto my phone. A soft bell chimes, signaling the beginning of my 20 minutes of prayer.

I close my eyes, repeat a sacred word two or three times then sit in silence.

It makes sense that Simpkinson would be practicing silent meditation. She lists Thomas Merton, Esther DeWaal, and Julie Cameron (all contemplative mystics) as three of her favorite authors.1 In an interview, when Simpkinson was asked about her spiritual practices, she stated:

In the mid-90s, I found a practice called Centering Prayer, which was developed by three Trappist monks—Father Thomas Keating, Father M. Basil Pennington and Father William Menninger.  The practice is based on a method described in the 14th-century text, The Cloud of Unknowing, and which has been refined over the years.  Instead of focusing on one’s breath or repeating a mantra, one uses a sacred word to renew one’s intention to be with God, to be with God as God is.  This of course requires us to disengage from our thoughts.2

Lighthouse Trails does not find it surprising that Guideposts (which markets itself as a Christian/faith-based magazine) would be promoting contemplative prayer. The publication was founded by Norman Vincent Peale in 1945. Peale was a proponent of New Age type thinking. Both Ray Yungen and Warren B. Smith discuss Peale’s proclivities in their books. You can type in his name in our search engines and come up with several references.

What is troubling is knowing how many Christians read Guideposts and find nothing wrong with it. And yet, the magazine is filled with examples of  New Age/New Spirituality beliefs and practices. One thing that especially stands out in the magazine is stories of spirit beings, angels, spiritual guides, etc. that communicate with people. Consider this statement made by religious author Charles Braden regarding Norman Vincent Peale:

The man through whose ministry essentially New Thought [New Age] ideas and techniques have been made known most widely in America is Norman Vincent Peale . . . He is reaching more people than any other single minister in America and perhaps the world (Braden, Spirits in Rebellion, p. 186)

There’s a mystical revolution going on (as the recent Time magazine cover story proclaims), and more and more people are falling under its influence, which is coming as angels of light and ministers of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11: 14-15). Christians need to put down those copies of Guideposts (like our reader above did), The Shack, Jesus Calling, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and return to the true Jesus Christ.

And he [Jesus] said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. (Luke 21:8)

 


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