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NEW BOOKLET: The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf

NEW BOOKLET: The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf  by Linda Nathan is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The Booklet is 18 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets 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 Cross and the Marijuana Leaf, click here.

The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf

By Linda Nathan

Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug worldwide, with 5 million daily users worldwide.1

Should Christians use pot? Should they condone the use of it in our society? What would Jesus do? The author’s extensive experience, biblical approach, and current research provide clear guidelines for those struggling with today’s exploding drug culture.

INTRODUCTION

WHAT’S HAPPENING?
For the first time in U.S. history, Christians in America are facing the challenge of a majority approval of marijuana. A recent Gallup Poll revealed that 58% of Americans now favor its legalization, and 67% of ages 18 to 29 back legalization. Yet when Gallup first asked the question in 1969, only 12% favored legalization.2

By September 2017, there was some form of marijuana legalization in 29 states and the District of Columbia.3

This massive change has occurred in less than fifty years, and it is a major sign of the seismic shift occurring in our culture—a shift that should concern Christians deeply.

But some Christians are uncertain how to view this shift, for the Bible doesn’t mention marijuana directly—or does it?

What do we know about marijuana? Is it good for our health? Or can it be harmful and even lead to psychosis? But, most important, how does the Bible deal with it?

Before we continue, let me tell you a little about myself and why I’m writing this booklet. I think it’s fair to say my involvement with marijuana stretches over half a century, through experience, observation, and research. My husband Richard and I met in San Francisco in 1962 and spent fourteen years in the Bay Area counterculture. By the grace of God, we survived the ’60s meltdown for thousands of young people into corruption, crime, and madness. And we personally experienced and saw with our own eyes the destructive effects not only of marijuana but also of some of the other drugs to which it opened the door. And the pot we smoked then was much milder than what is available today.

I thought I knew all about marijuana from my experiences during the ’60s and ’70s. But as I researched what is happening today, I saw that it’s now an entirely different ballgame. Today’s marijuana has a much, much stronger psychoactive (THC) content. Billionaires now power its promotion. And radical changes are occurring in our society as a result.

Besides our personal experience, Richard, who has a B.S. in Biology and a Master’s in Christian History, has spent the last 24 years working in psychiatric and drug treatment centers where he has continually observed the devastating effects of marijuana and other drugs.

So, let’s look at what’s happening.

TWO MOVEMENTS IN ONE: MEDICAL AND RECREATIONAL
Although there are around 400 derivatives of the marijuana plant, the battle for legalization focuses mainly on two: medical marijuana (cannabidiol or CBD) and recreational marijuana (tetrahydrocannabinol or THC).

“Recreational” marijuana (THC). Currently (2017) eight states (Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and Colorado) plus the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, but the movement is growing rapidly as other states are moving toward legalization.4 More on recreational marijuana later.

Medical marijuana (CBD). By September 2017, twenty-nine states and Washington DC had medical marijuana laws, and another eighteen had passed CBD laws.5 CBD has minimal THC content. Therefore, many states have legalized it for specialized cases, primarily with childhood epilepsy or seizures. Some believe that legalizing CBD isn’t the same as legalizing medical marijuana because it’s not using the entire plant.6 A common assumption is because the CBD extract has some healing benefit, then the entire plant does too. But there are many dangers with using the entire plant.

Later, I will discuss the use of marijuana for medicine and the positions of major medical organizations.

Many powerful factors are propelling these movements, but first, we need to know what the Bible says. While it doesn’t address the issue of marijuana specifically, it has a great deal to say about its effects and about God’s demand for holiness for His people.

THE BIBLE SPEAKS

1. We are to obey the law. We are to obey the Law of God (Romans 13:1–2), as well as the laws of the land, unless those laws conflict with God’s law (Acts 5:29). Marijuana is still illegal by federal law except within approved research situations.

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (Romans 13:1)

2. We are to live soberly. The Bible tells believers to be sober and practice holy behavior. Marijuana (THC) can lead to a vulnerable, drunken type of state.

Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. (Romans 13:13)

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

3. Marijuana can be harmful. There is a great deal of scientific evidence concerning its mental and spiritual harm, which is discussed later. According to the Bible, our bodies are not our own; we belong to Christ.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)

4. Only God’s Word can transform our minds; supposed “consciousness-raising” drugs can be spiritually dangerous. Here again, I speak from experience: Under marijuana, the soul can become more vulnerable to false teachings.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1)

5. Marijuana can lead to idolatry and demonic bondage. Whatever has power over you becomes an idol, and behind every idol is a demon. Richard has observed marijuana leaf tattoos on many young psychotic patients, sometimes entwined with a cross. The idolatry of drug abuse involves both spiritual and physical bondage.7

Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:14)

Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. (1 Corinthians 10:21)

6. Marijuana is a method of sorcery. This is one of the strongest arguments against Christians using marijuana and the reason why it opens the door to worldview changes. Witches have used it and other such drugs for centuries to contact the demonic realm. The Bible uses the word pharmakeia for “sorcery,” which is the root of our modern word “pharmacy.”8 Consider the following thoughts from a Bible forum:

Marijuana is a hallucinogenic. This is one of the reasons why using it is sorcery and witchcraft. With the use of drugs, you are opening yourself up to all sorts of spiritual attacks and seducing spirits. Mind-altering drugs are used in witchcraft to alter your reality. This can be very dangerous. This is why God calls us to be sober and avoid attacks from Satan (1 Peter 5:8).9

Let us make it our concern to grow in holiness through obedience to Christ. Scripture exhorts us:

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13)

TURBO POT—
NOT YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S MARIJUANA

It occurred to me lately that these new ultra-high THC level marijuana breeds or what the kids refer to as (KB) Killbud mixed with any other narcotic is [sic] altering the children’s minds in such a destructive way the consequences are irreparable.10

When I committed my life to Jesus Christ, I knew that I needed to give up marijuana and other hallucinogenic drugs. I realized that the influence of these drugs was the opposite of the influence of the Holy Spirit. The two are incompatible.11

Now, maybe despite the Bible’s warnings about how we are to live, you’re not convinced that there isn’t some good in using marijuana recreationally.

But there’s a vital fact many people don’t realize: The current weed is immensely more powerful than it used to be—to the point of being hallucinogenic. In their book Going to Pot, William Bennett and Robert White explain:

Let’s acknowledge that today’s marijuana is at least five times stronger than the marijuana of the past. The THC levels of today’s marijuana average around 15 percent, but go as high as 20 percent and above in the dispensaries found throughout the states that have legalized it for ‘medicinal’ or recreational use. The marijuana of today is simply not the same drug it was in the 60s, 70s or 80s, much less the 1930s. It is much more potent, leading to a great many more health risks.12

The Marijuana Potency Project at the University of Mississippi has found levels of THC as high as 37 percent. That is a growth of a psychoactive ingredient from 3 and 4 percent a few decades ago to close to 40 percent.13 (emphasis added)

WHAT IS THC, AND WHY DO HIGH LEVELS MATTER?
Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that gives the “high.” Synthetic versions can be very harmful.14 Consider the following:

The difference between 3 to 5 percent THC and 13 to 30 percent THC is very significant. It is like comparing a twelve-ounce glass of beer with a twelve-ounce glass of 80 proof vodka; both contain alcohol, but they have vastly different effects on the body when consumed. Indeed, many argue that because of the difference in potency, it is not even the same drug we once knew. Some have taken to calling today’s marijuana “industrial marijuana” or “turbo pot.”15

A hallucinogen. Such high levels can be hallucinogenic and cause profound perceptual distortions of reality. Regular use may lead to “flashbacks” or (sometimes frightening) hallucinations that can reoccur for years. There may be panic and anxiety attacks, and health problems. Used with other drugs or medications, it can lead to vomiting, stroke, increased blood pressure, convulsions, seizures, and nerve problems; and it can affect babies in the womb.16

Psychosis. And then there is the connection with psychosis. “Nine studies following hundreds to thousands of people for decades searched for a connection between marijuana use and psychosis. All but one of these studies suggest a connection between marijuana use and schizophrenia.”17

Other studies reveal the connection between high pot use and a clinically significant increased risk of developing schizophrenia and other mental illnesses during adolescence.18 Our own experience has shown that you can’t know how it will affect you; it might seem fine for a while and then act without warning as a depth charge in your soul.

Sir Robin Murray, a psychiatrist at King’s College in London, says, “Even I, 20 years ago, used to tell patients that cannabis is safe. It’s only after you see all the patients that go psychotic that you realize—it’s not so safe.’”19 My husband says amen to that, having worked 24 years at treatment centers.

MARIJUANA AS MEDICINE?
PART I: THE BATTLE

In 1970, the US Congress placed marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act because they considered it to have “no accepted medical use.” Since then . . . [21% of the U.S. population] now lives in a state where smoking weed is legal.20

There is no level of marijuana use that is actually completely safe. . . . even the casual use of marijuana changes the brain.21

This new marijuana is waaaaaaay beyond simple medical use for pain.22

The controversy rages. The Journal of the American Medical Association defines medical marijuana as:

. . . the use of cannabis or cannabinoids as medical therapy to treat disease or alleviate symptoms. Cannabinoids can be administered orally, sublingually, or topically; they can be smoked, inhaled, mixed with food, or made into tea. They can be taken in herbal form, extracted naturally from the plant, gained by isomerisation of cannabidiol, or manufactured synthetically.23

So, do the Bible’s warnings apply only to using marijuana with THC? After all, the CBD used for medical purposes doesn’t contain THC. Does it?

Actually, CBD does contain the hallucinogen THC, in varying ratios. Some claim the two work together therapeutically and that “a patient’s sensitivity to THC is a key factor to determining the ratio and dosage of CBD-rich medicine.”24 But many advocates don’t differentiate and insist on using the entire plant.

Proponents argue that it can treat the symptoms of chemotherapy-induced vomiting, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, childhood epilepsy, and neuropathic pain. Testimonials are the main support for other conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.25

In 2015, The Journal of the American Medical Association published the preliminary conclusion of a compilation of 79 studies of the experiences of 6,000 patients who used marijuana for self-medication. The report stated:

Smoking pot was found to be of little use in relieving symptoms for many ailments, among them hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Researchers found that smoking pot did show some success in relieving nausea caused by chemotherapy, and “spasticity” for multiple sclerosis patients. The authors of the study did not rule out other medical benefits, but found little evidence of any so far.26

Opponents decry marijuana’s dangers, the fact that it lacks FDA approval, and that legal drugs make marijuana unnecessary. They point out its addictiveness and that it can lead to harder drug use and mental problems; they also say it “interferes with fertility, impairs driving ability, and injures the lungs, immune system, and brain. They claim medical marijuana is a front for drug legalization and recreational use.”27 There is no clear optimal dose for its various approved conditions. THC concentrations vary widely; and sometimes users breed out CBD, which can ameliorate THC’s negative effects, to increase THC’s potency.28 Furthermore, marijuana smoke can contain up to 70 percent more carcinogenic materials than tobacco smoke.29

No one medicine has ever been recommended or used for the number of diseases and ailments political proponents of medical marijuana say it is a therapy for. The proponents have turned it into some kind of major miracle drug while, at the same time, the scientific literature finds marijuana either dangerous or of extremely limited use, and often both.30

Now let’s look at the positions of professional medical associations.

MARIJUANA AS MEDICINE?
PART II: THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY SPEAKS

The American Psychiatric Association—

There is no current scientific evidence that marijuana is in any way beneficial for the treatment of any psychiatric disorder. In contrast, current evidence supports, at minimum, a strong association of cannabis use with the onset of psychiatric disorders.31

Medical treatment . . . should not be authorized by ballot initiatives.32

The American Medical Association—
In November 2013, the AMA retained its longstanding position that “cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern.” Recent policy changes call for further well-controlled studies.33

The American Society of Addiction Medicine—
The ASAM warns against marijuana’s adverse effects on mind and body, its increasing potency, and its influence in precipitating relapses in alcoholism and other drug dependencies. It recommends carefully controlled medical use and drug education for early school grades and health workers.34

The American Cancer Society—
A 2013 position paper states that cancer patients may receive benefit from marijuana, which can “help alleviate the nausea, vomiting, wasting, and muscle spasms caused by chemotherapy in some patients.” The ACS supports more research for treatments for cancer and its side effects, but it does not advocate marijuana legalization.35

The American Ophthalmological Society—
In 2014, the AOS reaffirmed its stand that marijuana does not help glaucoma. Ophthalmologists believe marijuana has side effects that could endanger eye health, increasing risk for cancer and eye diseases.36

The American Academy of Pediatrics—
In 2015, the AAP reaffirmed its opposition to legalizing marijuana for either recreational or medical use. It recommended protections for children in states that have legalized either. It says, “For adolescents, marijuana can impair memory and concentration, interfering with learning, and is linked to lower odds of completing high school or obtaining a college degree. It can alter motor control, coordination and judgment, which may contribute to unintentional deaths and injuries. Regular use is also linked to psychological problems, poorer lung health, and a higher likelihood of drug dependence in adulthood.”37

CRITERIA FOR MARIJUANA AS MEDICINE
The general conclusion appears to be, “If marijuana is to be used for medical purposes, it should be subjected to the same evidence-based review and regulatory oversight as other medications prescribed by physicians.”38

Bennett and White offer the following controlled program for obtaining medical marijuana: a) A physician specialist for the patient’s chronic condition must sign a special waiver; b) Approval by the Institute of Medicine; c)Both patient and physician must sign a formal statement under penalty of federal perjury charges limiting the marijuana to that patient only; d) The patient must sign a waiver of understanding releasing the government of any liability regarding marijuana’s possible adverse side effects; e) It must be a standardized dose of government-provided marijuana; f) A hospital pharmacy must fill the government-approved, doctor-certified prescription; g) The patient’s prescriptions must be based on the doctor’s regular reviews.39

So, if marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, and all these authorities oppose or caution about its legalization, why is the legalization movement growing so rapidly? This is a question that begs an answer.

BIG MARIJUANA AND CULTURAL CHANGE

“The pro-legalization movement hasn’t come from a groundswell of the people. A great deal of its funding and fraud has been perpetrated by George Soros and then promoted by celebrities,” said John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy under George W. Bush. “The truth is under attack, and it’s an absolutely dangerous direction for this country to be going in.”40

Marijuana use in the United States before the ’60s was mostly underground; but as its popularity spread, the public became much more accepting, until by the ’90s,

]L]eaders and politicians stopped speaking of the harms of marijuana . . . anti-drug ads became less prevalent . . . arguments on behalf of marijuana use were no longer answered . . . a market was found to create medical marijuana and call marijuana medicine because of its analgesic effects, and . . . Hollywood made punch lines out of the use of marijuana in blockbuster movies and popular television shows.41

NEVERTHELESS, LEGALIZATION TODAY IS NOT A GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT.

Billionaire financier George Soros and other wealthy people jump-started it and are maintaining it. Soros “has become one of the largest supporters of drug reforms ranging from medical marijuana use to the easing of sentencing for drug charges. His foundation has donated about $200 million to drug reforms since 1994.” He has also spent around $80 million on reforms through a nonprofit network and his mouthpiece, the Drug Policy Alliance.42 Soros provided 68% of the financial backing to pass Washington State’s 2012 initiative and is focusing on other states.43

Other promoters include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and billionaires Peter B. Lewis, PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel, and Sean Parker and Dustin Moskovitz of Facebook.

THE NEW GOLD RUSH
Today the pot industry is viewed as the “new gold rush,” with “hundreds of tributary businesses.”44

Sales of marijuana grew 30% in 2016, and as long as acceptance continues to gain steam, the industry could hit $20.2 billion in North America within four years, according to a marijuana market research firm.45

The legalization movement and industry are transforming our culture and institutions.

THE POT PRESIDENT
Former President Obama’s administration greatly expanded the movement. He openly admitted smoking marijuana when young, calling it merely a “bad habit and a vice,”46 and supported legalized pot in Washington State and Colorado. In April 2013, his administration even told the Supreme Court to ignore a lawsuit by Oklahoma and Nebraska opposing legalized pot in Colorado.47

The Obama administration also pressured the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the Department of Justice to consider removing marijuana from the list of the country’s most dangerous drugs.

That list was created as part of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, which consolidated all federal drug laws into a single comprehensive measure and defined marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, alongside heroin, LSD and other drugs that the government says have no medical value and the highest potential for abuse. That meant marijuana was saddled with the strictest possible restrictions and penalties.48

To date though, the DEA has maintained its “core priority” to oppose marijuana and prosecute “those who manufacture, distribute, or possess any illegal drugs, including marijuana.”49

However, movement is underway to reclassify cannabis as a non-Schedule I drug, allow states to regulate medical marijuana programs, remove CBD from the Controlled Substances Act, and reconcile federal banking issues in the legal marijuana industry.50

DRUG-DEALING STATES
George Soros also funds studies about the profits from marijuana legalization.

Colorado. Such a study found that marijuana legalization could generate as much as $100 million in state revenue after five years. “That research was widely considered to have influenced the election.”51 (emphasis added).

Washington State. Marijuana sales generated $70 million in tax revenue during the first year of legalization, with over $257 million in sales.52 But one business owner said $70 million is low and sales should increase.53

Logan Bowers, who co-owns a recreational cannabis store in Seattle, claims there’s a “cultural shift happening in Washington, Colorado and other states that have started to legalize marijuana use.” 54 (emphasis added) Although the article doesn’t describe that “cultural shift,” I know it well. And my husband sees its results every day.

POPULAR ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST

You talk to the kids and with everything that’s going on with it being legalized in Colorado and comments being made that it’s just not that bad for you, the kids are taking it one step further and they’re telling me, “It’s just an herb. It’s OK. In fact, it’s used for medical purposes, it’s not bad for you. It’s good for you.” And that’s the belief our kids are getting.55—Fourteen-year veteran, Salt Lake City Police Department

There’s a wide spectrum of opinion about legalizing marijuana, but the battle doesn’t fall on a simple Left-Right continuum. Some Republicans favor it and some Democrats oppose it. Issues involve personal health and freedom, tax revenues, public policy, expense to our justice system, cultural change, and states’ rights. Many believe a ban would be futile.

Bennett and White conclude in Going to Pot that most advocates are poorly informed because of deliberate falsehoods by interest groups, ignorance about the strength of today’s marijuana, and unwillingness to give it up.56

Even Christians have many different views, as you will see in the chart below.

FOR

Divine intervention. Pot is God’s intervention to bring healing and relief. Even Jesus must have smoked it because it grew in the Middle East then.

AGAINST

What can bring temporary relief isn’t necessarily good (e.g. alcohol, opioids, etc.) (1 Corinthians 10:23). To assume that Jesus Christ smoked it because it may have been around is an irrational unbiblical leap.

FOR
Relaxation. It relaxes me, so it must be good.

AGAINST

Don’t count on it. Marijuana is not a sedative; it can excite and even stimulate hallucinations and psychosis. The present high levels make it unpredictable.

FOR
God’s creation. God created everything and gave us the plants of the field (Genesis 1:29).

AGAINST

God created deadly nightshade, too, but we treat it with care. This is a fallen creation.

FOR
Not from Satan. Satan doesn’t create, so marijuana couldn’t be of Satan.

AGAINST

Instead of creating, the devil spins webs of deceit (2 Corinthians 11:3).

FOR
Freedom. Jesus wasn’t legalistic; Christians live by grace.

AGAINST

This is true, but Scripture clearly says that we are never to use our freedom as a license to sin (Romans 6). And the Bible has given us many instructions on how we are to live including being sober minded and avoiding drunkedness.

FOR
Fairness. Trust the democratic process.

AGAINST

The democratic process also brought us homosexual marriage and transgender bathrooms.

FOR
Just an herb. Marijuana is just a medicinal herb.

AGAINST

Opium can be medicinal too, but recreationally it’s destructive.

FOR

Popularity. My friends all use it.

AGAINST

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (1 John 2:15; see also 2 Timothy 2:22).

FOR
Bigotry. You’re a bigot to oppose pot.

AGAINST

Don’t be afraid to be criticized for standing for righteousness. Be bold. (1 Peter 4:1–5)

FOR
Legality. It’s okay for Christians in states with legalized pot.

AGAINST

It’s still illegal on the federal level, and even if that changes, it won’t make it safe or right. You can sin with legal and social approval.

 

WHAT CAN CHRISTIANS DO?

For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. . . . Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:9, 11)

Many Christians today are confused about marijuana. This may result from:

Lack of education

Misreading the Bible / rejecting biblical authority

Peer pressure and moral laxity in churches and society

Confusing propaganda

Naiveté and/or ignorance of the devil’s wiles

Here in Washington State, we’ve not witnessed any noticeable Christian resistance to the “legalization.” On the contrary, we’ve encountered apathy in some churches and casual openness to it in some church youth groups. Online, youth pastors sometimes seem uncertain. There seems to be little awareness of its spiritual dangers. A woman who had opposed a marijuana factory in her neighborhood called us after our letter protesting the new law was published. She’d approached many Christian neighbors, but few had signed her petition. There was a lot of apathy, she said, an attitude of, “Well, it’s a law now, what can we do?”

Well, there’s a lot we can do. First and foremost, we can pray. In spite of all that is happening in the world today, including the growing use of marijuana and other drugs, as Christians, we serve a God who cares and who listens to our prayers.

We can also help to educate those around us, in our homes, churches, and neighborhoods. And while it may seem like a hopeless case there are some encouraging signs. As of this writing, the White House has announced that we should expect to see greater enforcement of federal marijuana laws, regardless of states’ laws. Attorney General Jeff Sessions opposes the drug. Furthermore, marijuana is still classified on the federal level as a Schedule I drug along with heroin, LSD, and ecstasy.

But the battle will continue. The exploding marijuana industry is up in arms about losing its huge profits from a possible major crackdown. While President Donald Trump doesn’t oppose medical marijuana, the White House views recreational use differently. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is examining the whole issue. If the White House and the DOJ go easy on the “legal” states, the marijuana industry will continue flourishing, with the states as drug dealers. But if the DOJ cracks down, marijuana will increase as a powerful symbol of rebellion. One thing is clear: President Trump, the DOJ, and the country need our prayers.

No one knows which w

ay the nation will go.

But which way will you go?

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:17–18)

To order copies of The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf, click here.

ENDNOTES
1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24904437.
2.https://tinyurl.com/y7zl4f5y.
3. http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html.
4. http://www.refinery29.com/2016/04/107985/where-is-weed-legal; www.westword.com/marijuana/eleven-states-considering-pot-laws-in-2017-8720; see a current map of state marijuana laws at http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html.
5. https://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=006473; https://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881; and http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html.
6. See http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881 and http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=006473. See a chart of medical marijuana pros and cons at http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000141.
7. There is a good discussion about this at https://justprayno.org/tag/idolatry.
8. See http://www.revelation.co/2010/01/27/what-does-the-bible-say-about-marijuana-is-smoking-pot-a-sin-in-gods-eyes.
9. See http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php/127483-Sorcery-Drugs-In-The-Bible for a thorough discussion. Also http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-sorcery.html.
10. William Bennett and Robert White, Going to Pot: Why the Rush to Legalize Marijuana Is Harming America (New York, NY: Hachette Book Group, 2015), p. 152.
11. http://www.sosmin.com/pdf/marijuana.pdf.
12. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 172.
13. Ibid., p. 18.
14. See http://spiceaddictionsupport.org/what-is-spice.
15. Going to Pot, op. cit., pp. xiv–xv.
16. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/can-marijuana-use-during-pregnancy-harm-baby.
17. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/06/390143641/pot-can-trigger-psychotic-symptoms-for-some-but-do-the-effects-last.
18. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana/there-link-between-marijuana-use-psychiatric-disorders.
19. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/06/390143641/pot-can-trigger-psychotic-symptoms-for-some-but-do-the-effects-last.
20. http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org; http://www.businessinsider.com/marijuana-in-america-20-of-americans-can-now-access-legal-weed-2016-11.
21. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 92. Also see http://adf.org.au/drug-facts/hallucinogens.
22. Ibid., p. 19.
23. “Cannabinoids for Medical Use: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis” (The Journal of the American Medical Association, June 2015, at http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2338251).
24. https://www.projectcbd.org/guidance/cannabis-dosing.
25. “Problems with the Medicalization of Marijuana” (2014, at http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1874073; https://tinyurl.com/yd6tet2a).
26. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/12/editorial-a-bust-for-medical-marijuana.
27. http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org.
28. “Problems with the Medicalization of Marijuana,” op. cit.
29. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 19.
30. Ibid., pp. 61–62.
31. https://web.archive.org/web/20161003070041/https://www.recoveryanswers.org/pressrelease/apa-position-statement-on-marijuana-as-medicine.
32. Ibid.
32. http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/addiction/marijuana-and-psychiatric-patient
33. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/11/20/ama-reaffirms-opposition-to-marijuana-legalization; http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/sourcefiles/AMA09policy.pdf.
34. http://www.asam.org/docs/publicy-policy-statements/1marijuana-5-062.pdf.
35. http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.source.php?sourceID=001399.
36. https://tinyurl.com/yb5mxrt9.
37. https://tinyurl.com/zolhjrl.
38. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 68.
39. Ibid., pp. 65–66.
40. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/2/billionaire-george-soros-turns-cash-into-legalized.
41. Going to Pot, op. cit., pp. 177–178.
42. https://tinyurl.com/ybt8ph67.
43. https://tinyurl.com/mfqdk4o.
44. http://www.msnbc.com/the-cycle/how-marijuana-could-be-the-new-gold-rush; http://www.fox5ny.com/news/160812124-story.
45. https://tinyurl.com/yctqxtm9.
46. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8pZ2AC_pv0.
47. https://tinyurl.com/y962aclb; http://countercurrentnews.com/2016/01/obama-tells-supreme-court-to-legalize; https://tinyurl.com/y8am2h57.
48. Joel Warner, “Marijuana Could Soon Be Rescheduled As A Less Dangerous Drug By The DEA, So Why Aren’t Cannabis Proponents Excited?” (04/14/16, https://tinyurl.com/yd3bvlm2).
49. The DEA Position on Marijuana, https://www.dea.gov/docs/marijuana_position_2011.pdf, p. 1.
50. See http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/10/us/washington-marijuana-70-million-tax-dollars.
51. https://tinyurl.com/ya9tkpqg.
52. “Pot Money Changing Hearts in Washington” (July 2015; http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/10/us/washington-marijuana-70-million-tax-dollars).
53. Ibid.
54. Ibid.
55. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 12.
56. Ibid., p. 82.

Note: To follow this discussion and for updates, visit http://www.logosword.com/blog.

AUTHOR BIO: Linda Nathan spent many years in the ’60s and ’70s West Coast counterculture before Jesus Christ rescued her. She has a B.A. in psychology and master’s work from the University of Oregon, and ten years in the legal profession. Since 1992, she has provided professional freelance writing, editing, and publishing consultation services through her company, Logos Word Designs, LLC (www.logosword.com). You can visit Linda on the web at www.logosword.com.

To order copies of The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf, click here.

NEW BOOKLET: DANGERS & DECEPTIONS of The Martial Arts and Why One Woman Walked Away From a Championship Career

DANGERS & DECEPTIONS  of The Martial Arts and Why One Woman Walked Away  From a Championship Career written by Linda Nathan is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The Booklet is 18 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of DANGERS & DECEPTIONS  of The Martial Arts and Why One Woman Walked Away  From a Championship Career, click here.

DANGERS & DECEPTIONS  of The Martial Arts and Why One Woman Walked Away  From a Championship Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailCareer

By Linda Nathan

Are you wondering if there’s a problem with involvement in the martial arts? You say your neighbor’s little boy is taking a class, and now your son wants to, too? Several women in your office are learning it for self-defense. And, why, even your church has a class! Perhaps you yourself are involved but feel uncertain and want more information.

How can anything be wrong? How can you tell?

This booklet’s aim is to help you understand and decipher the underlying dangers and deceptions of the martial arts. As we present this material, we remember the words of Scripture, which exhort us:

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

A True Story
“Tonie, I don’t get it. How can you be a Christian and teach karate too?”

Betty’s words stung, bringing into sharp focus the question Tonie Harris had managed to avoid so far. She knew she had to live her whole life for God—and she wanted to. But, after all, she reasoned for what seemed like the hundredth time, knowing and being able to teach karate was one of her talents, and the Bible says we should use our talents, not bury them, right?

Tonie sighed and put down the book she’d been reading. Her own answers sounded hollow, and Betty’s words wouldn’t go away. Do you think karate is what God wants you to do? Doesn’t it teach you how to turn your body into a weapon, fill your thoughts and life with violence? Focus you on fear? Reveal a lack of trust? So she prayed. But when she looked for information, it was sadly lacking.

After rededicating her life to Christ in 1984, Tonie had continued to teach karate for several more years. Now she’d just started co-teaching karate at a Christian high school with another black belt, and she sure didn’t like the implications of her thoughts. Recent memories of her experiences at the school floated up.

She saw kids’ attitudes changing for the worse—bowing to her instead of to God, lured by power instead of by Christ‘s love. Some of the kids were bullies, and their parents thought that karate was going to teach them discipline. Instead, it was sowing more violence in their souls. Many were making trouble in the halls, using the things she was teaching them on each other.

But she was a Christian now! She could use her karate to talk to people about the Lord and help them learn self-defense and self-discipline, too. Others were doing it—there was friendship evangelism at karate tournaments, Christian music during kata, and prayer at tournaments. Some Christian ministries incorporated Bible lessons with martial arts training. There were women’s groups and witnessing groups, and online chat groups and bulletin boards, all insisting that a Christian could grow in Christ while practicing karate and the martial arts. Why, there was even a karate ministry at a local Bible school.

Karate was just a tool—wasn’t it? Have you ever wondered about that?

When Tonie first walked into a karate school in 1972, she thought she’d found the answer to her years of childhood sexual abuse, her feelings of failure, and her abusive marriage: Train to fight. Fight to win.

At first, she just wanted to defend herself. But soon it turned into something much more. As she turned herself into a fighting machine, she was on top for the first time in her life.

In her meteoric career, Tonie Harris won 58 trophies in six years, held Karate Illustrated’s title of Top Female Karateka in the Pacific Northwest for seven years, and rose to national status. She was in Who’s Who, Karate Illustrated, Fighting Women News, and Black Belt Magazine. A 1983 book on women in the martial arts devotes a whole chapter to Tonie as one of the eight most accomplished women martial artists of the time. She was sensei—Master.

But trying to solve her problems with karate left a wake of divorce and broken relationships, six abortions, the blight of lesbianism, and four deeply troubled children. Two became notorious gang leaders. And her plunge into Eastern religious thought and practice opened the door to disastrous spiritual deception.

Thankfully the story doesn’t end there—because the woman who tried to solve her problems with the armor of karate finally put on the armor of God instead. But it didn’t happen in a day, or even in a year. Tonie has had to learn about the real spiritual battle and how to walk in the light with Jesus Christ.

“After I rededicated my life to Christ in 1984, I continued teaching karate for several more years. And, although I’d slowly been becoming aware of its occult roots, it hadn’t seemed important. Until Isaiah 60:1-2 pierced my heart like a sword”:

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. (vs. 2)

“I was a new creation now, in a whole new universe based upon wholly different principles. In His light everything was looking different—even karate.”

Now you may be saying, “But that was just Tonie. She wasn’t really living a Christian life while she practiced karate.”

It’s true she wasn’t living a Christian life for many years, but even after becoming a Christian, she tried to walk with the Lord and continue karate, too. That’s when she discovered the answer goes much deeper. For there are vital biblical principles involved that are designed by God to help us walk in a godly manner, to avoid the devil’s snares, and to be protected His way.

From Roots Come Fruits
The martial arts didn’t arise out of a spiritual vacuum. They developed over many centuries, spreading through and acclimating to China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. In each culture, they were powerfully shaped by basic premises of Eastern religious thought: Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Hinduism, animism, shamanism, and Zen Buddhism; and many of their techniques and concepts of energy and life still manifest those influences.1

Final Goal: “Enlightenment”
Although some people may use them mainly for sport or self-defense, at their core, the martial arts as traditionally taught embody a holistic view of life whose final goal is the Eastern objective of religious “enlightenment.” Unlike Westerners, Eastern cultures don’t try to separate physical techniques from religion and philosophy. It’s all rolled up into one system. God and energy are one. And in the transition to American soil in the early 1950s, the whole package came together.

Empty Hand, Full Purse
From 1950 on, the popularity of the martial arts exploded. Within twenty years of its release, Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon grossed 150 million dollars and spearheaded a worldwide martial arts tidal wave to people of almost every culture. By 1993, the martial arts industry as a whole was topping the billion-dollar mark.2 And by 2000, an estimated five million practitioners were busily absorbing the Eastern philosophies of the martial arts.3 The cultural storm has even taken the Christian church. It has been estimated that approximately 20 percent of instructors and 50-70 percent of practitioners call themselves Christians.4 And apparently many don’t see any more problems with it than Tonie did at first. Karate, the “art of the empty hand,” has a full purse.

Fertile Soil in the United States
Why did the martial arts find such fertile soil in the United States? There are six major factors:

Spiritual Vacuum—Traditional moral and social structures based on a more biblical view of life continue to crumble as a result of the cultural upheaval of the ’60s and ’70s, creating a tremendous spiritual vacuum and hunger. The martial arts appeared during this rising tide of paganism and period of extreme social vulnerability, and their philosophies promised to fill that hole.

Drugs—Psychedelic and other “mind-altering” drugs, visits by Eastern “gurus,” and a massive influx of Eastern thought have opened the way for experimentation with Eastern religions and techniques. With its primarily Taoist and Zen Buddhist foundations, the martial arts movement is a major player in the largest occult revival in history, called the “New Age Movement,” or, in today’s more popular terminology, “interspirituality.”

Crime—The rise of immorality, crime, and violence has contributed to personal, family, and community breakdown, unsafe schools and neighborhoods, spiritual emptiness, and feelings of vulnerability and isolation, especially among women and children. Seniors, women, and children are the most frequently attacked people in our society.5 According to one report, 40 percent of the martial arts market consists of children between seven and fourteen.6

A “god” within—As faith in an outside creator God, Bible-based meaning and truth, and morality wanes, the search for stability and meaning keeps shifting inward. Eastern religions and personal spiritual disciplines are pouring into that gap. Witness the incredible spread of Yoga and meditation, which actually were created to foster Eastern-style “enlightenment” but are now popular in churches.

Rebellion—Those in rebellion and involved in paganism are attempting to throw off a creator God who judges in exchange for a “god within” who doesn‘t.
The Media—Martial arts may never have achieved such popularity had it not been for their phenomenal growth in the media.

“If it were just a matter of sport or fun, I doubt the martial arts would’ve become so popular so quickly,” Tonie says. “People are searching for solutions to more urgent problems, and the arts promise them. The conditions in our culture have been just right for their growth.” She should know; she rode in on that wave.

What Are “The Martial Arts” Anyway?
Achieve total self-confidence and inner harmony; develop supernatural powers and wisdom; hone your ability to concentrate on achieving worthwhile goals; find inner peace; and unite the energy of the mind, the body, and the spirit—find and tap the energy of life itself.

The claims for the martial arts are huge and many. Who wouldn’t want to achieve such goals? But what is the basis for these claims anyway?

Are they true? Are they truly compatible with biblical Christianity? Can a Christian become more sanctified by the Holy Spirit through these practices? And are they the answer for the true battle? Why be concerned? Aren’t the martial arts just a neutral sport, like skiing or golf?

Well, no.

Although the phrase “martial arts” can refer to all kinds of fighting on many different levels, today it commonly means hand-to-hand fighting systems of Asian origin that merge spiritual and physical dimensions. It’s this integration of the physical and spiritual, based on Eastern religious principles, that leads its practitioners to make such extravagant claims, and wherein the problems lie.

“Hard vs. Soft“
Martial arts that are used just for sport or physical discipline are called hard or external arts. These include intensive body conditioning, powerful foot and hand strikes, and the use of force (i.e., Kung fu, karate, and judo).

Some people say you can separate these disciplines from the internal or soft arts, which emphasize mystical Taoist and Buddhist concepts. These include spiritual development, balance, form, and seeking control of the so-called chi or Ki force to become attuned with the universe (i.e., t’ai-chi ch’uan and aikido). The Ki concept is common and central to most Eastern religions and refers to a supposedly impersonal universal “life energy” or force. (More about that later.)

While karate and some of the other martial arts have lost some of their overtly “soft” religious approach in their transition to the United States, this handy division is nevertheless much too simplistic for the actual facts. Elements continually overlap, and such worldview coloring can be very subtle indeed.

Some of karate’s greatest living masters, including Joe Hyams, Herman Kauz, Masutatsu Oyama, George Parulski, Jr., and Yozan Dirk Mosig, all agree that Eastern religious concepts and techniques are key to mastering karate and the martial arts.

Mosig, the influential chair of the regional directors for the U.S. Karate Association (USKA) and an eighth-degree black belt insists that Eastern philosophy should be central to all martial arts instruction. Kauz emphasizes that the martial arts really are training in Eastern meditation.7

The River is Wet
As Tonie discovered, if you set foot in the river, sooner or later you’ll get soaked.

Like some of those masters quoted above I started out just trying to get physical control. My first school even de-emphasized the spiritual aspects, but as I went on I got them anyway. Just because you think you‘re avoiding the mental and spiritual aspects of the martial arts doesn‘t mean you won‘t absorb and be subtly affected anyway.

Bowing, specific methods of concentration, meditation, and breath control, emptying the mind, visualizing yourself doing the kata, calling your teacher “master,” centering in the Ki, and trying to “flow” with the “oneness of nature” and your “inner self” are all part of Buddhist and Taoist philosophy. Doing the arts without absorbing at least some of those influences is like trying to swim in a river and not get wet.

Children are particularly vulnerable to spiritual influences, as Tonie discovered when teaching karate. One California karate teacher has been teaching Yoga, Native Spirituality, and Eastern philosophies to 800 children ages four to eight.8 Adults are often not much more discerning about the subtleties of such influences.

“Christian parents,” says Tonie, “why place your children in a pagan system that teaches them to kill? Why put dirty rags on your kids? All the things advocated by the martial arts schools can only be found in Christ: discipline [Hebrews 12:1-13; 2 Timothy 1:7] family togetherness, peace [John 14:27; Romans 5:1; 8:6], power [2 Timothy 1:7; Ephesians 1:19], self-control [Galatians 5:23; 1 Peter 1:13], all the fruits of the Spirit [Galatians 5:22-23; Colossians 1:10]. Why be attracted to paganism? Why return to the world to get what’s in Christ? Where your heart is, there your treasure will be” (Luke 12: 30-31, 34).

So What’s Wrong with Eastern Religions?
When you think “martial arts,” what symbol comes to mind? The dragon, of course. It’s painted on studios, it covers clothing, and it’s in countless movie titles. Why is that? What does it mean?

Two Views
The dragon isn’t just an interesting symbol; it represents a deep cultural worldview—a view of God and energy. Despite the enormous variety of religious ideas in human experience, there are only two basic—and utterly antagonistic—views about the dragon, and they correspond with each view’s approach to salvation and life.

Each system has its own unique view of truth, wisdom, energy, love, and harmony with God and the universe, and yet each is at war with the other. To accept one is to reject the other; you cannot serve two masters.9

The Eastern View: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism view the serpent-dragon as positive. Although these cultures differ in ways, their view of energy has basic similarities. The dragon represents a supposedly natural force that assisted in the world’s creation and exists “within” each person. Practitioners believe they can release its power (called the inner Kundalini or Ki force) through occult doctrines and techniques, many of which have been incorporated into the martial arts. This is the camp of salvation by works. It is human-centered and draws upon both human and demonic strength for its victory.
The Biblical View: The Bible exposes the serpent-dragon as Satan, an evil fallen angel, who deceived the first man and woman into sin and death: “. . . that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.” Salvation through Jesus Christ and walking in the light with Him is the only way of escape. (See Genesis 3:1; Revelation 12; 13:2; 20:2; Ephesians 2:1–9.) This is the camp of the Lord. It is God-centered, fueled by faith in Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. And it offers the only true victory.

Dangerous Techniques: Body, Breath, and Mind
The Eastern religious approach dismisses the biblical teachings about the reality of sin, the need for salvation, God’s judgment, and the need for deliverance from a powerful spiritual enemy.10 Instead, it teaches that there is an impersonal universal psycho-spiritual-physical force within each person (the Ki) that we can manipulate for personal power and wisdom. Such a concept is the heart of witchcraft. To achieve this, practitioners of this view developed occult techniques that also became, over the centuries, incorporated into the martial arts.

The Ki Force
It’s often taken for granted that releasing the Ki force refers to some kind of physical centering, like getting comfortable with yourself, but it really refers to a psychic force said to be produced by the interaction of two basic forces that supposedly comprise nature (or the Tao). These two forces, called the yin and the yang (symbolized by a sphere split by a large “S” dividing black from white), supposedly interact back and forth in a wavelike process.

In karate, the interaction of yin and yang is said to occur in attack and defense. Therefore, learning to use the Ki is viewed as very central to achievement in the martial arts. This central assumption of the nature of spiritual power has untold ramifications for the practitioner. And it can best be seen in the three areas of discipline: body, breath, and mind.

Physical Discipline
Physical discipline is the first level of training and does not necessarily have to conflict with Christian teaching, although it may. Christians are commanded not to let sin reign in their bodies but to offer them to God. Physical strengthening and self-discipline are useful but not central. And sexuality must be kept within heterosexual marriage. In the East, however, sexuality is seen as a vehicle of sexual energy, and many basic meditations center on bodily sensations alone, especially in the lower abdomen. Many techniques to arouse the Ki come from observing the snake’s writhing, sensuous movements.

Severe problems can arise when Christians are not governed by the Holy Spirit but by doctrines of demons and that demonic power. These include mental derangement, delusion, sinful, immoral behavior, and oppression by evil spirits. At the very least, a Christian cannot fully receive the Holy Spirit’s joy and power.

Besides physical discipline, practitioners also seek control of the Ki through breath control and mindlessness.

Breathing Discipline
Masutatsu Oyama says, “[K]arate brings spiritual concentration which depends for its life on breathing methods.” Thus, breath control in the martial arts is far more than just a physical discipline. It is an attempt to master the Ki, to gain immortality, and to control the universe. Sound far-fetched to our Western ears? Consider the philosophy contained in “Star Wars” about the “Force.” It’s exactly the same. Such concepts from Eastern religion saturate our culture.

Mind Discipline: The dangers of mindlessness
The fundamental state of meditative practice is also the prerequisite for mastery in the martial arts—author Peter Payne.11

The technique of suspending judgment and opening one’s mind to everything is extremely widespread today—from occult educational techniques in the public schools to relaxation techniques and New Age channelers. But the goal is the same: to reach an altered state of consciousness. The Bible, however, teaches that God is not a force to manipulate. It also teaches that God has given us all we need for godliness (2 Peter 1:3) and has instructed us to be sober minded (Titus 2:6), to “receive the word with all readiness of mind” (Acts 17:11), and to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh (Galatians 5:16; 6:8). And we are to test everything and weigh all against Scripture.

The method of mindlessness is dangerous for several reasons:

1. One of Satan’s great snares is to lure a person into giving up thinking and discerning.
2. The mind will become filled with one thing or another.
3. Trying to “open” one’s mind this way is actually a form of self-hypnosis leading to a passive state that invites domination by other wills and demonic influence—and even possession. The truth is that one must enter the Eastern mystical experience—and obtain so-called control of the Ki—through a dangerous, trance-like state.

Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John14:6). The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the mediator between God and man. He IS the path to God, and there is no other.

What’s more, Scripture promises us this:

His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:3–4)

Therefore, why walk under the dragon’s system?

THE BATTLE For Which The Martial Arts HAVE NO SOLUTION
“I began to realize that ‘putting on the armor of God’ wasn’t such an easy thing,” Tonie says. “Just putting on my karate gear and quoting Ephesians 6 wasn’t going to do it—because first there was a lot of taking off to do! Greed, lust for power, position, and authority. It’s a daily, fierce battle with self, Satan, and the fallen world. It’s the kind of battle karate never prepared me for—the battle that counts the most—for the state of my soul.”

It’s the battle that Eastern religion doesn’t deal with—because it can’t. There is no sacrifice for sin, no Christ-centered system of sanctification, no true holiness. “The martial arts are man-made victory,” Tonie says. “And it’s a miserable failure. With God you work from a different foundation and fight a different battle. You begin with repentance of sin (acknowledging we are sinners who cannot save ourselves and are in need of a Savior) and new birth through faith in Jesus Christ. Then, through the power of the Holy Spirit flows the transformation of mind, emotions, will, and body. It’s just the opposite of the self-made Eastern method. There’s warfare all right, but it’s with sin, Satan, and a fallen world—and it really can’t be discerned except by God’s light.

“To those Christians who say there’s no problem training in the martial arts if you have the ‘right’ instructor, I say that, even when occult methods aren’t taught directly, enormous changes can take place training under the dragon’s image. Just the sheer hours and hours of repetitious, concentrated kicking, striking, blocking, and focusing upon becoming a powerful killing machine can deceive you into thinking you’re superior—and even godlike—and quench new life in Christ. There are many powerful, ungodly situations in the martial arts scene. The homosexual lifestyle is popular. You’re all increasing each others’ sin natures. And there’s a terrific war that goes on within yourself to be on top that’s devastating in the end. That’s not what God calls Christians to be.”

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:3–7)

The real question is not: Can I avoid spiritual influences? The real question is: Whose spiritual influences am I going to get?

The Armor of Karate Versus THE ARMOR OF GOD

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3–5)

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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 6:11–12)

While it is true that we live in a fallen world full of physical trials and dangers, and there are times when we need to train and defend ourselves on a physical level, obviously wearing the armor of an ungodly world-system is not the answer. This is the real problem with the martial arts: the worldview hidden within it.

“To really succeed in karate, you have to go its way. Use its principles. Think its thoughts. And become its creation,” says Tonie.

“The Lord showed me that I was still depending on my karate armor rather than on Him. I hadn’t really understood how different His armor is. I saw I’d been trying to combine the two.

“I cried out, ‘Dear God, show me your way!’ And He did.”

Through His Word, we can obtain the wisdom and understanding we need to walk through life with Him:

[F]or what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? (2 Corinthians 6: 14-15)

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:16-18)

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)

“Through such verses, I came to see my life and my sins in the light of Jesus’ forgiveness. As I began to weep and call upon that Person Who lived and died for me, I put my complete trust in Him, and He took away my sins and gave me His armor. What a Great Exchange!

“Now I don’t believe we should become pacifists. God forbid Christians should be passive in the face of evil! But we have to use discernment and not the world’s systems to gain victory.”

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19)

“If we let God teach us to fight His own way and direct us to the battles that He chooses, we’ll grow holier and draw closer to Him, experience more joy and love and peace, and be more able to really help others.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (Ephesians 6:10)

“Let’s put on the whole armor of God.”

Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. . . . And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12: 12, 17)

DANGERS & DECEPTIONS  of The Martial Arts and Why One Woman Walked Away  From a Championship Career, click here.

Endnotes:
1. For a detailed chart of the Religious and Historical Elements in the Development of the Martial Arts, see pp. 17–19 of the book The Dark Side of Karate by Linda Nathan and Tonie Gatlin (AuthorHouse 2003).
2. Erwin De Castro, B. J. Oropeza, and Ron Rhodes, “Enter the Dragon? Wrestling With The Martial Arts Phenomenon,” Christian Research Journal (Fall 1993), pp. 26-27.
3. U.S. Industry estimates for 2000 for participants six years or older. Martial Arts Industry Association. http://web.archive.org/web/20011104064144/http://www.masuccess.com/industry/stats.htm.
4. De Castro, et. al., op., cit., p. 27. The authors of the article obtained this information from a personal interview dated 7-14–93 with Scot Conway, founder of the Christian Martial Arts Foundation.
5. Linda Atkinson, A New Spirit Rising (New York,NY: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1983), pp. 2-3. A chapter on Tonie Harris Gatlin as one of the eight leading women martial artists of the time also appears in this book.
6. De Castro, et. al., “Enter the Dragon,” op. cit., p. 27.
7. See The Dark Side of Karate, pp. 24–26, for full quotes and details.
8. John Bishop, “Karate School Queenpin: L.A.’s New Business Star Raises the Bar!” www.masuccess.com/features/barnes.htm.
9. For a complete Worldview Comparison Chart comparing the biblical and Eastern religious worldviews in six different categories (the nature of reality, the problem of evil, the nature of good and evil, the solution to evil, the nature of Jesus Christ, and the view of the serpent/dragon), see The Dark Side of Karate, Figure 7.1, p. 48.
10. See Ephesians 2.
11. Peter Payne, Martial Arts: The Spiritual Dimension (London, England: Thames and Hudson, Ltd., 1981), p. 47. Published in the United States in 1987 by Thames and Hudson, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10110.

For the whole amazing story, order the book The Dark Side of Karate: The Story of Tonie Harris Gatlin by Linda Nathan and Tonie Gatlin. AuthorHouse, 2003. ISBN #9781410717665 in e-book ($3.95) and soft cover ($10.25). Call 1-888-519-5121 to order, or order online at www.AuthorHouse.com.

DANGERS & DECEPTIONS  of The Martial Arts and Why One Woman Walked Away  From a Championship Career, click here.


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