Nanci Des Gerlaise is a First Nations Canadian Cree woman who is the daughter and granddaughter of medicine men. Growing up, her life was filled with the practices and mystical experiences brought on from Native Spirituality. Today, as a born-again Christian, Nanci warns of these dangers as she sees many of her Native American Christian brothers and sisters incorporating Native Spirituality into their spiritual lives and also sees many non-Native Christians incorporating Native Spirituality into their own lives. A deep love for both Native Americans and non-Natives is what motivated Nanci to write her biography Muddy Waters.
By Nanci Des Gerlaise
(From Muddy Waters)
“Two Sources of Power But Only One Source of Truth”
Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace. (Hebrews 13:9)
Many Native Americans believe that because a power lies within their spirituality or that because it is ancestral and traditional, it is right and true. But assuming that the mere presence of spiritual power means it is good can be very dangerous. The Bible is full of warnings about the subtlety and dangers of demonic powers and deception.1
Instead of believing that anything spiritually powerful is good, we rather must ask: What is the actual source of this power? Does it really connect its practitioners with a trustworthy spiritual realm? Does it originate from the one true and living God whose only Son came in the flesh and died on the Cross for our sins? Does it deliver what it promises? Or do we actually get something else? Something false and deceitful? Jesus’ first reply when asked about the signs of His return was to watch out that we are not deceived. And 1 Thessalonians 5:21–22 warns us to, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
We need to test all things and see if their claims hold up in the light of truth.
Throughout the ages, an epic battle has raged between two sources of power: God’s and Satan’s. However, they are not in any way equal. The Eternal God created Satan and granted him limited power for a season. That battle has not ceased or desisted by any stretch of the imagination, but in our time, it has grown far more subtle, powerful, and widespread.
Second Corinthians 11:14-15 warns us that Satan is “transformed into an angel of light,” and his “ministers” (demons) are “transformed as the ministers of righteousness.” Thus, it is absolutely imperative that we are able to discern true from false and genuine from counterfeit.
Why do we need discernment? some may ask. First of all, if we are Christians, born of the Holy Spirit through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, God will judge our works and hold us accountable for decisions we make and how we live our lives.
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. (1 Corinthians 3:11–13)
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)
On the other hand, those of you who are not born-again Christians should be very sober-minded about your eternal destination. If you do not accept His free gift of salvation and believe in Him to be your Savior and Lord, you will spend eternity in darkness where there is no good thing.
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)
It’s easy in this age of do-it-yourself cafeteria-style religion to become confused and to miss the truth. For instance, some professing Christians actually call Jesus Christ a shaman (a witch doctor) and the gifts of the Holy Spirit a form of shamanism or witchcraft.
This blasphemous view reveals a flagrant lack of understanding of the true character of Christ and His holiness and the true character of the devil and evil.
Still others professing to be Christians say that the works we do save us and get us into Heaven. Roman Catholicism, for instance, teaches this unbiblical doctrine (justification by works), and its influence is also widespread among Native Americans.
As a child, I used to attend a Roman Catholic Church. I loved hearing about Jesus and being chosen to help lead the hymns, but I didn’t realize they were teaching me a false gospel and telling me about the wrong Jesus. The Bible says:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8–9)
The ungodly mixture of occultism and works, as a means to obtain spiritual power, has existed for centuries among the Native peoples. Back in the 1800s and the early 1900s, the Canadian government subjected them to residential schools to “Christianize” these “pagan people” by forcing Catholicism down their throats.
They never “Christianized” the Native people, but left them with a bitter taste in their mouths. As a result, they are generally quite angry towards religion, which is understandable. This is not the love, forgiveness, or new life that the real Lord Jesus Christ gives to people. When I read the words below from Revelation 18:4–5, I knew they were speaking to me about renouncing all aspects of this false gospel:
And I heard another voice from heaven saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not any of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
Second Corinthians 4:4 tells us that Satan has blinded the minds of the unbelieving. Those who are spiritually blind cannot know true freedom or new life in Christ.
But whether we are believers or unbelievers, we have this in common: We have the same enemy, Satan. The devil hates mankind because he hates anything that is created in God’s image, and he will do everything possible to hinder and destroy us, even while promising to bless us.
The great difference is that Christians have been born again and have been delivered from Satan’s realm by the atoning death of Jesus Christ. They never again have to be subject to the devil’s power. That’s why it is so incredibly tragic when they fail to recognize when they are partakers in the works of darkness despite how the Bible continually urges them to test everything.
On the other hand, the unbeliever walks in darkness and has no real escape from Satan’s realm and power unless he or she calls upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. God longs to deliver the unbeliever from Satan’s grasp:
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Acts 26:18)
There is hope for the unbeliever for Romans 10:13 tells us: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (taken from Muddy Waters, pp. 62-64)
1. See 2 Corinthians 11:3; 13–15; 1 John 4:1–3; Acts 20:29; Revelation 13:11–14.
(photo from the cover of Muddy Waters; from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)