Posts Tagged ‘nanci des gerlaise’

Can Cultures Be Redeemed? – Emerging Church Says “Yes” – Bible Says “No”

By Nanci Des Gerlaise

[Indigenous People’s Movement] leaders teach that God has been redeeming cultures and that He placed in all cultures a way for men to have a relationship with God outside of the Gospel.1

DID GOD CREATE CULTURES?
A growing trend in the evangelical church is what is referred to as “redeeming the cultures” or “Cultural Identification.” Essentially, it is the idea that God created cultures and has no desire for anyone to leave their cultural practices but can incorporate their belief in Jesus into their already existing culture. Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason Ministries has studied this “redeeming the culture” movement extensively and writes:

The new idea being presented is that God has left certain elements in every culture that are redeemable qualities, pathways to Himself . . . that He revealed Himself to nearly all indigenous people groups prior to the Gospel being brought to them [and that] in every culture “God has left treasures and worthy traditions within the indigenous cultures” [and that] we can bring Jesus Christ to people and then leave them to worship God in their own cultural and religious ways. . . .

What is taught is that God set forth His plan of salvation through all ancient cultures and that “redemptive analogies” can be found in most, if not all, cultures.2

But did God really create cultures? I do not believe He did because cultures are man-made. Webster’s Dictionary defines culture as being: “the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group.” Another definition states:

The quality in a person, or society that rises from interest in arts, letters, scholarly pursuits, etc. 2). a particular form or state of civilization.3

On the contrary to what leaders in the “redeeming the cultures” movement teach, most cultures were “pagan, polytheistic and animistic.”4 For most of these cultures, there was a significant emphasis placed on religious practices. Oppenheimer points out that the words culture or society cannot be found in the Bible, but rather it talks about “nations” and how these nations worshiped false gods as opposed to the “one true God”5 (read Romans 1).

What does the Bible have to say about the different nations (cultures)? In Deuteronomy, we are cautioned to:

Take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them . . . that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods. (Deuteronomy 12:30-32)

And Deuteronomy 18:14 tells us not to “follow the abominations of those nations.”

In all of human history, God has sanctioned just one culture, and that was Israel. This may be a humbling thing for other cultures to accept, but this is what the Word of God clearly demonstrates as the prophet Isaiah said, “I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory” (Isaiah 46:13). Then, after Jesus came and died upon the Cross, people from every other culture were given the opportunity to accept God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. The Bible says that we can be grafted in as adopted sons and daughters. And God takes the born-again, grafted-in believer and separates him or her from the world to Himself “to take out of them a people for his name” (Acts 15:14).

Also in Acts, Barnabas and Paul cried out to the Gentiles, who were about to offer sacrifice to them, saying:

[W]ho in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. (Acts 14:16, emphasis added)

Paul and Barnabas said this because they were shocked by the ignorance and blasphemous behavior of the people.

The apostle Peter reminds us that God has set apart “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” so that we who believe on Him would be called “out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:6-10). God calls people out of their cultures and invites them to come into His kingdom.

CAN WE REDEEM THE CULTURES?
In the Gospel of Matthew, it says:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20)

We are to go and preach to the different cultures and teach them “to observe all things” that God has instructed in the Word of God. Nowhere in Scripture does it even remotely suggest that one’s culture is to be redeemed. And yet, there are leaders within Christianity who are teaching this very thing. In a YWAM training manual, it states:

Appreciating one’s culture is appreciating the creation of God in a unique and beautiful manner. As disciples of Jesus Christ we are also called to redeem our culture as we grow in God.6

Within the Indigenous People’s Movement, leaders are teaching that each culture already had God’s truth before they ever heard the Gospel. Leon Siu, a leader of this movement, states:

A few years ago some friends and I were contemplating how we would be able to reach indigenous peoples and we thought that what was prevalent at that time was a misconception among, within the church of God’s presence here in the islands. The misconception that, as was expressed earlier, was that God didn’t arrive until the missionaries arrived. You know, and so when we started to look at this we started to look into our culture and see what things within our culture what God had originally intended for this particular group of people, Hawaiians.7

But Scripture tells us that the Gospel was kept a “mystery” hidden “from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints” (Colossians 1:25-26). This is why Jesus gave that command to the disciples to go to all the nations sharing the truth of God’s Word. The people of the world’s cultures did not have that truth until it was brought to them.

On Leon Siu’s ministry website, it states that they want to show “indigenous people, missionaries and Christians . . . the true nature of Jesus,” saying that His way is not to be a “foreign religion that destroys people groups and their cultures, but one that brings people groups and their cultures to their highest fulfillment.”8

Sandy Simpson, founder of Deception in the Church ministry in Hawaii, has written an expose titled “Reasons to Reject the ‘World Christian Gathering on Indigenous People’s Movement.” He tells readers:

In the Old Testament God revealed Himself to the Jews exclusively and there was no salvation apart from the Jews. In the New Testament God revealed Himself through the apostles, and especially through Paul to the Gentiles. All the gods of the nations were and are false gods (Deuteronomy 32:17; 1 Corinthians 10:20, Jeremiah 16:19, Amos 2:4).

Even the “supreme beings” of the nations are not God, as in the case of Amen (Amon) of Egypt (Jeremiah 46:25), Hadad of the Arameans (1 Kings 20:28), Marduk of Babylon (Daniel 3:16-18) and many other “detestable” gods.9

Another research ministry, Discernment Research Group, warns that “the new heresies teach that man can come to Christ without the Gospel of Salvation but by some other avenue inherent in their culture and religion.” DRG describes what this view is really like:

And they don’t need Jesus to be saved, but can call upon their own local deity. And once they get “saved,” they can “redeem” the pagan religious practices in their culture and make it part of their new faith. They never need to separate from their old ways. In fact, they are encouraged to bring back the old pagan ways!10

We cannot call on strange gods and find salvation. The Bible is absolutely clear about this:

Hear, O my people . . . if thou wilt hearken unto me; There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god. (Isaiah 81:8-9)

This “progressive” way of looking at evangelism is prevalent and widespread now. One of its key leaders, Daniel Kikawa, author of Perpetuated in Righteousness, believes that:

Christians should cease representing Jesus as the Son of the foreign God of a foreign people. . . . We should instead introduce Jesus as the Son of their creator God.11 (emphasis added)

John Dawson, president of YWAM, would agree with what Kikawa says. He states that Kikawa’s book “points the way to an exciting new understanding” of the Gospel.12

But this “new understanding” is very flawed. You can’t just add Jesus to any religion or cultural belief system and say that is the biblical Gospel. The Bible says, “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life” (Matthew 7:14). In man’s carnal mind, he cannot accept this. But when we learn to trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and when we come to believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, then we can rejoice that He has provided a way of escape from eternal damnation. He has not left us alone. We no longer complain or lament that there is only one way to Heaven—rather, we rejoice that there IS a way to Heaven. It is like this little analogy: A woman is in a house caught on fire, and there is no way to get out. Suddenly, in through the door bursts a big strong firefighter. “Ma’am, I am here to rescue you.” Will she say, “Are you the ONLY way out?” No, she will rejoice that there IS a way out. That is how God earnestly, zealously, and jealously longs to have it be with us.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

The following comparison chart shows the differences between man’s view and God’s view of cultures:13

Man’s View: All cultures are equal in their worth.
God’s View: All cultures are not equal.

Man’s View: God loves all cultures and nations as they are.
God’s View: God does love all people but not their cultures. He does not accept their various ways to worship but has given man the correct manner in which to worship.

Man’s View: All religious practices and rituals are acceptable ways to approach God.
God’s View: Only one way is given by God that is acceptable, through Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son.

Man’s View: We are all united as one humanity and should accept everyone as they are.
God’s View: Our humanity is united in sin (in Adam), resulting in our separation from God, and we need to be united in Christ. Christ, and Christ alone, then becomes our common denominator.

Man’s View: All the gods of the nations are the same or have insignificant differences.
God’s View: The gods of the nations are false; YHWH alone is God, and there is no other according to His own Word.

Ephesians tells us that before we heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we were without hope. We cannot obtain this hope through the gods of the nation’s cultures.

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh . . . That at that time ye were without Christ, being . . . strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. (Ephesians 2:11-12)

What will happen to the false gods, which have no life in them? Jeremiah tells of their future:

The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. (Jeremiah 10:11)

NATIVE AMERICANS & THE MISSIONARIES
Native American author and lecturer for the Indigenous People’s Movement, the late Richard Twiss, taught that the Gospel was a “source of division and stumbling block for First Nations peoples and this is to be blamed on Western missionaries.”14

In a sense, Twiss is partially correct in saying that the Gospel was a source of division. It was, and it still is! Quoting from the Old Testament, listen to what Paul says about Jesus:

Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and a rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (Romans 9:33)

And Jesus said:

Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division. (Luke 12:51)

It is true that the Gospel does divide. It divides truth from error.

Western missionaries did lead First Nations people to God through the Gospel and still do today. But the World Christian Gathering of Indigenous Peoples (WCGIP) teach the traditions of men and belittle those faithful missionaries who gave of themselves to lovingly share the Gospel with the First Nations and Native American people. Sandy Simpson explains that while there were some “misguided missionaries” who tried to “change indigenous cultural values to Western ones,” the IPM leaders “ignored the many missionaries who, in presenting the Gospel and sound doctrine, necessarily preached things that were in opposition to demonic cultures and practices like those of the Indians.”15 Simpson explains further:

The missionaries were faced with heathen cultures, not unlike their own in the past, and attempted to apply biblical principles, in cooperation with those in First Nations, to come up with a way of living in accordance to the Word of God. . . .

Mistakes were made, but if you talked to the first generation of converts . . . you would understand fully what First Nation’s cultures were like at the time. Sexual perversion, women and child abuse, murder, human sacrifice, ruling elite who lorded it over everyone else, worship of demons, and other atrocities were commonplace. Those who heard the Gospel preached to them and recognized the freedom in Christ offered were saved and delivered from the evil in their cultures.16

The IPM leadership does not understand what these cultures were like before the missionaries came. Simpson also states:

[The missionaries] were not sent to bring culture nor was that their purpose. They were primarily bringing God’s values, the Bible, and applying its time-tested truths, together with First Nations peoples, so that they might be light and salt to the nations.17

Terry LeBlanc, a leader in the Indigenous People’s Movement, tries to convince people that the “American Indians were not worshiping different gods or worshiping incorrectly before the missionaries brought to them Christ.”18 LeBlanc states:

There’s a myth that we have labored under for centuries in indigenous communities and the myth is that we are a godless heathen people.19

What the IPM is teaching in their vilifying of missionaries is a tactic also used by leaders in the emerging church movement, which convinces people that the former or biblical way of doing things is inherently bad. This is the platform they use to introduce radical new ideas to create a paradigm shift that is, unfortunately, unbiblical and leads people further and further from the Gospel message of salvation.

A book that I recently wrote the foreword to is titled Stories From Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires. The book was written by a Canadian missionary who lived for many years among the Cree people in Manitoba in the late 1800s. When you hear Egerton Ryerson Young’s account of his life with the Cree as a missionary, it is a much different account than what is being told in North American public school history books and by groups like the Indigenous People’s Movement. In the foreword of Young’s book, I wrote:

“[T]he Gospel was shared with Natives, including medicine men, which so often resulted in decisions being made for Jesus Christ. . . . [Mr. Young] shares very extraordinary events as he journeys to the remotest parts of Canada sharing the Gospel to the lost. He describes witnessing boldly to medicine men regarding their pagan beliefs with very encouraging and positive results achieved by no other than the Holy Spirit.

“Young tells [a] story of an old Chief who was taught the truth by a missionary regarding his belief in paganism. The missionary urged him to renounce this pagan, mystical spirituality and become a Christian. The old Chief was aware that he was a great sinner and needed a Savior. What an illustration this story is to show that God has placed in each of our hearts a conscience to know right from wrong.

“[T]he Gospel is indeed for everyone, and a loving God desires that none should perish without hearing about the Gospel (2 Peter 3:9). God does not accept the diverse spirituality of all cultures as being locked into truth. For Him to accept false and contradictory spirituality, while the Gospel calls all to repentance and belief in the Savior, would make God a liar—because there can only be one truth. And God cannot tell a lie because He is just and holy.”20

What is being taught in the new “emerging” way of doing missions (or the “new missiology”) is that we cannot teach that salvation is the finished work of the Cross and that we must incorporate any unredeemable “articles of affection” to godly worship such as: fetishes, tobacco, peyote, sweet grass, drums, prayer feathers, frenzied dances, etc.

But to do so is idolatry in God’s eyes and is blatant syncretism, from which we need to repent if we have engaged in these forbidden practices. We are redeemed and purified only by the blood of Jesus Christ, not through man-made efforts such as sweats, smudging ceremonies or via any ritual or ceremony. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins on the Cross and declared, “It is finished!” Therefore, no other avenue is available by which we can be purified or redeemed. Remember, there is only one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ Himself (1 Timothy 2:5). But look what He promises those who remain true in standing in the faith:

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife [the saints] hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. (Revelation 19: 7-9)

Titus Coan was a missionary in the 1830s to the Hawaiian Native people. Though he is little known today, some say he was the greatest missionary who ever lived. His is another example of the contrast between biblical missionaries to the Native people and the new missiology that is being presented by Leon Siu, Richard Twiss, John Dawson, Terry LeBlanc, and the other IPM leaders. In this account by Coan, it’s not difficult to see what happens when the true biblical Gospel is preached:

At one place where I preached, there was an old and hardened Chief, who neither feared God nor regarded man. I preached to him fearlessly, personally, pointedly, calling him by name, and in the presence of his people. I charged home his guilt upon him, and in the name of the Lord urged him to immediate repentance. He was much moved, and promised repentance the first day, but I was not satisfied that his proud heart was broken.

On the second day I renewed the charge. He stood the siege for awhile, but at length his feelings became insuppressible, and all of a sudden he broke forth in a cry that almost rent the heavens. The sword of the Spirit was in his veins. He submitted on the spot, and appears like a newborn babe. The effect of this scene on the congregation was overwhelming. The place was shaken. Multitudes cried out for mercy, and multitudes turned to the Lord. I could tell you of many similar facts. God has done great things for us. I feel like lying in the dust and adoring His grace.21

Oh that more missionaries today could have such zeal and confidence in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is that glorious thing that washes away all our sins and gives us garments of purity and cleanness to wear for eternity.

THE TOWER OF BABEL
This brings us back to Genesis 11:3-4 where the people decided to build a temple or ziggurat (ziggurats looked like pyramids with steps or ramps leading up the sides), which was built as a monument to their own greatness. In verse 4, the tower was a great human achievement to the people themselves and not to God. We often build monuments to ourselves such as those described above. It can be in the form of expensive clothing, fancy vehicles, huge homes, or jobs with titles that we use to give us identity and self-worth. Yet when we do this, we are usurping God from His rightful place in our lives. Are there “towers” like this in your life? It’s a question we should all be asking ourselves. Since the attempt to build the tower of Babel, man has never ceased in his attempts to attain greatness and stature.

Cultural spirituality, with its many traditions, is not supported by Scripture; rather we are met with God’s consistent warnings throughout the Bible, one of which is found in Colossians:
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit according to the traditions of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

And in the Gospel of Mark, we find:

Making the Word of God of no effect through your traditions which you have handed down. And many such things you do. (Mark 7:13)

The word ‘culture’ appears nowhere in the Bible from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation. The Greek word paradosis translates into the English word “tradition.” Pay careful attention to what God has to say about tradition in the following verses:

Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? . . . Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. (Matthew 15:2-3, 6)

Also see Matthew 15:2, 3, 6; Mark 7:3-13; and Colossians 2:8.

Man developed culture at Babel and passed down this same teaching to all generations to this apostate age in which we live. Grandpa used to share how the New Age (the New Spirituality) hijacked Native Spirituality. Yet, in all this, one thing remains certain—all unbiblical teaching originates from Babel.

The “redeeming the cultures” mindset:

. . . permits the Word of God to be “contextualized” to a pagan culture through images, icons and symbols, thereby retaining the pagan elements of that culture. Using “redemptive analogies” (another heresy), these pagan beliefs and practices are claimed to be “redeemable” and are “christianized.” Even the name of God is being changed to that of pagan deities!22

The resurgence of Native Spirituality made a huge comeback because these traditions were kept alive in the underground world and originate from the age-old idolatry and witchcraft Deuteronomy 18:10-11 warns against. To blend error with truth results in damnable heresies resulting in swift destruction, which the Bible warns us strongly about:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2: 1)

Scripture gives no indication at all that we are to esteem the cultures or traditions of men. In Amy Dueckman’s article about the circle event, she says:

Opening the evening, members of the Sto:lo Coqualeetza Elders group of Chilliwack presented a special welcome with songs. Aldred then addressed the group, telling of his experiencing Christianity as a Native person who wondered if the Gospel was just for white people, or if it could speak to him, too. “When the Gospel is shared, it must be in the heart language of the people,” he concluded. “Instead of telling [people] how to be Christian,” he asked, “how about just telling them the story?”23

What story would that be? We do not have the authority to change the way we are to share the Gospel! We are commissioned to go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. God is in the business of redeeming individual people that He might set apart a people for Himself. He did not say, “Go into the world and disciple the nations using stories!” The only story we are to share is the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to preach Christ crucified!

Man’s rebellion against God in Babel, following the flood, once again became a situation requiring God’s judgment and intervention due to mankind’s wickedness. Had God not confounded man’s language, which in turn resulted in man being dispersed and disseminated into nations, man’s wickedness only would have worsened with no end in sight. If you read from Genesis 1 to Genesis 11, you will read that God created man, birds, animals, fish, and creeping things. It does not say that He created cultures. God told the people to be fruitful and multiply. Man disobeyed, and instead, in his rebellion, man attempted to build a city to avoid being sent away. But God did just that anyway after they rebelled the second time by refusing to go forth and multiply (Genesis 10:30-32; Genesis 11:1-11). Man developed his own heathen traditions and passed down this teaching at Babel. In the Old Testament, plenty of evidence exists where God told the Israelites what they should do about other gods that were worshiped within the constructs of other belief systems (other cultures):

And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth. (Exodus 23:13)

For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. (Psalm 96:5)

When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. (Deuteronomy 18:9)

Today, God is bidding Christians everywhere, from all cultures, to separate ourselves from all the idolatry imbedded in our traditions and to hold fast to the Gospel–God’s plan for salvation for whosoever will believe on Him (John 3:15).

To order copies of Can Cultures Be Redeemed? in booklet format, click here.

Notes:
1. Sandy Simpson, Deception in the Church, “Reasons to Reject the “World Christian Gathering on Indigenous People” Movement” (http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/reasonstoreject.html).
2. Mike Oppenheimer, “Culturizing Christianity” (http://www.letusreason.org/current70.htm).
3. Random House Dictionary, taken from Let Us Reason website: “Looking For God in All the Wrong Places” (http://www.letusreason.org/Emerge13.htm).
4. Mike Oppenheimer, “Culturizing Christianity” (http://www.letusreason.org/current70.htm).
5. Ibid.
6. YWAM, Island Breeze Training, “What is a Discipleship Training School?” (http://web.archive.org/web/20070712212212/http://www.islandbreeze.com.au/training.htm).
7. Leon Siu, Aloha Ke Akua, Word to the World with host Danny Lehmann, KLHT, 2001, show #544, courtesy Sandy Simpson, Deception in the Church who transcribed this program.
8. Aloha Ke Akua Ministries (http://akaministries.tripod.com/aloha – no longer online).
9. Sandy Simpson, “Reasons to Reject the ‘World Christian Gathering on Indigenous People’ Movement” (March 2006, http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/reasonstoreject.html).
10. Discernment Research Group, “The Indigenous People’s Movement” (August 2, 2007, http://herescope.blogspot.com/2007/08/indigenous-peoples-movement.html).
11. Daniel Kikawa, Perpetuated in Righteousness (Aloha Ke Akua Pub; 4th edition, 1994), p. 27.
12. Aloha Ke Akua “Books” page (http://akaministries.tripod.com/aloha/id3.html).
13. Mike Oppenheimer, “Culturizing Christianity,” op. cit.
14. Sandy Simpson, “Reasons to Reject the ‘World Christian Gathering on Indigenous People’ Movement,” op. cit.
15. Ibid.
16. Ibid.
17. Ibid.
18. Mike Oppenheimer, “Culturizing Christianity,” op. cit.
19. Terry LeBlanc, Word to the World program #542, as cited by Mike Oppenheimer, “Culturizing Christianity,” op. cit.
20. Nanci Des Gerlaise, from the foreword of Stories From Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2011).
21. Titus Coan, Missionary to Hawaii (http://www.path2prayer.com/article/1051/revival-and-holy-spirit/books-sermons/new-resources/famous-christians-books-and-sermons/titus-coan-missionary-to-hawaii).
22. Discernment Research Group, “The Newest Heresy of the NAR: Orality” (Herescope blog, March 8th, 2006 (http://herescope.blogspot.com/2006/03/newest-heresy-of-nar-orality.html).
23. Amy Dueckman,“Listening Circle Brings Together Two Cultures” (Intotemak, Mennonite Church Canada, Summer 2006, Vol. 35, No. 2, www.mennonitechurch.ca/files/news/intotemak/intotemakv35n2.pdf).

To order copies of Can Cultures Be Redeemed?, click here.

The information in this booklet is extracted from Muddy Waters. Muddy Waters: an insider’s view of North American Native Spirituality is written by Nanci Des Gerlaise, a Canadian Cree First Nations. Nanci is the daughter and grandaughter of medicine men and was raised on a Canadian settlement.

Related Material:

Ten Questions for Those Who Claim the “Supreme Beings” of the Nations are the True God by Sandy Simpson

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.

The Story of Mask-e-pe-toon – A Powerful Cree Chief Who Found the Truth

LTRP Note: In the spring of 2011, Lighthouse Trails published Stories From Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires. The book, written by Egerton Ryerson Young, an itinerate preacher and missionary to the Canadian Native Americans in the late 1800s, is a fascinating and inspiring account of Young’s work with the Cree people. Amazingly, as we were in the process of preparing the manuscript, we came in contact with Nanci Des Gerlaise, a Christian Cree First Nations woman from Canada who spoke to us about her own manuscript, Muddy Waters: an insider’s view of North American Native Spirituality. We were so moved by the “co-incidence” that we asked Nanci to write the foreword to the Wigwam book. Nanci agreed with us that Stories from Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires was a needed and worthwhile read about how the Gospel was given to this intelligent resourceful people who desperately needed to hear about Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the Cross for them.

The Story of Mask-e-pe-toon 

By  Egerton Ryerson Young

The following incident occurred years ago on the great plains of the Canadian Northwest, long before the waves of Anglo-Saxon civilization began to surge over those glorious fertile prairies which for so many generations were hid from the gaze of the outside busy world. Among the Indian tribes that roamed over those vast regions the Crees in those days were perhaps the most numerous and powerful. The terrible small-pox and other epidemic diseases had not entered in among them, mowing them down by thousands, leaving them, as they are to-day, but a shadow or a wreck of their former glory. The most powerful chief among this tribe was called Mask-e-pe-toon, or “Crooked Arm,” from the fact that one of his arms had been so hacked and wounded in his hand-to-hand conflicts with his neighbors, the Blackfeet Indians, that, in healing, the muscles had so contracted and stiffened that the arm remained crooked. He was a warlike chief, and his delight was in all the excitements of Indian conflicts, in cunning ambuscades, and, when successful, in the practice of unheard-of barbarities upon the captives of other tribes who fell into his hands. Very picturesque was the dress of many of these warriors of the plains. The quills of the eagle, which with them is considered the royal bird, formed the head-dress. Their shield was generally made of the tough leather of the neck of an old buffalo bull. The clothing, which was most elaborately ornamented and fringed, was made of the skins of the deer or moose, most beautifully tanned and prepared by the Indian women. Some of their horses were really magnificent animals, and marvelously trained for Indian warfare.

The Rev. Mr. Rundle, of the English Wesleyan Missionary Society, was the first missionary who at great personal risk visited the Cree tribes and faithfully declared the message of salvation to them. It was news indeed, and startled those wild prairie warriors; and the question went around among them, “Where did this little man come from with such strange tidings?” The conjurers were called upon to solve the question, and the answer was that he had come direct from heaven wrapped in a large piece of paper.

The Rev. James Evans, also . . .  visited Mask-e-pe-toon and faithfully preached to him and his people. Some accepted the truth and became Christians, but Mask-e-pe-toon was too fond of war to quickly receive the message of peace.

A number of years later the Rev. George McDougall went out, in prosecution of his missionary work, to those mighty plains, on one of which in after years he so mysteriously died. That he might be more successful in his efforts to bring them to Christ, Mr. McDougall frequently left his own home, and for months together lived with these red men as they wandered over vast stretches of country, hunting the buffalo and other game. His custom was always to have religious service every evening where they camped for the night. . . .  At these camp-fire services hymns were sung, prayers were offered, and God’s word was read and expounded. One evening Mr. McDougall read as his lesson the story of the trial and death of the Lord Jesus. He dwelt particularly upon the prayer of the Savior for his murderers, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” and, well aware of the Indian spirit of revenge that was so prominent in the hearts of his hearers, he dwelt strongly upon it, and plainly told them that if they really expected forgiveness from the Great Spirit they must have the same mind that was in Christ, and forgive their enemies. Mask-e-pe-toon was observed to be deeply moved under the sermon, but nothing was said to him that evening. The next day, as the great company, consisting of many hundreds, was riding along over the beautiful prairies, an Indian chief rode quickly to the side of Mr. McDougall, and in quiet but excited tones asked him to fall back in the rear, as they did not wish him, the missionary, to witness the torture and killing of a man who was in that little band of Indians that was approaching them, although still so far away as to be almost indistinguishable to the eyes of a white man.

It seems that months before this Mask-e-pe-toon had sent his son across a mountain range or pass to bring from a sheltered valley a herd of horses which had there wintered. Very sublime and magnificent is some of the Rocky Mountain scenery. Travelers who have visited the Alps and other picturesque mountainous regions declare that some of the views in the Canadian “Rockies” are not excelled in any other part of the world.  . . . Among the foot-hills of these mountains are many beautiful valleys, where the grass and herbage abound all the year, and it was in one of them that Mask-e-pe-toon had kept his reserved horses. He selected one of his warriors as his son’s comrade to aid him in the work. From what afterward was found out it seems that the man, having a chance to sell the horses, his cupidity was excited, and so he murdered the chief’s son, disposed of the horses, and hiding for the time his booty returned to the tribe with the plausible story that when they were coming across one of the dangerous passes in the mountains the young man lost his foothold and fell over one of the awful precipices, and was dashed to pieces, and that he alone was unable to manage the herd of horses, and so they had scattered on the plains.

Knowing nothing at the time to the contrary, Mask-e-pe-toon and his people were obliged to accept this story, improbable as it seemed. However, the truth came out after a while, for there had been, unknown to the murderer, witnesses of the tragedy. And now, for the first time since the truth had been revealed, the father was approaching the band in which was the murderer of his son. That the missionary might not see the dire vengeance that would be wreaked upon the culprit was the reason why this subordinate chief had requested Mr. McDougall to slacken his pace and fall into the rear of the crowd. Instead of doing so he quickened the speed of his horse and rode up to a position a little in the rear of the mighty chief, who, splendidly mounted, was leading the van of his warriors. On they galloped over the beautiful green sward, the missionary’s heart uplifted in prayer that the wrath of man might be turned to the praise of God.

When the two bands approached within a few hundred yards of each other the eagle eye of the old warrior chief detected the murderer, and, drawing his tomahawk from his belt, he rode up until he was face to face with the man who had done him the greatest injury that it was possible to inflict upon him. Mr. McDougall, who still kept near enough to hear and see all that transpired, says that Mask-e-pe-toon, with a voice tremulous with suppressed feeling, and yet with an admirable command over himself, looking the man in the face who had nearly broken his heart, thus sternly addressed him: “You have murdered my boy, and you deserve to die. I picked you out as his trusted companion and gave you the post of honor as his comrade, and you have betrayed my trust and cruelly killed my only son. You have done me and the tribe the greatest injury possible for a man to do, for you have broken my heart and you have destroyed him who was to have succeeded me when I am not among the living. You deserve to die, and but for what I heard from the missionary last night at the campfire before this I would have buried this tomahawk in your brains. The missionary told us that if we expected the Great Spirit to forgive us we must forgive our enemies, even those who had done us the greatest wrong. You have been my worst enemy, and you deserve to die.” Then, in a voice tremulous with deepest emotion, he added, “As I hope the Great Spirit will forgive me I forgive you.” Then, speaking up sternly, he added, “But go immediately from among my people, and let me never see your face again.” Then hastily pulling up his war-bonnet over his head his forced calmness gave way, and, quivering with the suppressed feelings that tore his heart, he bowed down over his horse’s neck and gave way to an agony of tears.

Talk not of grief till thou hast seen
The tears of warlike men.

Mask-e-pe-toon lived for years afterward the life of a devoted, consistent Christian. All his old warlike habits were given up, and, mastering the syllabic characters in which the Cree Bible is printed, the word of God became his solace and his joy. He spent the remainder of his days in doing good. Very earnest and thrilling were the addresses which he gave to his own people as he urged them to give up all their old sinful ways and become followers of that Savior who had so grandly saved him. Many listened to his words, and, like him, gave up their old warlike habits and settled down to quiet, peaceful lives. Anxious to benefit his old enemies, the Blackfeet, and to tell to them the story of the Savior’s love, he fearlessly and unarmed went among them with his Bible in his hand. A blood-thirsty chief of that tribe saw him coming, and, remembering some of their fierce conflicts of other days, and perhaps having lost by Mask-e-pe-toon’s prowess some of his own relations in those conflicts, he seized his gun, and in defiance of all rules of humanity he coolly shot the converted Christian chieftain down.

Thus sadly fell Mask-e-pe-toon, a wondrous trophy of the cross, and one whose conversion did a vast amount of good, showing the power of the Gospel to change the hardest heart and to enable the warlike savage to conquer so thoroughly the besetting sin of the Indian character, even under the most extreme provocation, where very few indeed could have found fault if the price of blood had been exacted and the murderer summarily executed. (From chapter 7 of Stories from Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires)

Related Material:

Can Cultures Be Redeemed by Nanci Des Gerlaise

 The New Missiology – Doing Missions Without the Gospel by Roger Oakland

 

 

God and Satan: Unequal Contenders in the Spiritual War

sunsetBy Nanci Des Gerlaise
(Canadian Cree author of Muddy Waters)

God and Satan are not two equal powers in a dualistic battle between good and evil. God’s power is infinite whereas Satan can only do what the Lord gives him permission to do, as evidenced in the Book of Job. Therefore, Satan’s power is limited whereas God’s power is without limit. Our Lord reigns as the supreme Creator and King of the universe, and His purposes are being accomplished in the world whether or not His creatures accept Him as Lord. The following information illustrates the relationship between God and His creation.*

ETERNAL
GOD
He is before all things. (Colossians 1:17)

MAN
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Galatians 6:8)

SATAN
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20-9-11)

KING
GOD
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (Revelation 22:13)

MAN
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

SATAN
. . . an angel come down from heaven . . laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him . . . And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. (Revelation 20:1-2, 10)

SHEPHERD
GOD
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)

MAN
God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

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

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

LORD
GOD
The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. (Psalm 18:2)

Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. (1 Timothy 6:15)

MAN
Rejected His Lordship: And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took . . . and did eat, and gave . . . to her husband . . . and he did eat. (Genesis 3:6)

SATAN
Deceives people through lies, threats, deception, twisted truths and counterfeit promises . . . [F]or Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14)

. . . the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (2 Timothy 2:26)

JUDGE
GOD
Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth. (Psalm 96:13)

MAN
Faced with spiritual death and bondage as a consequence for sin. (See Genesis 2:17 and Romans 4:12.)

SATAN
Charged with rebellion. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! . . . Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. (Isaiah 14:12, 15)

CREATOR
GOD
Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth. (Psalm 96:13)

MAN
Faced with spiritual death and bondage as a consequence for sin. (See Genesis 2:17 and Romans 4:12.)

SATAN
Charged with rebellion. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! . . . Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. (Isaiah 14:12, 15)

SAVIOR
GOD
[W]e . . . know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. (John 4:42)

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

MAN
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God. (John 1:11-12)

That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:15)

SATAN
Has limited access to faithful believers: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

In God’s economy, He takes what was meant for even the worst evil and works it all to His good: “. . . the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him” (John 13:2).

VICTOR
GOD
In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

MAN
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

SATAN
. . . ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound . . . lo, these eighteen years, be loosed . . .? (Luke 13:16)

. . . healing all that were oppressed of the devil . . . (Acts 10:38)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

PROVIDER
GOD
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (Matthew 6:30-32)

MAN
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed. (Genesis 1:29)

And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. (Deuteronomy 29:5)

SATAN
Assigned limited power—yet ultimately accountable to God. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:12)

Therefore, Satan’s power is but a droplet in the ocean of God’s power!

(From Appendix I in Muddy Waters: an insider’s view of North American Native Spirituality) –

*Most of the material from Appendix I has been taken from Kjos Ministries website, used with permission. You may view this and other valuable information at: http://www.crossroad.to/charts/spiritual_war.htm.

A False Native American Messiah

By Nanci Des Gerlaise
(Canadian Cree author of Muddy Waters)

Wovoka_Paiute_Shaman

Jack Wilson – “Wovoka”

False “Christs” exist among Native Americans just like they exist in other ethnic groups. One of the most memorable is Wovoka (born c. 1858 in Nevada), also known as Jack Wilson. Wovoka was a Paiute religious leader who combined Christianity with Paiute mysticism. He founded the Ghost Dance movement in 1890, which spread throughout much of the western United States. Wovoka saw the power Jesus wielded as magic. One biographer of Wovoka explains:

He [Wovoka] learned about Jesus—palefaced wizard of long ago. Jesus was adept at magic. He had only to touch a man to heal him. He could change plain water into firewater. He could take one small trout, and with a hand pass, turn the trout into enough fish to feed the whole tribe. He could breathe on a dead man, and the dead man’s eyes would open once again into life.1

Wovoka claimed to be the Messiah and told the Natives who followed him not to tell “white man” about him, saying, “Jesus is now upon the earth. He appears like a cloud. The dead are all still alive again.”2 Wovoka believed he had made a personal visit to Heaven in which he learned that:

The enlightened ones must perform the stately circle dance in the precise manner which God and the spirits demanded. They must sing the songs the Messiah prescribed. They must wear the holy garment, which protected against danger and death. This visible badge of oneness was a shirt, marked with mystic symbols, which not only guaranteed everlasting life to the believer, but had the miraculous power to turn back even the white man’s bullets.3

The book Ghost Dance Messiah states:

To the desperate and conquered Plains tribes, in 1890, the doctrine and promises of the Paiute Messiah struck almost instant response. The Sioux, the Arapahoes, the Cheyennes, and Kiowas, in the throes of their desperation, sent investigative teams out to Nevada to sit at the feet of the Indian Jesus. The fever caught on to dozens of other tribes. Soon, across the nation, ten thousand Indians were shuffling in the Ghost Dance, and experiencing its miracles.4

Wovoka became the “Jesus” of his nation and of many other Native American nations. However, to truly fit the description, he needed to have been God, conceived by a virgin, sinless, holy, obedient to the Gospel, and dying a cruel death on the Cross to pay for the sins of mankind. Wovoka was nothing more than a deceived sinner and one who led many into his own deception. In the Gospel of John, it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1).

The apostle Paul knew that false teachers and false Christs would present themselves. He warned in the Book of Acts:

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20: 29-30)

Paul said that through deception, our minds could become “corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” He warned about those who preach “another Jesus,” “another spirit,” and “another gospel” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).
Satan is roaming about the earth, seeking those he may deceive. We are warned to be on the lookout for his devices:

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

When something (or someone) looks good or sounds good, we automatically tend to think it is good. The same holds true when something feels good. But think about how many times in the Bible we are told about spiritual deception and about those who deceive. It’s one of the major themes in the Word of God. And as for false Christs (or antichrists), we are told there will be many. The prefix anti in antichrist means pseudo, another word for a counterfeit of the real thing. It may look similar and may promise the same things, but in reality, it is not the real thing. And following a counterfeit will lead one down a path to destruction at worst and deep disappointment at best. This is the very reason why we should not lean on our own understanding but acknowledge God in all our ways.

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. (1 Corinthians 3:18–19)

To learn more about Native Spirituality and the Emerging Church, read Muddy Waters: an insider’s view of North American Native Spirituality

Endnotes:

1. Paul Bailey, Ghost Dance Messiah (New York, NY: Tower Publications, Inc., MCMLXX), p. 12.
2. Ibid, back cover.
3. Ibid, pp. 5-6.
4. Ibid, p. 6.

Other articles by Nanci Des Gerlaise:

Two Sources of Power But Only One Source of Truth

Dream Catchers – Those Popular Spidery “Sacred Hoops”

Native Spirituality “Renewal” Emerges

The Dangers of Sweat Lodge Ceremonies

The Merging of Native Spirituality and the Emerging Church . . . for the “Healing” of the Nations?

Unequal Contenders in the Spiritual War

Living Waters – From Darkness to Light

 

Dream Catchers – Those Popular Spidery “Sacred Hoops”

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

Beautiful dream catcher on green backgroundDream catchers—those spidery “sacred hoops” with feathers. They originated with the Ojibwa tribe during the ’60s and ’70s, supposedly to protect a sleeper by “catching” bad dreams or evil spirits. Then they caught on with other tribes and spread through the New Age movement into popular culture. Today, it is not uncommon to see dream catchers in gift and variety stores.  Dream catchers are even used in some public school settings, as the following describes:

Every classroom displayed at least one dreamcatcher—a magical spider web inside a sacred circle. The students explained that dreamcatchers protect them from evil spirits and nightmares by catching the bad dreams but permitting good dreams to pass though the center. According to fourth grade teacher Ms. Preston, the amber crystal in the center of her dreamcatcher meant proper spiritual alignment with the energy of the universe.1

But you can be sure, most of the general public has no idea of the meaning and purpose of dream catchers.

Basically, using a dream catcher in its intended purpose is nothing more than a form of practicing occultism. How can an inanimate object “catch” evil spirits, much less bad dreams? And why attempt to “catch” evil spirits or nightmares when you cannot fight them physically?

Although Native people can sometimes see into the spiritual world of darkness, dream catchers, or anything having to do with the occult, merely attract evil spirits and demonic activity and provide no means of protection from them. Using dream catchers is an open invitation for more spiritual works of darkness.

If you are a born-again Christian, you have a Protector—God Almighty—Who stands between us and the evil realm. We need nothing more than Jesus Christ Himself who overcame all works and powers of darkness by His death and resurrection. If we pay attention to God’s Word and not to seducing spirits, we can walk in His freedom from fear.

Ephesians 6:12 says that our battle is not against “flesh and blood,” but is against “principalities,” “powers,” “the rulers of the darkness” and “spiritual wickedness in high places.” And in Hebrews, we read:

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Hebrews 2:14–15)

(To understand more about Native Spirituality, read Muddy Waters, by Nanci Des Gerlaise).

Notes:
1. Berit Kjos, Brave New Schools (Kjos Ministries, http://www.crossroad.to/Books/BraveNewSchools/1-globalvillage.html), ch. 1.

A Cree First Nations Talks About Necromancy As Interest Increases

LTRP Note: There is a lot of talk (and books) these days about people who say they are communicating with someone deceased or are having direct communication with God and/or experiences in Heaven. A few examples are: Have Heart talks about a deceased son communicating with his grieving parents; Jesus Calling and God Calling are about women who says Jesus and God communicate directly with them; Eban Alexander’s Proof of Heaven is about a mystical near-death experience that a neurosurgeon says he has in Heaven; Heaven is For Real (a New York Times best seller) is about a little boy who says he met his deceased sister and grandfather in Heaven during a near-death experience. Most of these books have been best-sellers at one time or another.

Eban Alexander of Proof of Heaven Talks to Oprah

A recent Time magazine cover story is called “The Mystical Revolution,” and clearly we are seeing such a revolution today. From New Age practices such as Reiki and mindful meditation to eastern religious practices such as Yoga, to monastic practices such as centering prayer, contemplative prayer, lectio divina, and breath prayers, our world is fast becoming a mystically drawn society. Below one Cree First Nations woman from Canada, who is the daughter and granddaughter of medicine men, talks about necromancy—communicating with the dead. While we witness this extraordinary interest in communication with the supernatural, this article is a good reminder of what Scripture says.

By Nanci Des Gerlaise
(author of Muddy Waters: An Insider’s View of North American Native Spirituality)

The practice of necromancy is divination by alleged communication with the dead. When medicine men go into the sweat lodges, they summon and talk with what they believe are their dead ancestors to ask for guidance, direction, or healing. Yet, in reality, they communicate with familiar spirits or spirit guides who know intimate details about each person they are assigned to, usually without their knowledge. These spirits are what may come to you in your dreams, or you may hear their voices. In some cases, they may pose as loved ones who have passed on.

Native elders, or their followers, often become angry when there are Christians present, and in some cases they ask them to leave. If they truly worship the one and only true God, why then do they get angry or ask Christians to leave? The real explanation is that there are two opposing forces at war—God and Satan. The real reason why Christians are asked to leave the area is that the devil is afraid that Christ’s truth will expose his lies.

Medicine men, and those who practice necromancy, are speaking to and worshiping demons, which is why they become angry when Christians question them; they think that Christians are disrespecting their beliefs. Instead, they should be asking, “Could it be that the truth is making me angry?” Christians are right to reject these beliefs. In fact, they shouldn’t even be in such a session in the first place.

The Bible states there is a great chasm that prevents any type of visitation from beyond. Luke 16:26 says:

And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Once when we were left home alone, I stayed up until about four a.m. hoping Dad would come home. I finally fell asleep and had a dream that I had died and could feel my soul floating upwards out of my body. It was very seductive because it felt beautiful, and there was music unlike anything I had ever heard. I was gone about five or six minutes, and then a voice said I had to go back because it was not my time. Even after I came to the Lord, I believed this for a while. Then I finally repented of it because of its association with necromancy. A Christian must have nothing to do with such a work of darkness!
Sometimes healing takes place in such situations, but it definitely is not the Lord Jesus Christ doing the healing because these beliefs and practices are clearly an abomination to Him. Only Satan would have the power to heal at a sweat lodge ceremony. Yes, the devil can bring temporary healing, but it is always for the purpose of further ensnaring a person into the works of darkness. The Bible warns of such false miracles, signs, and wonders in Revelation 13:14 and 16:14. And as for attempting to communicate with the dead, the Bible clearly warns:

There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do. (Deuteronomy 18:10–14)

The idea that we can communicate with the dead and they can communicate with us has begun to drift into the Christian church. In Larry Debruyn’s book review of Have Heart (written by a pastor who lost his son in a car accident), Mr. Debruyn states:

I fear, with the growing emphasis on reports of Christians visiting Heaven, or of receiving visits from Heaven, whether solicited or not, that the evangelical church is stepping onto the “slippery slope” leading to spiritualism and spiritism, something practiced by the Canaanites and forbidden by God’s Law. . . .

Spiritualism is very attractive because it promises knowledge of the future and communication with dead loved ones. Many people will be influenced by demonic spirits in this way without realizing it. . . . “God has forbidden humans to try to communicate with the departed dead; such attempts result in communication with deceitful spirits, known as ‘familiar’ spirits. . . .” The spirits are called “familiar” because people think they know them from life!


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