LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESEARCH PROJECT          October 14, 2019     LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESOURCE SHOP

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NEW RELEASE: War Against the Saints: A Biblical Insight Into Our Spiritual Battle

Lighthouse Trails is pleased to announce the release of War Against the Saints:A Biblical Insight Into Our Spiritual Battle: by Bill Randles. The following is an excerpt from this book (from chapter 1):

By Bill Randles

Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (Genesis 3:1)

Mankind has an adversary, a malevolent being whose goal it is to estrange man from God and disrupt the peace and communion between God and man.

In the garden of Eden, in the first book of the Bible, he is simply introduced as “the serpent,” and we are immediately impressed by the power of his subtlety. Thus, we can infer that this being was no mere snake. There is an intelligence and volition about him that mere reptiles are incapable of possessing though this malevolent being employed the serpent in his plan.
There is in Genesis no fuller introduction nor explanation as to his true identity. We would have to persevere all the way to the end of the Bible to find out the “serpent of old” was, in fact, the devil, and the ancient Satan (adversary)—a fallen angel cast out of Heaven.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9)

He asked of the woman (not the man, whom God had appointed as head), a trick question.

What was he looking for when he inquired of the first couple?

He was looking for the smallest crack or opening between the couple and their God. Was there even a slight thread of alienation in the hearts of the first man and woman?

Thus, in his opening suggestion, the serpent greatly exaggerated the prohibition of God, did God really ban you from eating of every tree in the garden?  The serpent knew this was an exaggeration, and he also knew the woman would know this was a gross exaggeration as well, for the question was but a probe into the mindset of the couple.

The woman’s answer at first seemed to be adequate:

And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:2)

She corrected the overstatement of the serpent, God is not that strict! He has given us freedom to eat of the trees of the garden, but . . .” She could have ended the conversation right there, but in that “. . . but . . .” she went on to reveal the slightest crack, a tiny seam of alienation of the couple from their benevolent Creator. Of course, it was nowhere near as overstated as in the serpent’s initial question. They didn’t think God was a tyrant . . . but . . .

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. (Genesis 3:3)

But what? Eve answered that God had forbidden them to eat of one tree (This was true), and furthermore He forbade them to even touch it . . . (This was false, a slight exaggeration of the strictness of God).

Next, she added a phrase which must have encouraged the serpent—“Lest ye die.”

Lest ye die?

In other words, the woman was not so sure about the divine sanction. Did God really say we would die? Or is it possible that we just might die, or that we might not die?

God had originally told Adam, (who was to pass it on to Eve) that in the day they ate of the tree in the garden they would “surely die.” It couldn’t have been said any plainer or stronger than that, for God wanted them to know what was at stake.

Here was the opening the serpent had been waiting for. The conversation with the woman revealed the estrangement (ever so slight) of the couple, maximizing the prohibition of God, yet minimizing the penalty of God and outright calling it into question.

Now the serpent knew the first couple was ready to hear the Word of God openly denied. “Ye shall not surely die.”

We see that this story is timeless and very modern, applicable to our own current situation. The serpent has long infiltrated the Christian churches and has been calling into question truths and doctrines which are obvious to any honest reader of Scripture. This is one of the ways he makes war against the saints.

The Christian teachings on marriage, gender, prohibitions against fornication, adultery, and all forms of perversion, as well as the Christian promise of Heaven to gain and Hell to be shunned, are clearly described in the Scriptures. There can be no mistaking the plain meaning of the texts.
What’s more, almost all of the horrible things I know about Hell come from the lips of Jesus Himself. The doctrine of eternal conscious punishment is so horrible, it is as though God entrusted the bulk of descriptions of hellfire to His Son alone, so that no one could say, “Paul or Peter had a lot of hang-ups. That’s why they railed about Hell!”

But Jesus is the one who taught us about “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” “outer darkness,” and an urgency to escape to the point where one would cut off his or her hand or foot to escape it!

The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. . . . So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:41-42, 49-50)

And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched . . . Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. (Mark 9:43, 48-49)

Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 22:13)

But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 8:12)

See how clear this teaching is? These are the words of Jesus! You wouldn’t think it possible to deny such things in church, but there are many, many pastors and teachers who do so. They have listened to the serpent and put themselves unwittingly at his disposal to help carry out his program of distorting and denying the Word of God.

My point is that we are truly engaged in a real spiritual warfare.  

We have a very subtle adversary; thus, we cannot afford to loosen our grip on the Word of God and walk by the inclination of our own fallen hearts. This is the master deceiver, the one who “deceiveth the whole world.” He has tormented and taken advantage of many earnest and sincere Christians. We must put all of our trust in the Lord and His Word.

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:1-4)

The article above is an extract from Bill Randles’ new release (published by Lighthouse Trails), War Against the Saints.

(Photo is from the cover of War Against the Saints; original from Alamy.com; used with permission from Alamy.)

 

 

“‘Absolute theological bankruptcy’: Union Theological Seminary students confess climate sins to plants”
Photo from Union Theological Twitter account; used in accordance with the US Fair Use Act

LTRP Note: The following news story is posted for informational and research purposes and not meant as an endorsement of the source. In relation to this article, you may wish to read Roger Oakland’s article/booklet titled A Christian Perspective on the Environment to gain some important insight.

By Jon Brown
Washington Examiner

September 18th – Students at Union Theological Seminary prayed to a display of plants set up in the chapel of the school, prompting the institution to issue a statement explaining the practice as many on social media mocked them.

“Today in chapel, we confessed to plants,” the nation’s oldest independent seminary declared Tuesday on Twitter. “Together, we held our grief, joy, regret, hope, guilt and sorrow in prayer; offering them to the beings who sustain us but whose gift we too often fail to honor. What do you confess to the plants in your life?” . . .

Confessing to the plants was “just one expression of worship here at Union,” a spokesperson for the seminary told the Washington Examiner. “Union Theological Seminary is grounded in the Christian tradition, and at the same time deeply committed to inter-religious engagement. Union’s daily chapel is, by design, a place where people from all the wondrous faith traditions at Union can express their beliefs. And, given the incredible diversity of our community, that means worship looks different every day!” Click here to continue reading.

From the UK: “‘Hundreds’ of Young Trans People Seeking Help to Return to Original Sex”

LTRP Note: The following news story is posted for informational and research purposes. Please also read our booklet (free online) titled TRANSGENDERISM and Our Children by Maria Kneas and Lois Putnam

By Sally Lockwood
Sky News – UK

Hundreds of young transgender people are seeking help to return to their original sex, a woman who is setting up a charity has told Sky News.

Charlie Evans, 28, was born female but identified as male for nearly 10 years before detransitioning.

The number of young people seeking gender transition is at an all-time high but we hear very little, if anything, about those who may come to regret their decision.

There is currently no data to reflect the number who may be unhappy in their new gender or who may opt to detransition to their biological sex. Click here to continue reading.

(Photo from Transgenderism and Our Children booklet cover; original photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

Related Articles:

“Liberal Feminist Mother Warns Transgender Activists Are Taking Control of Mental Health Profession”

Ex-transgender: “We are ruining an entire generation of young people”

 

NEW RELEASE: War Against the Saints: A Biblical Insight Into Our Spiritual Battle
“‘Absolute theological bankruptcy’: Union Theological Seminary students confess climate sins to plants”
From the UK: “‘Hundreds’ of Young Trans People Seeking Help to Return to Original Sex”

Pietro—The Christian Italian Ex-Priest

Former Catholic Priest Richard Bennett Passes Away at 81
Halloween! A Warning to Christian Parents
Unlocking “the Secrets”—How Silly!
Letter to the Editor: Churches in UK Caving in to LGBT and New Age
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Pietro—The Christian Italian Ex-Priest
The following story if from John Shaw Anderson’s book, Heroes of the Faith in Modern Italy (first published in 1914*). Lighthouse Trails decided to add this book to our collection of resources as we saw the immense value of these true stories of courageous men and women in Italy in the late 1800s, when to leave the Roman Catholic Church after becoming born again in Jesus Christ meant sure persecution. We pray that such stories, when read, will increase the reader’s courage to seek out and stand for truth no matter the cost.

“Pietro—The Christian Italian Ex-Priest” by John Shaw Anderson

The first of our duties is the love of truth and faith in it.—Pellico.

It used to be the proudest ambition of an Italian mother to hear at least one of her sons say mass, and early one bright Sunday morning a happy Signora entered the Church of Santa Maria to hear young Don Pietro” say his first mass.” He too had well nigh reached the zenith of his hopes and had devoutly prepared himself for the solemn occasion. He duly received the congratulations of his numerous friends and sacred colleagues, many of whom had gone to “hear” his first priestly officium.

Don Pietro had been early dedicated to the Romish priesthood by his devout mother, who never missed a matin nor a vesper. In due time, he entered the local seminary. While still a mere lad, he walked proudly in the collegiate procession, doubtless tempted, like all his companions, to measure his religion by the breadth of his hat and length of his robe.

Young Pietro proved an ideal seminarist and had never to be rebuked for any act of insubordination; nor was there against his record any suspicion of independent inquiry. He had received with absolute assent the dogmas of his teachers and had never asked even himself the meaning of anything. To him the Church was infallible: to doubt was to be doomed. Implicit obedience was the conductor by which Rome’s electricity had passed to his young mind.

As soon as he had waded through the muddy waters of the literature of pagan Rome, he entered those of papal Roman tradition, and his head was soon filled with scholastic theology.

Not far from the seminary, there was an evangelical church, and young Pietro never passed it without crossing himself and saying an we Maria or a Salve Regina. He was a true son of the Church: piety, not pleasure, was his ideal. He spent his evenings in reading and meditation.

Pietro had now passed from the lessons and lectures of his teachers and began to feel the freedom and the responsibility of his individual life. His little library began to grow richer, his mind embraced a wider vista than it could have done within the walls of the seminary, and his moral and intellectual growth seemed to be causing him to say: ” When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man I have put away childish things ” (1 Cor. 13:11).

But in putting away the things which had formed so great a part of his more juvenile education, he soon became aware that he was shaking the weak foundations of his faith. The crisis took place in a very simple and unexpected way. He had been reading his favorite ” father,” St. Augustine (De vera religiose, cap. 55) and found that Rome’s great patron of theology did not favor the worship of saints, as he had been accustomed to think. This led him to the deeper reflection on the subject: even prayers offered to the saints involve the logical supposition of their omnipresence and omniscience. But he shuddered as he suddenly discovered himself actually doubting a dogma of the Church.

The confessional did not fascinate Don Pietro as it generally does the priesthood of Rome: he felt it an unpleasant ordeal to listen to the confessions of his penitents, and he certainly was not an expert in the art of eliciting the secrets of the human heart. Nor did “the keys” cause him much trouble. His religious tendencies led him to think of the altar rather than the confessional. He determined, however, that he would not allow any fresh thought to grow too hastily, and so he suspended his reflections on all doctrines relating to the saints. To him the mass was the great center of all faith: as he approached the altar, he seemed to leave all doubt behind him. His other official duties, moreover, enabled him to forget the first shocks which his faith might have received.

But these victories over reflection were short lived. The final attack upon the stronghold of his traditional creed was to come from the very quarter he least expected, the altar!

One morning, Don Pietro was returning home from mass when the question came to him with an almost irresistible force: “What is the historical basis of this sacrament?” With this question struggling in his mind, he arrived home and shut himself in his room. The struggle continued, and at last, he sought refuge in the famous creed of Pius IV.: “I profess, likewise, that in the mass there is offered to God a proper and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead. And that, in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist, there are truly, really and substantially the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that there is made a conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the blood: which conversion the Catholic Church calls transubstantiation. I also confess that under either kind alone Christ is received whole and entire, and a true sacrament.”

“That is an infallible dogma,” exclaimed Don Pietro to himself. “Dare I doubt it I But . . . Away with every but: I must not question! Then may I reflect? I must tune my creed and my conscience to better harmony.”

Don Pietro found that this, his first mental and moral struggle was with habit: he experienced no freedom of thought or action, and as he approached the borders of that unknown, untrodden pat—-liberty—he trembled and retraced his steps and sought peace in the dogma that the sacraments of the Church are “mysteries.” The “mysteries” of the mass, however, followed him to and from the altar. The thought haunted him: “Is it not sacrilege for me to perform this most sacred of all acts while I am in the most utter ignorance of what I am really doing? If this wafer does not really become God, and if I worship it, am I not an idolater?” Rome’s dogma was dying a natural death in his mind, and its ceremonial paraphernalia was losing its fascination. As he entered the Church, the candle light seemed dim compared with God’s bright sunshine outside; his robbing ceremony no longer prepared him for the altar; he bowed before the host, muttered his sacred Latin, turned himself with perfect ceremony, but all was artificial to him. Yet he must needs fulfill his office without suspicion: none of his blindly reverend colleagues nor superiors must know anything about his internal struggle. But was there no friend outside the clerical circle to whom he could confide his trouble, from whom he could seek help?

Don Pietro remembered a learned professor, esteemed and beloved by all who knew him, sympathetic and kind; an ideal friend to whom he could entrust such a sacred secret.

It was evening when Don Pietro called at the Professor’s house, and before entering, he crossed himself and sighed to Heaven the hope that he might be guided in his difficulty. Apologizing for his visit he at once got to its object, explaining that it was of a most private and confidential nature.

“The question,” he began, “I have to ask you is concerning the mass, and to come to the point, as to its historical basis. I feel lost in the midst of dogma, and I want the light of history.”

“Well, Don Pietro, you know that, historically speaking, the Church professes that the mass had its origin in the Lord’s Supper. Personally, I think it has fatally erred in its dogma, but let us get to the historical basis. This must be the accounts in the Gospel. Have you a copy of the Vulgate? “

“No, Professor, I am sorry I have not a copy with me, but I have one in my library.”

“Never mind, I have a copy here. Now let us read first of all the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 26:26; then Luke 24:30, and finally 1 Cor. 11:23-25. I think in these passages of Holy Scripture we find the real, original, historical basis of what I believe to be a traditional corruption —the mass.”

“Well, professor, I may not go so far as you do, but my doubts on the subject are causing me great and grave trouble; and I shall carefully meditate upon the passages you have quoted and which I have noted.”

Thus ended Don Pietro’s first brief visit to one who afterward proved to be his friend. Returning home he spent the late hours of the evening in calm reflection on the subject which so deeply occupied his mind. Taking his Vulgate Bible from his little library, he read Matt. 26:26. The statement that Christ, after breaking the bread, gave it to His disciples, came to him with a fresh and living meaning, and he thought: ” If Christ gave the bread to His disciples, it could not have been a sacrifice, because a sacrifice is offered to God. But, suppose it to have been a propitiatory sacrifice, then Christ must have offered two such sacrifices, one in the upper room and one on the cross.”

The thought of two propitiatory sacrifices offered by Christ, presented to Don Pietro a still graver difficulty, and he became lost in a theological fog. While groping his way out, he remembered that near him lived a Protestant gentleman, pious and esteemed, and the only good thing Don Pietro knew about the Protestanti was that they loved the Bible, and he thought that his neighbor would be sure to help him from a scriptural point of view to solve this question of a double propitiatory sacrifice offered by Christ. ” But,” thought he, ” after all that I have heard of the Protestant heresy, can a Protestant guide me even a step to the truth? And, besides, he may confuse my mind with his Bible. But I have my Vulgate, and I could take it with me. Well, I shall sleep over the question and see how I feel on the morrow.”

The following morning Don Pietro said mass, the last he ever said! What a difference between it and the first mass he had said under the influence of his new official pride. Then he did not inquire the meaning of anything: now all was mysteriously dark. Evening came, and he made up his mind to visit his Protestant neighbor. He arrived at the gate and stood a little, reflecting, looking here and there, and entered. Having introduced himself, he explained the nature of his visit. Although a perfect stranger, he received a cordial and sympathetic welcome. The subject was soon opened, and Don Pietro gave it point by asking his friend whether the Holy Scripture afforded any ground for the mass being considered as an unbloody sacrifice. Heb. 9:22 was read: “Without shedding of blood is no remission.” As to Christ’s suffering only once, verse 26 was quoted: ” For then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world, but now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”

“That seems conclusive,” remarked Don Pietro as he re-read the passage. “Christ offered only one propitiatory sacrifice for sin, and that on the Cross. If so, the mass is not a propitiatory sacrifice, and I am not a priest.”

This led to a conversation on the subject of priesthood. It was shown that the word ιἑρευς, (priest) is never applied to any of the New Testament servants of God as such, while all believers form a holy priesthood. Two verses were read from 1 Peter 2: “Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (verse 5), “a royal priesthood” (verse 9). Then followed the reading of two verses from the book of Revelation: “Unto Him that loveth us and washed us from our sins in His blood; and He made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto God and His Father: to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

(1: 6); “unto our God a kingdom and priests” (v. 10).

Don Pietro having made a note of these passages of Scripture, arose and thanking his kind friend, expressed the hope that they might soon meet again.

His greatest trial now was in maintaining a dual life: he had to conceal from his mother, the people and the local priesthood the spiritual experience through which he was passing. “I must choose between playing the hypocrite and passing as a heretic.” This was the decisive question with which he in vain sought sleep that night. The morning found him still wearied, and he arose late, spending the afternoon reading afresh the Scripture which he had noted in his Vulgate Bible. The early evening found him again at the house of his friendly neighbor to whom the unexpected visit was a pleasant surprise: Don Pietro looked very careworn, and his friend perceived that it was a question of the spiritual condition more than the official position of the young priest.

“What a sublime doxology that is which we were reading last night, the New Song: Thou art worthy’ Can you sing it, Don Pietro?”

“No, I cannot! “

Saying so he wept, sobbing out the deepest feelings of his soul: “I am unworthy.”

“Weep not, Don Pietro. The New Song is not: “I am worthy,” but “Thou art worthy.” Let us read slowly this beautiful doxology: “Thou art worthy… for Thou wast slain, and hath redeemed… “

“Me,” interposed Don Pietro.

… “to God by Thy blood.”

“There is no place in the New Song for the boast of works of supererogation,” exclaimed Don Pietro, continuing: “Thou art worthy… Thou wast slain… Thou hast redeemed. This is the Gospel, echoed in Heaven. I believe it!”

Don Pietro was deeply moved, and preferred to maintain the spiritual tone of the conversation, avoiding all reference to mere dogma. His friend afterward prayed with him and for him; and rising from his knees Don Pietro embraced him saying: “Now I am your brother: call me no longer Don Pietro. Continue to pray for me.” Nor shall we call him Don Pietro any more, but simply Pietro.

However calmly and carefully he had counted the cost, he did not, he could not know the bitterness of the persecution he was now to endure as a follower of Christ. His conversion was not an official, dogmatical change of religion; it was not a step from popery to Protestantism: it was from self to Christ. Hence, Pietro made no reclame of his conversion, such as mere religionists are wont to favor by the public recantation of their past errors. His daily life became a testimony to the reality of his conversion.

The first verbal confession of his personal faith in Christ was made to his mother, and it caused an immediate and irreconcilable rupture. Pietro was not a stoic, and his filial feelings were torn with grief by the action which his mother was by the confessional obliged to adopt. He next wrote to his late bishop a respectful letter, informing him of his separation from the Romish Church, but the news had already reached him. Pietro possessed numerous documents of a recent date, proving how highly he was held in esteem by the local ecclesiastical authorities, and these made no attack upon his character nor motives, but contented themselves with his excommunication and its consequent isolation from the fellowship of his relatives and friends.

Pietro had now to face the question, exercising many young priests of Rome today: how to earn a living; and if they would only face it, as Pietro did, with faith in God, their religious freedom would be an accomplished fact. Pietro was not ashamed to work. He rejoiced to know that God had justified him by faith, and he lived to prove that his faith was not “without works.” He preached the Gospel publicly and powerfully, and day by day enjoyed in his own experience the theme of his Gospel testimony: “The just shall live by faith.”

The Romish priesthood may morally and spiritually be divided into three classes: Those who entered it without any serious reflection and remain in it simply as a profession by which they may gain a living. And we freely and frankly admit that the Roman Catholic Church is not the only religious sphere in which this class is found. To it there is no great moral gulf between truth and error, right and wrong. All is convenience. We confess that with this class we have little sympathy and for it much pity.

Those who entered the Romish priesthood and remain in it from a sincere conviction of the sacredness of the office. For these we have a sincere and prayerful consideration.

Those who entered the Romish priesthood sincerely believing it to be a Divine Institution, but have now discovered the true priesthood of all believers in the Gospel dispensation, and are sincerely endeavoring to follow its holy and heavenly calling. For this increasing class, to which Pietro belonged, we have the deepest sympathy and fellowship.

The conversion to God of any man, be he a public priest or a private person, should not be judged from any party standpoint. Pietro’s conversion was not a step from the dogma of Rome to another creed, but from a state of spiritual doubt and darkness to the assurance and light of the Gospel.


The story you have just read is from Heroes of the Faith in Modern Italy. If you are a Roman Catholic and would like more information, Lighthouse Trails will happily send you a free copy of a booklet we publish titled The New Evangelism From Rome or Finding the True Jesus Christ. Just send us your name and mailing address to editors@lighthousetrails.com. (Your information will remain confidential.)

*The edition that Lighthouse Trails carries of Heroes of the Faith in Modern Italy is published by Bible Truth Publishers.

(Painting from istockphoto.com; used with permission; of a Catholic church in the 1800s)

 

 
Former Catholic Priest Richard Bennett Passes Away at 81
photo: Richard Bennett (left: as a Catholic priest)

LTRP Note: Many of our readers may know of Richard Bennett, a former Irish Catholic priest and the founder of the U.S. ministry Berean Beacon. This week, Richard passed away at the age of 81. The following is a tribute to Richard written by one of our readers.

“A Tribute to Richard M. Bennett”
By Darryl Eberhart
, former editor of “Tackling the Tough Topics” and “Examining the Tough Issues” newsletters

Richard M. (“Peter”) Bennett was born in Ireland on March 10, 1938. He passed peacefully in his sleep in Michigan on September 23, 2019. This writer knew Richard Bennett for almost two decades, from the time that his ministry (the Berean Beacon, which he founded) was located in Del Valle, Texas. He had been a Dominican priest for 22 (twenty-two) years before being wonderfully converted to a belief in salvation by God’s grace, through faith in Christ Jesus, based upon God’s Holy Word, with all glory going to God.

We should honor Richard M. Bennett for his great courage, his dedication, and his hard work in exposing (and doing so in love) both the unbiblical doctrines and practices of Roman Catholicism (e.g., Purgatory, Transubstantiation, mandatory clerical celibacy, and indulgences, etc.), and also in exposing the bloody history of Jesuit-controlled Papal Rome (e.g., through his video, “The Inquisition”). This video is described in the next section and should be viewed by every person alive today because true history is so very important, since those who don’t learn the “lessons” of history often find themselves repeating the “mistakes” of history!

Richard M. Bennett’s great love for the Holy Bible – and his great love for Roman Catholics – can clearly be seen in his videos and in his articles.

There are many videos of Richard M. Bennett posted on the Internet, and I would urge the readers of this tribute to watch as many of these videos as they possibly can, while these videos are still available on the Internet.

The following is a partial list of resources by Richard Bennett:

“Catholicism: East of Eden: Insights into Catholicism for the 21st Century” by Richard M. Bennett (2005; ISBN 0-9774229-0-9): Examines both the history of the Papacy and the state/condition of Roman Catholicism today. Please do an Internet search for this book.

Far from Rome, Near to God: The Testimonies of 50 Converted Catholic Priests (1994) by Richard M. Bennett and Martin Buckingham. [LTRP Note: This is a fascinating book with the testimonies of 50 former Catholic priests.]

On the Wings of Grace Alone: The Testimonies of Thirty Converted Roman Catholics by Richard M. Bennett and Glenn R. Diehl (300-page paperback book; ISBN: 978-1-59925-349-7).

The Inquisition by Richard M. Bennett and Michael de Semlyen (58 minutes; color): This video exposes much of the evil that occurred during the so-called “Holy” Inquisition and during the bloody Albigensian Crusades. It also exposes the genocide that occurred in Fascist Croatia during World War II – a religious genocide that was carried out by the Roman Catholic Fascist Ustashi, and which targeted hundreds of thousands of Serb Orthodox Christians (men, woman, elderly, and children) for extermination! When you type into your “search engine” the following: “The Inquisition Richard Bennett YouTube”, you should be able to quickly locate this outstanding, well-researched video. Then please view this video, and then please tell many others about it.  

“The Truth Set Us Free: Twenty Former Nuns Tell Their Stories” (Edited by Richard M. Bennett with Mary Hertel; 190-page paperback book; 1997; ISBN 1-57921-067-8)

Below is a video of the life and testimony of Richard Bennett.

The following is a write-up that appeared on September 26, 2019 on the Berean Beacon website: www.bereanbeacon.org:

Richard M. Bennett

After the last few years of great physical suffering Richard passed peacefully in his sleep on Monday September 23, 2019. The precious life of Richard touched so many in so many ways and his spiritual legacy will continue well into the 21st Century.

Richard will be laid to rest Friday October 4, 2019 at 10:30am. Burial will take place at Naches Cemetery, Kel Lowry Rd and Old Naches Hwy, Naches, WA 98937.

A Memorial Service will follow at 11:30am at the Ahtanum Pioneer Church, 8500 Ahtanum Road, Yakima, WA 98902

Richard is survived by his loving wife Lynn and three step children, Gunnar, Solveig, Knut and two grandchildren, Ahwyn and Adam. Gifts and cards can be sent to the family at:

Lynn Bennett
P.O. Box 13
Yakima, WA 98907-0013
lynnbennett@reagan.com

Below is the 58-minute color video documentary “The Inquisition” (hosted by Richard Bennett and Michael de Semlyen):

God bless, guide, and protect you!

Darryl (Eberhart)

 

 

Halloween! A Warning to Christian Parents

LTRP Note: This warning by former New Ager Johanna Michaelsen is available as a Lighthouse Trails booklet, suitable to give to others.

Halloween! A Warning to Christian Parents

By Johanna Michaelsen

It was the night of Halloween, and ironically, I was working on a chapter about Halloween for my book Like Lambs to the Slaughter: Your Child and the Occult when the doorbell rang. I was greeted by an adorable bunch of little kids doing their level best to look like gruesome Witches and vampires. I bent down as I distributed apples and oranges in response to lusty cries of “trick or treat!”

“You kids want to know something?” I asked very softly.

“Yeah!” came a unanimous chorus.

“With the Lord Jesus, there is no trick. He loves every one of you very much.”

Several little faces beamed up at me through their ghoulish makeup. “That’s neat!” exclaimed one little girl. “Yeah!” chimed in a few others.

“This is Jesus’ night,” I said. Why I said that, I’m not really sure. I was poignantly aware of the fact that it is a night the devil has made a point of claiming for himself.

“No it’s not!” snarled a hidden voice. “It’s Jason’s night!” A boy who was taller than the rest stepped out from the shadows. He was wearing the white hockey mask of “Jason,” the demented, ghoulish killer in the movie Friday the 13th and was brandishing a very realistic-looking hatchet. I have to admit that the boy gave me a start, but I stood my ground and dropped a banana into his bag.

“No, ‘Jason,’ this is still Jesus’ night!” I repeated. And indeed it is, even though it is most assuredly the night set aside for the glorification and worship of idols, false gods, Satan, and death. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”1

“Jason” evidently resented the competition, however, for he ripped our mailbox right out of the ground and left his banana squished on the stair.

PET GHOSTS?

Most of us in the United States have grown up observing Halloween in one form or another. From the time we are in preschool, we make drawings or cutouts of sinister black Witches—the haggier the better. We make paintings of gruesome black cats with gleaming, evil, orange eyes; we hang up smirking paper skeletons with dancing limbs; we glue together ghost and bat mobiles; and we design demoniacal faces for our pumpkins.

For several years, one thoughtful kindergarten teacher in Southern California even provided ghosts for her pupils to commune with at Halloween. I spoke with one of the mothers from that school who told me that her little boy was sent home with a note from the teacher informing the parents that their child would be bringing home a “special friend” the next day. The child was to nurture his “friend,” name it, feed it, and talk to it—all as a part of a special class project that was designed to “develop the child’s imagination.”

The next day, the little boy came home with a sealed envelope along with explicit instructions that his parents were not to touch it; only the child was allowed to open the envelope. Mom said, “You bet!” and promptly opened it up. Inside was six inches of thick orange wool string with a knot tied a quarter of the way up to make a loop resembling a head. The mimeographed “letter” that accompanied it read as follows:

Haunted House
001 Cemetery Lane
Spookville

Dear Customer,

Thank you for your order. Your ghost is exactly what you ordered. You will find that your ghost is attached to an orange string. Do not untie the special knot until you are ready to let your ghost go.

Your ghost will tell you when it is hungry and what it prefers to eat. It will sleep in the air beside you all day. It especially likes quiet places where there are cobwebs, creaky boards and corners.

If you follow the above directions, you will have a very happy ghost.

Yours truly,

Head Ghost

The mother, a Christian, didn’t approve of the idea of her son taking in a pet ghost, however housebroken. She was also a little suspicious of her six-year-old being addressed as “Dear Customer.” So she confiscated the thing and put it in the garage on a shelf until she could decide what to do with it. The next day, her sister was in the garage on an errand, unaware of the matter of the “ghost in the string.” Suddenly she was frightened by the sense of a threatening presence around her. She heard the sounds of a cat hissing in the corner and something like a “chatty doll” mumbling incoherently at her. Later that night they threw the “ghost string” into the garbage pail, prayed to the Lord to remove the entity, and were never bothered by the “presence” again. This family had no trouble whatever believing that a spirit had indeed been sent home with their little boy and that it didn’t much like having been assigned to a Christian household.2

The Halloween ghosts were given out again the following year by the same teacher. The Christian mother managed to get hold of the envelope, orange ghost-carrier and all, and sent it to me. It is possible, of course, that the teacher meant nothing sinister by it. Perhaps to her it was just a cute exercise in imagination for her kindergartners. Nevertheless, in light of the stated intent of many Transpersonal (i.e., a branch of psychology that focuses on mysticism and the occult in the search for transcendence) educators to introduce children to spirit guides, I can’t help but be a little curious about any teacher who sends the children home with “imaginary friends.”

CHURCH-SPONSORED HORROR

Even in the church, Halloween is a time of spooky fun and games. Any number of evangelical churches, ever mindful of their youth programs and ministries, will sponsor haunted houses designed to scare the wits out of the kids. From 1970 to 2001 in Bakersfield, California, Youth for Christ’s Campus Life was a co-sponsor of “Scream in the Dark,” an event that was held every night for about a week before Halloween. At least 20,000 people “brave[d] the chilly corridors and dark passages” every year to face ghoulish figures, terrifying tunnels, and screams in the dark.3

While many churches have switched from Halloween activities to alternative events on Halloween such as Harvest parties, countless Christians still allow their children to celebrate Halloween with door-to-door trick or treating and dressing up in scary costumes. Christian actor Kirk Cameron (Left Behind films and Fireproof) has come out publicly defending Halloween. In an interview in a popular online Christian magazine, Cameron stated that Christians “should have the biggest Halloween party on your block.” Cameron said he had no problem with Christians dressing up in devil, ghost, and other traditional Halloween costumes because they could do it as a way to witness to unbelievers.4

But is this church-sponsored horror a good idea? There are a number of reasons it is not. For one thing, terror can kill. When my husband was a teenager, the family next door to him lost their toddler one Halloween when the little one opened the door to trick-or-treaters. Their hideous appearance and shrieks so traumatized the child that he literally dropped dead on the spot. That may be a rare example, but the fact remains that terrorizing children is dangerous.

Church-sponsored horror isn’t a new phenomenon. My husband’s Lutheran church in New York always sponsored a “Chamber of Horrors” when he was a boy, complete with fluorescent skeletons, scary pop-ups, peeled grapes to simulate dead eyeballs, and a bowl of cold spaghetti that was supposed to be . . . well, you know. Anyway, they made you stick your hand into it, and any number of kids spent the rest of the night throwing up.

Halloween has become a full-fledged national children’s play day, but for hundreds of thousands of people in the Western world (and their numbers are growing steadily) Halloween is a sacred time, the ancient pagan festival of fire and death.

FESTIVAL OF THE DEAD

The origins and traditions of Halloween can be traced back thousands of years to the days of the ancient Celts and their priests, the Druids. The eve of October 31 marked the transition from summer into the darkness of winter. It marked the beginning of the Celtic New Year. The Feast of Samhain was a fearsome night, a dreaded night, a night in which great bonfires were lit, according to some pagan traditions, to Samana the Lord of Death, the dark Aryan god who was known as the Grim Reaper, the leader of the ancestral ghosts.5

On this night, the spirits of the dead rose up, shivering with the coming cold of winter and seeking the warmth and affection of the homes they once inhabited. And even colder, darker creatures filled the night: evil Witches flying through the night,6 hobgoblins, and evil pookas that appeared in the form of hideous black horses. Demons, fairies, and ghouls roamed about as the doors of the burial sidh-mounds opened wide,7 allowing them free access to the world of living men. These loathsome beings were usually not in a particularly good mood by the time they arrived, and it was feared that unless these spirits were appeased and soothed with offerings and gifts they would wreak mischief and vengeance by destroying crops, killing cattle, turning milk sour, and generally making life miserable.

So it was that families offered what was most precious to them: food—a “treat” which they fervently hoped would be sufficient to offset any “trick” which the ghostly blackmailers might otherwise be tempted to inflict.

The ancient Celtic villagers realized, however, that merely feeding the spirits might not be enough to speed them on their way. The ghoulies might decide it would be rude to eat and run, as it were, and might just be tempted to stick around.

That simply would not do. So arose the practice of dressing in masks and costumes: Chosen villagers disguised themselves as the fell creatures at large, mystically taking on their attributes and powers. The “mummers,” as they were called, cavorted from house to house collecting the ancient Celtic equivalent of protection money, and then romped the ghosts right out of town when they were through.

They carried jack-o’-lanterns to light their way—turnips or potatoes with fearful, demonic faces carved into them which they hoped would duly impress, if not intimidate, the demons around them.8

SACRIFICE AND FIRE

As a part of their ancient New Year’s ritual, massive sacred bonfires were lit throughout the countryside of Wales, Ireland, and France—fires from which every house in the village would rekindle their hearth fires (which had been ritually extinguished, as they were at the end of every year). The villagers would gather and dance round and round the bonfire, whose light and heat they believed would help the sun make it through the cold, dark winter.9

But the great fires served another purpose as well: On this night, unspeakable sacrifices were offered by the Druid priests to the Lord of Death. Lewis Spence in his book The History and Origins of Druidism says:

Certain writers on Celtic history have indignantly denied that the Druidic caste ever practiced the horrible rite of human sacrifice. There is no question, however, that practice it they did. Tacitus alludes to the fact that the Druids of Anglesea “covered their altars with the blood of captives.” If the words of Caesar are to be credited, human sacrifice was a frequent and common element in their religious procedure. He tells us that no sacrifice might be carried out except in the presence of a Druid.10

It is in his Commentaries that Caesar speaks of the great wicker images “in which the Druids were said to burn scores of people alive.”11

Some modem Witches may still deny that the Druidic religion, on which many of their beliefs and practices are based, ever practiced human and animal sacrifice as a part of their “peaceable nature religion.” But some noted Witches have indeed acknowledged the murderous bent of the ancient religion:

Propitiation, in the old days when survival was felt to depend on it, was a grim and serious affair. There can be little doubt that at one time it involved human sacrifice—of criminals saved up for the purpose or, at the other end of the scale, of an aging king; little doubt, either, that these ritual deaths were by fire.12

The Druids (from the Gaelic word druidh, meaning “a wise man” or “magician”13) would carefully watch the writhing of the victims in the fire (whether people or animals) and from their death agonies would foretell the future of the village. The Feast of Samhain was by no means the only celebration at which the Druids practiced human sacrifice. Sacrificial victims were also burned in their sacred fires during the spring festival of Beltane held on the eve of the first of May as part of their fertility rites.14 So it would seem, according to ancient historians, that human and animal sacrifice was a particularly noxious and pervasive habit among the Druids.

The Farrars, well-known authors and practicing Witches in Ireland, tell us that “Later, of course, the propitiatory sacrifice became symbolic . . .” but then mention that the royal sacrifice at Samhain may have lingered in the form of animal substitutes. The Farrars tell us of at least one animal sacrifice they knew of that took place in their village “within living memory.”15 We can only hope that “the old days when survival was felt to depend on human sacrifice” will never return.

THE SPIRIT OF HALLOWEEN

One Halloween several years ago, I watched a rerun of Garfield’s Halloween Adventure. Garfield was thrilled at the realization that Halloween was a night where he got to rake in free candy. “This is the night I was created for,” he exclaimed with as much enthusiasm as Garfield ever seems to muster.

He decides to sucker poor unsuspecting Otie, an exceedingly dumb (though endearing) doggie, into going with him so that Garfield could double his personal candy haul. Well . . . maybe he’ll give Otie one piece of candy for his troubles.

Then suddenly Garfield pauses in his Machiavellian musings and wonders, “Am I being too greedy? Should I share my candy with those less fortunate than I? Am I missing the spirit of Halloween?” Wouldn’t it be nice if that were in fact the spirit of Halloween! But nothing could be further from the truth.

The “spirit of Halloween” is more accurately discerned in the horror movies and DVDs traditionally released in honor of the season.16 Popular cinematic “treasures” like Halloween (and its three sequels), Friday the 13th (three of those), HalloweennightTale of Halloween, and any number of slasher, blood-and-gore, murder- and-terror flicks are truer to the original “spirit of Halloween”—the spirit of sudden death and murder—than is the sight of little Linus sitting all night in his “sincere” pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin, or of Garfield in his relentless quest for candy.

SPIRITED COMMUNION

Modern Witches would vehemently deny that their celebration has anything to do with the demonic horrors depicted in such films as Friday the 13th. To them, Halloween is one of the four greater Sabbats held during the year. It is the time of Harvest Celebration—that season in which the Great Goddess goes to sleep for the long winter months, giving way to the Horned God of Hunting and Death, who will rule until her return on the first of May. It is a time of ritual and for ridding oneself of personal weaknesses,17 a time for feasting and joyful celebration. It is also a time for communing with the spirits of the dead.

Witches Arnold and Patricia Crowther say that—

Halloween has always been the Festival of the Dead and was believed to be the best time to contact those who had passed over. Today, spiritualists try to contact the departed by means of “spirit guides”—American Indians, Chinese men, nuns, priests and even little girls. Witches tried to make contact through the god of Death himself. So when the bonfire had burned down, the priestess, in her new role as the god, held a skull between her hands, using it as a crystal-gazing ball. This was the kind of necromancy practiced centuries before the Fox Sisters, with their poltergeist tappings, started the modern craze for spiritualism.18

The Celts, say the Crowthers, would sometimes lie on graves during Halloween, hoping to hear some word of wisdom from the spirits of the corpses beneath them. And the Crowthers boast that “the high priestesses were just as successful in contacting the dead as are our own mediums.”19 According to a longtime Witch with whom I once spoke, they still are. Communing with the spirits of the dead is a regular feature of their covens’ Halloween rituals.

Several years ago, an article in the Los Angeles Times featured a story on a certain coven’s celebration rituals during Halloween. The story described the ritual and then told that it “will be repeated throughout the Southland today as Witches celebrate their most important holiday, Samhain, or Halloween, when they believe the veil between the worlds becomes thin, making visits with spirits possible.” Some Witches will use the Ouija board to contact the dead. Others will use a darkened scrying-mirror into which they stare until the faces of their beloved departed supposedly appear. Others may use a crystal ball or “sit quietly round the cauldron, gazing into the incense smoke, talking of what they see and feel.”20

SATANIC REVELS

While the Witches are spending the Halloween season tucking in their Goddess for her long winter sleep and frolicking in joyful communion with the spirits of the dead, there is another religious group that is equally serious about its Halloween celebrations: the Satanists. Halloween to them is a more sinister and direct celebration of death and Satan. Unlike the Witches, of whom most do not even acknowledge the existence of Satan, the Satanists are quite candid about exactly who the dread “lord of death” happens to be, and they celebrate Halloween as one of his two highest unholy days.

As is the case among the Witches, different “denominations” of Satanists have their own peculiar traditions, beliefs, and practices on this night. For some of them Satan is not a real, specific entity but rather the personification of evil resident within all men, a “dark hidden force in nature responsible for the workings of earthly affairs.”21

Other Satanists however—cult Satanists—understand that Satan is very real indeed. To them, the sacrifices he demands are not symbolic at all.22 They believe that the blood sacrifice of innocence which Satan demands as the ultimate blasphemy and sign of devotion to himself must be very literal indeed. At various times during the year, but especially during the month of October, police across the country report finding the remains of animals—some with the blood drained, others with various organs missing, some carefully skinned while keeping the tortured creature alive. They are frequently found at sites which indicate that some form of ritual took place. When no altar or pentagram or other symbolism is in evidence, it is entirely likely that some neophyte or self-styled Satanist is simply practicing to make sure the “sacrifice” is letter-perfect for the ceremony.

Because of its innocence and frailty, a tiny child is viewed by these Satanists as the perfect sacrifice to their Master. The infant is seen as a representation of the Christ Child, and it is He whom they are blaspheming and symbolically destroying in the prolonged and brutal torture and slaying of the child. After the death of the baby, the members will all eat a portion of the little one’s heart and will drink its blood.

RECRUITERS FOR SATAN

Halloween is also a prime recruiting season for the Satanists. Much as the government will plant undercover narcotic agents in various high schools to find out who is pushing or using drugs on campus, so some Satanists may plant kids at the schools who are there solely for the purpose of discerning potential members or victims among the students. The Dungeons and Dragons clubs are key hunting grounds for them, as are other groups and clubs based on medieval themes.

Church-sponsored “haunted houses” are also fertile recruiting centers. The Satanists watch for those kids who show a marked bent for the macabre and the sinister, and they invite them to a “real good” party being held elsewhere, which proves to be a lower-level ritual held for the purpose of initiating these kids into Satanism.

IMITATORS OF GOD

So . . . should your family participate in the traditional Halloween celebrations? Absolutely . . . if you and/or your children are Witches, Satanists, humanists, atheists, pagans, or anything other than born-again Christians (or Orthodox Jews). For a true Christian to participate in the ancient trappings of Halloween is as incongruous as for a committed cult Satanist coming from a blood sacrifice on Christmas Eve to set up a crèche in his living room and sing “Silent Night, Holy Night” with heartfelt, sincere devotion to baby Jesus.

Ephesians 5:1 admonishes us to be imitators of God. Can you picture the Lord Jesus dressing up as Satan, or as one of the demons He cast out that week, or perhaps as a Druid priest, just because it was the Feast of Samhain and His disciples were giving a nifty party that night in honor of the tradition? Or can you see the apostles disguising themselves as temple prostitutes or as worshipers of the god Moloch, to whom the Canaanites (and even the Israelites in their darker days) sacrificed their children?23

Halloween is a day in which virtually every occult practice that God has called “abomination” is glorified.

When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.  For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you. (Deuteronomy 18:9-14, NASB*)

“But it’s only for one night!” some cry. “It’s only in fun for the children!” If this is how you feel, then you need to understand what the Word of God says to you:

Learn not the way of the heathen! (Jeremiah 10:2)

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for 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? 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. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)

But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 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 10:20-21)

CREATIVE ALTERNATIVES

There are any number of creative alternatives that can be provided for children on Halloween without participating in the ancient religious traditions of the Witches and Satanists.

Some families view the occasion as a witnessing opportunity and handout Gospel tracts along with the treats. Some churches are now sponsoring “Bible Houses,” in which the kids go through and hear different Bible stories read or acted out—a godly alternative to the haunted-house routine!

Other Christian families choose to spend the night remembering the saints who have gone to be with the Lord during the year. Saints aren’t just those who have been canonized as such by some church. A saint, according to the Bible, is anyone who has believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Messiah. Perhaps you could spend this night talking about the martyrs who were willing to die rather than compromise their belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christian parents can also make a difference in the way the schools their children attend celebrate Halloween. In Colorado, parents protested the traditional celebration of Halloween in several public schools, including at least one elementary school on the grounds that it is a “high holy day in the satanic religion, and as such is an inappropriate holiday for schoolchildren.”24 One mother said that she “would like to see the same measures applied to the Halloween parties as have been taken with the Christmas parties.”25 In light of the present distress, I fully agree. Since God and Jesus have been banned from Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving celebrations in most of our schools, why should the government-recognized religions of Witchcraft and Satanism get free promotion on Halloween from these same institutions?

One thing Halloween should not be for the Christian is a time of fear. It should be a time to rejoice in the fact that “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8)! Spend at least part of this night worshiping God by singing hymns. Above all, spend time in prayer and intercession for the children.

It is tragic that many people in the church have forgotten that “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7), and that includes on Halloween! Too many of our children have been made vulnerable to a spirit of fear and to the occult where we allow faith in God to be extinguished by participating in the darkness of this world.

After the repeal of the Witchcraft Act in England in 1951, the Witches and Satanists experienced a revival which is currently in full swing. You might not know too much about Witches or Satanists, but I guarantee you that most kids do in today’s computerized, Internet, social-media world.

For ye were sometimes [formerly] darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light . . . And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [expose] them. (Ephesians 5:8,11)

To order copies of HALLOWEEN! A Warning to Christian Parents, click here. 

Endnotes
1. 1 John 3:8.
2. Back in 1985, there was an outfit that called itself “Adopt-a-Ghost” based in Hollywood, California. For a paltry $10.00 to cover adoption papers and conjuring fees, you could adopt a ghost for your house, condo, apartment, or office . . . like a Cabbage Patch Kid, only cheaper and considerably livelier. Hauntings were guaranteed, and the ghost even came with written tips on ghost-raising to make sure it would stick around.
3. Connie Swart, “Event Still a Scream,” the Bakersfield Californian, October 16,1982, p. 13.
4. Emma Koonse, “Kirk Cameron on Halloween: ‘Christians Should Have the Biggest Party on the Block’” (Christian Post, October 20, 2014,  http://www.christianpost.com/news/kirk-cameron-on-halloween-christians-should-have-the-biggest-party-on-the-block-128345/#Jx3ZzPQLf0A8bigp.99).
5. Barbara G. Walker, The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (San Francisco, CA: Harper and Row Publishers, 1983), p. 372.
6. Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology (London: Octopus Books Ltd., 1974), p. 166. Introduction by Hans Holzer.
7. Janet and Stewart Farrar, A Witches Bible, vol.1, The Sabbats (New York, NY: Magickal Childe Publishing, Inc., 1981, 1984), p. 122.
8. The lantern was also called a “corpse lantern” or”fairie fire,” or a will-o’-the-wisp, and numerous fascinating legends about its origins have risen up around it. Some thought it was the spirit of a child which had been buried in the swamp. Others thought it represented the lights fairies used to beckon fools to watery death in the swamps. Another legend tells of a clever fellow named Jack who got himself barred from hell as well as heaven for being something of a Faustian smart aleck and was doomed to run about earth for all eternity with the burning coal he snatched from hell itself with the turnip he was eating just before the gates slammed shut. This story makes little sense to me at all. I mean, would you be eating a turnip while standing at the gates of hell politely requesting admittance? Doubtful. One version of this tale found in an elementary school teacher’s “Halloween Fun” manual observes that the devil threw the burning coal at Jack to drive him away and that Jack caught the thing in his turnip. This makes more sense. Anyway, the Celts carved jack’o’lanterns out of turnips, nonetheless. They probably used turnips because they didn’t have pumpkins. They had to come to America to discover them, which they did during the mass immigration to America during the great potato famine of 1886. They soon realized that pumpkins are a whole lot easier to carve than turnips. They also make nicer pies.
St. James Church in the Los Angeles area held a “Pumpkin Mass” in 1987 in which the priest blessed the parishioners’ Halloween costumes (to be brought in boxes or sacks) and the pumpkins which were to be carved and placed in the sanctuary. The verse quoted for the occasion: “Ye are the light of the world. . . . Let your light so shine before men” (Matthew 5:14, 16).
9. Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, p.166.
10. Lewis Spence, The History of Origins of Druidism (Great Britain: EP Publishing Ltd., 1976), p. 104.
11. Ibid.
12. Farrar and Farrar, A Witches Bible, vol. 1 The Sabbats, op. cit., p. 122.
13. Raymond Buckland, Witchcraft from the Inside (St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1975), p. 16.
14. Lewis Spence, The History of Origins, op. cit., p. 105.
15. Farrar and Farrar, A Witches Bible, vol. 1, The Sabbats, op. cit., p. 122.
16. James Frazer records in The Golden Bough (New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1922) that in some areas “people who assisted at the bonfires would wait till the last spark was out and then would suddenly take to their heels, shouting at the top of their voices, “The cropped black sow seize the hindmost!” The saying implies that originally one of the company became a victim in dead earnest” (The Golden Bough, p. 736). The “cropped black sow” was a representation of the Goddess Cerridwen in her dark aspect as the Crone, according to Welsh mythology (A Witches Bible, vol.1, The Sabbats, p. 125). She is still worshiped in that aspect by Wiccans today, as well as in her more appealing forms of Maiden and Mother.
As the Farrars point out in A Witches Bible, vol. 1, The Sabbats, p. 725), “All these victim-choosing rituals long ago mellowed into a mere romp, but Frazer had no doubt of their original grim purpose. What was once a deadly serious ritual at the great tribal fire had become a party game at the family ones.” They may have “mellowed in time,” in most places, but nevertheless, it was the terror of the original sacrifices and demons that most accurately represents the “true spirit” of Halloween. The true “spirit of Halloween” is that of sudden death and murder.
17. Raymond Buckland, Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft (St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1986), p. 68.
18. Arnold and Patricia Crowther, The Secrets of Ancient Witchcraft with the Witches Tarot (West Caldwell, NJ: University Books, Inc., 1974), pp. 67-68.
19. Ibid., p. 68.
20. Farrar and Farrar, A Witches Bible, vol 1, The Sabbats, op. cit., p. 135.
21. Anton Szandor LaVey, The Satanic Bible (New York, NY: Avon Books, 1969), p. v of introduction.
22. Anton LaVey clarifies his position on human sacrifice on page 88 of his Satanic Bible, in which he says: “Symbolically, the victim is destroyed through the working of a hex or curse, which in turn leads to the physical, mental or emotional destruction of the ‘sacrifice’ in ways and means not attributable to the magician. The only time a Satanist would perform a human sacrifice would be if it were to serve a two-fold purpose; that being to release the magician’s wrath in the throwing of a curse, and more important, to dispose of a totally obnoxious and deserving individual.”
23. Ezekiel 16:20,21; Jeremiah 32:35; 2 Kings 17:17; Isaiah 57:5.
24 Rebecca Jones, “Halloween Parade Off” (The Eagle Forum, vol.8, no.4, Fall 1982), p. 17.
25. Ibid.

*Scripture verses in this booklet are taken from the King James Bible, except on page 14 where one verse is taken from the NASB. Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible(R), Copyright (C) 1960, 1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975, 1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

To order copies of HALLOWEEN! A Warning to Christian Parents, click here. 

Unlocking “the Secrets”—How Silly!

By Lynn Lusby Pratt

I talk a lot about the trendy but biblically erroneous teachings on new spiritual technologies. The suggestion that we can finally unlock the “secrets” to a full life of faith capitalizes on our culture’s desperate search for purpose and prevalent “fear of missing out.” But not only is it dangerous for Christians to go looking for these things; if we just back up and look at the lives of a few Bible heroes, the logic even becomes downright silly! Let’s see…

Joseph—Should we label him ineffective, spiritually lacking? After all, he didn’t have the Catholic mystics to lead him into self-torture, levitation, and erotic encounters with entities.

Joshua—Look what all Joshua accomplished. His only “secret” was to obey God’s commands and be bold. Could he have accomplished more if he’d done lectio divinaClick here to continue reading.

(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

Other Articles by Lynn Lusby Pratt:

“Temple Prostitutes” – Another “Fruit” of Contemplative Spirituality

Dispelling the Rumor That God Can Be Found “Only in the Silence”

Out of My Mindfulness

Letter to the Editor: Churches in UK Caving in to LGBT and New Age
A Methodist church in the UK

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

Much is spoken about apostasy in the Roman Catholic Church, but I would also draw your attention to the Methodist Church here in the UK.  Below are some pics from the Gay Pride event in Chester the other week; you cannot see from the pictures but one carried a banner stating “This is the gay that the Lord has made.” . . .

I have written a letter to the [Wesley Church Centre], the body of which is attached (see below) and also have ordered booklets from you to send to them.  It breaks my heart to see the church so led astray especially as I have a friend in another Methodist church who I am trying to encourage to leave.  The problem is where to go?  I have just left a spiritually abusive church, identified from your booklet (thank you).  I cannot find another solid church anywhere and am loathe to go and try and put up with false teaching as I have left 2 churches now.  I listen to solid teaching online, read, have fellowship with solid Christian friends and go out with a Christian witness group in Chester on a Saturday giving out tracts.  I keep myself busy writing and/or sending booklets/tracts where I see false teaching, yoga, mindfulness.  There is so much of it now that I am kept quite busy for the Lord.

Thank you for your website, a true beacon of light for the faithful.  I am lucky as I have a small band of friends solid on the Bible but for those alone, your website is a bastion of truth.

Every blessing in Jesus,

Sharon

Portions of Sharon’s letter to the church:

“Sanctify them by Your truth, Your Word is Truth.” (John 17:17)

I am writing to you to express my concern at the things I see on your church website and I see that you are endorsing practices which are not Biblical.

Can I ask how familiar you are with the teaching of the Bible?  As a shepherd, you are not just responsible for your own soul but for the souls of your flock also, and God will hold you accountable for their souls on Judgement Day.  If you believe the Bible then that very thought should terrify you, for we are told that:

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31)

Do you believe the Bible?  Do you even read it?  Do you fear God for that is the beginning of wisdom?  Sadly I can see little evidence of this.  Familiarity with the Word of God would give you an awareness of the times we are in.  It would enable you to understand that as we move closer to the return of Christ, the organised church will fall further and further away from the true teaching of the Word of God.

“Let no one deceive you by any means, for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first…” (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

 A quick glance at your website and I am sad to say that the Wesley Methodist Centre simply affirms the times we are in.  Rosary beads, a tool of the Roman Catholic religion, are not referenced once in the Bible yet your website suggests that they be used to aid personal devotions.  Where did Jesus or any of His apostles whip out their rosary beads to aid them in prayer?  The same goes for your Dice prayer and prayer props, Lectio Divina, Taize chants, and praying through the senses.  Where do these ideas come from?  They do not come from the Word of God.  The answer is mysticism.  The Catholic Church is steeped in mysticism and it is NOT a Christian practice. How did the Methodists, once so faithful to God’s Word, fall so far away from the truth?  I find it hard to take in the things that I see on your prayer pages as you seek to draw people into what are, in fact, practices rooted in the occult.  I also see that you are practicing Mindfulness, another occult activity.

As Christians we are commanded to call to account any Christian who is deceived.  Several times in the Gospels, Jesus warned us of deception in the last days. . . .

 We know that God protects his own if they stay faithful to Him for Jesus said:

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow Me.” (John 10:27) . . .

I noticed on your visitors section that Margaret comments, following a visit to your church, that “my faith in humanity is re-kindled.”  This is very sad as we know from the book of Jeremiah that a man’s heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. (Jeremiah 17:9)  A visit to a church should surely build faith in God. But isn’t this the root of the problem?  As you seek to please man, you are not pleasing God.  . . . If the organised church would stand against the catalogue of sin we see in this country today, then it may well turn back the wrath of God which is sure to fall upon us.  And remember judgement always begins at the house of God.

I am also concerned about your stance on Israel as you pronounce Palestine as “occupied” on your website.  Palestine is not occupied; it belongs to Israel.  The title deeds for the land are there in the Bible (Psalm 105:9-11), the book that as a Christian, you are supposed to be upholding.  God gave that land to the Jewish people, and He also made Abraham a promise:

“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)

 History bears out that this was no idle threat.  The Jews are God’s chosen people, the “apple of His eye,” and you would do well to lead your flock in supporting Israel.

I hope you will take this letter as coming from someone who is concerned about the state of the church and genuinely wishes to see the church back on the narrow way as Wesley, himself, would have wished.  I am glad that John Wesley cannot see the direction in which a church carrying his name is going. I have included some booklets which will explain the issues with your various prayer activities far better than I could.  I hope you will read them for your sake and for the sake of your flock. 

I pray that you will seek God anew, with a desire for a faithful and obedient heart.

Sharon _________





(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

 

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The Music and the Mystical

By Larry DeBruyn

On music’s native ability to engender “religious” experiences

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16

Music engenders mystical experiences. This can be discerned from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera containing the song The Music of the Night. The lyrics read:

Night time sharpens heightens each sensation / Darkness wakes and stirs imagination / Silently the senses abandon their defenses / Helpless to resist the notes I write / For I compose the music of the night / Softly, deftly music shall caress you / Hear it, feel it secretly possess you / Open up your mind let your fantasies unwind in this darkness which you know you cannot fight / the darkness of the music of the night.[1]

Subject to the individual impulses, tastes and delights of consumers and composers, there is much about music that is creative, experiential and ethereal. But as every genre from military marches to love songs indicate, music possesses a mysterious, if not occult, power to sway the soul. The only question for Christian believers becomes, do their musical preferences, acquisitions and experiences hinder or facilitate the Holy Spirit’s work in their souls? (See Ephesians 5:18-19; Colossians 3:16.)

In an Internet article, former rock musician Tom Beaudoin makes statements and employs quotations which connect rock music with “spirituality.” Consider his description of rock music: the “digital environment of the CD is the plastic, virtual ‘enclosure’ today in which younger generations taste and hear . . . the grandeur and intimacy of God”; he refers to “rock’s inherent religiousness”; he says, “both rock itself and religious experience may yet be open to further transformation”; “the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ (Gal. 5:22), are often experienced through rock music”; and rock music is a “form of religious experience” [and] “capable of mediating religious experience and knowledge.” [2] But what is the religion inherent to the medium? To me, it sounds like the beat of mysticism.

From easy listening, to light rock, to hard rock and to some classical pieces, there exists a murky and undefined interconnectedness between sensuality and spirituality, the sexual innuendo of Ravel’s Bolero serving as a case in point. Perhaps this accounts for some music’s appeal—the sheer undefined mysterious working of it upon the human soul. When engaging rock music while attending rock concerts or through headsets connected to an iPod or CD player, individuals testify as to the medium’s ability to create mystical experiences within their vulnerable souls. Rob Bell describes one:

I remember the first time I was truly in awe of God. I was caught up for the first time in my life in something so massive and loving and transcendent and . . . true. Something I was sure could be trusted. I specifically remember thinking the universe was safe, in spite of all the horrible, tragic things in the world. I remember being overwhelmed by the word true. Underneath it all life is somehow . . . good . . . and I was sixteen and at a U2 concert. The Joshua Tree tour. When they started with the song “Where the Streets Have No Other Name,” I thought I was going to spontaneously combust with joy. This was real. This mattered. Whatever it was, I wanted more. I had never felt that way before. [3]

Another contemplative devotee vividly describes his experience:

The effect of the music coursing through my nervous system is to produce a lift, a somatic levity that sends me at once deeply within and outside my body, spacing me in three simultaneous modes: as embodied spirit, as disembodied spirit, and as a spirit ecstatically holding them bound. [4]

Who was and where was this individual when he experienced that mystical ecstasy? The author is bass guitar player who played rock n’ roll for 15 years, and he experienced what he described while on a spiritual retreat in a monastery listening to the Christian rock band Creed!

In another example of music’s power to induce mystical experience, occultist Wilburn Burchette reported a “breakthrough” which happened to him while listening to rock music as a young boy. He described:

I was getting to the point where my mind was blank. I remember shifting consciousness and having a sensation of my mind being above time. I felt I could move forward, backward in time. The physical sensation is an orgasm of the soul, because you are in complete, absolute union. You extend your mind and being out of this dimension, and wham! You receive a knowing beyond words. When you transcend over into the other dimension, you split in two, and yet you are one. This is what all the alchemists brought out: you split in two, and yet you are one. This is pretty weird for most people, but you have split in two, you have another being which can realize the Absolute, the Godhead. These two you’s are in perfect union. [5]

But music in and of itself does not generate genuine or lasting experiences with God, David’s harping for Saul demonstrating the point (1 Samuel 16:14-23). David’s music temporarily relieved Saul of his angst, but did not cure it. Opposite from undefined feelings, “spiritual songs” that magnify the Gospel and the Word facilitate authentic spiritual experiences and godly living. Genuine spiritual experiences in and among Christians result from the “filling of the Spirit” as born witness by their speaking to each other “in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19). Such spiritual songs focus upon the objective Person and Work of Jesus Christ (John 1:1; See Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” As recorded in Holy Scripture (2 Peter 1:19) and as witnessed to by the Holy Spirit (John 15:26), lasting spiritual experiences are induced by music and lyrics that bear witness to and are wedded to the biblical Word. They are not subjective and mystical ends in themselves. True spirituality does not lie in the subjectivity of sound, but within the objectivity of the Scriptures as they bear witness to Jesus who is the Word of God.

Though music can and does engender mystical experiences, true spiritual feelings do not reside in any music per se. Artificially induced human feelings can be a distraction from worshipping Almighty God. The attention of worshippers can be turned upon themselves and how they feel in a particular moment of ecstasy. Godly music, on the other hand, draws people’s attention off of themselves and turns their hearts toward God and the wondrous redemption wrought in, by, and through the Lord Jesus Christ. In and through spiritual music, believers can find relief and deliverance from sinful emotions and fleshly appetites that can vex their souls. Godly songs help to rescue our emotions from whatever we might be feeling at any given moment in time, as those songs turn our minds and hearts toward Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit all the while bearing witness to Him as the words of the music help authenticate the Gospel to our souls.

_____________________

ENDNOTES
[1] Andrew Lloyd Webber, “The Music of the Night,” The Phantom of the Opera. Lyrics online at: http://www.metrolyrics.com/music-of-the-night-lyrics-phantom-of-the-opera.html
[2] Tom Beaudoin, “Ambiguous Liturgy,” Christianity Today Library.com (http://www.ctlibrary.com/345)
[3] Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 20005): 072.
[4] Beaudoin, “Liturgy.”
[5] Reported in Brad Steiger, Revelation: The Divine Fire (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1973): 92.

Note: Larry DeBruyn passed away in 2017. He wrote this article in 2006.

Related Articles:

Take Away From Me the Noise of Your Songs by Sandy Simpson

Warning: Hymnary.org (Via Calvin College) Tainting Old Hymn With Contemplative Advice

Contemplative Music for Children? by Berit Kjos

(Photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

 

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