Monday, July 4, 2011

The Influence of Witchcraft In the Church - More Stupidity #9

-9 The Influence of Witchcraft In the Church - What? The church does not engage in witchcraft! Well, some Christians do - and it is more common than you might think.

Human beings are designed to engage the supernatural realms. Some of it's just not God! Even 33% of atheists believe in the paranormal and prayer.

Martin Luther taught that witchcraft was a sin because the 2nd commandment says, "you shall have no other God before me." With that in mind, and before we look at the scriptures, here is brief list of practices and topics that I found in the Google search "christian witchcraft."

- Divination, Fortune Telling, Horoscopes, Tarot Cards, Psychics and Ouija Boards

- Fantasy characters such as Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, Disney, Santa and the Easter Bunny

- Holidays that take place on pagan holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Valentines Day

- White and Black Witchcraft, Wicca and Liberal Christians only casting loving spells (I really found that!)

- Satanism

- Repetitive prayers and mantras

- Positive Thinking - you thinking good thoughts, random acts of kindness.

- Study of the temperaments and other psychological practices

- Eastern Religions and their practices

- Santeria, Skull Worship, cannibalism, shrunken heads and various Indian traditions

The Bible definitively condemns the practice of witchcraft.

Deuteronomy 18:10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD.

Exodus 22:18 Do not allow a sorceress to live.

Some who practiced near-east religions acted as "mediums", channeling messages from the dead or from a "familiar spirit". This would include things like ghosts, seances, demons inhabiting homes, and other tangible items such as crystals and dream catchers.

Saul rightly consulted prophets (supernatural hearing from God) as king of Israel and sinned when he consulted the witch Endor (supernatural hearing from the demonic) 1 Samuel 28.

The difference is the source!

The church (Catholic, Pentecostal, Charismatic and some independent denominations) maintain their own supernatural arsenal sometimes called charism (plural: charismata). The word comes from the Greek, charis - grace. It's a reflection of God's grace and power. These are described in 1 Corinthians 12, 13 and 14, Ephesians 4 and Romans 12.

The gifts of the spirit are from God, however; they can be duplicated by demons. I once ministered in a church full of false tongues. I have also ministered in hundreds of churches with the real deal. These are the type of spiritual phenomena that Paul said need to be spiritually discerned. The same is true of prophecy, healing and other types of miracles. If you don't know God, it is doubtful you'll recognize His handy work.

As we contrast the above list to the second commandment and the verse from Deuteronomy , we can easily weed out a number of practices.

Off the list are all types of spells, divination, psychic readings horoscopes and the like. We'll call that the occult. Also off the list are non-Christian religions - eastern, western, Indian, New Age, and Wicca. HERE is a related blog by Tony C Today.

That leaves us with holidays, fantasy characters, and psychological practice. Regarding psychology, there is some very good stuff out there, but use your discernment. Good psychology simply observes healthy godly behavior. I'd stay away from Jung, Freud, and some of the pop stuff. Remember, we can't make this stuff our god or we risk sinning against Him.

I am going to state my opinion when it comes to stuff like Harry Potter. If it looks like sin (witchcraft), it is likely to cause sin.

I am big fan of the imagination, and therefore artistic and creative writing is on the good list. God gives us talents and creative thoughts. Like everything else, we must keep the truth in perspective, and enjoy that which is created by artists. Certainly I am not talking about profane images, and other types of art that will cause us to sin.

With such a tremendous saturation of video games, entertainment, movies, online activities and a barrage of other media that runs 24/7, we need to find ways to keep our Christian life in balance. I don't think that we can set up a balance schedule - we need to hear from God and do it, that's always that bottom line.

A steady diet of non-Christian books, music, media and games, is not going to develop godly character!

When it comes to holidays, as Christians we must careful of the appearance of evil. If it looks like we are sinning, or we are doing things that cause others to sin, we're in trouble. The Christian calendar has been primarily established by the Roman Catholic church. Holidays were meant to "compete" with secular celebrations (this was the beginning of ineffective programs!). It is not what I would have done personally, however; tradition is not harmful unless it keeps us from God.

There is a realm between sin and holiness that I like to call Not Sin, Not God - Read About It HERE. It is possible to know which activities that are not strictly forbidden by scripture, are permissible.

Paul said this:
Romans 14:20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.

22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

Enjoy that which is legal, refrain that which is not, and keep your mouth shut about what is neither. How does that sound?

1 comment:

Charlie's Church of Christ said...

interesting post ultimately it comes down to discernment and discussion. Pastors who make declarations from the pulpit should probably be running the ideas through others - it may save us all some grief.

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