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O foolish Christian, who hath bewitched you?

 

Can Christians Be Affected by Witchcraft?

It’s that time of year again – Halloween – when the forces of evil assault the children of God and destroy Christians’ peace and joy. It’s a time when Satan and his army are at full strength, a time when the Christian can do little but hope to win the battle against the mighty powers of the enemy.

Really?

According to many people in the modern church, the statements above are indeed the truth. In this article, author Jennifer LeClaire writes that witchcraft can affect Christians, and she lists the signs that reveal that there is a curse on a person’s life. I generally remain silent about the questionable content of Charisma News; however, I could not remain silent about this article because I was once deceived by the false teachings about the supposed power of Satan over Christians. This high view of man and low view of God notion is found in the Spiritual Warfare Movement (SWM), also known as Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare. Teachers and authors such as C. Peter Wagner, Neil Anderson, Frank Peretti (This Present Darkness), and Derek Prince promote spiritual warfare.

These teachers and authors claim that demons occupy specific, territorial ground and that Christians have the power and authority to bind Satan, pray for hedges of protection, and demolish strongholds. These teachers also explain the various ranks in Satan’s army and how one can identify which demons are causing one’s problems; yes, all of this according to the demon’s name and “assignment”. Not only are these teachings dangerous and false, but they also dishonor our sovereign God, who providentially rules (Isaiah 45:5). Remember, friends, that God commands us to test everything and to rebuke false teachers (1Thessalonians 5:21Titus 1:9). I will not respond to every claim of LeClaire’s  –  most of her claims are speculative at best and certainly not found in the Word of God. However, I will examine her exegesis of Scripture.

My Experience with the Spiritual Warfare Movement

I became involved with the SWM because I had been sensing a heavy oppression; I’d also felt blocked from God. Additionally, the victory and healing that many “Christian” teachers claim (back then and today) belong to the children of Christ were not present in my life. This absence led me to question my faith, and I concluded that I had not been fully delivered from my previous involvement with the occult (which had included witchcraft). I researched the topic of deliverance and spiritual warfare, and before long, I found myself in one of the largest Pentecostal churches in my city and sitting between two people who were fervently praying for me. The woman who prayed over me (I’ll call her June, only because that’s her name), had apparently spoken to the “main” demon who had been wreaking havoc in my life. According to June, this demon had told her that I had a line of demons attached to me due to my previous involvement in the occult; and according to this demon, these “attached” demons were never going to let me go or let me talk about Jesus Christ. That evening, after the deliverance session, I left with more confusion. My suspicions about the demonic activity in my life had been confirmed; however, how was I to rid myself of these demons? The deliverance didn’t work.

During the next few years, my spiritual struggle continued. I followed the instructions for deliverance as found in books such as Neil T. Anderson’s The Bondage Breaker, and I prayed the prayers from books such as Paul Eckhardt’s The Prayers that Rout Demons and Break Curses. Sadly, I still felt oppressed; there was nothing more that I could do. In fact, it seemed that the more I participated in this “warfare”, the stronger the enemy became. I started to physically sense demons – much like in my days in the occult.

Seven years after my first attempt at deliverance, I again met with a deliverance minister. Since he believed that demons were more active during specific hours at night, we arranged to conduct the ceremony in the company of two other deliverance “experts” at 11:00 pm, and at my home. Praise God, mere hours before the ceremony, confusion erupted about payment for the service and the deliverance was canceled. Today, thanks to God, His truth, and the granting of true repentance (2 Timothy 2:25), I am free in Christ. Freedom came once I understood who Christ is  – my Sovereign Master and Redeemer, and once I saw who Satan really is – a liar and deceiver. To think that anyone is held captive by the Spiritual Warfare movement’s deceptions pains me. Christ came to set the captives free.

You Foolish Galatians, Who Has Bewitched You?

In LeClaire’s article, she writes that the Webster’s Dictionary defines witchcraft as “An irresistible influence or fascination”; she then says, “The Bible warns us not to be bewitched: ‘O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth? Before your eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified.'” However, the Bible passage she cites is not about witchcraft – the context of Galatians 3 is justification by faith. Here, Paul is warning the Galatians that they were being misled by the false promises and flattery of the false teachers. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary notes:

…a doctrine of salvation by works foolishly denies the necessity for grace and declares the death of the Lord Jesus Christ unnecessary. Yet this is what the Galatians were on the verge of embracing. They were being intellectually inconsistent, self-contradictory. How can such nonsense be explained? Paul suggests facetiously that perhaps they have been placed under a spell by some magician” (notes on Galatians 3:1).

In this light, it’s ironic that the book of Galatians is not warning about witchcraft but about false teachings and the abandonment of essential doctrine.

Next, LeClaire lists eight signs that are supposedly clear that a Christian is under the spell of witchcraft. The fourth point states:

“Forgetting who you really are: You are a child of the King. You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). You are blessed coming in and blessed going out. Everything you put your hand to prospers. That’s your legal position. But when witchcraft attacks, you feel like a worthless worm. You forget who you are in Christ, have little to no interest in the Word, church, praise, worship or the like. You may feel guilt, condemnation or self-pity.”

Once again, her exegesis of Scripture is problematic – the context of 1 John 4:4 is the ability to discern between the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error; this is obvious by reading the content before and after verse 4 – specifically verse 6, which states, “By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” Verse 4 has nothing to do with legal positions, prospering, or witchcraft; the message is that because God is in us, the Holy Spirit protects us from false teaching and that we have nothing to fear from the enemy who is in the world. In other words, Christians have overcome Satan and his false prophets because Christians have resisted their teachings through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is my opinion that some Christians misread this verse as “Greater are you because He is in you….”

Who is Bewitching Whom?

LeClaire concludes with this warning: “We all need to be careful about tapping into spiritual witchcraft and releasing word curses against others and ourselves.” I’m not sure how a person can accidentally tap into witchcraft; however, the attempt to gain power through “word curses” (or using the “creative power of words”, “naming and claiming”, etc.) is witchcraft! Anything that attempts to manipulate or control events outside of God’s absolute rule can be viewed as this sin of rebellion (1 Samuel 15:23). What is the difference between reciting words from a Book of Shadows and repeating affirmations from a Joel Osteen book? In the latter, only lip service is paid to Jesus Christ – the faith of the outcome is in the so-called power of words. In my occult days, I experienced the fruition of certain spells I cast, so do not be fooled, albeit limited, Satan has power on this earth.

Please do not believe that any resulting manifestations (of our desires, mostly) stemming from reciting daily affirmations are a blessing from God – it might be a judgment (Romans 1:24). Friend, be careful to test everything, to discern, and to not go beyond the bounds of Scripture (1 Corinthians 4:6).

Concerning the earlier definition of witchcraft, it would appear that those in the SWM are “bewitched’ by witchcraft and Satan – there seems to be a fascination and obsession with demons and the things unseen to the point that Scripture is both added to and misinterpreted. Moreover, the power available to Christians, as taught wrongly in the SWM, can also be seductive and fascinating. Desiring secret wisdom and God-like status was the cause of both Satan’s fall from heaven and the fall of man. Pride is at the root of this SWM teaching – to think that man is able to rebuke Satan when not even the archangel Michael attempted to rebuke him is prideful (Jude 1:9). And to imagine that one can direct or force the hand of God through scripted speech is beyond words. The teachings of SWM remove the focus from Jesus and the Gospel; instead, it aids the enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Not surprisingly, fear that should be reserved for God is now perverted and directed at Satan.

For those who are in Christ, there is no danger of being affected by witchcraft or curses (Proverbs 26:2). The real danger of the SWM lies in being led astray by false teachings and cleverly being drawn and tricked into pagan beliefs and practices. Surely, the SWM has more in common with witch doctors and shamans than it does with Christianity. To be aligned with this movement is to follow the teachings of men, not that of God; be aware of the doctrine of demons, for they have secretly crept into the church (1 Timothy 4:1Galatians 2:4Jude 4). The SWM causes confusion, which is of Satan, and its teachings toss Christians to and fro by human cunning and by craftiness in deceitful schemes (1 Corinthians 14:33Ephesians 4:14). With the widespread acceptance of these false teachings, I ask again: who is bewitching whom?

True Spiritual Warfare

Christians do not need to follow a bunch of legalistic rules to be free of Satan – the Gospel has set us free (John 8:32). True spiritual warfare is not about breaking curses, erecting hedges, or binding Satan and his demons. The passage in Ephesians 6:10-17 specifically addresses spiritual warfare; surprisingly, the teachings of the SWM are not found there. The Christian armor consists of truth, righteousness, the Gospel, faith, salvation, and the Word of God. In Scripture, these pieces of armor are repeatedly mentioned in connection with God’s protection. Here are just a few of the verses that reflect this:

  • In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3:6)
  • Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you (Isaiah 41:10)
  • Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7)
  • But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
  • We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. (1 John 5:18).
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7)

The wondrous sacrifice of Jesus Christ frees Christians not only from eternal hell and from separation, but also from worry and anxiety. How can people experience peace if they believe they are under the power of witchcraft? Or if they believe they have a line of demons “attached” to them?

Friends, have nothing to do with the deeds of evil (Ephesians 5:11); we are to think of things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and anything worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). What a blessing that is! We are free to focus on these things because God is in control and because Christians belong to Christ Jesus. Someone advised that Christians should preach the Gospel to themselves every day. I think that is a great idea – let’s keep our eyes on the Savior. As the psalmist wrote, “Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation” (Psalm 42:5).

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pamela

Resources for further study:

I highly recommend this series: Justin Peters’ interview with Jim Osman, author of Truth or Territory? Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 – Demolishing Strongholds, Part 4 – Hedges of Protection, Part 5 – Hexes and Generational Curses, Part 6 – Binding Satan, Part 7 – Rebuking Satan, Part 8 – Spiritual Mapping

How Deliverance Ministries Lead People Into Bondage

The Strategy of Satan – How to Detect and Defeat Him

Southern View Chapel: Spiritual Warfare Part 1, Part 2

Recommended Books (courtesy of Glenn E. Chatfield of The Watchman’s Bagpipes)

Territorial Spirits and World Evangelisation? by Chuck Lowe

Miracles, Demons, & Spiritual Warfare: An Urgent Call for Discernment by Edward N. Gross

Modern Myths About Satan and Spiritual Warfare by David Kirkwood

Power Encounters: Reclaiming Spiritual Warfare by David Powlison

The Bondage Breakers by Ignacio Rovirosa

Psalm 91:1-4

 

 

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Cult of Personality: The darkness under the evangelical limelight

The Cult of Personality – The darkness under the evangelical spotlight

I sell the things you need to be
I’m the smiling face on your TV
I’m the cult of personality
I exploit you, still you love me
I tell you one and one makes three

You gave me fortune
You gave me fame
You gave me power in your God’s name
I’m every person you need to be
I’m the cult of personality

These lyrics from the 1988 song “Cult of Personality” (by the band Living Color) aptly describe the many preachers and teachers found in Christian media, megachurches, bookstores, and at conferences. Wikipedia states: “A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods to create an idealized, heroic, and at times, worshipful image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise.” These prominent ‘Christian’ leaders deliver these false gospels and teachings, which flatter the ego and praise the flesh. They exploit the sheep, lie, (2 Peter 2:1-3) and tickle the carnal Christian’s ears with what the Christian desires to hear (2 Timothy 4:3), while they themselves are revered and put up with easily enough (2 Corinthians 11:4).

When we think of a cult, usually Jehovah’s Witnesses, the religion of Scientology, or someone like David Koresh comes to mind, as we’ve become accustomed to determining which group is a cult, based on society’s definition. However, cults and their leaders can be determined from a theological basis as well. While we can examine prominent leaders in the visible church from the societal viewpoint (which include devotion toward a particular figure, having beliefs regarded by others as strange or sinister or having a misplaced admiration for a particular person), I’ll use a theological viewpoint to show how some evangelicals in the limelight exhibit the traits of cult leaders. I’ll show how they teach so-called truths that deviate from the Christian faith.

Marks of a Cult–From a Theological Viewpoint

While society is concerned with whether a cult is physically dangerous, the theological viewpoint determines if a cult is spiritually dangerous, based on whether the original doctrines of biblical truth have been distorted. This is important because spiritual deception and heresies may have devastating eternal consequences.

The following points demonstrate how some evangelicals (personalities) in the limelight distort the original doctrines of biblical truth.

1. These Personalities Introduce Extra-Biblical Revelations or Teachings 

Teachings and practices not found in Scripture flourish due to some popular Christian leaders. These practices include: contemplative prayer, spiritual formation, lectio divina, prayer circles, deliverance ministries and false spiritual warfare teachings; mysticism, psychology,  positive thinking and humanism, word of faith teachings, modern-day prophecies, heaven and hell ‘tourism‘, the slain in the spirit phenomenon, to name but a few. Additionally, there are many women pastors who disobey God’s command that women should not teach men; sadly, many popular leaders support these women. Many high-profile teachers also support gay marriage through the lens of distorted scripture. Rachel Held Evans is an example of one who teaches men and who supports gay marriage:

Rachel Held Evans support of gay marriage

 

2. These Personalities Promote a Wrong View of God and/or Man

Many popular leaders have a wrong view of the members of the Trinity: T.D. Jakes is a Modalist, John Hagee denies Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, Brian Houston of Hillsong claims Muslims and Christians serve the same god (1:30 minute mark), while Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch and Kenneth Copeland proclaim we are gods.

The Word of Faith Movement is notorious for elevating man while mocking God’s sovereignty and providence, as recorded here:

 

3. These Personalities Minimize or Eliminate Sin

Absent from the limelight is the need for repentance and the wretchedness of sin. Joyce Meyer eliminates her sin altogether and says she is not a sinner.

Joel Osteen talks about his decision to not teach about sin.

4. These Personalities Teach a Different Gospel

Found amongst the teachings of these leaders are the false man-made gospels of Ecumenism, the Prosperity Gospel,  NAR/Dominionism, Chrislam, and the Social Gospel. New Age and Eastern Mysticism are present in most of these false gospels.

Yet another lie promoted by Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Copeland, Frederick K. Price, Kenneth Hagin, Charles Capps, and other Word of Faithers is that Jesus paid for our sins in hell.

Also tragic are the many teachers who wrongly state that speaking in tongues, healing, and/or sinless perfection are proof of salvation.

5. These Personalities Are ‘Guru Type’ Leaders 

These prominent Christians promise what the Bible does not promise–the seeking and fulfillment of carnal desires such as wealth, health, prosperity, and a comfortable life. Since Jesus did not teach that we are promised these things this side of heaven, it is clear that followers of these teachers are following the teachings of men and not those of God: ‘For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive’ (Romans 16:18).

These teachers toss the name of Jesus around as lip service in order to deceive the sheep and often blaspheme His precious name with heresies, so that these stars and starlets can be catapulted into fame and wealth. These prominent leaders have managed to acquire a large following rather successfully. Unfortunately, many in the church are blind as to how captive they are.

Biblically ignorant Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church, perfectly demonstrates the strong hold over his followers:

 

Steven Furtick

Used with permission from Mary, who faithfully contends for the faith at Living4HisGlory

 

Steven Furtick is a visionary that his followers must unite under? Shockingly unbiblical.

Just as with traditional cults, followers of false teachers often passionately defend their leaders when these teachers are exposed as false teachers. Regrettably, the followers do not compare that what is being taught by their idols to Scripture, and they defend the teachings of these men and women, and not the Word of God. They demonstrate a willful ignorance and submission to these leaders.

Not surprisingly, most of these leaders are no better at receiving rebuke, and instead of prayerfully submitting to God’s wisdom and studiously studying God’s Word, they get angry and defensive. Again, Steven Furtick perfectly demonstrates this:

 

 

Furtick egotistically disagrees with God’s command to test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21), to expose false teaching (Ephesians 5:11), and to show ourselves approved in rightly handling the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). This video surely demonstrates many of the personality traits of a typical cult leader. A typical cult leader:

  • has a grandiose idea of who he is
  • requires excessive admiration
  • is arrogant and haughty
  • is hypersensitive to how he is perceived by others
  • publicly devalues others as being incapable, inferior or unworthy
  • calls those who question him the  ‘enemy’
  • refers to non-members or non-followers of him as ‘the enemy’
  • treats others with contempt and arrogance

Warnings and Judgements

As shown, the teachers mentioned above are teaching heresies; they are surely not part of the faith that was once delivered–they are teaching different doctrines and are therefore cults.

Scripture is clear regarding the seriousness of false teachings and the judgement that will follow. If you think there is nothing wrong with these teachers because they teach some ‘good stuff’ or their teachings have ‘blessed you’, please take your eyes off them and read these warnings from God:

  • And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed (2 Peter 2.2).
  • But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:8).
  • As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned (Titus 3:11).
  • But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction (2 Peter 2:1).
  • Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons (1 Timothy 4:1).
  • Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep (2 Peter 2:1-3).

The warnings are clear, and yet many are ignoring them just as in Jeremiah’s day.

Don’t Believe the Lies!

If you are of the opinion that these teachers are Godly because they are successful, that is a lie. God’s definition of success is not popularity–think of the apostles and of others martyred for their faith, even to this day.

If you think examining doctrine is being divisive, that is a lie. Romans 16:17-18 is clear that it is those who teach unbiblical doctrines that are causing division.

If you think we are not supposed to judge, that is a misconception and lie. We are to judge righteously (John 7:24).

If you think questioning these people is unloving, that is a lie. Love is sharing the truth–the truth of the Gospel in the hope for God’s mercy and His granting of repentance.

If you think being doctrinally accurate is ‘stifling’ the Holy Spirit, that is a lie. The Holy Spirit teaches and convicts us through the Word of God. If we are ignorant to what Scripture says, that is ‘stifling’ the Holy Spirit.

Lastly, it is a lie and a deception to think that just because you love Jesus that you cannot be deceived. Matthew 24:24 teaches that false teachers will perform such signs and wonders that if possible they would deceive the elect. Therefore, these teachers are deceiving some in the visible church. If you think you might possibly be deceived by these teachers, you should examine yourself to see if you’re in the faith and if you’re truly saved (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Beloved, take nothing for granted. The time we have left is short; pray for wisdom and discernment and examine whom and what you believe. Stop following this cult of personalities and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, our rock and redeemer who deserves all the glory.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pamela

ANNOUNCEMENT: CONGRATULATIONS Susie Glennan! YOU ARE THE WINNER OF THE JESUS UNMASKED GIVEAWAY! Please check your email inbox or spam folder 🙂

 

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Eye of Newt, and Toe of Frog, In the Name of Jesus, Abracadabra, Amen

What does 'praying in the name of Jesus" mean

 

Why is it common for Word of Faith teachers to repeat “in the name of Jesus” so frequently during prayer? Is it out of reverence for His name? Is it because they are under the impression that’s how we are commanded to pray? Or is there a presumption that the phrase amplifies the effectiveness of prayer? After all, if we can believe and conceive, and our words have power, why not throw a mantra into the potion?

Here is but one example of the “in the name of Jesus” incantation. Since Joyce Meyer speaks rapidly, I have included a transcript below the video:

 

 

Transcript: How many of you have some kind of pain or sickness in your body? See? Oh my gosh. Just imagine; no wonder the devil wants us to feel bad; imagine what we could do if we had full energy (crowd screams and cheers). Okay, Father, I pray in the name of Jesus, the name that is above every name. And I believe that we have authority to pray in that name. I bind Satan; we join our faith together and we bind the devil and every demon, principality and power and we especially bind demons of infirmity and sickness. And we cast them out…in the name of Jesus. We say they have no access to our lives. And if we’re giving them any, God, we’ve opened the door, then show us how we’ve opened that door and give us the common sense and the wisdom to close it. I pray for people who need mental healing, emotional healing, and physical healing, that you would heal us in every area of our life. So I speak over you today, the Word of God and I say, “Be healed” in the name of Jesus. Amen. Amen, amen, amen, amen, amen!

I won’t discuss the Word of Faith Movement’s teachings on healing* or spiritual warfare** in this blog post, as I want to stay on topic. However, since Meyer’s conference was named “Love Life”, it’s not surprising that there would be guidance on how to obtain carnal wants. This is not unexpected, as Joyce Meyer is merely feeding her followers what they desire to hear. If she held a conference titled “Whoever Loves Her Life Will Lose It” (John 12:25), the stadium would be empty.

Meyer used “the name of Jesus” four times during her one-minute prayer on the video clip. So, the $64 000 question is this: was she praying in Jesus’ name?

What’s In a Name?

To do something in someone’s name means we do it according to that person’s character, will, values, and with the person’s blessing and/or authority. As believers, we have access to God through Jesus Christ, the only mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5).

Thy Will Be Done

Praying in Jesus’ name equals praying according to the will of God (1 John 5:14-15) and for things that will glorify and honor Him. When Jesus told His disciples that whatever they asked in His name would be granted to them, He was teaching that our prayers need to be consistent with what is His will.

Whose Name Is Being Prayed In?

Concerning Meyer’s sample prayer: Is it Jesus’ will and purpose to bind, cast out Satan, and to deny Satan access to our lives? Is it His will and purpose to heal us mentally, emotionally, physically and in every area of our lives? I’m unaware of any verse that supports these claims. Were the audience members healed? Did anyone wonder why no one was healed?

In these pagan circles, Jesus’ name is heralded as a magical incantation which orders God to grant requests without any regard for His will. Our God is our sovereign Lord; He does not kowtow to us; in fact, He abhors superstition and sorcery (Deuteronomy 18:10).

If they are not praying in the name of Jesus, then in whose name is the audience praying? Whose will are they asking to be done? It might be tempting to think these followers are praying in the name of Joyce Meyer, but they are praying in the name of the father of lies (John 8:22;1 John 5:19Ephesians 2:22 Timothy 2:26). “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:16). These worldly desires are what Meyer and the rest of the Word of Faith Movement pray and believe for. These fleshly desires represent the name, character, and values of Satan, who seeks and destroys (1 Peter 5:8).

Am I suggesting that anyone who ends prayers with “in the name of Jesus” is practicing superstition? No, not at all. I’m asking that we check our motives. Are we using “in the name of Jesus” to signal the end of the prayer? To remind us with gratitude of the Son who secured us direct access to our Father? And suppose we step out of this habit–if it is one, of course–and end our prayers with a sufficient “amen”, do our hearts skip a beat because we wonder whether God has heard our prayers, that the prayer has somehow lost power? Do we become confused and falter in the faith that was not secured in the name above all names (Philippians 2:9)? We should always examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).

What a glorious, undeserved gift we have – access to our Creator, the Alpha and Omega. Let us pray for wisdom to know the will of God, and let’s focus on what pleases Him, on what will have eternal impact for His Kingdom, and on what will glorify His glorious name.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pamela

Further Reading:

* The Word of Faith Movement’s false view of healing

** Binding and Loosing

Where Two or More Are Gathered” relates to church discipline

 

 

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The Dangers of Hypnosis

The Dangers of Hypnosis. Christians should not participate in this practice.

 

You’ve most likely experienced different states of awareness, whether having been lost in thought while driving a familiar route, singularly focusing on a project, or watching a movie with rapt attention. These scenarios all have the hallmarks of a hypnotic trance–slight amnesia, time distortion, and loss of awareness of your surroundings and of your body. It’s probably happening now to some extent, or did you realize your tongue was touching the back of your teeth?

While these altered states of awareness are a normal everyday part of being human, I must underline that the act of inducing trance states– regardless of the purpose and person doing it–is abnormal.

What is Hypnosis?

There are many definitions; however, this one from freedictionary.com explains it well: “An artificially induced state of relaxation and concentration in which deeper parts of the mind become more accessible”.

Generally, hypnosis is used for pain relief in place of anaesthesia, to cause psychological change, and in occult practices.

How Hypnosis is Induced

When I was a practicing hypnotherapist, and upon meeting clients for the first time, I would begin to build rapport by matching how they spoke, breathed, and positioned themselves; furthermore, I’d used various other methods, which I’ll discuss in a future post. My point is that I used techniques outside the awareness levels of my clients–all for the sole purpose of affecting and building agreement with their subconscious minds.

Fun fact: Who hasn’t seen a hypnotist swinging a watch in front of someone’s eyes? The deft practitioner would then tell the client, “You are getting sleepy”, or “Your eyelids are getting heavy”. Well, this procedure aids in inducing a hypnotic trance: As the client keeps his or her head level and following the pendulum-like movements of the watch, the client’s eyelids do get heavy. Go ahead…try it! While keeping your head level and still, gaze up and pretend to follow an imaginary watch that is swinging a few inches in front of your forehead. I’ll wait.

Exhausting, isn’t it? When the hypnotist remarks how tiring it is, the subconscious mind agrees and is primed for further agreement.

Next, as I instructed my clients to relax, I would use manipulative language patterns to help them go into a trance, and then to bypass the “critical mind”. Every waking second, we are being fed tons of information–from sights and sounds to words and thoughts. Once someone is in a trance, the hypnotist can bypass the factor that judges information and may then implant suggestions for change.

(Note: No, a person will not go rob a bank if that particular suggestion is planted nor will someone be able to recall the information in a set of encyclopedias should one be read to that person while under hypnosis.)

Outside of my practice, I consulted for a chain of hypnosis centers that used a light and sound machine to affect the brain waves of clients. The machine looked much like this one:

 

 

I don’t recall receiving any specific knowledge regarding this machine. My instructions were simply to make sure the lights and sounds were not loud and to be careful not to use the machine on epileptics, as it could cause seizures. Scary, eh?

Limited Training

The majority of my clients wanted relief from addictions, phobias, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Astonishingly, my certification to become a hypnosis practitioner and master practitioner took only about one month; the training for the chain of hypnosis centers was much shorter.

And then this revealing piece from a decades–long practicing veteran and one of the leading hypnotists in the world: “Right now, our view is that most certifications mean nothing anyway. The certifying bodies are usually owned by the trainer, and some of the larger certification bodies provide what we consider garbage training.”

Garbage training; I agree. Truth be told: not a single hypnosis practitioner, despite reputation, has the right to dig around in the minds of others.

Is Hypnosis Mind Control?

This is a common question. Naturally, opponents of hypnosis say it is mind control while defenders claim it is not. 

This site claims that hypnosis is not mind control. It says:

Hypnosis is no more mind control than watching TV, listening to a political speech, or attending a worship service. It is my belief that a person will not do anything under hypnosis that is against his/her will.”

This statement makes hypnosis seem like an innocent and non-invasive technique. Don’t people go to a hypnotherapist so that another person (the therapist) can control their minds in order to bring about therapeutic change? These defenders can’t sit on the fence by claiming their technique is as innocent as watching TV, and yet attempt to attract clients by proclaiming hypnosis is powerful enough to help people overcome their battles. A little logic, please.

While people will not do anything while under hypnosis that is against their will, the clients certainly are seeking techniques that will override their will. For instance, people without the willpower to stop smoking are seeking another person to change their wills for them in order to quit.

The Arguments from Professing Christians Who Defend Hypnosis

Look at the last sentence in this quote from a United Methodist pastor (bold is mine):

I’ve been a hypnotist for 17 years. And for 17 years I’ve had to deal with people who think hypnosis is of the devil. Where do they get such a notion? Usually, it comes from the non-expert, expert. People who think they know, but they don’t know. People who make blanket statements without researching the facts. People whom you would think know better, but they don‘t. Usually, most objections come from Evangelical Christians who believe the Bible is inerrant [without error]. If the Bible says it, it must be true.”

 

john macarthur

 

Exactly, John MacArthur! There’s the problem right there. Anyone who believes the Bible is errant can make up the rules as he or she goes along.

Oddly, the Methodist pastor then goes on to teach us exegesis and attempts to defend his practice of hypnosis; he states there are no verses in the Bible that prohibit hypnosis. There are also no verses in the Bible that prohibit eating sand, but guess what’s not on the menu tonight?

This pastor also brings out the overused “people fear what they do not understand” defense. Well, many others and I perfectly understand. May I respond with, “people promote the evil that they do not discern”?

Then there’s this  minister and director of hypnotherapy who says,

Some would say that there is no place in religion for hypnosis. I believe that hypnosis and religious faith can work hand in hand to bring about a better life. Jesus said in St. John 10:10, “I am come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.”

Well, in that case, if a better and abundant life is what we’re after, then anything goes.

 

Joel Osteen

 

I think he is, Joel!

This minister goes on to say,

There are certainly some strong prohibitions in some Christian books, but the readership is, I think, restricted to fundamentalists.”

So it’s all occult fun and games until those pesky “fundamentalists” show up–you know, the ones who believe the Bible is inerrant and authoritative.

He continues, “Hypnosis is one of the gifts of God which help people experience the ‘more abundant life'”.  Really? What’s the chapter and verse for that?

There I go, getting all “fundamentalist” again.

What Do the Fundamentalists Say?

In Occult Invasion, Dave Hunt says,

Spontaneous “memories” of past and future lives (about one-fifth involving existence on other planets) often surface. Hypnotic trance also duplicates the experiences common under the stimulation of psychedelic drugs, TM and other forms of yoga and Eastern meditation. Moreover, hypnotized subjects spontaneously manifest psychic powers, clairvoyance, out-of-body experiences, and the whole range of occult phenomena (p.454)”.

Hunt also says,

“If the human spirit operates the brain, which in turn operates the body, then…hypnosis…and any other technique for altering consciousness could very well loosen the normal connection between the spirit and the brain. That temporary disconnection could allow another spirit to operate the brain and thereby subject that person to occult bondage and delusion (p. 67)”.

In The Kingdom of the Occult, Walter Martin gives an example of another spirit operating the brain in this chilling account of Hollywood star Glenn Ford, who submitted to hypnosis to explore his “previous lives”:

He [Ford] discovered he had been killed in a duel in one of his past lives. A sword penetrated his body, and Ford described the pain under hypnosis. But as real as this sword wound seemed to be, the whole story was nothing but a clever occult farce.

When Glenn Ford awoke, the hypnotist pointed to a birthmark as the exact spot where his wound occurred in a previous incarnation, and Ford believed it after listening to himself speak fluent French on audiotape – a language he had never learned. And it was not modern French. UCLA experts analyzed the tape and determined that Ford was speaking a Parisian dialect common in seventeenth-century France (p.254-255)”.

Dave Hunt explains: “Satan is behind the world of reincarnation, and he supplies all the data. He details all the regressions, so it is not surprising when the details check out” (p.255).

Past life regression (PLR), psychic communication, seances, automatic writing, and hypnosis have long been connected to the occult. Hypnosis is dangerous not only because another person is affecting your mind, but also because Satan is always looking for any opportunity to destroy (1 Peter 5:8).

What Does the Bible Say?

  • The fruit of the spirit is self-control (Galatians 5:22). Hypnosis is giving someone else control.
  • Above all else, guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23). The heart is what affects speech and conduct. We must guard our heart, not let down our guard.
  • Renew your mind by studying the Word of God and meditate on it day and night (Psalm 1:2). Do not empty your mind.
  • We are to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). We can’t do that when we’re in a trance state and under suggestion by another. 

Hypnosis does not glorify God or lead to Jesus. Beloved, walk in the truth of the Lord (Psalm 86:11), conquer your thoughts with spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10:4-5), and submit yourself to God only (James 4:7).

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pamela

Free ebook from PsychoHeresy: Hypnosis: Medical, Scientific, or Occultic?

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Witnessing to New Agers

What is the New Age Movement and how do I witness to them?

 

The New Age Movement (NAM) has been very successful at infiltrating our society. Its principles, beliefs, and practices are everywhere: In business, entertainment, sports, health, schools, our homes, and even the evangelical church. New Age authors and leaders such as Louise Hay, Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer (who died in August 2015), and countless others, have been seducing and lying to Christians for decades. Unsuspecting believers assume these authors are merely dishing out solid advice on good health or spiritual matters; however, a true Berean would quickly point out that these deceivers’ teachings are not scriptural at all.

Before I address the witnessing aspect, it’s important to understand the views of this movement. I have kept it brief; however, since its teachings encompass a variety of philosophies, religions, and practices, I’ve supplied links below the article, should you want to learn more.

What is the New Age Movement and what are Its Views?

The Age of Aquarius is the belief that Earth is moving into an astronomical age in which we will realize that man is God, or that God is within. As we know, the idea of self-deification isn’t new–it goes back to the Garden of Eden and has been haunting us ever since.

When I was a New Ager, I viewed Christians as having good intentions, but scoring low on the “spiritual totem pole”. I saw Christians’ rules and lifestyle, but to me, those things were not spirituality; I assumed Christians would ascend higher through incarnations (a series of future lifetimes). I viewed the Bible as one of many holy books, but I never read it, as I didn’t think it would contain any helpful guidance on attaining ‘enlightenment’.

Because those in the New Age Movement like to redefine words and concepts, or try not be “limited” by them, it can be difficult trying to reason with them–the postmodern views that “there is no such thing as absolute truth”, and that “what is true for you is not true for me” apply. Additionally, clouding their minds is the belief that all religions lead to enlightenment, as we are all on our own paths.

The NAM’s View of God

Monism (the belief that everything is one) and pantheism (a universal force that is god) are two prominent views of “god”. I believed the universal force was sovereign, but that everything in existence was a part of it. Beliefs are very fluid and subjective in the NAM; regardless, the “Divine” is an impersonal force. New Age techniques are used to attain a “high vibration” and to raise one’s consciousness to attain true oneness with this force. Feelings of joy, awe, excitement, and peace are common, which only reinforce the belief that the NAM practitioner has found “truth”.

The NAM’s View of Jesus

Jesus is viewed as a man who attained spiritual enlightenment through New Age/occult practices, just as Buddha and Zoroaster did. In their view, Jesus is not Christ or king.

The NAM’s View of Salvation

The NAM dictates that man is busy evolving towards godhood through reincarnation. Since people pay for the actions of their previous lives (incarnation), this aspect of the NAM is a futile and works-based religion.

Witnessing to New Agers

1. Pray!

This is a spiritual battle, and the real enemy is Satan and not the people you are witnessing to (Ephesians 6:12-13). Pray that God would allow them to see the light of the Gospel that the god of this world has blinded them to (2 Corinthians 4:4), also pray that God would grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 2:25).

2. Be Gentle While Tackling New Agers’ Arguments

New Agers are just people, and they don’t all share the same views. So ask specific questions about what and why they believe. For instance, ask the following: “What do you think about the reality of human evil?” New Age thinking lacks an objective moral basis, since everyone creates his or her own moral reality. If you were to punch a New Ager in the face (which I’m not advocating), that unfortunate person would surely view that punch as wrong. Christianity offers an objective moral reality that the NAM viewpoint doesn’t.

Concerning the Christian’s supernatural, heavenly weapons that are able to demolish strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4-5), Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary has this to say:

The work of the ministry is a spiritual warfare with spiritual enemies, and for spiritual purposes. Outward force is not the method of the gospel, but strong persuasions, by the power of truth and the meekness of wisdom. Conscience is accountable to God only; and people must be persuaded to God and their duty, not driven by force. Thus the weapons of our warfare are very powerful; the evidence of truth is convincing. What opposition is made against the gospel, by the powers of sin and Satan in the hearts of men! But observe the conquest the word of God gains. The appointed means, however feeble they appear to some, will be mighty through God. And the preaching of the cross, by men of faith and prayer, has always been fatal to idolatry, impiety, and wickedness.”

Yes! Regarding arguments the preaching of the cross is “fatal” as “The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit…able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).”

3. Explain Their Need to Be Saved From God’s Wrath (Share the Gospel)

Telling New Agers that they have “sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” will mean nothing to them (the same way that statement would mean nothing to atheists or agnostics). When people believe they have the spark of “Divinity” within, they believe that they are the glory and so “sin” is just another guilt-tripping Christian word.

Gently explain to them that right and wrong exist; we–all people–know that because God has given each of us a conscience and His moral law. We’ve all broken that law, thereby deserving His punishment. Share the Gospel; if you missed my post a few weeks ago, Hell’s Best Kept Secret is a great model for revealing sin and sharing the Gospel.

I hope that by taking some of the mystery out of this movement, you are able to see it’s just another works-based religion–with occult techniques thrown in the mix–that leads to eternal separation from God. The world’s religions claim that man is innately good and can earn his/her way to heaven through good works or through the realization of his/her own godlike status. Christianity teaches the opposite: we need to recognize our sinfulness and our need for salvation through the grace (Jesus) that God has provided, and not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Soli Deo Gloria

Pamela

Further resources:

Witnessing to New Agers

Christian Answers for the New Age

Is the New Age Just Old News? Interviews with Caryl Matrisciana (Part 1) (Part 2)

A Brief Dictionary on New Age Terminology

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About

Wow, a whole page just about me.

Actually, I talk about myself a fair amount on this blog, because I’ve been deceived – a lot. From my formative years until adulthood, I was an atheist. Sadly, it didn’t take much convincing for me to then dive into the New Age Movement (thank you, Oprah), and from there it was a dark slide into the occult for many years. Although God mercifully revealed the truth of His Son, Jesus Christ to me in November of 2000, I followed false teachers or ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ (Matthew 7:15) for the next 14 years.

I devoured false teachings from Word of Faith teachers and prosperity preachers. Through the local churches, I was introduced to “healing” crusades, spiritual warfarespiritual formation, lectio divina, and contemplative prayer. I believed in false ‘Christs’, accepted scripture misinterpretation, and listened for God’s audible voice–and responded to it!

I was still in the occult.

Now I write to warn those who will have ears to hear (Matthew 11:15). If you are a berean who has spotted counterfeit Christs (Matthew 24:4) and doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1), I pray that the material in this blog will aid you should you need to correct someone who is deceived as I was. However, if you haven’t been a berean nor tested everything against the Word of God (Ephesians 5:11), then please pray for wisdom and discernment and test what I write against Scripture. Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).

I do not update this blog frequently; I will write new articles as I see dangerous trends emerging in the evangelical church that I have experienced myself.

Thank you for visiting. If you want to contact me, I can be reached at pamelacouvrette@gmail.com or on Facebook. In the meantime, I look forward to guarding the deposit with you (2 Timothy 1:14).

Hallowed be His name,

Pamela Couvrette

May 24, 2016

All Scripture verses on this blog are from the ESV, unless otherwise noted.

Photos created by the owner of this website may not be altered. Permission is granted to distribute and share articles in their entirety.

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