Occult practice in the "Christian" church?

Discussion in 'Spiritual Warfare' started by moselle, Mar 9, 2010.

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  1. moselle

    moselle Puritan Board Freshman

    I have family members who attend a charismatic church in Redding, CA - it's pastors encourage the use of things like fire tunnels as a means of worship, and they have frequent reports of strange happenings like rain showers and floating feathers in the building. The pastors also consult "seers" within their church. Lots of signs and wonders, miraculous healings, etc.

    Anyway, I'm wondering if any of this sounds like demonic activity that Satan may use to deceive church goers into believing they are experiencing acts of the Holy Spirit? Can Satan perform true miracles/healings as a means to deceive? I mean, if it keeps the crowds coming and prevents them from hearing the gospel (sound Biblical teaching is completely absent), then "mission accomplished" :barfy:?

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah." So he left them and departed. - Matt 16:4
     
  3. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    Sandy,

    Yes, Satan performs signs and wonders to deceive people. There's not a reason to find a demon behind every bush, but I don't rule out demonic activity when considering the Toronto Blessing and the like.

    In Exodus 7-10, Pharoah's magicians are able to replicate some of the plagues the Lord sends upon Egypt.

    Matthew 24
    23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.

    2 Thessalonians
    9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
     
  4. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Yep. You can add my vote that it's possible for true miracles and healings to be taking place and it be demonic activity. Satan is tricky. But it's also very possible that people simply see what they're hoping to see. This too is the devil's work, though not "miraculous" as we tend to think of it. Part of the devil's warfare is to keep minds dull, unable and not desiring to see the truth, easily deceived and convinced of things that are not true.
     
  5. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    Let me guess, it's Bethel Church. In fact, I will continue typing as if you have answered "yes," because I am quite certain this is the cult you are referring to. Bill Johnson, the leader there, was a pioneer in incorporating fire tunnels into "worship." The charismania at this church is worse than TBN or anything you've seen on Youtube. At the very least, it is just as bad as whatever you have seen. I definitely believe that what is manifested at their gatherings is demonic in at least some sense; it's not Christian doctrinally or in basic practice.
    What is particularly scary for my area in Northern California is that they have a church plant here and they are in the plans of merging with local charismaniac churches to create a sort of insane megachurch. You know a church has some issues when its pastor on Facebook calls the night's gathering a "runaway service" or "hard to remember since [he] was so drunk [in the Spirit]." Sigh.
     
  6. youthevang

    youthevang Puritan Board Freshman

    @moselle, I would say that Satan performs counterfeit miracles and healings as well as portraying himself as an angel of light.

    "If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul." -- Deuteronomy 13:1-3
     
  7. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator Staff Member

    Superstition is the lever by which weak demons produce the appearance of great and frightening power.

    They will make efficient use of the local superstitions and expectations of a group, village, church, whatever, and they will create schemes to fit those localities. Given the right superstitious package, the demon can scare a group to death, destruction or at least exhibit control.

    I used to believe that the economy of the demonic world was power, I don't believe that anymore, they trade and work in superstition. Our own superstition and expectations 'empower' (actually it's all an illusion) the demons. Take away superstition by teaching a Biblical worldview and preaching the Gospel and removing fearfulness and you have removed the demons ability to affect people.

    There are three beliefs regarding demons but only these first two are common:

    1. Demons exist and they are powerful and frightening, and
    2. Demons do not exist, they are explained by natural phenomena and subconscious brain functions.

    The third, and I believe Biblical response is that demons DO exist but they were greatly weakened at the establishment of the Kingdom. Any real power is gone and they must rely on misconceptions, fears and superstitions BUT that is enough. Demons have studied humans since we were created. They know our weaknesses, they know how susceptible we are to fear and that we can be controlled by it.
     
  8. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I tend to think along these lines as well. By the way, nice Latin under your username. :lol:
     
  9. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator Staff Member

    Thanks Austin, it was the first thing I learned as an altar boy. My grand mother taught me that it should be clean 'sub ubi'.

     
  10. moselle

    moselle Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes - they moved half-way across the country to attend Bethel. My sister now works for one of the pastors. At first I looked into it, because - hey - they moved half-way across the country...but the more I listened to the free online weekly sermons, the more confused, and then downright disgusted I became. How could they shovel such garbage into the mind of my sister and her husband and two small children? And then I started hearing about the weird stuff...

    They are generally well-read - my sister has read books by John Piper and says they LOVE the Westminster Confession. :confused: I can't reconcile it in my head. It's like they are saying, we love nutritious and delicious food, but mostly love to eat from our neighbor's maggot-infested trash? Can they be so blind? Except as Marie posted - God has sent them delusions that they would believe a lie.

    I keep praying that God would somehow use her new job to show her the truth and remove the blindness from her eyes.
     
  11. sastark

    sastark Puritan Board Graduate

    Moselle, my dad is a Presbyterian minister in Redding, CA. I know of Bethel firsthand. My dad is currently preaching a series on the topic of "False Teachers" aimed directly at the anti-christian teachings coming out of Bethel. I strongly encourage you to tell your sister about my dad's church. If she LOVES the Westminster Confession, then there is no better place for her to be on a Sunday morning in Redding.

    My Dad's church's web site is: Grace Presbyterian Church of Redding,California
     
  12. SemperEruditio

    SemperEruditio Puritan Board Junior

    El diablo sabe mas por ser viejo que por ser diablo

    People "love" a lot of things. I've read sections of WCF to people who are dead set against the DoG and they loved what they heard. I suspect that, as with most charismatics of which I was one, they have switched off the old grey matter. All that WCF and whatnot is academic but when the "spirit" shows up none of that matters because he is going to have his way... The other thing is charismatics are able to compartmentalize their spiritual stuff from what they read or vice versa. The reality is that when they read, because their foundation is weak, they are reading based on their weak presuppositions and do not understand...

    Most who claim to believe in God's word will also say they love the WCF but I don't buy it unless they are in a confessional church. Loving the WCF and yet attending a circus show is not understanding the WCF and ultimately not understanding the Bible.

    :amen:
    I thank God everytime I read situations like these that he pulled me away before things got ridiculous. I also pray that I am able to gently and with love speak to those about these things in a dialogue which plants a seed. God is!
     
  13. moselle

    moselle Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you! I'm so glad to hear of a "beacon in the fog"!
     
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