A reading from the gospel according to Mark 9:38-40:
38 John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” 39 Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. 40 For whoever is not against us is for us.”
Reflection: United against evil
God works in various ways. Many times He empowers ordinary people in ordinary situations as His instrument to do mighty deeds. He works in mysterious ways too that sometimes, it makes us wonder whether a particular work is really from Him or from the enemy. That is why, it is necessary to always ask the help of the Holy Spirit to grant us the gift of discernment.
The gospel reading above tells us about the incident where the disciples of Jesus attempted to prevent someone outside of their group from using the name of Jesus to drive out demons. Jesus Himself told them not to do it because whoever is not against them is for them. This is a great lesson for inclusivity. Many people have the mindset of exclusivity or the “we versus others” attitude.
The work of salvation is for everyone of any group, race or for that matter religion. Doing good is not the prerogative of anyone and no one can claim entitlement to heaven except those who have lived a life of holiness whether they belong to our group or not. The call is for all of us to be united in promoting the Kingdom of God and to fight evil in all its forms.
My attorney forwarded me an article regarding a Michigan middle-school teacher quitting his job because he was told the flag of sexual perversion had to be removed from classrooms at his school. My question is twofold: 1) When did sexual perversion and debauchery become worthy of a so-called flag of pride; 2) Why was said flag permitted in classrooms at all?
Homosexuality and the butchering of one’s body both are part of the sick attempt to become what you can never be apart from birth. It is sexual perversion and mental illness. I will not retreat nor apologize for disavowing that which the Word of God condemns.
Two men fornicating is sexual perversion not an expression of love. And the same goes for two women.
I’m not homophobic. I do not fear homosexuals. I am unapologetically pro-Word of God. And no, that doesn’t mean I hide my hatred behind Scripture. I do not hate homosexuals or any of the other alphabet practitioners of sexual debauchery. I hate the acts of sodomy.
It is not only my right, it’s my responsibility to hate the sin my God hates. That said, God doesn’t hate the sinner, because if He did He would not have “… [given] His only begotten Son” to provide a plan of salvation for every sinner who believes in Him, accepts Him as Savior, confesses their sins and repents of their wantonly sinful lifestyle. Ergo, if God hated sinners, and sexual perversion is a sin, He would not have provided a “Way” of salvation for every sinner who desires not to spend eternity in hell.
But therein lies the rub. America has given rise to voices that embrace and reward abhorrent behavior. They would have sane people believe that right or wrong is open to interpretation, so long as they are the ones doing the interpreting.
They force the crudest, most reprobate and condemnable forms of perversion upon malleable and impressionable young minds in public schools with impunity. But refusing to acknowledge said behavior as normal is met with suspensions and loss of employment. Where is it written that we must surrender our system of belief to embrace and/or be forced to participate in that to which we are opposed?
We hear the morally opprobrious blathering that it’s a woman’s “right to choose” to have her child murdered. The so-called highest court in the land manufactured the ruling that codified same. Why is it that when I exercise my right to oppose killing children in defense of sanctity of life, that I and those who share my views are vilified and ostracized?
America has given rise to Erebusic bastions of malcontents supporting lifelong felons who have made careers of savage anti-societal behavior. These human blights on their communities are rewarded with acclaim from those who obviously support murder, gangs, illicit criminal drug activity and the pollution of entire neighborhoods. I offer as examples: career criminal George Floyd who is celebrated by those he didn’t molest and pregnant women he didn’t threaten shoot in the stomach unless they gave him money. I offer as evidence Wesley Cook, who changed his name to Mumia Abu-Jamal and gained global notoriety after becoming a celebrated cop-killer for murdering Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. It’s not surprising that the New York Times, which heralded career criminal Floyd, so too heralded the dishonest purveyor of agitprop Abu-Jamal as the best-known person in the world on death row. And why not? It wasn’t family members of Times staff members who had been terrorized or murdered by either of the aforementioned criminal villains.
As I’ve said many times, our Founding Fathers under the guiding hand of God, created the most citizen-favored system of government and laws since the Code of Hammurabi. The only thing they were unable to protect American citizens from were dishonest men and women who would lie, cheat and deceive their way into office and onto courts. Then through the financial support of those like the Koch brothers, George Soros et al., demonic all, political office became a cabal of criminal activity and the chief undermining influence of constitutional law.
Those who hold office today have become the sacerdotalists of the satanic period referenced as “the days of Noah,” which the Holy Scriptures prophesy. Those officeholders perpetuate a worldview, like the underworld, where good is called evil and evil is lauded as good, a dark world where evil is applauded on every platform of society where those who stand for the truth of God’s Word are branded as deplorables and clingers to our guns and Bibles.
Searches for ‘sorcery’ and ‘soceries’ saw largest increase on Bible Gateway in 2021
Keyword searches for “sorcery” and “sorceries” had the highest percentage increase in 2021 on the Bible Gateway, a resource website used by millions throughout its 28-year history to search biblical terms and scriptures online.
The platform released data in its “2021 In Review” summary detailing the biblical terminology that received the most traffic this year in its search engine.
“The topics people search the Bible for on Bible Gateway are always interesting but this year may be the most intriguing,” the review states.
Out of the well over 700,000 words that make up the Bible and could have been looked up using Bible Gateway, the searches for “sorcery” and “sorceries” showed a 193% increase compared to last year. Searches for those words nearly tripled from 2020.
According to the platform, those words likely got more attention based on heightened interest in the Greek word “pharmakeia.”
According to the Mounce Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament, “pharmakeia” means “employment of drugs for any purpose; sorcery, magic, enchantment.” The term is used in Galatians 5:20.
“Pharmakeia is where we get our word pharmacy from,” Bible Gateway Senior Director Stephen Smith told Premier Christian News. “The terms themselves are actually not related, but I think that heightened interest in this word has led to additional heightened interest in searches for sorcery.”
In addition to searches for sorcery, other topics that seemed to draw the most attention on the site were “slow to anger” and “abounding in love,” which both saw increases of 169%.
The phrase “in my Fathers house there are many rooms” jumped up 140%. The saying “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” shot up 102%, and “your body is a temple” increased 77%.
The words love, hope, peace, joy and faith were among the most popular keyword searches in 2021. Terms such as pestilence, plague and disease saw a 71% decrease in searches in 2021.
Biblical phrases, such as “you have not because you ask not,” “in this world you will have trouble,” “be not afraid” and “if my people who are called by my name” also saw decreased interest on Bible Gateway
John 3:16 and Jeremiah 29:11 received the title of most-popular Bible verses on the site for 2021. And Luke 10:18 — “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” — showed a 518% increase in searches.
“That entire increase was essentially from those two days.”
The controversial shoes, which garnered much media attention, were a modified pair of Nike Air Max 97s that had a drop of human blood in the sole and Luke 10:18 printed on the side.
The Bible verse that saw the largest decrease in searches on Bible Gateway in 2021 was Isaiah 26:20-21 (92%), while 2 Chronicles 7:14 saw the second-largest drop (72%) after an increase in searches in 2020.
“Last year, there was a big focus on repentance,” Smith was quoted as saying. “And sort of seeing in some circles as COVID-19 as a divine judgment in some circles, and that has fallen away to some extent.”
Bible Gateway had roughly 3 million searches per day this year and saw increased usage from 2020 going into 2021.
Founded in 1993, the searchable online Bible is available in more than 200 versions and 70 languages. Also available as an app, Bible Gateway allows users to read and research Bible verses, engage with a library of audio Bibles, complete devotionals, email newsletters and access other free Bible resources.
It’s all so simple. A Godly people knows right from wrong. They recognize simple, straight-forward life-guiding principles, such as sin, virtue, vice, charity, protection of the weak, care for the widow and the orphan, the beatitudes, the Commandments, cleanliness, opposition to abomination, chastisement, repentance, forgiveness, eternal reward and eternal punishment, etc., etc., etc. They recognize these things individually, and as a group; they gather with like-minded Godly people, and they hold the ungodly in anathema, avoiding all contact.
But all of that goes out the window when you remove God from the equation.
America is undergoing a secularization process, driven by the Democrat Party, which stands in opposition to the American Constitution and in favor of the false “justice” and “fairness” and “equality” described in Marx’s Communist Manifesto. The Democrat push is to drive God out of every aspect of human knowledge and behavior and replace Him with global, absolute Social Sameness, which they believe will bring about a wonderful, perfect, man-made worldly Utopia – heaven on earth, made (and enforced) by man. This is, of course, an impossibility. Having abandoned God and even opposed Him, the Democrat Party has become demented. Democrat Politicians support religion only with their false political words; if any of them still believe in God, they have a damned funny way of showing it.
The “In The Know” elite among the Democrats know, of course, that the drive to Communist Utopia is and always has been quite impossible, and that the real goal is to replace our form (and all forms) of government with absolute dictatorship. To take charge. To command the world. Achieving global dictatorship is the challenge taken up by powerful ungodly men such as Maurice Strong, George Soros, Warren Buffet, Al Gore, Mikhail Gorbachev, Vladimir Putin, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and, of course, Comrade Obama, peace be upon him. Organizations such as labor unions, the Democrat Party, various revolutionaries, anarchists, Socialists, Jihadists, Jihadist-sympathizers and so forth are mere manipulable tools to such men; they are what Lenin and Stalin referred to as Useful Idiots of occasional temporary use in accomplishing their larger goals. Included among these manipulable tools is the SLIMC1 , the first letter of which stands for Secularist. The Mainstream Media is perhaps the most important tool in the elimination of God from all human thought, public discourse and decision making.
Darwinism, whether Darwin originally intended it or not, eventually provided grounds by which secularists could divorce nature from the Divine author of nature, and then ignore if not deny God Himself. Darwinism “proved” (with absolutely no empirical evidence) that everything that is and everything that happens is merely natural; in other words, nature is all that there is.
Freudianism, whether Freud originally intended it or not, eventually provided grounds by which secularists could eliminate all notion of “sin” and “guilt” and “inhibition” brought about by religion, and “free” man to seek and find self fulfillment and self actualization and concentrate less on social restrictions and more on self.
Marxism – and Marx intended it from the start – used the “naturalism” of Darwinism and the “uninhibited” freedom from sin of Freudianism to build his fraud: the dream of the perfect world collective in Communist Utopia, and the path to get there, even through bloody revolution if necessary. It was a hoax from the start. What he wanted was absolute worldly dictatorial power. True believers in Marxian theory are all – no matter how learned and lettered – absolute suckers.
This now Godless Nation, or this now nearly Godless nation, has built, upon the provably false foundations of Darwinism, Freudianism and Marxism, a “new” house, made out of falsehood piled upon falsehood, stacked up and leaning on supports of falsehood. It is a house of cards. This newly Godless nation is a virtual insane asylum built and run by lunatics. The lies and falsehoods never end. All of them, without exception, insist on federal government regulation, restriction, taxation, control, monitoring, more bureaucracy, more bureaus and departments, more people working for the government, less in the private sector, and a general migration of power from the people to the central government.
Just trying to count the lies that are now generally accepted axiomatic truths in the dumbed-down public square can test your adult judgment and patience. The ice caps are melting. The polar bears are drowning. Oil is running out. Oil is poluting the planet. SUVs are causing global warming. Silly little legislated light bulbs can save the planet. Plastic going into land fills is dooming the planet. If you don’t get your flu shot you’re going to die. The American Constitution is causing children to die. Heterosexuality is perverse (it must be, because homosexuality is natural.) This problem – whatever it is – is too big for anyone but the federal government to solve. This problem – whatever it is – is too big for just one federal government to solve.
All problems – including non-problems invented for political reasons – become simple if you put God back into the equation. A thing is either right, or it is wrong; a statement is either true, or it is false.
Today you will hear and see and read government sponsored, tax paid commercials for such things as, getting your little children vaccinated against the HPV venereal disease, which is transmitted by any skin contact in the genital area. Now, why would your little children need such an inoculation unless they were being taught in school to seek skin contact in the genital area? That would be a sin. Remember? Once upon a time little children, if they were taught anything at all about sex, what they were taught was chastity and sexual purity.
Very simple; nothing to it. HPV is a historically new venereal infection, along with a host of other new ones, thanks to government controlled mal-education, mal-information and a purposeful program of disinformation and propaganda. The goal is a Godless nation, because when a strong man draws his strength from God, his belief in God must be reduced. Morality comes from religion; therefore religion must be destroyed.
The death of anathema. Once upon a time, good men gathered with God, and others scattered. The obstinate unrepentant sinner was anathema; he made himself an outcast by his own free will choice. Because it was a Godly nation, ungodliness was discouraged, called to repentance or, ultimately, anathematized.
Today, Roman Catholic priests who are military chaplains have been ordered to perform Catholic marriages of open sodomites. The National Cathedral in Washington DC is now performing Protestant marriages of open sodomites. Religious schools, hospitals and other institutions are now ordered by law to provide contraception and abortion insurance coverage to employees.
As I said in the Freudianism page, the APA has been instrumental in this sea change of our culture; let me quote myself:
The American Psychiatric Association, or APA, for instance, and their creation and periodic revision of their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) used to qualify or disqualify sexual perversions. The 1952 DSM classified homosexuality as a sociopathic personality disturbance. In 1968, DSM II re-categorized it as a sexual “deviation.” In 1973, DSM III declared that homosexuality was only considered a problem when the homosexual was bothered by it, or considered it to be a problem, which is to say, it was only a disorder if the disordered person felt it was a disorder.
Subsequent versions of the DSM manual do not mention homosexuality at all; homosexuality has been officially cured by APA redefinition. The members probably all congratulated each other, shook hands and drank a toast. The 1994 revision of the manual, DSM IV, tells practitioners that pedophilia, meaning sexual child molesting, is not a disorder unless it bothers, not the victim, not the parents of the victim, not potential future victims, not society, but the perpetrator.
It is not sufficient for actual acts of sexual child molestation or fantasizing about sexual child molestation to be considered to “cause clinically significant distress or impairment or social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.” In other words, it’s not a real personal or social problem unless it bothers the pervert; if he isn’t bothered by it, he’s healthy. See? This is Freudianism today.
Even sadomasochism is no longer considered a disorder. How an abnormal person feels about what he is is more important than what he actually is; there is no more abnormal, unless the abnormal one feels bad about being abnormal. The American Psychiatric Association, collectively, is nuts. The proper, full, unabbreviated term may be Nutsie-Cuckoo; while I’m pretty sure that’s not a good technical term, every one of us regular people know exactly what it means, which is, that the judgment of the APA cannot be trusted even with very simple, unimportant things; their thinking is clouded and their judgment is therefore always suspect.
So it isn’t just entertainment, Hollywood and celebrity news that is degrading society and becoming increasingly degenerate in public. The field of medicine is deeply involved in it, thanks to the degeneration of upper academia, where they all earned their medical degrees. All of American society now stands aside for the open professed unrepentant sodomite. No one speaks a word against them. In fact, they are praised and well established on the public stage, and children are taught that they are good and not evil. They enjoy legislated and regulated special rights and protections under the law.
Did all the Scriptural prohibitions change while you were sleeping? If belief or interpretation of the Word of God changed, then, by what authority did it change? Is there no such thing as sin any more? Are we still Christians and Jews? Is there anything – anything at all – worthy of anathema? Why not?
The Koran instructs all faithful followers of Islam to lay in wait for us, to ambush us, to make a wide slaughter among us, to strike off our hands and feet on opposite sides, or to crucify us entirely so that the birds may feed on our heads. Islam demands, by decree of their prophet, that we stop believing in God, submit to Islamic religion and law, or, pay a tax (50% of all that we have) and submit to Islamic law, or, die, perhaps horribly. And, fools that we have become, we tolerate this absolutely intolerant “religion” that seeks our eventual doom.
We have already gone nationally insane.
The US government attacks on the Constitution are increasingly numerous and relentless. It is clear that the Democrats despise the Constitution and that they mean to destroy it, or at least sideline it and ignore it. It’s in their way. It’s a hindrance.
My faith in the Republican Party leadership, and the “establishment” Republicans, is long gone. In trying to determine whether such men as John Boehner might be a deep-cover evil man, like Chief Justice Roberts, or a useful idiot, I have to come down on the evil side, because it defies credulity that he could possibly be so stupid as his actions have indicated. He must be evil; no one could be that imbecilically stupid and be Speaker of the House. We’re talking suicidal stupidity here.
But when you look at the rest of the leadership and the “establisment” types, and even most of the so-called conservative editorialists, commentators and pundits, you are looking at, either pure evil, or, deep, deep stupidity. They say – as if they actually believe – that, now that taxes have been raised, further tax raises are “off the table.” The hell they are. They’ve only begun to be raised. There will be no spending cuts; there will be more tax increases. The goal, after all, is the economic destruction of America. Anyone who still cannot see that no longer transparent Marxist strategy is just plain stupid. No one, from either side, ever proposed one single specific spending cut.
The best that many conservative detractors and opponents of the “economic cliff” resolution talk of how the new tax increases will only raise umpty-ump billion or so, a drop in the bucket of the now annual $1.5 trillion or so spending deficit. But, the new tax won’t raise a single dollar, in net revenues to the government. It will decrease government revenue, and everyone, on both sides, knows it. Business will cut back, producing less and being taxed less, employment will shrink and there will be less taxpayers paying taxes, and the whole tax base will shrink.
At this point in the game the only possible way to raise revenues through a tax change is to cut taxes, and everyone, on both sides, knows it. Business will expand, producing more and paying more taxes, employment will grow and there will be more taxpayers paying taxes, and the whole tax base will grow.
They know this; they are doing it on purpose. Government revenue will now shrink, and spending will increase even more.
Watch and see. The real Marxist goal here is national bankruptcy.
The last hope of turning from a Godless Nation back to a Godly Nation rests with the lowly ordinary citizenry. If you are a veteran, of past or current service, you need to remember something you once said. Before you put on that uniform, you raised your hand and swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic.
You swore it. You are your word.
There was no time limit and no expiration date on that oath; once taken, it was taken for life. You are duty bound, and you are honor bound, to disobey any order that violates the Constitution you swore to defend. You are duty bound, and you are honor bound, to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Of course, such things as duty and honor are meaningless to the Godless man, and the given word of a Godless man is worthless.
To return to the status of a Godly nation, we must become worthy; we must return to being a Godly people.
It is now up to us. We will gather, or we will scatter.
I am going to pray now; I suggest you do the same.
Sarcastic Acronym Hover-Link Footnotes: For the convenience of those readers using devices that lack a mouse, these footnotes are provided for all webpages, in case any webpage contains any hover-links. (If you don’t have a mouse, you can’t “hover” it over a link without clicking just to see the simple acronym interpretation. Click any footnote link to see the acronym and a detailed explanation; hover over it just to see the simple interpretation.)SLIMC1 Secularist Liberal Intellectual Media Complex GESGOEAEOT2 Gradually, Ever So Gradually, Over Eons And Eons Of Time PEWAG3 Punctuated Equilibrium’s Wild-Assed Guess TTRSTF4 Them There Real Scientifical-Type Fellers TTRSPTF5 Them There Real Smart Perfesser-Type Fellers TTRSJTF6 Them There Real Smart Journalistical-Type Fellers SNRTACBT7 Surely No Right Thinking Adult Could Believe Today STNSEACPB8 Surely Today No Serious Educated Adult Could Possibly Believe WDN9 We Don’t Know BMDFP10 Baboons, Mongrel Dogs, Filthy Pigs and … HBAACOTE11 Human Beings Are A Cancer On The Earth ACLU12 Anti-Christian Litigation Union FLORMPORIF13 Flagrant Liar, Or, Mindless Parrot, Or, Innocent Fool MEJTML14 Marxist Ends-Justify-The-Means Liar IEJTML15 Islamic Ends-Ends-Justify-The-Means Liar MPAV16 Marxist Principles And Values WBESSWG17 Wise, Benign, Elite, Super-Scientific World Governance TRMITM18 The Reason Man’s In This Mess IYI19 Intellectual Yet Idiotic TTRSCBTF20 Them There Real Smart Catholic Bishop Type Fellers IACMPVND21 Illegal-Alien-Criminal Marxocrat-Party-Voting Nation-Destroyers PEJTML22 Palestinian Ends-Justify-The-Means Liar PSYOP23 “Psychological Operation” Mind Trick CDC24 Covid Developmentally Challenged
In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul is writing to a church that just came out of a very depraved lifestyle, so when he gives these warnings, they relate to it. It is astonishing how these words still resonate over 2,000 years later.
“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator… Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another… Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1: 24-27, 32)
The most alarming aspect of how similar we are is that “those that know the righteous decree” are either foolishly or knowingly supporting precisely the kind of immorality we are warned to avoid. Modern ideas of the “woke culture” — gender fluidity, legitimizing same-sex relationships, and humanism are not biblical principles. According to the American Humanist Association, “Religious Humanism is without a god, without a belief in the supernatural, without a belief in an afterlife, and without a belief in a “higher” source of moral values.” How then can a Christian then find common ground with such ideals?
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Lord also commands the church to be as one body, united in faith under one Spirit. However, unity is impossible without agreement. The Body of Christ must be unified around the ultimate truth that is contained in the Bible. Though we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s ideals, the Church should not condone immoral principles. All of humanity needs salvation, but it requires repentance from sin, the desire to turn away from it, and the acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior.
These seemingly contradictory principles leave Christians with the difficult task of reconciling the commandment to avoid evil and achieving unity within the Body of Christ. We must be wise enough to distinguish between people simply acting foolish or naive instead of espousing wickedness. Being wise is not as the culture defines it but being wise in the ways of God means following His commands. Through knowledge of God’s word and prayer, we will gain the discernment and wisdom to know the difference.
Kids are being indoctrinated to believe that if it feels good, do it. They are being taught there is no absolute truth — not their gender, the notion of marriage only being between a man and woman, and even rejecting the founding principles of our country.
Professors say you can’t legislate morality, but of course, you can! That is why we do not drive 100mph in a school zone, and child pornography is a crime. Morality isn’t something you invent; it comes from God. Tacit support by the Church of principles that stem from a denial of God’s law leads to the destruction of our youth, our families, and eventually the moral fabric of our country. God can and does gives such a society over to its wicked desire.
“Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity.” (Romans 1: 28-29)
Sometimes, believers are following trends in our culture out of ignorance. We extend grace and compassion for them until it becomes clear they are unwilling to relent in support of depravity. As God says in Jude, “And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.”
Other times, Christians have a hero mentality, thinking they can “save” people, but we must understand that some people do not want to be saved. They are filled with unresolved trauma, anger and resentment that only the Lord can change if He so chooses.
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
Notice again, Paul warns that the threat will come from those claiming a “form of godliness,” but he does not say to pursue them relentlessly. We simply have to avoid them.
We should not be too proud of ourselves or so enamored with our civilization that we do not heed God’s warnings. If we accept modern principles that defy God’s law, purposely or unwittingly, it leads to a debased mind where God no longer reigns over our lives and the lives of our families and communities. Yes, we love our neighbors and pray for their salvation, but we cannot compromise the Gospel to please them.
Hedieh Mirahmadi was a devout Muslim for two decades working in the field of national security before she experienced the redemptive power of Jesus Christ and has a new passion for sharing the Gospel. She dedicates herself full-time to Resurrect Ministry, an online resource that harnesses the power of the Internet to make salvation through Christ available to people of all nations, and her daily podcast LivingFearlessDevotional.com.
Dungeons and Dragons is a tragic and tangled subject. It is essentially a feeding program for occultism and witchcraft. For Christians, the first scriptural problem is the fact that Dungeons and Dragons violates the commandment of I Ths. 5:22 “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” Much of the trappings, art, figurines, and writing within D&D certainly appears evil-to say the least of it.
On top of that, the second issue is that the materials themselves, in many cases, contain authentic magical rituals. I can tell you this from my own experience. I was a witch high priest (Alexandrian tradition) during the period 1973-84. During some of that period (1976-80) I was also involved in hardcore Satanism. We studied and practiced and trained more than 175 people in the Craft. Our “covendom” was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; just a short drive away from the world headquarters of TSR, the company which makes Dungeons and Dragons in Lake Geneva, WI. In the late 1970’s, a couple of the game writers actually came to my wife and I as prominent “sorcerers” in the community. They wanted to make certain the rituals were authentic. For the most part, they are.
These two guys sat in our living room and took copious notes from us on how to make sure the rituals were truly right “from the book,” (this meaning that they actually came from magic grimoires or workbooks). They seemed satisfied with what they got and left us thankfully.
Back in 1986, a fellow appeared on The 700 Club who was a former employee and game writer for TSR. He testified right on the show that he got into a wrangle with the management there because he saw that the rituals were too authentic and could be dangerous. He protested to his boss and was basically told that this was the intent—to make the games as real as possible. He felt conscience-stricken (even though he was not a Christian at the time), and felt he had to resign from the company.
Now, the question becomes—if a person “innocently” works an authentic ritual that conjures up a demon, or curses someone; thinking that they are only playing a game-might not the ritual still have efficacy? I think we know the answer to that question. If you play at shooting your friend in the head with what you think is an unloaded pistol and don’t know a shell is in the chamber, is your friend any less dead because you were playing?
People need to understand that God’s universe runs on laws no less real in the spiritual realm than the laws of physics that propel a bullet out of a gun-and those laws are just as irreversible. God says that if you tamper with magic and the occult, you are stepping out from under His will and His protection (assuming you are a Christian). If you are not a Christian, then you are REALLY playing with fire. Some verses which clearly teach this are found in Exod. 22:18, Lev. 19:31, Lev. 20:6, Deut. 18:10, 1Sam. 15:23, 2Kgs. 21:6, Is. 8:19, Gal. 5:20, Rev. 21:8, Rev. 22:15.
To quote an old proverb, “Though the boys throw stones at the frogs in sport, the frogs die in earnest.” Just because the people playing D&D think they are playing a game doesn’t mean that the evil spirits (who ARE very real) will regard it as a game. If you are doing rituals or saying spells that invite them into your life, then they will come-believe me! We have prayed with enough people our age and younger who were former D&D fans, and they were totally in bondage to it.
This brings us to other unsavory aspects of the game. One pro-D&D psychologist wrote that “There is hardly a game in which the players do not indulge in murder, arson, torture, rape or highway robbery“1 In fact, the Dungeon Master’s Guide gives the celebrated Adolph Hitler as an example of a real historical person that exhibited D&D charisma! The values contained in the game are, at the very best, “might makes right.”
Additionally, much of the game contains overtones that reek of illicit sex and sexual violence. For example, the cover of one D&D supplement, called Eldrich Wizardry, shows a naked woman reclining on an obviously satanic ritual altar. This tragic scene is compelling because it is really what is done in genuine satanic groups all over the nation.2 It is extremely sado-masochistic because the fate of such a woman is to be either raped, gang-raped, tortured or sacrificed to a demon god. This kind of imagery can be very provocative and seductive to adolescent males or even adults.
Additionally, male characters in the game often try to seduce female characters; and references abound to things like venereal disease and satyriasis (a male condition of permanent sexual arousal). Can these sorts of things be appropriate for Christians or even for any decent person of whatever faith?
Additionally, Fantasy-Role-Playing (FRP) games like D&D do employ brainwashing techniques:
Fear generation-via spells and mental imaging about fear-filled, emotional scenes, and threats to survival of FRP characters.
Isolation-psychological removal from traditional support structures (family, church, etc.) into an imaginary world. Physical isolation due to extremely time-consuming play activities outside the family atmosphere.
Physical torture and killings-images in the mind can be almost as real as the actual experiences. Focus of the games is upon killings and torture for power, acquisition of wealth, and survival of characters.
Erosion of family values-the Dungeon Master (DM) demands an all-encompassing and total loyalty, control and allegiance.
Situational Ethics-any act can be justified in the mind of the player, therefore there are no absolutes of right or wrong; no morality other than “point” morality needed to ensure survival and advancement. There are no win-win situations and good forces seldom triumph over evil forces.
Religion-values and belief systems (see below) are restructured from traditional Judeo-Christian ethics (which most people in Western culture adhere to) to belief in multiple gods and deities. Players align themselves with specific deities they select; patron deities are strongly urged. These are not fantasy deities, but are drawn from genuine ancient religions and beliefs! Only occult gods are included. In addition, defilement is urged in many ways, such as excrement or urinating to “defile a font.”
Loss of Self-control-authority over self is surrendered to the DM. Depending on the personality and ego-strength of the player, this loss can be near absolute.
Degradation-pain and torture are heavily involved in sadistic, sexual situations that graphically appeal to visceral impulses. Much of the material (as mentioned above) is well into pornographic areas and stresses the defilement of innocence.3
A Clash of World Views!
This is another, broader issue here. The values of the game are not only pro-violence and death; they also entrain the player in an entirely different way of looking at life: what is called by anthropologists the “Magical World View(MWV).” This MWV is far outside the cultural norms of most societies, and certainly outside the realms of Biblical values. Let me explain:
The MWV teaches that there exists in the universe a neutral force, like gravity, which is magic. In this worldview, there is no sovereign God; but rather the universe is run like a gigantic piece of machinery. Magic’s application is the understanding of how to manipulate the universe to get what you want. The analogy would be of putting a right coin in the slot of a vending machine and pushing the button. You automatically get your candy-assuming you used the right coin and pushed the right button. The MWV is like that. If you know the right technology (spell, ritual, incantation, etc.) the universe must respond-just like the light must go on if you flip the switch. It is automatic, and scientifically repeatable.
The Judeo-Christian Worldview (i.e. from the Bible, and held by most cultures in the Western world to some degree) teaches, on the contrary, that the universe is in control of a sovereign Person, God. To get “results,” He must be asked. Thus, it is more like a child going up to a parent and asking for candy, than getting it from a vending machine. The parent may say “yes,” “no,” or “Wait till later.” Similarly, in the Bible, there is no way to automatically manipulate God to get what you want, because He is an omnipotent Person. Additionally, God says that magic is deep and abominable sin (see above).
Now obviously, these two worldviews cannot exist in the same moral universe. Either one is true and the other false or vice-versa. Thus, one cannot be a Christian and believe in the MWV and not be some sort of hypocrite or deceived person. The reason is that in the “universe” of Dungeons and Dragons magic is neutral, and can be used by “good guys” or by “bad guys.” It is like “The Force” in the Star Wars movies. This magical morality pervades D&D, and it is utterly in opposition to the Word of God and even common sense.
Now the question becomes, can a person play the game without subscribing to the worldview? It is possible, but considering the high level of emotional and intellectual commitment that the game requires, is that really realistic? D&D is not like chess or Monopoly. It is a game that engages the whole person at deep levels, and it can last months if well-played. How can a person, Christian or not, immerse themselves in a reality view so deeply and not have it impact the rest of their lives? This is difficult to imagine, especially considering the highly demonic and magical content of much of the game. As the saying goes, “if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.”
As the apostle Paul warns us, (1Cor. 15:33) “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” If games and manuals which extol black magic, rape, sado-masochism, murder and violence are not “evil communications,” then I do not know the meaning of the terms!
A D&D “Hall of Shame”
This provides us with a spiritual explanation of why the following tragic litany of evil keeps growing around players of Dungeons and Dragons. The psychological explanation buttresses this as well, for we now understand the D&D can readily be a form of mind-control which also uses real occult techniques to foster possession by evil spirits.
The “Freeway Killer,” Vernon Butts, who committed suicide in his cell in 1987 while being held as a suspect in a string of murders was an avid D&D player.4
D&D player (14 years old) commits suicide by hanging, 1979, name withheld by parents’ request.
D&D player (17 years old) Michael Dempsey, Lynnwood, WA. suicide by gunshot wound to the head, 5/19/81. Witnesses saw him trying to summon up D&D demons just minutes before his death.
D&D player (? years old) Steve Loyacano, Castle Rock, CO., suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning, 10/14/82. Police report satanic writings and a suicide note liked the death to D&D.
D&D player (21 years old) Timothy Grice, Lafayette, CO., suicide by shotgun blast, 1/17/83. Detective reports noted, “D&D became a reality. He thought he was not constrained to this life, but could leave [it] and return because of the game.”
D&D player (18 years old) Harold T. Collins, Marion, OH., suicide by hanging, 4/29/83. Collins was noted to be “possessed” by D&D as if he were living the game.
D&D player (16 years old) Daniel Erwin, Lafayette, CO., murder by brother’s shotgun blast to head, 11/2/84 (right after Halloween). Death was apparently the result of a death pact as part of the game.
D&D player (12 years old) Steve Erwin (see above) suicide by gunshot, 11/2/84. Detective report: “No doubt D&D cost them their lives.”5
D&D player (no age given) Joseph Malin, Salt Lake City, UT., pled guilty to first degree murder 3/2/88 and was sentenced to life in prison. He killed a 13 years old girl while acting out the fantasy-role game. The girl had been raped, her throat cut, and she had been stabbed twice in the chest. Police said his “violent urges were fed by ‘extreme involvement in the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons.'”6
D&D player (14 years old) Sean Sellers was convicted of killing his parents and a convenience store clerk in Greeley, Oklahoma (1/11/87). He is the youngest inmate of death row in the country as of this writing (22 now). His involvement in hard-core Satanism began with D&D, according to his own testimony. Praise the Lord, he is now a Born Again Christian!7
D&D player (14 years old) Tom Sullivan, Jr. got into Satanism and ended up stabbing his mother to death, arranging a ritual circle (from D&D) in the middle of the living room floor and lit a fire in its midst. Fortunately, his dad and little brother were awakened by a smoke detector; but by then, Tom, Jr. had slashed his wrists and throat with his Boy Scout knife and died in the snow in a neighbor’s yard.(1/19/88, Amarillo, TX)8
Of course, just like everything else, some people (young or otherwise) will say, “Those people were just weird or losers to begin with. I’m too together to fall into stuff like that. It’s just a game!” Yeah, and an H-bomb is just a firecracker! Like the people who think they can play around with crack or pre-marital sex and not get burned by death, AIDS or pregnancy, the person who thinks they can mess with D&D without getting burnt is whistling in the dark. The evidence is definitely stacked against them! The game is too carefully crafted a trap for many people to elude.
Quoting Dr. Thomas Radecki MD, a psychiatrist at the University of Illinois School of Medicine: “The evidence in these cases is really quite impressive. There is no doubt in my mind that the game Dungeons and Dragons is causing young men to kill themselves and others. The game is one of non-stop combat and violence. It is clear to me that this game is desensitizing players to violence and also causing an increased tendency to violent behavior.”9
Thus, in my mind, and in the minds of most who have come out of this background as I have (occultism and Satanism); there is no doubt that Dungeons and Dragons and its imitators are right out of the pit of hell. No Christian or sane, decent individual of whatever faith really should have anything to do with them.
File 18 Newsletter, op. cit., 2/22/87. Since this article was originally written in 1989, it is now my belief that Sean Sellers was executed for his crimes and is now (thanks to the mercy of Jesus and Sean’s faith in Him) in heaven. Return to text
Love does not think evil of others. Nor keeps a record of evil.
Are there people in your life you really want to take revenge on? You still have feelings where you want to get back at them. Even in a small way? Like, maybe, “when I get a chance I will show her ” types?
Joseph’s brothers conspired against him
King Saul was desperate to kill King David
Hamaan had evil desires against Mordecai
The Jews looked for ways to bring Jesus down
Joseph’s brothers were irritated by his constant tattling and showing off (Jacob expressed great love for Joseph). Eventually their harmful thoughts against Joseph led to evil.
King Saul loved David initially. When David would play the harp and drive the evil spirit away. Overtime, as David was being used by God and praised greatly by the people, Saul began to hate him and plotted evil against him.
Haman hated the Jews. He wanted them all killed. Haman had hatched an evil plan against Mordecai, only to fail miserably. The very gallows he had prepared for Mordecai became his death sentence. (Esther 6)
The Jews were plotting to kill Jesus (John 7:1). The Jews claimed to be superior in their religiosity, though they followed the law, they did not understand the love in the law.
Love does not think evil of others
The power of resurrection is the power of love that raised Jesus from the dead. How blessed we are to receive such a great love. Are we living the love powered by the Holy Spirit? Time to examine our lives and live these last days being fruitful for the kingdom of God, till the very end.
Let go now; do not host evil thoughts against anyone. The Love of God always heals the hearts and minds of those who trust in God. The end is near. Maranatha, Praise God and Amen.
Are you in the new normal the world is talking about or in the new normal since you were born again?
The world keeps moving to newer enhancements with technology. Body upgrades that are attempting to do better than what God already did. We are slowly entering into a bionic world. Where humans and artificial intelligence is merging.
Prosthetic limbs, brain-machine interfaces, bionic organs, are all in the works. Some have already begun identifying themselves as cyborgs. Tens of Thousands of employees have chip implants, ushering in a new way of life. Sadly, enslaving themselves in a way never to return to God.
What is the believers new normal?
For believers the new normal is heaven on earth, a new walk that begins on earth and leads into eternal life. While innovations are useful, nothing is new under the sun.
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
The word of God will always remain a decisive truth for mankind to escape from the machinations of greedy men unwilling to submit to God.
We are in a time of great uncertainty. But, we have a God whose every word is certain and everlasting. When we gave our lives to Jesus, we stepped into the glory in which Adam and Eve enjoyed before sin. Let’s stick to the truth found in Jesus alone. The truth that sets us free from wickedness and evil religious people.
The truth that will help us enter into a normal which is possible only by the true creator, God Himself. Heaven and Earth will pass away, but His word will never fail. His very Word keeps us joyful and hopeful no matter what happens on earth. For believers, to live is Christ and to die gain.
‘Be careful then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil’ ~ Ephesians 5:15
Humans are governed by time, but in the spiritual realm there is only day and night. As we live in a fallen world, though there is light from the sun to distinguish day and night, spiritually speaking, the days are considered night. In other words, the days are evil. A darkened humanity, comes to a darkened world to exist in dark days, evil days. Jesus says, ‘Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light’ (John 11:9). In our default mode, we walk in darkness and have no spiritual light. We stumble because the world radiates to us no inner light. In other words, humanity is ‘darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the blindness of their hearts’ (Ephesians 4:18). Paul notes that ignorance is the main cause of us walking in darkness, fuelled by our natural state of blindness as we enter into the world.
It is only by coming to a true understanding can we have our spiritual eyes opened and walk in the light. Walking in the light means that we avoid stumbling in our own darkness and in the world’s darkness. By coming to an understanding of the magnitude of the world’s darkness and more importantly, the source of light, can we then be reconciled with God and truly walk in the light. Understanding the magnitude of our darkness does require any telling or training because ‘The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like’ (Galatians 5:19-21). Paul just scratches the surface mentioning deeds and acts that we encounter in these evil days, some of which we ourselves have even practised at one point of our lives. This list is not exhaustive, but exposes the magnitude of the darkness. ‘For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret’ (Ephesians 5:12).
Once we lift the cover and behold the extent of the darkness within and around us, we are presented with two options; accept the darkness and remain in it, or turn to the light. Those who do not like the darkness start to search for the light. Unfortunately, in these evil days, many sources promise light, and many turn to counterfeit lights. Some search for the light in science, religion, creation, wealth, occult, worldliness, apathy, sensuality (whatever feels right), and all sorts of falsities. However, these counterfeit lights do nothing to rid the darkness. Jesus remarks, ‘If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!’ (Matthew 6:23). Only those with understanding from the right source can receive the true light. So what is the true light? Jesus says, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ (John 8:12).
Amidst other claims of light, one may wonder how sure that Jesus is in fact the One and Only light. But Jesus simply responds, ‘Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going’ (v14). So, we only need to walk with, and observe Jesus through His Word to see for ourselves that He is the true light of the world, because the light is infectious. Only those who get knowledge and understanding from the right Source soon make the realization that, ‘The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit’ (Romans 8:16) that Jesus is indeed the true light. Of course, many have discredited the Bible without even flipping a page of it, leave alone reading it from cover to cover, and so remain in ignorance, in darkness. Jesus even notes, ‘This is the verdict:Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God’ (John 3:19-21).
Jesus knows that the verdict is settled, because many ‘refuse to come to me to have life’ (John 5:40). Although it is God’s will for ‘all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth’ (1 Timothy 2:4), man has free-will to choose between ‘life and death’ (Deuteronomy 30:19). Believing and accepting Jesus means that we are born anew so that ‘all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God’ (John 1:12). We then become ‘light in the Lord’ (Ephesians 5:8) and so ‘Live as children of light’ (for the fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness and truth)’ (v8-9). Living as children of light is wise-living because it is not conforming ‘any longer to the patterns of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind’ (Romans 12:2). Because then, one will be able to ‘test and prove what God’s will is – his good,acceptable, and perfect will’ (v2). And it is only by living in the will of God, by faith and obedience in Christ Jesus, can we escape the wrath reserved for the dark and evil world, because we ‘shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).
Those who refuse to come to Jesus, the Light, continue to walk in darkness of their minds and in darkness of the evil days. For ‘the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). The repercussion of walking in darkness is that ‘there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen’ (Luke 8:17-18). This is because ‘everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible’ (Ephesians 5:13-14). When Jesus, the Light, comes to uncover the darkness and rid it once and for all, He ‘will give to everyone according to what he has done’ (Revelation 22:12). Those who loved their darkness and that of the world because they lingered in it will be ‘cast into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth’ (Matthew 22:13). They will be sent to the outer darkness for eternity. ‘Blackest darkness is reserved for them’ (2 Peter 2:17), a darkness darker than what is in these evil days.
‘As long as it day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work’ ~ John 9:4
Editor’s note: This article about Josh Duggar contains disturbing reports of sexual violence.
The alleged crimes of Josh Duggar, who was just released on bail pending trial, are unspeakable. But what makes his story even more appalling, says victims advocate Rachael Denhollander, is the theology that is cushioning Duggar from the cost of those crimes.
“Everyone – EVERYONE else, from Josh’s own children, to a woman afraid to have him in the home, to his own wife, are bearing the risks and costs of his behavior,” said Rachael Denhollander in a Twitter thread. “And they are being told it is godly and right to do it.”
Denhollander is known for being the first woman to speak out publicly after filing a report against USA gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, one of the most prolific sexual abusers in history. Denhollander has shared she was groomed for Nasser’s abuse by being molested as a child in an evangelical church. She is now an attorney and advocate for abuse survivors.
“I don’t even know where to begin with what we need to learn from this situation with Josh Duggar,” said Denhollander. “If you haven’t paid attention to updates, you should, because it is a glaring example of the problems we have in our legal system, and especially in conservative culture.”
Duggar was arrested on April 29 for receiving and possessing material depicting the sexual abuse of children. He faces up to 20 years in prison for each, and has pleaded not guilty. He is currently under house arrest while awaiting his trial, set to begin July 6.
Josh Duggar Planned and Premeditated
In November 2019, Homeland Security Investigations raided Josh Duggar’s business and confiscated three password-protected devices. On those devices were dozens of images depicting nude minors and child sex abuse materials. In a hearing Wednesday, Special Agent Gerald Faulkner testified that one of those devices contained files that were among the “top five worst I’ve ever had to examine.” Faulkner has been an agent for 11 years and worked over 1,000 child exploitation cases.
“The images and videos Josh downloaded for his own sexual pleasure were of toddlers and babies being sexually assaulted,” said Denhollander. “18 months to 3 years old. He literally found sexual gratification in watching the sexual torture of babies and toddlers…The FBI agent who conducted the investigation said it was some of the worst material he’s ever gone through. Josh searched for it, and enjoyed it. Sit with that reality. Absorb what that means.”
Investigators found that Covenant Eyes, a porn accountability software, had been installed on one of the devices, but that Duggar allegedly bypassed it by partitioning his hard drive into two sections. Faulkner also testified that Duggar used a TOR browser to access the dark web anonymously.
“This wasn’t an accident,” said Denhollander. “This was planned, premeditated, and probably going on for a long time.” She believes it is highly unlikely that Josh Duggar’s wife, Anna, was unaware that he was looking at porn. “Out of every woman I’ve ever walked with whose husband had a porn problem,” said Denhollander, “it was NEVER a surprise…It’s pretty much guaranteed that somewhere along the way Anna knew Josh still had a porn addiction, but she was left to deal with it and fix it in silence and on her own, because that’s how we counsel couples in Christian circles. ‘Submission’ becomes a catch-phrase to protect.”
Denhollander sees Anna Duggar‘s silence about her husband’s sexual proclivities as symptomatic of certain evangelical teachings about the proper role of wives. Denhollander referenced several concepts promoted in some conservative circles, including the complementarian teaching that wives need to respect and submit to their husbands. Some conservative Christians emphasize the idea that “God hates divorce” so much that they encourage women to stay in abusive situations. And it is not unusual for Christian women to be taught they are responsible for men’s lust. If they are married, women are encouraged to make sure to have regular sex with their husbands so that the men will not be unfaithful.
“[Anna] certainly couldn’t tell anyone, because that would not be respectful,” said Denhollander. “That’s how we counsel wives in these marriages. But she was certainly taught to have sex more to fix it. Her own mother-in-law wrote blog articles that said as much.”
Denhollander went on to point out how Josh Duggar’s family and community, despite facing shocking and plentiful evidence that he sexually preys on children, is bending over backwards to make life easier for him.
Josh Duggar’s father, Jim Bob Duggar, called people in his church to see if any would be custodians for his son when Josh was released on bail. “[Jim Bob] found a man willing to take [Josh] in,” said Denhollander. “Except that man’s wife teaches piano lessons to children, and she was not comfortable having Josh home with her all day, because she would be alone with him while her husband was at work. That didn’t matter to the husband, however. She has to find a new place to teach all those children because her husband wants Josh to live with them.”
The couple who have agreed to take Josh Duggar in are LaCount and Maria Reber. The Rebers have two children, including a 22-year-old daughter. The family hosts piano lessons out of their home, but have agreed to move the students to another location.
Maria Reber has said that she is uncomfortable being alone with Josh Duggar and is also uncomfortable with her 22-year-old daughter being alone with him. However, at Wednesday’s hearing, Reber testified, “My husband has made the decision and I’m here to support that decision.”
“Every single family who takes piano from her, and the wife herself, has to uproot their routine, livelihood and the child’s music education, because Josh,” said Denhollander. “Everyone is expected to bear the cost, except Josh. And the wife’s own very reasonable fears about being alone all day with a man who enjoys the sexual torture of toddlers didn’t matter to the husband either. The men in the situation are the leaders making the decisions while the women are expected to ‘submit.’”
Denhollander suggested that the Christians in this situation are living out twisted teachings on manhood and womanhood. And what is even more disturbing is that these teachings are pervasive. “The cost and impact is being born by everyone but the perpetrator, and the men given free reign to be ‘leaders,’” she said. “This is abusive culture. This is toxic Christianity. This is not manhood. This is not womanhood. This is depraved. And the worst part is, I know literally hundreds of women on the receiving end of this garbage. Josh, and this situation, aren’t the anomaly. They are the norm. Because we actually don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”
Women are taught as the cause and solution to men’s sexual perversions. Until our theology changes to actually reflect Scripture, we shouldn’t be surprised at any of this. It’s a story I see every single day. It’s wicked. It’s evil. And it’s long past time that we called it that – not just the abuse, but the twisted theology that fuels it.
Like their brothers and sisters in Smyrna the believers in Pergamos had suffered persecution, and one of their men had died for the faith. Pergamum was called the city “where Satan has his throne.” Surrounded by worship of Satan and the Roman emperor as god the church at Pergamos refused to renounce their faith, even when Satan worshippers martyred one of their members. In spite of intense suffering, this church had remained true to God. They refused to drop incense on the altar and say, “Caesar is Lord.”
The Lord’s description of Himself (“He who has the sharp, double-edged sword,” Rev. 2:12) would surely encourage the people. It was more important the church fear Christ’s sword than the Roman sword (Rev. 2:16). Just as the Romans used their swords for authority and judgment, Jesus’ “sharp, double-edge sword” represented God’s ultimate authority and judgment.
2. Accusation (vv. 14–15)
Despite their courageous stand against persecution the believers in Pergamos were not faultless before the Lord. Satan had not been able to destroy them by coming as the roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), but he was making inroads as the deceiving serpent. A group of compromising people had infiltrated the church fellowship, and Jesus Christ hated their doctrines and their practices.
These infiltrators are called “Nicolaitans,” whom we met already at Ephesus (Rev. 2:6). The name means “to rule the people.” What they taught is called “the doctrine of Balaam” (Rev. 2:14). The Hebrew name Balaam means “lord of the people” and is synonymous with Nicolaitans. Sadly, this group of professed believers “lorded it over” the people and led them astray.
Understanding the story of Balaam helps us interpret this insidious group more accurately (Num. 22–25). Balaam was a true prophet who prostituted his gifts in order to earn money from King Balak, who hired him to curse the people of Israel. God prevented Balaam from actually cursing the nation—in fact, God turned the curses into blessings—but Balak still got his money’s worth. How? By following Balaam’s advice and making friends with Israel, and then inviting the Jews to worship and feast at the pagan altars.
“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” was their philosophy. The Jewish men fell right into the trap and many of them became “good neighbors.” They ate meat from idolatrous altars and committed fornication as part of heathen religious rites. Twenty-four thousand people died because of this disobedient act of compromise (Num. 25:1–9).
The Lord accused the Christians in Pergamos of sinning, of committing “spiritual fornication” by saying, “Caesar is Lord.” Of course, this compromise made them welcome in the Roman society and protected them from Roman persecution, but it cost them their testimony and their crown. A group in that church said, “There is nothing wrong with being friendly to Rome. What harm is there in putting a pinch of incense on the altar and affirming your loyalty to Caesar?” Antipas refused to compromise and was martyred; but others took the “easy way” and cooperated with Rome.
Believers today also face the temptation to achieve personal advancement by ungodly compromise. The name Pergamos means “married,” reminding us each local church is “engaged to Christ” and must be kept pure (2 Cor 11:1–4). We will see later in Revelation that this present world system is pictured as a defiled harlot, while the church is presented as a pure bride. The congregation or the individual Christian that compromises with the world just to avoid suffering or achieve success is committing “spiritual adultery” and being unfaithful to the Lord.
3. Admonition (vv. 16–17)
Antipas had felt the sword of Rome, but the church at Pergamos would feel the sword of Christ—the Word (Heb. 4:12)—if they did not repent. This is not a reference to our Lord’s return, but to a present judgment that comes to a church when it is disobedient to the Word of God. The Lord had presented Himself as a “sharp, doubled edged sword” (Rev. 2:12), so the church could not have been ignorant of its danger. As with the previous churches the closing appeal is to the individual: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says” (Rev. 2:17).
The longest message was sent to the church in the smallest city! Thyatira was a military town as well as a commercial center with many trade groups. Wherever societies were found, idolatry and immorality—the two great enemies of the early church—were almost always present too.
The city boasted a special temple to Apollo, the “sun god,” which explains why the Lord introduced Himself as “the Son of God” (the only time in Revelation this title is used). John had to deliver a message of severe warning and judgment to this congregation, which explains the description of the Lord’s eyes and feet.
1. Approval (v. 19)
The believers in Thyatira were commended for growing in good deeds. They were involved in sacrificial ministry for the sake of others. What’s more, their works were increasing and characterized by faith, love, and patience; so the church was not guilty of mere “religious activity.”
2. Accusation (vv. 20–23)
The Lord found much to expose and condemn in the assembly at Thyatira. No amount of loving and sacrificial works can compensate for tolerance of evil. The church was permitting a false prophetess to influence the people and lead them into compromise. It is not likely this woman was actually called “Jezebel,” since such an infamous name would not be given to a child. The name is symbolic: Jezebel was the idolatrous queen who enticed Israel to add Baal worship to their religious ceremonies (1 Kings 16–19). The seductive teaching of Jezebel was similar to the “doctrine of Balaam” which the Lord condemned in the church of Pergamos (Rev. 2:14). She taught believers how to compromise with the Roman religion and the practices of the society, so Christians would not lose their jobs or their lives.
It is interesting to contrast the churches at Ephesus and Thyatira. The Ephesian church was weakening in its love, yet faithful to judge false teachers; while the people in the assembly at Thyatira were growing in their love, but too tolerant of false doctrine. Both extremes must be avoided in the church. “Speaking the truth in love” is the biblical balance (Eph. 4:15). Unloving orthodoxy and loving compromise are both hateful to God.
Not only was the church at Thyatira tolerant of evil, but it was proud and unwilling to repent. The Lord gave the false prophetess time to repent, yet she refused. Now He was giving her followers opportunity to repent. His eyes of fire had searched out their thoughts and motives, and He would make no mistake.
In fact, the Lord threatened to use this assembly as a solemn example to “all the churches” not to tolerate evil. Jezebel and her children (followers) would be sentenced to tribulation and death! Idolatry and compromise are, in the Bible, pictured as fornication and unfaithfulness to the marriage vows (Jer. 3:6; Hosea 9:1). Jezebel’s bed of sin would become a bed of sickness! To kill with death means “to kill with pestilence.” God would judge the false prophetess and her followers once and for all.
3. Admonition (vv. 24–29)
Not everyone in the assembly was unfaithful to the Lord and He had a special word for them. They had separated themselves from the false doctrine and compromising practices of Jezebel and her followers, which Christ denounces as “the depths of Satan” (note the contrast in 1 Cor. 2:10). The Lord had no special demands to make; He simply wanted them to hold fast in their resistance to evil. “Until I come” refers to Christ’s return for His people, at which time He will reward them for their faithfulness (Rev. 3:3; 16:15; 22:7, 17, 20). This is the first mention in Revelation of the Lord’s coming for the church, the event we commonly call the Rapture (1 Thes. 4:13–18). In contrast, the reference in Revelation 1:7 is to Christ’s return to earth in judgment, to defeat His enemies and establish His kingdom (Rev. 19:11).
The believers in Thyatira are promised authority over the nations, which probably refers to the fact God’s people will live and reign with Christ (Rev. 20:4). When the Lord sets up His kingdom on earth, it will be a righteous kingdom with perfect justice. He will rule with a rod of iron (Ps. 2:8–9). Rebellious men will be like clay pots, easily broken to pieces!
As we review these first four messages to the churches, we can see the dangers that still exist for the people of God today. Like Ephesus, we can be zealous and orthodox, but at the same time lose our devotion to Christ. Like Thyatira, our love can be increasing, yet lacking in the kind of discernment that is necessary to keep the church pure (Phil. 1:9–11). Like Pergamos and Thyatira, we may be so tolerant of evil that we grieve the Lord and invite His judgment.
Would we have selected Smyrna as the most spiritual church of the four? Probably not, yet the Lord did! We need to remind ourselves not to judge God’s people by wrong standards because only the Lord can see the heart (1 Cor. 4:5).
God’s exhortation to these churches (except Smyrna) is, “Repent!” It is not only lost sinners who need to repent, but also disobedient Christians. If we do not repent and deal with sin in our lives and in our assemblies the Lord may judge us and remove our lamp stand (Rev. 2:5). How tragic it is when a local church gradually abandons the faith and loses its witness for Christ! “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches!”
In Part 3, we will look at Christ’s message to the next church.