This week we are reprinting a great article by Cindy Short and Sue Welch, from The Teaching Home’s wonderful online newsletter.
As our culture is bombarded with the celebration of Halloween, we have an appropriate and compelling opportunity to teach our children what God says about the occult and its dangers.
The following thoughts are intended to raise your consciousness about the occult in our society and to suggest appropriate responses for Christian families.
May the Lord bless you and your family for His glory.
The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian
The Teaching Home is a homeschool, family-run business operated in our home since 1980.
1. The Occult: A Warning
The study of the occult can become oppressive and should not be taken lightly. Any contact with the occult, even studying it, can progressively draw a person into a fascination with the occult and place him in a vulnerable position.
God warns us of Satan’s overt and covert attacks:
“Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
(2 Corinthians 11:14)
“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.
Your adversary, the devil,
prowls around like a roaring lion,
seeking someone to devour.”
(1 Peter 5:8)
Because of this very real danger, we need to teach our children to keep their distance from anything remotely connected with Satan and his power. Instead we are told:
“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
(James 4:7, 8)
2. What Is the Occult?
The occult is real, not imagined or made up. We are in a spiritual battle:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the powers,
against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness
in the heavenly places.”
The occult refers to secret knowledge and practices involving the supernatural. Occultism has been rapidly growing in its influence and acceptability. Read many informative articles on the Christian Answers andSpotlight Ministries websites.
Wicca (another word for Witchcraft) and Paganism are now recognized “religions” listed and described in manuals for chaplains in the U.S. military and correctional services.
The list of 77 occultic practices on Christian Answers’website will open your eyes to the many forms of the occult. Some examples are astrology, magic, spells, enchantments, charms, sorcery, wizardry, witchcraft, divination, fortune-telling, mediums, spiritism, necromancy, familiar spirits, wizardry, seances, channeling, clairvoyance, and spirit-guides.
The occult is also a part of yoga and transcendental meditation (a form of yoga). Dave Hunt, author of Yoga and the Body of Christ, says, “The greatest yoga teachers all declare that the repetition of a mantra is a call to that god (i.e., the demon it represents) to come and possess the meditator.” Read online article, Is Yoga Demonic?
Any time a person gives up control of himself, except for a deliberate yielding to the Lord, he opens himself to be controlled by Satan. This can include some martial arts, some so-called “Christian” (non-biblical) forms of meditation, hypnotism, and Theosophy.
Man seeks and hungers for a power higher than himself. When he refuses to accept the true God, he is open to the alternative power of Satan.
All real super-human power is either from God or Satan. There is no neutral power, nor is there any good power that comes from Satan (e.g., there are no good witches or “white witchcraft”).
This should be remembered when encountering attempts to call good “evil” and evil “good,” to blur the lines between good and evil, or to condone choosing a “lesser” evil as a way of avoiding something “worse.”
3. What Does God Say?
God has zero tolerance for the occult and treats it very seriously.
“There shall not be found among you anyone who . . .
practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens,
or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium,
or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.
For whoever does these things is detestable
to the Lord.”
(Deuteronomy 18: 10-12)
“You shall not . . . practice divination or soothsaying.
Do not turn to mediums or spiritists.”
(Leviticus 19:26, 31)
4. Does It Affect My Family?
Both children and adults are being constantly exposed to the pervading presence of the occult in our culture through books, movies, TV, music, and games.
Even the seemingly supernatural power in some religious experiences needs to be identified with biblical discernment.
“But the Spirit explicitly says
that in later times some will fall away from the faith,
paying attention to deceitful spirits
and doctrines of demons.”
(1 Timothy 4:1)
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit,
but test the spirits to see whether they are from God,
because many false prophets have gone out
into the world.”
(1 John 4:1)
When studying pagan cultures, be aware that many ethnic objects and practices are actually satanic.
We must take the occult’s presence in our homes and children’s lives seriously. It is not just innocent fun. We never know where a very little influence or involvement can lead.
5. How Can I Protect My Family?
1. Teach Your Children
What God Says about the Occult
Do a Bible study, reading and discussing the Scripture passages in this newsletter and others that are chain-linked in your Bible (or use a print or online concordance).
2. Identify the Occult in Your Home
As an exercise, identify and list any occultic influences in your home. They may come mainly through books, gaming, movies, and music.
• Fantasy in Books and Movies. Writers such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, while accepted by many Christians, can provide an initiation into the genre of fantasy (read online article). As the line between acceptable and unacceptable fantasy keeps being pushed further and further, this can lead to many works of dubious value and potential danger, still being rationalized by “good conquering evil.”
On their website, Spotlight Ministries points out “A big area where the occult realm is making headway these days is the whole realm of fiction and fantasy. Young people, especially, are being drawn to witchcraft and other areas of the occult initially by becoming interested in fictional aspects of it. From this, the jump into the real world of the occult is an easy, more familiar one to make.”
• Gaming. Many video games, including Internet games, involve the occult, even though the “good” occult is fighting to conquer the “bad.” A good rule for games is that a child should not pretend to do something that would be wrong to do in real life.
3. Guide and Supervise
You may determine that some things are not really occultic, but need to be explained and controlled.
• Fairy Tales. Provide parental guidance to your children when they encounter impossible or supernatural things in fairy tales.
• “Magic.” Explain the difference between “magic” tricks (illusions) and the supernatural power of either God or Satan.
• Limit Involvement. It is important to limit the amount of time that a child is immersed in such questionable reading, watching, or playing. He should not read only fantasy or spend hours each day playing a fantasy game.
4. Remove Objectionable Material and Activities
You may need to do a purge of items from your home that are over the line or too close to the line.
• Discuss. Talk about these items with your children, explain why you believe it would be better for them and please the Lord if they were removed from your home.
• Pray. Pray together to ask for the Lord’s wisdom and power to do His will. If your children are unwilling to give up a questionable activity, that might be a sign that it needs more attention.
• Completely Remove. The world derides “book burning,” but the Lord records in His Word, for our edification, that after an evil spirit was sent out of a man in Ephesus:
“Fear fell upon them all
and the name of the Lord Jesus was being
Many also of those who had believed kept coming,
confessing and disclosing their practices.
And many of those who practiced magic brought
their books together and began burning them
in the sight of everyone;
and they counted up the price of them
and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
So the word of the Lord was growing mightily
• Overtly Satanic Items. Of course, overtly satanic games such as the ouija board and tarot cards should be strictly forbidden.
5. Fill Your Home with Godly Influences
When we remove undesirable activities from our family’s lives, we must fill the vacuum with Godly influences (see Christ’s parable of the unclean spirit who was banished, then replaced with seven more wicked spirits in Matthew 12:43-45).
Fill your home and children’s lives with:
• God’s Word – reading, discussing, studying, memorizing.
• Good Christian music, such as the old hymns of the faith. Check out music sold by Sound Forth or listen to Christian music online at Abiding Radio or Old Christian Music Radio where you can also buy the music you hear.
• Wholesome reading materials and images. Everything in our lives should meet God’s standards:
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute,
if there is any excellence
and if anything worthy of praise,
dwell on these things.”
6. Arm Your Children with God’s Word
Teach your children to resist Satan, his temptations, and his power as Christ did with Scriptures that they have memorized.
“Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able
to stand firm against the schemes of the devil . . .
having girded your loins with truth,
and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
and having shod your feet with the preparation
of the Gospel of peace;
in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith
with which you will be able to extinguish
all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
“And take the helmet of Salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God with all prayer
and . . . be on the alert with all perseverance.”
6. Helpful Resources
• Online Information. Read many articles about the occult at Christian Answers and Spotlight Ministries.
• Halloween – Trick or Treat? DVD
Informative DVD traces the pagan origins, history and rituals of Halloween, one of the highest holy days of the Pagan/Occult calendar of Druids, Witches, and Satanists. The rituals seen in this documentary are real (too graphic for young children). Order online.
Good Book Alternatives
Order good character-building books for your family to read alone or aloud together from the following publishers:
• Vision Forum. Books by G.A. Henty and R.M. Ballantyne.
• Jim Hodges Audio Books. Unabridged recordings of the G.A. Henty historical novels.
Reviews from a Christian Worldview
You might not agree 100% with these reviews, but they are a place to start and to alert you to undesirable elements.
• Plugged-in Online. Reviews of movies, video/DVD, music, and television.
• Christian Spotlight on Entertainment. Reviews of movies, Christian films, television, and games.
We need to recognize, but not fear, the power of Satan and his demons, which is nothing compared to God’s power.
“For I am convinced
that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor things present, nor things to come,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other created thing,
will be able to separate us
from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”
“At the name of Jesus every knee will bow,
of those who are in heaven
and on earth and under the earth.”
“And the great dragon was thrown down,
the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan,
who deceives the whole world . . .
“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying,
‘Now the salvation, and the power,
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of His Christ have come . . .
And they overcame him
because of the blood of the Lamb
and because of the word of their testimony.'”
Copyright 2011 by www.TeachingHome.com.
Reprinted by permission.