Ask The Chaplain

Ask The Chaplain

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What exactly is Witchcraft?

I Samuel 15:23 "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft..."

I was stationed at Dover AFB in November 1978 when the dead bodies came to be placed in the largest mortuary on the East Coast. There were so many bodies the First Sergeants had to wake many of us up at 3 AM to help unload bodies off of the C-5/A aircrafts and move furniture to make room for the bodies. I will never forget the stench of death at Dover that week. I received a Commendation medal for helping move bodies and equipment. That was something I pray to God I never have to experience again. The real tragedy is that it COULD have been prevented if only somebody read their Bible. Before Jim Jones took those people to Guyana, it is recorded that he preached a sermon in Indiana where he uttered these chilling words, “You don’t need to read the Bible anymore, just listen to me”. I don’t know how many left the church after he said that but the church SHOULD have emptied out. How did over 900 people choose to drink cyanide laced Flavor-Aid (It really wasn’t Kool Aid) because their Pastor told them to? Jim Jones was able to take hundreds of lives in Guyana because someone refused to listen to their gut (spirit). I firmly believe in supporting the local church and helping pastors, I want to make that clear. However there is a real epidemic of spiritually stupid "saints" that don't study their Bibles and try every spirit by the Spirit. We were given the ability to discern so we WON'T end up giving our money to crooks and drinking poison Kool-Aid! Many of today's most prominent preachers would be labeled heretics hundreds of years ago because MOST clergymen were devout Theologians and serious students of scripture. Today ordination papers and licenses are given to anyone that say's they are called to preach. I agree that being Spirit-filled and called is the first priority of being a preacher, but ALSO there has to be training…SERIOUS TRAINING! A lack of understanding of just the basic Bible doctrines of the faith can lead to the types of abuses I am talking about. Martin Luther was able to stand up to the lies of Rome because he was filled with the knowledge of the truth. I am a Pentecostal preacher, I believe in the Charismatic Gifts of the Spirit, but that doesn't negate the fact that we must have a scholarly approach to the scriptures and its teachings.
In the summer of 1977, Jones and most of the 1000 members of the Peoples Temple moved to Guyana from San Francisco after an investigation into the church for tax evasion had begun. Jones named the closed settlement Jonestown after himself. His intention was to create an agricultural utopia in the jungle, free from racism and based on socialist principles.
People who had left the organization prior to its move to Guyana told the authorities of brutal beatings, murders and of a mass suicide plan, but were not believed. In spite of the tax evasion allegations, Jones was still widely respected for setting up a racially mixed church which helped the disadvantaged. Around 70% of the inhabitants of Jonestown were black and impoverished. The religious scholar Mary McCormick Maaga argued that Jones' authority waned after he moved to the isolated commune, because there he was not needed anymore for recruitment and he could not hide his drug addiction from rank and file members.[2] Consequently, he lost some of his power over inner-circle members. In November 1978, U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan led a fact-finding mission to the Jonestown settlement in Guyana after allegations by relatives in the U.S. of human rights abuses. Ryan's delegation arrived in Jonestown on November 15 and spent three days interviewing residents. They left hurriedly on the morning of Saturday November 18 after Ryan was shot and killed. They took with them roughly 15 Peoples Temple members who wished to leave. Delegation members later told police that, as they were boarding planes at the airstrip, a truckload of Jones' armed guards arrived and began to shoot at them. At the same time, one of the supposed defectors, Larry Layton, drew a weapon and began to fire on members of the party. When the gunmen left, six people were dead: Representative Ryan, Don Humphrey, a reporter from NBC, a cameraman from NBC, a newspaper photographer, and one defector from the Peoples Temple. The former California State Senator Jackie Speier, a staff member for Rep. Ryan in 1978, Richard Dwyer, the Deputy Chief of Mission from the U.S. Embassy at Georgetown and allegedly an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency, and a producer for NBC News, Bob Flick, survived the attack.
Later that same day, 909 of the remaining inhabitants of Jonestown, 276 of them children, died in what has commonly been labeled a mass suicide. However, there is much ambiguity over whether many who died committed suicide or were in fact murdered. While some followers obeyed Jones' instructions to commit "revolutionary suicide" by drinking cyanide-laced grape flavored Flavor Aid[3] (often misidentified as Kool-aid)[4], others died by forced cyanide injection or by shooting. Jones was found dead sitting in a deck chair with a gunshot wound to the head, although it is unknown if he had been murdered or committed suicide. The autopsy on his body showed levels of the barbiturate pentobarbital that could have been lethal to humans who have not developed physiological tolerance. His drug usage (including various LSD and marijuana experimentations) was confirmed by his son, Stephan, and Jones's doctor in San Francisco.

When we think of witches we often get an image of the Wicked Witch of the West or some old crone with a broom and a big nose. Very rarely do we associate witchcraft with our mainstream Christian houses of worship. The verse in scripture that most accurately describes WHAT witchcraft is….is I Samuel 15:23. Saul had never given his heart completely over to God. He was a Follower of God {He knew of God}, but had never given the LORD all of his heart.

Unshakeable faith in the LORD comes from a heart stayed upon God. Rebellion comes from a heart stayed upon self. A self-willed person is actually worshipping himself. This self worship is the worship of an idol. The idol just happens to be self. You can see that to rebel against God, or to stubbornly try to have our way over God's way would bring complete destruction. Saul rejected the perfect will of the LORD, and the LORD in turn rejected Saul.

Saul had not listened intently to the instructions from the LORD before the battle, or he did not believe Samuel was speaking the will of the LORD. His disrespect for the message Samuel gave, was not disrespect for Samuel, but disrespect for God. Part of the statement above is true. He did destroy most of the Amalekites. Saul is like so many people. He tries to justify what he has done. He is like someone who is a Christian most of the time. That other time will keep a professing Christian out of heaven. The actions he takes, which are not 100% what God wants him to do, will cause displeasure from God, as well. He will not do exactly what God says for him to do. It is as if he thinks he has a better plan than God's plan.

There are leaders in Church today that lead not according to the perfect will of God, but according to their fleshly desires and personal aspirations. When a person seeks to guide or direct another human away from God’s will…they are practicing WITCHCRAFT! Yes in Christian churches there is witchcraft going on.

The Bible describes here witchcraft far more dangerous than the occult. It controls more pastors and congregations than any other kind of demonic influence. It is rebellion against the Word of God!

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