While some think of yoga as a form of exercise or a way to clear the mind, others view it as a “demonic door” that opens its practitioners to and oppression.
For former psychic-turned-Christian Jenn Nizza, yoga was once a ritualistic exercise she purposely used to connect to evil spirits. After leaving the occult and turning to Christ, Nizza is using her platform to speak out against the idea that yoga is simply all fun and innocent movements.
“I used to do yoga ritualistically, and the meditation aspect really opened me up and helped me to receive communication from evil spirits,” Nizza detailed in an episode of Billy Hallowell’s “Playing With Fire” podcast.
“Yoga is a Hindu spiritual practice and the word ‘yoga’ is rooted in Sanskrit. It means ‘to yoke to’ or ‘to unite with.’ And what they’re doing is … they have deliberate postures that are paying tribute, honor and worship to their false gods,” she explained.
According to Nizza, Hinduism has “over 330 million false gods, which are demons, and they’re honoring them with these postures. That’s what yoga is, and it is not just stretching and breathing.”
Nizza cited yoga as violating the biblical teaching in Exodus 23, which she summarized as commanding the faithful “not to worship any gods before our one true God” and “not to have any other gods before Him.”
“You’re opening demonic doors by practicing yoga because those postures that you’re doing are worshiping other little ‘g’ gods; not the one true God, of course, but Hindu demons,” Nizza said.
“The whole thing with the demonic spirits and in the Church and everything else, I think it seems that people either over-demonize or under-demonize,” Nizza added. “We’re not looking for a demon behind every corner. But we can’t be ignorant to the fact that they’re there and that there are practices that invite them and invoke them.”
“When you give the permission to do that and invite them into your space, you’re signing up for the consequences that follow. And that’s why the warning is so, so important.”
Nizza addressed Christians who believe yoga is merely a series of physical postures and harmless as long as there is no malicious intention. She advised them to read Jeremiah 17:9, which she summarized as stating, “The heart is deceptive.”
“It’s not like you can take yoga and blast worship music and cry out to Jesus. Or you say you’re praying while you’re doing these exercises,” Nizza maintained. “People say to me, ‘Well, God knows my heart, God knows my heart.’ That’s right, and you should be concerned about that.”
“My friend Doreen said once, ‘You wouldn’t put Scripture on a Ouija board and think that it’s OK to do it.’ … This is a real spiritual practice and super deceiving, especially because it has infiltrated the Church. Many people in the Church, many churches, are supporting yoga. It’s very heartbreaking.”
When someone practices yoga, they “open the door or sign up or give permission to demons to come into your space,” according to Nizza. She stressed that anyone who practices yoga “will be vulnerable to demonic oppression” and the variety of symptoms it causes.
Nizza listed many ways that demons can harm a person as a result of them practicing yoga.
“Anxiety, confusion, planting seeds of doubt, sickness sometimes even; they can actually affect your health. Again, as the Christian, spiritual confusion, spiritual vulnerability, not wanting to go to church or open your Bible, anything that will be leading you away from God, that’s what the battle is.”
Demons, she said, intend to “get you away from God, get you into disobedience to God as well and then get you into sin,” adding: “It’s so, so dangerous to do that.”
“And then of course, as a former psychic medium, when you go through … any form of New Age meditation, you’re opening yourself up to communication with demons as well, where maybe you’re hearing things or seeing things in your home, and you’re bringing that home with you. And my concern is for the soul of the person and also for their children, by the way, who you’re bringing that demonic oppression home to.”
“But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” I Cor. 2:14
There are literally millions of vast unknown worlds in this universe. Each unknown world is a great reservoir of mystery which mortal man has never been able to tap. Since man’s knowledge of the universe is so limited, how then can the atheist dogmatically affirm that there is no God in the universe? The atheist does not really know there is no God, he merely assumes that God does not exist. Atheism then is an assumption held by those who are the victims of their own foolish pride.
Atheism is riddled with contradictions. One glaring example being that the atheists denounce and belittle the Christians for accepting God by faith. However, we must remember that atheism itself cannot be proven, it is merely a theory which the rejectors of God accept by —FAITH. Oddly enough, FAITH is the very thing atheists despise the Christians for using. “Oh, consistency, thou art indeed a rare jewel.”
THE EVIDENCE OF DESIGN
The atheist will not believe that this world offers a vast array of physical evidence proving the existence of God. Everything in this world which displays intelligence, order, and design is explained away by the atheist as being merely the work of nature. The laws and principles which govern this world is what man calls nature. The very fact that these laws and principles are of a remarkable order and intelligence, is proof that nature was brought into being by Supreme Intellect. If there is no intelligence guiding nature, then we must believe that all the complex and orderly designs, both in the animate and inanimate creation, owe their existence and beauty to a blind unreasoning force! One who believes that a creation can be brought into existence without intelligence directing it is denying reason and logic. Someone has said, the probability of life originating from accident is comparable to the probability of the unabridged dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing shop.
The faulty reasoning of the atheist is made still more apparent when he confesses that rare ingenuity and intelligence is displayed in the invention of the radio, telephone, and car. If the inventions of man needed intelligence to bring them into existence, then surely a Higher Intelligence was needed to bring this great complex universe into existence.
The trillions of snowflakes which fall annually to the earth, when examined under a microscope clearly reveal that each snowflake is a thing of beauty. Science has never found two snowflakes 100% identical, though they may look alike in some ways, each one has its own sublime beauty and intricate design. Science New Letter of January 9, 1965, authenticates this fact by stating: “With innumerable variations of intricate patterns and shapes, no two snow crystals have yet been found alike throughout the world.” In 2017 a study was completed that supported the fact as true, “No two snowflakes are completely identical” (Snopes). The artistic form and beauty of each snowflake thus reveals that there must be a Divine Artist who sculptures a different design for each falling snowflake. Truly the infinite resources of Almighty God are beyond the finite mind of man to fathom.
Animal instinct eloquently argues that there is indeed a God. The amazing eel, for instance, upon reaching maturity will migrate thousands of miles to reach her spawning ground in the Saragossa Sea, which is near Bermuda. Eels from as far away as Europe and North America make their way to these deep waters to spawn and die. The baby eels that are born here then make their way back across uncharted oceans to the very same shore, river, or inlet in which their parents live. Only a Divine Power could instill into these little creatures such an unerring and accurate direction impulse. Surely reason doth rear her head here and cry — GOD EXIST!
The hand of the Divine Artist can be clearly seen in the blushing flowers of the field which cast forth their scented fragrance. The color and delicate taste of the various fruits of the land truly reveal the goodness of God to man. To drink in the beauty and splendor of a summer sunset can bring thoughts that often lie too deep for tears. How beautiful and moving to behold the color and glory of autumn leaves when the bird is on the wing and waves farewell to summer’s dying day. Man can only stand in awe and wonder before the greatness and majesty of God’s creation. “Truly, the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” Psalms 19:1.
The atheist boasts that no one can prove to him the existence of God. What the atheist fails to realize is that neither can you prove to a man born blind the fact that there is a moon in the sky. However, the moon does exist even though we cannot prove its existence to blind men. Likewise, God also exists even though we cannot prove his existence to atheists WHO ARE SPIRITUALLY BLIND! Truly, there are none so blind as those who WILL NOT see. The Scriptures tell the reason why the unbeliever rejects the existence of God. Read it for yourself in I Corinthians 2: 14: “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” The conclusion of the matter then is that God is his own interpreter and he alone can make it plain.
THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT
The atheists and agnostics cling to the erroneous idea that a Christian does not really know there is a God. Saint Paul in Romans 8: 16 explodes this spurious notion when he declares: “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” We are informed here by Saint Paul that the Holy Spirit does give comfort and assurance to the believing heart. However, this witness of the Spirit is not given to the world, neither is it bestowed upon those who are Christians in name only. The witness of the Holy Spirit is given only to those who have completely surrendered their lives to Christ.
The Christian does not have to grope his way blindly through life merely hoping that there is a God. Any person who is willing to pay the price of total surrender to Christ will be given by the Holy Spirit the witness in his own heart that he truly belongs to the God of heaven.
Those who reject God have only an argument. The born again Christian, however, has a personal relationship with Christ, and the man with an experience is never at the mercy of the man with an argument.
God will prove himself to any person who will sincerely seek Him. Christ graciously extends to all men everywhere this invitation: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
“Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.”
Both archaeology and the Bible suggest that the world was once quite different from the world we know today. Each agrees that the earth’s climate was once much more uniform than it is today.
At one time the tropics may have extended into what are today polar regions. However, the Bible and evolutionary geology don’t agree on how long ago that was. Bible-believing geologists, on the other hand, are reporting evidence to support the Bible’s story of history.
In the last few years scientists have been surprised to discover dinosaur fossils in Alaska. Dinosaurs need warm temperatures—warmer than Alaska was thought to have been. In 1986, on Canada’s Axel Heiberg Island, only 600 miles from the North Pole, scientists found a huge, dense forest. Some of the trees were well over 125 feet tall. They have been snapped off at the stump and are neither fossilized nor petrified, but remain as fresh wood. Even some of the leaves are still intact. The area was filled with spruce, hickory, dawn redwood and cypress trees and was evidently a swamp, since tropical turtle and alligator remains have also been found. Tree rings show that the area was warmer in the recent past, while the size of the rings tell us that there were short, hot summers during which rapid growth occurred, followed by long, dark winters as there are today.
The most interesting conclusion reached by the scientific team is that the entire region must have been subjected to a huge flood! This discovery tells us that all of geology must be restructured to present a history that agrees with the Bible’s story of the earth’s past.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, I thank You that Your Word is true and trustworthy. Let my faith be more than a faith of words or simply comfort in bad times. Instruct me through the Bible so that my faith is a way of life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
REF: Search for a Tropical Arctic (Television documentary). 1990. Federal Department of Energy, Mines and Resources (Canada). Photo: Arctic fox in sunglasses by RJM Snapdragon from Pixabay.com photo elements.
While it costs us nothing to pray today to Christ our Savior, it costs us everything to coronate him our King. C. S. Lewis observed, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
God’s word emphatically and consistently calls us to the complete commitment of our lives to our King:
“Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lᴏʀᴅ your God. . . . You shall be holy to me, for I the Lᴏʀᴅ am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine” (Leviticus 20:7, 26).
“Let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).
God is “training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:12).
“Be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish” (2 Peter 3:14).
Such holiness in service to a holy King begins with our minds. As we noted yesterday, epigeneticists report that our thoughts and attitudes can lead to changes in gene expression that lead to tangible changes in our brains and, thus, our lives. As a result, we should say with Job: “I have made a covenant with my eyes” (Job 31:1). When we refuse to look upon or think about what is sinful, we will be less sinful.
To do this, pray every day: “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things” (Psalm 119:37). Then join God in answering your prayer: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2) through Bible study, prayer, worship, and communion with Christ.
Seek the “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16) through the discipline of your mind: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8, my emphasis). Then turn your mind into an altar upon which you pray today and every day for our nation and her leaders (1 Timothy 2:1–4).
Our planet is spinning on its axis at 1,040 miles per hour. The earth is spinning around the sun at 66,600 mph. Our solar system is moving around the Milky Way galaxy at a rate of 558,000 mph. And the Milky Way is moving through the universe at 660,000 mph.
The King of the universe holds all of that in the same palm of his hand (cf. Isaiah 40:12) where he is holding onto you (John 10:28).
“The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in your thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.”
“…and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” (NASB)
“…we are extremely joyful, leaping for joy, in the favorable and confident expectation of the future revealing of the glory of God that we eagerly await; that is, when the Lord Jesus Christ will transform the outward appearance of our natural, earthly body of our humble state, one of weakness and dishonor, into conformity with the spiritual, eternal body of His glory. No longer will the soul rule our bodies but our Holy Spirit-perfected human spirit will influence and enliven our resurrected bodies.
He is going to do this to you, struggling Christian.
At that time the mortal will be replaced by immortality, weakness will be replaced by power, dishonor by glory, the image of the earthly will be replaced by the image of the heavenly, beautiful in form and appearance, a fallen mind replaced by a perfect mind, the sinful nature replaced by a sinless principle of life, sickness replaced by perfect health with limitless energy and blindness will turn into perfect sight.
He is going to do this to you, suffering child of God.
Jesus will restore the enswathement of glory to you that originally issued forth from the First Adam’s innermost being before the Fall. Our precious God and Savior Jesus will wrap us in His glory fashioned like His eternal body of glory. White and gleaming shall you be. No need for clothes.
Then we shall inherit the Kingdom of God.
Patiently and eagerly wait for it, persecuted child of God.
As Daniel said: “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”
The Blessed Hope shall appear, the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. The hope of righteousness shall be fulfilled as we conform to His will. The hope of the Gospel shall be manifested as we experience the fulfillment of all the promises God has made to His adopted children.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus!
(Luke 9:29, Rom 5:2b, Col. 1: 23 & 27, Phil 3: 20-21, Titus 2:12-13, I Peter 5:1 & 10, Rom 8:18, 21, 24-25, Daniel 12:3, I Cor. 15: 35-50)
About four of us, two from MCOI and two from Haven Ministries attended Paganicon 2023 [in March]. After we returned, I emailed Twin Cities Pagan Pride and asked if they have an attendance count and was told 1,000 had registered. Carl Teichrib at Forcing Change attended Paganicon in the past and contributed two articles on the event, Journeys in Paganistan -Part 1 and Journeys in Paganistan – Part 2. In Carl’s first article, he described: “a reality beyond books and TV screens – a spiritual worldview that honors creation over the Creator. Is a new Pagan age dawning? It appears so.”
What happens at Paganicon? Attendees gather to connect as a community with a shared spirituality. They participate in a variety of workshops to learn about paganism’s “ancient history,” how to better engage in ritual and worship – and how to connect with the deity or deities of their choosing. Many of them are looking to find a personalized faith – unlike their experience in Christian churches, which ideally still believe in and present “the faith once delivered to the saints.”…But some pagans just read a new and happier (in their thinking) understanding into the ancient book without throwing the whole thing out. There is a melding going on, as Carl points out: “This workshop reinforced something I would hear more than once; that many who formerly identified as Christians now follow Pagan paths….”
This is not only occurring within the pagan community but, as we already mentioned, Christians are embracing some pagan practices within the church as well. One of the workshops I attended was “Shamanic Journeying” and was led by Shaman Sherry L.M. Merriam, MA, LPCC, TCHI. She described the reason for these spiritual journeys:” Shamanistic journeying is to receive new personal revelation from spirit beings instead of information from an old religious book.”
As Shaman Sherry was preparing the group to enter into the spiritual realm for a short Shamanistic journey, she said that those who have practiced Contemplative Meditation will be familiar with these techniques….I raised my hand and asked Merriam what would happen if someone inadvertently encountered an evil spirit while on this “journey?” She assured the attendees this would never happen because each of us will have a “spirit guide.” I then asked how we would know our spirit guide is good, and she responded: “The spirit guide is always good and is your protector from evil spirits.”Even Rocky the flying squirrel knew to ask Bullwinkle if the spirits he was calling up were “friendly,” but perhaps that simple precaution is lost on people today.
I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as supernatural guidance that is not divine guidance. While the Bible does not give us a lot of information on the nature of the spiritual world, we do know enough to recognize that there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way!
I say these things not to make you fearful but to make you knowledgeable. You need to know that “like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour,” (1 Peter 5:8). You also need to know that “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world,” (1 John 4:4).
We spent over an hour with Jean (Drum) Pagano, who is a member of the Reformed Druids of North America. He describes himself as a polytheistic pantheist, one who believes in many gods and believes that God is in the cosmos and all things. After our conversation, he presented his workshop, “An Introduction to Devotional Polytheism.” He described the various rituals he performs in his attempts to build relationships with deities. During our initial discussion, he explained that often when he teaches about Paganism, he takes along a box that is labeled “The History of Paganism.” At the beginning of his presentations, he lets the audience know that he is going to show them all the information we have about ancient paganism and ritual. He opens the box to reveal it is empty. There is, in fact, very little actual information about ancient Paganism passed down from ancient practitioners. Pagano and the other pagan groups are, in truth, creating their own traditions, deities, and practices today.
In another workshop, “Lessons from the Indigenous Pagan Survivals,” offered by Andras Corban-Arthen, Andras mentioned that he has traveled to 67 countries in search of information on ancient Pagan practices. His findings could not add anything to Jean Pagano’s empty box.
Not only is it the ancient history of paganism and its rituals that is an empty box, but the newly minted paganism itself is devoid of anything that can enrich one’s life or save a lost and seeking soul. As we met and spoke with a variety of Pagans, Wiccans, Witches, Druids, and Satanists, I noted that none of them understood Christianity in the least. They don’t see themselves as sinners needing salvation and assert that all religions are essentially the same at the core (perennialism).
We leave those with whom we shared the gospel with God. We clearly presented the gospel to many people and are praying for them. However, we are merely ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). God may use us to plant the seed and others to water while He causes the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).
If you access news from Asia, you will know that for decades—and especially during the past four or five years—the military junta that rules Myanmar has increasingly committed atrocities against their own people.
Whatever chaos your country may have faced during the last few years of Covid lockdowns, it is probably little compared to the people of Myanmar, who in addition to Covid restrictions, have been forced to endure civil war, a genocidal campaign by the government, indiscriminate shooting of people in the streets, starvation, deprivation, economic collapse, and a military that has systematically raped and slaughtered many segments of the population, especially in the Christian tribal areas.
There is clear evidence that the evil genocide sweeping Myanmar has been conducted with the explicit help of the Chinese Communist Party, which seems to view Myanmar as a virtual vassal state of China. The bullets, bombs, tanks, and even air assaults have been done with machinery supplied by China. The stories and pictures we have seen from Myanmar are too gruesome to share here.
Amid this chaos, the stubborn pride that has kept generations of Buddhist Burmese from believing in Jesus Christ has been eroded, and in their state of humiliation and brokenness, tens of thousands of Burmese have repented and given their lives to God. Truly, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
From across the densely populated plains of Myanmar—inhabited by Buddhist peoples like the Burmese, Chaungtha, Mon and Rakhine—reports have emerged of families and sometimes whole communities being transformed by the Lord Jesus Christ. People who were dead in their sins have been given new hearts; the hopeless now have hope and purpose in their lives; families that have worshipped idols for centuries are now praising the Living God; and many broken people are being put back together as the Lord Jesus has pity on the suffering Burmese and declares: “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Romans 9:15).
Despite the wonderful breakthrough among groups in Myanmar that have long been considered resistant to the Gospel, the revival at this stage is numerically small compared to the tens of millions of lost Buddhist people there. But it is a blessed start. Please pray the Holy Spirit will continue to fan the flames, and that millions of people throughout Myanmar will find Christ and glorify His Name.
God is doing a new thing through this revival. In the two centuries since Adoniram Judson arrived in Myanmar, the Christian landscape in the country became very denominational, reflecting many of the divisions seen in the Western world. Countless Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican, Assemblies of God, and other churches filled the land. The faith of many Christians became nominal and dry, however, and the Body of Christ was in desperate need of a heavenly visitation.
The current revival has almost exclusively occurred through house church discipleship networks, where faith has been stripped of many man-made religious traditions and brought back to its basic, pure form. Gone is the division between paid clergy and “laymen.” Now, new believers from this revival are considered “kings and priests to serve our God” (Revelation 5:10), and all members of the Body of Christ are encouraged to use their God-given gifts to build up others and to reach the lost.
The current move of God is also unlikely to produce a single visible church building. Myanmar does not need one more cathedral or church building. Now, tens of thousands of newly redeemed brothers and sisters with a simple yet powerful faith gather in homes, basements, shops, halls, thatch huts, teahouses, or wherever else they may choose to meet.
Here at Asia Harvest, we have never had any interest in funding church buildings or visible places of worship. In fact, in the 35 years we have been serving in Asia, we have helped local believers plant thousands of fellowships of vibrant believers, but not once have we ever funded or constructed a church building.
There are practical reasons for our stance. In the countries we serve in, church-going Christians are easily identified and persecuted by militant Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, or Communists. Our goal when we help Asian believers establish a fellowship is that it is flexible from the start and able to go “underground” as soon as it needs to. It’s very difficult for the enemies of the Cross to destroy God’s children when they cannot locate them easily and there are no buildings adorned with crosses that point the way for the persecutors to go.
The nature of the current revival, which has been gathering steam for several years, is that many thousands of sinners have repented and surrendered to Jesus Christ. Each believer then disciples others, and in that way the Gospel has spread rapidly to their friends and relatives, who then share it with their contacts. Like every movement where many people come to faith there are challenges, but the Holy Spirit has brought peace and love to communities that for centuries had been trapped in spiritual darkness and depravity.
In this remarkable recent photo from Myanmar, new believers—mostly people from a Buddhist background—joyfully receive Burmese Bibles for the first time. Similar scenes are being repeated throughout the country as revival spreads.
A Rare Opportunity to Impact an Entire Country
Although no one except God currently knows the extent of the revival in Myanmar, what we can tell you is that when our co-workers there (who we have known for 30 years) began to field requests for Burmese Bibles, in a short space of time requests flooded in from more than 100 different Myanmar church and ministry leaders, begging for the Word of God so that new believers could be established in the faith and the gains from the revival would not fall by the wayside.
(Note: Although the Bible Society exists in Myanmar, Bibles tend to be very difficult to obtain from them and are priced so high that most normal believers cannot afford to buy a single copy.) All Bibles provided by Asia Harvest are distributed free of charge to believers, via existing ministries, which have to account for what they receive by sending us reports and photos of their distributions.
As a result of this first round of requests, we have printed 80,000 full Burmese Bibles, and as you read this newsletter they are being distributed to grateful believers throughout Myanmar. At $3 each, the amount of money needed to do such a project soon becomes large, but we are thankful for our supporters who have prayed and given to our Asia Bible Fund, which allows us to implement large printings like this.
After the initial 80,000 Bibles have been distributed and reports have been received, we envisage there will be a need for at least another 80,000 Burmese Bibles, plus thousands more in other minority languages. We will then evaluate the project, but in our experience in China and other parts of Asia, when much needed Bibles reach thirsty and desperate new Christians, the result is that the Scriptures act like fuel being added to a fire, causing the blaze to burn much brighter. This, in turn, results in a surge in the number of new believers, who also need Bibles, and so the need escalates.
As we were writing this newsletter, our long-term Myanmar Bible co-workers sent us this message: “Including the 80,000 now being distributed, we have received requests to print at least 150,000 more Burmese Bibles. Because of the civil war many people are turning to Christ. Buddhism doesn’t help the heart, but Jesus does.”
The main role of Asia Harvest in this move of God in Myanmar is to provide the Word of God to new believers. We expect to be busy doing this for at least the next few years. Please pray with us for the success of this project, so that God’s flock may be spiritually nourished and anchored in truth and grace.
We hope to give updates on the revival and testimonies from Burmese believers in future newsletters. It is a great privilege to be involved, and we see it as a wonderful, God-given opportunity to impact not only a people group, but an entire country for the kingdom of God.
ASIA Bible Fund
Current totals: 19,134,787 Bibles printed in 156 languages.
The Asia Bible Fund provides the Scriptures in numerous languages of China, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and anywhere in Asia where God’s people need His Word. These Bibles are distributed free of charge, equipping the Body of Christ and helping fuel the flames of revival.
Each Bible costs just $3.00 to print and deliver. We also print millions of Gospel booklets for evangelism through this project.
We invite you to join hands with us in praying for the revival in Myanmar. Please pray that all 150 people groups there will soon have vibrant Christian communities that are reaching the lost and glorifying the Living God.
If you would like to help provide Bibles to new Christians in Myanmar, please fill out the yellow response form in this newsletter and send it back along with your gift. One-time or monthly donations to the Asia Bible Fund or our other projects can be made via our secure website.
As always, our policy is that 100 percent of donations received for a project will only go directly to support that project. Nothing is taken out for administration or any other expense.
(My first vinyl record as a teenager was the Stone’s (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. I viewed them and other rockers as my friends until I was born again at 27 when I realized they were just lost souls leading other lost souls down the road to eternal destruction. Let know one deceive you. Carl)
British philosopher Aldous Huxley once remarked: “There comes a time when one asks, even of Shakespeare, even of Beethoven, ‘Is that all there is?’”[i] This year, Sir Michael Philip Jagger, having pioneered the concept of rock ‘n’ roll frontman, will turn 80 years old. His music has endured the arrival of the internet, the cell phone, the EU, Brexit and the infiltration of social media.
To some, his refrains still feel poignant and fresh — indeed, timeless. Howard Stern, in a New York Times Magazine interview, called Mick Jagger his dream interviewee.[ii] Jagger, said Stern, was a prophet of his youth who taught him more than any religious training ever could.
Jagger’s Rolling Stones were propelled into fame in 1965 with their first single, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” The song continues to resonate. One can’t help, however, but ponder the source of the frontman’s dissatisfaction. Not enough money? Jagger’s net worth today exceeds $360 million; in 1965, at 22, he already owned his own home and toured in a private jet.[iii] Not enough fame? By 1964, the Stones had already joined the Beatles in infiltrating the United States music industry in the British Invasion. Not enough sex? Hardly.
Perhaps Huxley and Jagger are prophets with the same message. A quote often attributed to G. K. Chesterton captures it well: “Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain, but it comes from being weary of pleasure.”
The universal longing
Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston College, argues that every natural, innate desire within us corresponds to something in the real world.[iv] He is not referring to artificial desires like the desire for a sports car or a vacation to Hawaii — these artificial desires result from outside influences like advertising or culture. Kreeft is talking about natural desires that spring up from within, of desires we seem born to have — for things like friendship, knowledge and beauty.
For these natural, basic desires, we have words to describe their absence: loneliness, ignorance and ugliness. We do not have a word for “sports car-lessness,” but we do have a word for the human condition: alienation. We will get back to this.
There exists, argues Kreeft, a natural, inner desire nothing earthly can fulfill. A desire for something more. Call it “transcendence.” Call it “Paradise.” The desire is as familiar as it is fleeting. It is sand through our fingers. It is the dust in the wind.
The novelist C.S. Lewis compared a person to a duckling. Why does a duckling desire to swim? Because such a thing as water exists for it to swim in. Similarly, why does a child hunger? Because such a thing as food exists for it to eat. Why do we desire sex? Because sex exists as a thing to be experienced.
But what about the oracles of Huxley and Jagger? What about our yearning for transcendence? “If we find in ourselves a desire,” Lewis famously observes, “that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”[v] Perhaps there is something to the logic of Lewis and Kreeft. Perhaps “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” is universally acclaimed, in part, because it is reflective of a universal sigh — a widespread sense that something is fundamentally unfinished and broken. That life is an incomplete sentence with a full stop. And perhaps, just perhaps, even the Rolling Stones cry out.
Luuk Vandeweghe has a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from the University of Aberdeen, has written several books, and has publicly debated skeptics on issues of faith. His work has been published in preeminent peer-reviewed journals such as New Testament Studies, Tyndale Bulletin and Bulletin for Biblical Research.
Jeff Williams’ fascination with science began at a young age growing up in Winter, Wisconsin, where he avidly consumed books on the subject.
Encouraged by a teacher, he pursued his passion. Little did he know that it would lead him to a remarkable career in the military, and he would eventually break a record by spending 534 days in space as an astronaut with NASA.
In an interview with The Christian Post, the 65-year-old revealed how his lifelong love of science and his faith in Christ intersect. Although he didn’t spend much time in church during his childhood, he detailed how he and his wife came to Christ during a tumultuous time in their marriage.
Growing up, Williams said he “was always pretty good at school” and especially enjoyed studying “math and science and engineering.”
“And eventually, [those were] areas in which I decided I wanted to study and grow into, and that’s what ended up happening once I got to the [U.S.] Military Academy,” Williams shared.
“I did well in school. It was a very small school. There were only 34 people in my graduating class, but I graduated high school as the valedictorian class president and as president of the student council.”
While in eighth grade, Williams explored what faith in God should look like. His family considered themselves Christian, but they never attended church.
“On my own, I went and joined a confirmation class with a local Lutheran pastor. At that phase in my life, I had a lot of questions about faith and the Bible. And I remember that was a very profound year for me,” Williams said.
“Joining the confirmation class was something I did on my own. It was not in the context of my family. And following the class, my faith kind of went on pause once I got into high school. So I always had very little participation in a church, even in that year I did the confirmation class.”
Williams graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1980, and six months later, he married his wife, Anna-Marie, who was raised as a non-religious Catholic. According to Williams, they did not become active in their faith until about seven years later when they faced “some pretty significant difficulties” in their marriage.
During this time, Williams said, “God put Christians around us.” The couple moved to Texas because of his military status. It was in Texas that his wife came “to faith after hearing the Gospel.”
“And then, I spent the next several months trying to understand what happened to her by studying the scriptures. I studied the Gospel of John and the letter to the Romans, primarily,” said Williams.
Following their move to Texas, Williams was stationed in Alabama, where he continued to read the Bible to better understand his wife’s newfound faith.
“One day, I asked her to come to Alabama for a long weekend in January of 1988. And I asked her to help me pray to commit my life to Christ on that weekend,” Williams detailed.
“And that’s when we began to rebuild our marriage and how we raised our children and how we approached life altogether.”
From there, Williams said, he and his family started attending church together whenever he was home.
“Christ completely turned my life upside down,” he shared.
“Instead of living for myself and without a greater purpose, now I had a purpose for myself and my family,” Williams said.
“I became aware through a growing awareness and understanding of calling in life that we’ve been created for a purpose, and that purpose is to serve God and our fellow man. So that was a profound change in my approach to life.”
After graduating from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School class 103 in 1993, Williams was selected as an astronaut in 1996.
By then, he already had a firmly established belief in Jesus and believed science and Christianity were not in conflict.
“By the time I was selected to be an astronaut, I knew that questions would come up a lot,” said Williams. “So, I spent a lot of time and effort studying the material to address those questions and, for example, the apparent conflict between the theory of evolution and all of the associated philosophies.”
“Since the early ’90s, I’ve been studying this area because of the questions I knew I would get, the questions that I continue to get, and the requests that I get to come speak on the topic.”
In 2016, Williams broke the record for most cumulative days spent in space, which was later broken by Peggy Whitson. During his career, he was the commander of Expedition 47/48 in 2016, a flight engineer and lead spacewalker for STS-101 in 2000, a flight engineer for Expedition 13 in 2005, a flight engineer for Expedition 21 in 2009, and commander of Expedition 22 in 2009.
In 2010, after returning from Expedition 21, Williams released his book The Work of His Hands: A View Of God’s Creation From Space, which recounts his observations as he orbited the Earth more than 2,800 times and took more photographs of the Earth than any astronaut in history. Every shot contains lessons about God’s creation, according to the book’s description.
Williams said the often-promoted idea that “science is the reason we progress” while “the Bible draws us back and regresses us” is false.
“Even the term of the so-called ‘dark ages,’ which were, in fact, not so dark, is a derogatory term that supports that thesis that ‘religion, in general, Christianity specifically, is regressive. It wants to take us back. It wants to draw us back,'” said Williams. “So that’s the biggest challenge.”
According to Williams, failing to engage with the Bible and understand how science and Christianity can coexist poses a significant risk.
“I regard the ultimate authority to be the Word of God. The Word of God is true. It is the Word of God, the Creator of all things, and the One who we know is our Redeemer. So it is authoritative,” Williams said.
“I just have to do the work to understand it, to draw the truth out of it, and to apply that truth to the world around us. If you don’t regard the Bible as authoritative, then you’re going to replace it with something else.”
The Williamses have two adults sons and four grandchildren. They reside in Battle Ground, Washington, where they serve at Word of Grace Bible Church. In addition to his degrees in aeronautical engineering and national security, Williams has a doctor of ministry from The Master’s Seminary.
Christians in China’s populous Henan province are now reportedly required to register on a government app to attend worship services and must make online reservations before taking part in worship, according to a report from a U.S.-based human rights group.
The app, called “Smart Religion” and developed by the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commission of Henan Province, asks believers to give personal information, including their name, phone number, government ID number, permanent residence, occupation and date of birth to receive approval to attend a service, ChinaAid reported this week.
It’s a requirement not only for churches but also mosques and Buddhist temples, states the group, which documents religious persecution in China and supports Chinese prisoners of conscience.
Henan has one of the largest Christian populations in China. Local Christians say the cumbersome application procedures have reduced the number of believers attending churches. According to the Texas-based nongovernmental organization, many elderly people and those less tech-savvy may find it challenging to access the app. However, officials say such people will be assisted.
Once allowed into a place of worship, believers must also have their temperature taken, the group said, commenting that the app may be related in some way to COVID-19 restrictions.
ChinaAid contends these management measures were not implemented to protect people’s religious rights but rather as a means to achieve political purposes.
“This so-called ‘Smart Religion’ online application has been officially launched in some parts of Henan. In August 2022, the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau of Puyang County in Henan and the Henan Billion Second Electronic Technology Co., Ltd. signed a project contract for the ‘Construction of an Independent Command Platform for the Management of Smart Religion,'” China Aid Special Correspondent Gao Zhensaithe wrote.
Last week, a remarkable email was forwarded to me by my staff. It was from Sarahbeth Caplin, someone I had previously interacted with when she was a hostile, “progressive” Christian writing for an atheist website. Why was she contacting me now?
I share all this with you here with her full permission and blessing.
Sarahbeth wrote in her email, “Dear Michael, This article recently came up in a Google search when I was trying to find something else I wrote: [The article was written by me on May 23, 2019, titled, “Misrepresent and Demonize: The Weapon of ‘Progressive’ Christians.”]
She continued: “It’s so funny to read this now, because I no longer recognize the person you’re talking about. At the time, I was going through a period of deconstruction. All the downtime in 2020 forced me to reevaluate everything I believe and why, and I’m happy to say I’ve returned to biblical orthodoxy — including in matters of sexuality. I just thought you would be interested to know that.”
What great news! You can be sure I was quite interested to receive this report, especially in light of the article that she linked which I began with these words: “Last week, I encouraged Christian parents in California who had children in public schools to defy the law and pull their kids from the state’s extreme sex-ed curriculum. How did the Friendly Atheist’s resident Episcopalian blogger respond?
“According to Sarahbeth Caplin, I want these parents to teach ‘their kids that transgender people don’t exist.’ (Yes, she actually wrote this.)”
She added (back in 2019), “This is just faith-based, hate-fueled fear-mongering. It’s the only subject in which Michael Brown is an expert.”
In response, I wrote, “What a sad commentary on the nature of liberal illogic. And what a misrepresentation of the facts.”
And I ended the article with this appeal, to which I received no response: “If the state wants to force trash like this on their children, then the righteous, moral, and responsible thing to do is pull their kids out of those classes.
“The only thing hateful is the response of ‘progressives’ like Caplin.
“That being said, Sarahbeth, if you read this, let’s talk. Join me on the air one day, and we can discuss the differences plainly but without vitriol.
“I’m willing if you are.”
That was then, with the old Sarahbeth. What happened to change her views so dramatically? What led to such a wonderful transformation?
When I inquired as to what happened in her life, she shared this with me (which, again, I’m sharing with her full permission):
“I’m not sure how the transformation started exactly, except that at some point I started praying for God to reveal the truth to me — no matter how uncomfortable it made me. And then I started noticing some inconsistencies within the LGBT movement: like how you’re apparently ‘born this way,’ but at the same time, sexuality is also fluid? And for a same-sex attracted person to reject a trans person for a date is apparently transphobic (because the ‘parts’ don’t match the gender identity), even though, according to a sex-positive philosophy, no one is supposed to be shamed for what they are into? That means the logic of gender ideology is actually homophobic! And it sort of spiraled on from there.
“I realized much of my objections to Christian theology in this area were reactionary rather than based on Scripture, so I started studying ‘the clobber verses’ again with a more open mind. And once I finally understood them, I couldn’t go back. Progressive Christianity is entirely built on doubts and questions with little to no foundation of certainty and truth. It was a temporary dwelling place for me to figure some things out, but ultimately not a healthy place to stay. And many of the ‘friends’ I made in that circle dropped me once I started to regain my spiritual footing. They liked me when I questioned things and my faith was struggling, but not when I found it again.
“At that time, I stopped writing for Patheos [and the Friendly Atheist website] … I have since joined the Anglican church (affiliated with ACNA, not the Episcopal branch), and have built a healthy spiritual community there.” (For more on her story, see here.)
In our subsequent interaction, she also wrote this to me: “I reached out to you specifically because I probably sparred with you more than most, and definitely went out of my way to misrepresent your views. I was wrong to do that. I apologize for the version of me you had to deal with!”
How many of us have the maturity to realize that we are reacting rather than processing, responding emotionally rather than based on truth? And how many have the humility — and integrity — to change course so dramatically after we have become known for espousing a particular position or being a particular person? God truly does give grace to the humble!
And what a great summary of “progressive Christianity.” As she wrote, it “is entirely built on doubts and questions with little to no foundation of certainty and truth. It was a temporary dwelling place for me to figure some things out, but ultimately not a healthy place to stay.”
This is the exact opposite of the real Gospel faith, which is built on eternal foundations, filled with certainty and truth, foundations that have stood the test of time.
My interaction with Sarabeth also reminds us of the importance of being gracious to those we differ with, even if our differences are sharp and require strong and clear articulation. As Paul exhorted, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6).
We can be unashamed of our faith without being nasty, meanspirited, demeaning, insulting, or self-righteous. And while we may impress our online echo chambers with our so-called boldness (our spiritual justification for acting like jerks), in the end, we will only discredit the Lord and drive away those for whom He died.
My answer is that if we have honest questions and the right attitude, our faith will be strengthened rather than weakened in the pursuit of truth. But if our attitudes are not right — meaning, if we are looking for an excuse to ditch the Bible or have already become proud in our thoughts about God — we will likely end up in a spiritual ditch.
Sarahbeth is a great example of a public, “progressive” Christian having a change of heart because of a change of mind. In the days to come, may she be just one among many!
The Bible must be the invention either of good men or angels, bad men or devils, or of God. However, it was not written by good men, because good men would not tell lies by saying ‘Thus saith the Lord;’ it was not written by bad men because they would not write about doing good duty, while condemning sin, and themselves to hell; thus, it must be written by divine inspiration.
—Charles Wesley (18 December 1707 – 29 March 1788), Brother of John Wesley, English leader of the Methodist movement, a prolific hymnwriter who wrote over 6,500 hymns during his lifetime
Ex-astrologer Marcia Montenegro is on a mission to warn people about horoscopes, divination, and the many ways people turn to sources outside of God to try and find “truth.”
“[Divination is] when you’re seeking information supernaturally, but outside of God, outside of God’s will,” host Jenn Nizza explained at the start of the most recent “Ex-Psychic Saved Podcast.” “God absolutely condemns it.”
Montenegro agreed, noting divination is an attempt to get information “beyond the normal means,” and noting it can take the form of turning to Tarot cards, astrology, numerology and tea-leaf reading, among other practices.
She went on to speak about the fact some will try to use the Bible to validate astrology — the belief celestial bodies have an impact on human affairs — or act as though using the stars to predict the future somehow comports with the Gospel.
Listen to Montenegro warn about divination and horoscopes and share her journey:
“A lot of Christians … get confused over it,” Montenegro said, explaining why astrology and the Bible simply don’t mix. She specifically clarified the differences between astrology and astronomy.
“Astrology and astronomy are two different things. Astronomy is a science, and it’s based on observation of data,” she said. “They are observing the heavenly bodies … and it’s strictly concerned with facts and trying to figure things out about those heavenly bodies.”
Montenegro continued. “Astrology is focused on the idea that there’s a meaning there.”
As a former professional astrologer, she recounted being so “in” on her beliefs that she once refused to sign an apartment lease while Mercury was in retrograde, fearing what might happen if she did.
Mercury retrograde is an optical illusion that unfolds a few times each year and appears to show Mercury moving backward in its orbit. When Mercury laps Earth in its 88-day move around the sun, it causes Mercury’s appearance to be retrograde from Earth’s perspective.
Astrologists believe happenings in the sky impact life on Earth. Thus, mercury retrograde has people engaging in speculation and superstition over purported disruptions they think it can cause.
With that belief in mind, Montenegro was afraid to sign the lease. Flash-forward to today, though, and she is a Christian who pushes back against the beliefs she once held dear.
“What astrology is … it’s a form of divination, because you’re reading a meaning into the planets that isn’t there,” she said. “Astrology … looks kind of innocent to a lot of people, because it’s so common … the internet has made this information more accessible.”
But Montenegro explained precisely why it’s anything but innocent, and sounded the alarm over the prevalence of such content on the internet today.
“[Generation Z is] captivated by all this and, because of the internet, it’s so very accessible. You could go online and find an astrologer,” she said. “Because it’s more accessible, and more popular, and more mainstream, people don’t realize what it really is.”
Montenegro continued, “Behind all this kind of glitzy, kind of interesting, fun facts about ‘who you are’ is this belief system that’s set up completely opposed to God and denounced by God.”
She likened horoscopes and astrology to a pretty house that looks gorgeous on the outside but, upon looking inside, is dilapidated. While it seems innocent and fun, she said astrology is plagued by darkness.
“It looks gorgeous on the outside and it has maybe a beautiful wreath on the door and the lights are glowing in the window and you think, ‘Oh, what a beautiful home!’” she said. “And then you open up the front door and you go in and it’s dark and the floors have holes in them, and there’s pieces of wood sticking up.”
While astrology is often treated like a game that’s laughed off, Montenegro warned people to see it as far more sinister.
“God has completely forbidden it and denounced it, so that should be the end of the story for a Christian,” she said.
Could two highly intelligent men with two entirely different perspectives possibly help you come to your own personal conclusion concerning the central figure of history? Perhaps. Let’s find out.
History’s central figure, of course, is Jesus Christ. And the two men I have in mind are American New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman and Canadian astrophysicist Hugh Ross.
Ehrman professed faith in Christ as a teenager but is now an atheist; whereas Ross grew up in a non-religious home but is now a Christian. One man abandoned Christianity, while the other embraced it.
Ross said, “I didn’t know any Christians or serious followers of any religion while growing up.” Ehrman, on the other hand, said, “For most of my life I was a devout and committed Christian.”
At age 17, Hugh Ross became the youngest person yet to serve as director of observations for Vancouver’s Royal Astronomical Society. And Bart Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Ross came to faith in Christ after first investigating the world’s major religions. Ross said, “I reasoned that if man invented a religion, it would reflect human error. But, if God communicated, His message would be error free and as consistent as the facts of nature. So, I used the facts of history and science to test each of the ‘holy’ books.”
He stated, “One by one each book failed the factuality test, and I gained confidence that my initial skepticism would be affirmed — until I picked up a Bible.” He found that the Bible “described the 4 fundamental features of big bang cosmology.”
The beginning of space and time coincident with the beginning of matter and energy.
Continual expansion of the universe from the cosmic beginning.
The constancy of physical laws, and
The pervasiveness of entropy (decay).
After much personal Bible study, Ross said, “I clearly understood that Jesus Christ was the Creator of the universe, that He paid the price only a sinless person could pay for all of my offenses against God, and that eternal life would be mine if I received his pardon and gave Him His rightful place of authority over my life.”
Bart Ehrman, on the other hand, reversed course from his earlier profession of faith. Ehrman said, “I had solid Christian credentials and knew about the Christian faith from the inside out … but then … I started to lose my faith. I now have lost it altogether. I no longer go to church, no longer believe, no longer consider myself a Christian.”
In my recent CP op-ed titled, “When Textual Variants are a Convenient Excuse,” I quoted Bart Ehrman in explaining what led him to walk away from Christ: “It wasn’t problems in the Bible I was wrestling with. It was why is there so much suffering in the world? That’s why I left the faith.”
Ehrman’s attitude toward Jesus became darkened, separating him from the One who said: “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).
Ehrman thinks the Bible misquoted Jesus. Hugh Ross disagrees, and says, “The fact that there is no historical record of called-out mistakes or corrections to the four Gospels by contemporaries of the gospel writers testifies to the accuracy of Jesus’ quotes within them.”
Bart Ehrman no longer believes Christ rose from the dead. Hugh Ross said, “Ehrman is also wrong about the evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus being based on visions alone. There is the empty tomb. The powerful enemies of the emergent Christian faith, the Jewish religious leaders and the Romans, were unable to produce the body of Jesus. Also, it would take more than visions to persuade the 10,000+ Jews living in Jerusalem at that time — more than a third of the total population — to become Christians in the few days that followed Jesus’ death on the cross.”
Bart Ehrman’s unanswered questions about suffering in the world spawned his atheism, whereas Hugh Ross discovered that God’s book of nature is in alignment with God’s revelation in Scripture. This remarkable realization led Ross straight into the arms of our Creator.
Dr. John Lennox is a Northern Irish mathematician, bioethicist, and Christian apologist. Lennox said, “Faith is not a leap in the dark; it’s the exact opposite. It’s a commitment based on evidence … It is irrational to reduce all faith to blind faith and then subject it to ridicule. That provides a very anti-intellectual and convenient way of avoiding intelligent discussion.”
English theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking said, “Heaven is a fairy tale for people who are afraid of the dark.” John Lennox responded, “Atheism is a fairy story for those who are afraid of the light.”
Hugh Ross has witnessed time and time again how the evidence in nature is fully consistent with the message of the Bible. Dr. Ross established Reasons to Believe in 1986. This ministry helps people “discover how scientific research and clear thinking consistently affirm the truth of the Bible and of the Good News it reveals.”
Bart Ehrman and Hugh Ross are heading in opposite directions. Jesus identified the wide road to Hell and the narrow road to Heaven in Matthew 7:14,13. You can either believe what Jesus said about these eternal destinations, or what Bart Ehrman says about them.
But know this: Your personal beliefs will not change God’s book of nature, Scripture, the good news of the Gospel, reality, truth, Heaven, Hell, etc. Your beliefs will only change your heart and your eternal destiny.
Bart Ehrman and Hugh Ross provide some context as you investigate the book of nature, the message of Scripture, and the historical facts of Christianity. Thankfully, there is still time for you to base your faith upon the breathtaking evidence God has graciously provided.
“Oh religion, what crimes have been committed in thy name.
– M.F. Cusack, The Black Pope – A History of The Jesuits (Marshall, Russell & Co., London, 1896) p. 42
It is sobering to think of all the people who over the centuries, looking at the evil, murderous, wicked acts done in the name of religion, have said in their heart, that if this is “god” I do not want anything to do with him. It has been the making of many atheists.
Once upon a time, Doreen Virtue was one of the most well-known figures in the New Age movement. She was a successful author and purveyor of “angel cards,” an occultic tool, until she had a stunning awakening in 2017 that imploded her worldview and led her to embrace Christ.
Now, Virtue is warning people not to buy her old oracle cards and products, to flee the New Age, not to pray to angels, and to cling to Jesus.
It’s a remarkable turnaround that came after Virtue studied the Bible and, after decades in the New Age movement, saw the true evils of the occult. She’s now trying to undo the impact of her past work.
“I’m devastated that some people may be in Hell now because they were following my work,” Virtue said on the “Ex-Psychic Saved” podcast. “It’s heartbreaking every day to realize my old work’s out there and what I did.”
But Virtue relies on the Lord, telling host Jenn Nizza she’s grateful God opened her eyes and heart to the Gospel and saved her “while there was still time.”
“It’s a miracle,” she said.
Virtue also discussed the roots of her foray into the occult, revealing some of the lies she believed as a child. She recalled thinking she didn’t need to read or trust the Bible, that Jesus was simply a man, and that Christ was essentially a wish-granter.
As Virtue grew up in the shadow of these sentiments, she took a dark path into the New Age and soon found herself doing readings and using angel cards to try and channel spirits to convey information.
Eventually, these activities intensified, and she moved into creating her own angel card decks, finding massive success selling them to others in the New Age movement. At the time, she assumed God was on her side, and she was doing His work; now, she believes otherwise.
“It just became this phenomenon really quickly, and I thought it was God’s blessing on me,” Virtue said. “I didn’t realize that the devil will use people … to further his deception.”
She continued, “And so I was being used by the devil, thinking that I was getting rewarded.”
And by all worldly standards, Virtue did seem to have all the dividends one could ever want: an ocean-front house, nice furniture, and a family. Yet the cracks eventually started to show through.
“I really thought I was a Christian doing God’s work,” she said. “I had no idea that I was an abomination to God by doing and teaching divination until 2017 when I read Deuteronomy 18:10-12, and I was floored when it says there that anyone who does these things … is detestable [and an] abomination to God, and the veil was lifted. I just … fell to my knees.”
The sudden realization her life had been lived contrary to God’s will left Virtue “dumbstruck,” as she began apologizing to the Lord and crying out to Him.
“I … gave my life to Jesus,” she said. “That was the autumn of 2017, and ever since then, I’ve just been telling people, ‘I’m sorry I made these cards. Please don’t use them.'”
Virtue said she’s faced quite a bit of pushback for speaking out against her former angel cards, yet she continues to do so, knowing she previously helped lead many astray.
The former psychic also addressed the accuracy of angel cards and other such tools.
“The trouble is that these angel cards and other divination methods, they do work to a degree, and they …. can predict the future to a degree,” Virtue said. “But it’s a future that’s dangerous and … very often I would follow it, and I would get divorced, or I would be away from my children doing things that were sinful.”
She continued, “God would never give us a message that would be against his commandments.”
LTRP Note: With the majority of Christian colleges and seminaries now bringing in contemplative spirituality via Spiritual Formation programs, and with Christian leaders such as Rick Warren and Beth Moore endorsing the movement, and with countless pastors giving it a thumbs up to their congregations, isn’t it time professors, pastors, and leaders understand what the final outcome of contemplative prayer is? Isn’t it time they understand that leading Christians and church goers down this path is leading them away from the Cross, not toward it. At Lighthouse Trails, we believe it is beyond time for this understanding to occur.
The final outcome of contemplative prayer is interspirituality. If you have truly grasped the portrait I have tried to paint in my books and articles, you have begun to see what this term signifies. The focus of my criticism of mystical prayer must be understood in the light of interspirituality.
Just what exactly is interspirituality? The premise behind interspirituality is that divinity (God) is in all things, and the presence of God is in all religions; there is a connecting together of all things, and through mysticism (i.e., meditation) this state of divinity can be recognized. Consequently, this is a premise that is based on and upheld by an experience that occurs during a self-hypnotic trance linking one to an unseen world rather than to the sound doctrine of the Bible.
It is important to understand that interspirituality is a uniting of the world’s religions through the common thread of mysticism. Wayne Teasdale, a lay monk who coined the term interspirituality, says that interspirituality is “the spiritual common ground which exists among the world’s religions.”1 Teasdale, in talking about this universal church also states:
She [the church] also has a responsibility in our age to be a bridge for reconciling the human family . . . the Spirit is inspiring her through the signs of the times to open to Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Taoists, Confucians, and indigenous peoples. As matrix [a binding substance], the Church would no longer see members of other traditions as outside her life. She would promote the study of these traditions, seek common ground and parallel insights.2 (emphasis mine)
An article in my local newspaper revealed just how well received interspirituality has become in certain circles. One Presbyterian elder who was described as a “Spiritual Director” made it clear when she said:
I also have a strong interest in Buddhism and do a sitting meditation in Portland [Oregon] as often as I can. I considered myself ecumenical not only in the Christian tradition, but with all religions.3 (emphasis mine)
There is a profound and imminent danger taking place within the walls of Christianity. Doctrine has become less important than feeling, and this has led to a mystical paradigm shift. Sound doctrine must be central to this debate because New Ageism has a very idealistic side to it, offering a mystical approach to solve human problems. Everyone would like to have his or her problems solved. Right? That is the practical aspect I have written about before—a seemingly direct route to a happy and fulfilled life. However, one can promote the attributes of God without actually having God.
People who promote a presumably godly form of spirituality can indeed come against the truth of Christ. Then how can you be assured that what you believe and practice is of God?
The Christian message has been clear from the beginning—God has sent a Savior. If man only had to practice some kind of mystical prayer to gain access to God then the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ was a fruitless, hollow endeavor.
Sound Christian doctrine comes from the understanding that mankind is sinful, fallen, and separated from God. Man needs a saving work by God! A teaching like panentheism (God is in everybody) cannot be reconciled to the finished work of Christ. How could Jesus be our Savior then? New Age constituents will say He is a model for Christ consciousness, but the Bible teaches He is the Savior of mankind. Therefore, panentheism cannot be a true doctrine.
The problem is that many well-intentioned people embrace the teachings of panentheism because it sounds so good. It appears less bigoted on God’s part. No one is left out—all are connected to God. There is a great appeal in this message. Nevertheless, the Bible does not teach a universal salvation for man. In contrast, Jesus said:
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Christ’s message is the polar opposite of these universalist teachings. Many people (even Christians) today think only a few really bad people will be sent to hell. But in Matthew, the words of Jesus make it clear that this just is not so.
While God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of the world, He did not say all would be saved. His words are clear that many would reject the salvation He provided. But those who are saved have been given the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18) making an appeal to those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 4:3). The Christian message is not samadhi, Zen, kundalini, or the contemplative silence. It is the power of the Cross!
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
Yes, perishing—and not just unaware of their “true self” (as contemplatives like Brennan Manning proclaim).
In an opinion poll, the startling results describe how Americans actually view God. Spirituality and Health magazine hired a reputable pollster organization to gauge the spiritual beliefs of the American public. This national poll revealed that 84 percent of those questioned believed God to be “everywhere and in everything” rather than “someone somewhere.”4 This means panentheism is now the more popular view of God. If true, then a high percentage of evangelical Christians in America already lean towards a panentheistic view of God. Perhaps many of these Christians are fuzzy about the true nature of God.
How could this mystical revolution have come about? How could this perspective have become so widespread? The answer is that over the last thirty or forty years, a number of authors have struck a deep chord with millions of readers and seekers within Christianity. These writers have presented and promoted the contemplative view to the extent that many now see it as the only way to “go deeper” in the Christian life. They are the ones who prompt men and women to plunge into contemplative practice. It is their message that leads people to experience the “lights” and the “inner adviser!”
1. Wayne Teasdale, “Mysticism as the Crossing of Ultimate Boundaries: A Theological Reflection” (The Golden String newsletter, http://clarusbooks.com/Teasdale.html, accessed 10/2009). 2. Wayne Teasdale, A Monk in the World (Novato, CA: New World Library, 2002), p. 64. 3. Jan Alsever quoted in Statesman Journal, January 27th, 1996, Religion Section. 4. Katherine Kurs, “Are You Religious or Are You Spiritual?” (Spirituality & Health Magazine, Spring 2001), p. 28.
(Photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)