How Parents Can Protect Their Children Author:
Russ Wise Date:6/12/2003 6:08:20 PM
From Spiritual Counterfeits and Deception
We are in a time of spiritual experimentation. Young people and adults alike are enticed by deceiving spirits. These spirits not only influence and oppress the non-Christian, but they can also affect the Christian. Before we consider how we as parents can become the protective force in our children’s lives, we need to define the word “occult” and explain what we mean by the term “spiritual counterfeit.”
First, the word “occult” comes from the Latin root “occultus” which means hidden or unknown. In our culture the occult refers to those things of a spiritual nature that are unknown through the five senses that we use to understand information. It is most often referred to as the “sixth sense” or “psychic awareness.”
Second, the term “spiritual counterfeit” refers to spiritual influences that are non-biblical. These influences are emotionally based and exploit biblical passages that refer to prosperity or similar health and wealth teachings. Don’t get me wrong - I certainly believe that God desires us to be prosperous and healthy. However, I do not believe He endorses the manipulation and hype that often accompany such teaching. James Bakker and Bob Tilton are past examples of this type of abuse.
Spiritual Counterfeits also refer to biblically based cults such as Mormonism, Church of Christ Jesus, and Jehovah’s Witnesses along with Eastern cults such as The Unification Church, Baha’i, The Church of Scientology, Krishna Consciousness, and many others.
The term applies to individuals as well - authors and religious leaders such as Betty Eadie, Neale Donald Walsch, David Spangler, Annie Kirkwood, Marianne Williamson, James Redfield, and a host of others whose number grows daily.
Spiritual counterfeits use both biblical and Christian terminology along with Scripture to establish credibility in the mind of the reader or follower. However, they distort and manipulate the intended interpretation to their own purposes.
We are told in 2 Thessalonians to let no one deceive us by any means, for “that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed.” 1 The Scripture continues the warning, “the coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” 2
1 John tells us that we are in the last hour, that the Antichrist is coming, and that many antichrists have already come. 3 Matthew 24 also enters the discussion of the last days indicating that false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect.4
We are, without doubt, in the days of deception and false prophets. Therefore, we must be vigilant and guard our hearts lest we become deceived. 5 For from our heart flows the river of life, the issue is whether it be wickedness or truthfulness.
We Have Divine Resources
God has not left us without resources. Our main weapon against our enemy is the Word. In its pages we have truth directly from God. Through His Word, we are able to discern spiritual counterfeits by having a deeper understanding of God’s Truth. It is imperative that we have a correct view of who God is, who Jesus is, how one is to deal with sin, and how one achieves salvation. An answer to these questions that does not reflect biblical orthodoxy should be questioned. God does not teach or instruct contrary to His written Word.
The Holy Spirit, available to all Christians, plays an active role in our protection against the evil we encounter in our lives. 1 John encourages us with these words, “you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.” 6 The Holy Spirit bears witness to our spirit concerning the Truth of the Gospel. The Scripture also tells us to rightly divide the Word of Truth so we will not be deceived (2 Timothy also see 1 John 4:1-4).
Many people in our culture interpret the Scriptures according to their feelings or their experiences. To do so is an open door to deception. The popular authors of our day who write outside the realm of Christian or biblical teaching offer new revelation based on their mystical experiences rather than Scriptural doctrine. Experience in this postmodern world has become for many the ultimate Guru or teacher of “truth.”
The Ground of Attack
The attack we face against the Christian faith is centered on three fronts. The first assault is a broad culturally based disregard or devaluation of the Scriptures. The second is an attack on the person of Christ. Jesus is either devalued and thereby lowered to the level of mere humanity, or He is considered as one of many deities: the product of evolutionary forces that ultimately allowed him to rise to deity. According to this thinking, all humanity is on this evolutionary path toward divinity.
The final offensive is a denial of the biblical basis of salvation. The need for works to accompany one’s salvation is subtly introduced as a primary part of the equation for acceptance. In most cases, cults depreciate the Work of Christ on the cross and see it as only partially effective for salvation. They tend to embrace the need for personal works, effort, and or suffering to fully meet the requirement set by God. Grace alone is no longer accepted as the only payment. 7
Your Child and the Occult
In these days of multimedia overload, it is increasingly difficult to protect children from the influences of the occult. However, it is not impossible. There are several things that you, the concerned parent can do to establish a safe perimeter for your child.
·Be aware of what your child is being exposed to in their leisure reading material as well as in the classroom. There are a growing number of texts and collateral reading materials that subtly introduce occultic influence or participation.
·Be aware of your child’s friends and associates. Their peers can have more influence on your child than you do during adolescence.
·Monitor your child’s entertainment options, such as TV, movies, fantasy games, and music that expose him or her to negative influences.
·Be aware of your child’s possible use of rituals that have their basis in the occult and the possession of ritual paraphernalia such as black candles, skulls, amulets, etc.
·Be aware of an unhealthy interest in death or mutilation of others, self, or animals.
The Bible offers us, as believers, a vast resource for standing in the gap for our children. The Scripture gives us its promises along with its wise counsel to defeat our enemy who would destroy us. 8
The following Scriptures represent a small portion of these that the Christian can call on to find help in time of need.
·Understand that Satan is an active being that we must face (Isaiah: 14:12-13).
·Recognize Satan as a formidable adversary (1 Peter 5:8).
·Gain a clear understanding that we are at war and we have a clearly defined enemy (Ephesians -11).
·Recognize that the enemy is not a physical being, but he is spiritual in nature (Ephesians ).
·Have faith that God will restore our children (2 Timothy -26).
·Realize that we cannot fight in our own strength (2 Corinthians 10:4).
·Acknowledge that Christ has already won the battle (Romans -38).
·Know that God becomes an adversary on our behalf (Exodus ).
·Subdue the flesh and the carnal mind (Romans 8:6-7; Colossians -22).
·Pray that the Lord will open our children’s eyes so they may see His Light (Acts 26:18; Ephesians -23).
·Renounce all past occultic involvement, so God will not withhold His blessing (1 John 1:9).
·Identify those who will stand with you in agreement through prayer (Matthew ).
·Accept the Lord’s protection (I John ; Psalms 91:10).
·Recognize that God’s angels will minister to our needs (Hebrews ).
·Know the elements of our protection and the source of our weaponry (Ephesians -18; 2 Corinthians 10:4).
·Identify our rightful position in Christ (2 Timothy 1:7; Isaiah 12:2; 1 John ).
The Fight is worth it!
Over the years as I have ministered to families who have been affected by occultic influence, I have been able to make the following observations regarding their ability to weather the storm that Satan brings against them. Prevention is preferable to later having to rescue a loved one from a cultic group. Preventive measures might include becoming involved in a caring church body where you enjoy the fellowship of a strong Sunday school program for your children as well as yourself. The earlier you are able to do so will offer your child a more secure beginning in his or her spiritual walk with God. Also, I strongly recommend that you become involved in an adult Bible study and prayer group for additional support, preferably one that reflects your needs as a family.
When your children reach adolescence it is imperative that you involve them in a strong youth program 9 even if it means sacrificing your desires for your personal comfort in a given church body. Your child’s spiritual future is at stake.
The fight is worth it! Your child’s inheritance is secure in Christ. Your only hope is to rely on God’s provision. He has already won the victory. You simply need to accept, by faith, what He has already done for you and your child. 10
1.2 Thessalonians 2:3.
2.2 Thessalonians 2:9-10.
3.1 John 2:18.
6.1John 2:20, 27.
9.In my opinion, a strong youth group is one in which the Word of God is highly valued and the leadership instructs the youth in biblical orthodoxy. There would also be a foundation built where the youth would be introduced to the Person and work of the Holy Spirit.
10.Isaiah 54:17; 55:11.
My greatest desire is that the above material will be helpful to you in your interaction with your children. As parents we need all the help we can find. My prayer is that this material will be of use to you and your family.