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There has always been ‘the other side’. It was there in Old Testament days. It was there in New Testament days. It was there through Church History, including the generation that experienced the great Reformation. Westerners could perhaps have been forgiven for thinking that during the past few centuries this ‘other side’ had disappeared, disenfranchised for ever by the dominating influence of Christianity. That such a conclusion is inaccurate is evident in the contemporary resurgence of occult practices. The veneer of Christian standards has been ripped away.  Evolution and secular humanism have liberated people from 'God', casting them adrift into a godless world. In this aloneness they have, ironically, reached again beyond themselves, not to the biblical God, but into the occult.

What are basic areas of occult exposure or involvement?
[1] ‘Just for fun’ reading of astrology, horoscope, numerology, tarot cards, dream interpretation, palm reading, clairvoyance, and the like.

[2] Serious reading of the above, believing that they do actually give enlightenment and direction about our past, present and future. This serious reading includes commitment to follow such enlightenment and direction.

[3] Consultation of people selling any of the above or any other psychic services.

[4] Belief in a variety of superstitions in relation to taboos, good luck and bad luck.

[5] Seeking for omens and co-incidences, and making decisions on the basis of these.

[6] Involvement with such things as séances, channelling, mediums and Ouija boards.

[7] Exposure to occult themes in novels, videos, games, movies and television series. This is true of both children’s and adult media. In addition, occult themes sometimes combine with mysticism, postmodernism and pantheism in removing the distinction between good and evil.

[8] Some New Age beliefs and practices and some alternative therapies have occult foundations.

[9] Witchcraft, both black and white.

[10] Satanism, that is, Satan worship, and spiritism.  (Be aware that both of these call their meetings ‘church’). In addition, some cults lead their adherents into satanic practice and/or worship.

[11] Some of the recurrent interest in UFO’s bears significant relationship to interest in the occult.

Conflict with Biblical truth
In the Bible

[1] All occult practices are forbidden (Deuteronomy 18:9-13; Isaiah 8:19-20; 2Kings 23:24; Galatians 5:20).

[2] God alone is to be honoured and worshipped (Exodus 20:3-5; Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Isaiah 45:22).

[3] We should trust God for the future, it is in his hands (Psalm 37:5).

[4] Satan and his cohorts have been defeated by Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:15).

[5] The Christian believer has been transferred from Satan’s dominion to the kingdom of Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:13).

[6] Christians should have nothing to do with the hidden things of the darkness; God has revealed in his Word everything that we need to know (Ephesians 5:8-14; Psalm 119:105).

The occult and the church
Within the Christian church is a wide spectrum of responses to the occult. Some churches deny the power of occult practices and the existence of evil powers. This includes the denial of the existence Satan and evil spirits or demons. Some churches and Christian teachers exaggerate occult powers, so much so that it sometimes seems that Satan is on a par with God, and ends up getting as much glory and attention as God. This is blatant in some popular Christian novels. Some churches over-react and see occult practices in every corner, labelling as occult everything they don’t understand. Some distinguish between ‘harmless’ occult practices and those to be avoided. In this distinction they are dishonouring God and his Word by their assumption that one can dabble in certain things and not be affected.

How can we strengthen ourselves and our families against the occult?
For the Christian the occult should have no attraction. It is diametrically opposed to all that we know of biblical faith and the biblical God. Yet such is the wickedness and deceitfulness of our hearts (Jeremiah 17:9) that we don’t realise how easy it is for us to fall into temptation. The occult pervades our society. It confronts us in many magazines. We cannot avoid it. We can however commit ourselves to stand against it and refuse it entry into our lives and the lives of our immediate family.

If it is the desire of our hearts to honour and glorify our God and Saviour, let us each one determine with his help to:

Submit to his command that we have nothing to do with the occult.
Refuse to be drawn into conversations about it.
Refuse to read books, even Christian books, which glorify the power of Satan and his cohorts.
Study the Scriptures to increase our knowledge of, and confidence in, the one true God, and our knowledge and assurance of the salvation we have in Jesus Christ.
Study the Scriptures to increase our understanding of Christ’s defeat of Satan.
Be contented with Jesus Christ and the salvation we have in him.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2012