It's that time of year again when not only are nights getting colder and darker, but so too the atmosphere in many churches and Christian homes. The debate begins at the first sign of the autumn leaves and abruptly comes to a halt on November 1st – after all, Halloween comes to its demise for another year.
By now, you've heard the many origins of this ambiguous holiday from The Catholic Church's claim of it being derived from All Hollow's Eve (the day to commemorate those martyred for their faith), to the many Evangelicals and some pagans who believe it a version of Samhain that was created to allow pagans to continue practicing paganism under the guise of a Christian cover. Most Neo-pagans celebrate Samhain, which falls near the date of Halloween and is considered an in-between time when the veil between worlds is thinnest and the Celtic New Year is celebrated.
Research reveals a lot of speculation when it comes to the actual practices of Halloween. Some say it's rooted in the immigration of the Irish who brought much of their folklore back to the states such as Jack-o-Lanterns, which may have originated in the form of a turnip. They believed by carving frightening faces on them, it would ward off the evil spirits that passed between worlds on Samhain night. more >>
It seems like only yesterday that the Goth craze sent many teenagers out partying in graveyards – decked out like Monster High dolls, resurrecting their own version of the "Night of the Living Dead."
Over time, it seemed this fad had been put to rest but as we learned last week, some Christians have made the grave choice to participate in a similar tomb-side practice known as grave-sucking. They are not the first with such a morbid fascination, as we read in scripture we learn of a possessed man who actually lived amongst the tombs… unable to be confined by physical chains and shackles, yet a legion of demons bound his spirit.
Ironically, he knew exactly who Jesus was as he ran towards the Son of the most High God. I'd imagine we'd be no different than the swine owners, not only being in shock for having just witnessed 2,000 demon-possessed pigs run to their death, but even more astonishing would be seeing such a dramatic and spontaneous change in this once demonic man. more >>
We see the evidence of witchcraft in Saul's life long before he consulted the witch of Endor. It began with his rebellion of disobeying God when he spared the King of the Amalekites and the best of all the animals.
In my previous article, we discussed Saul's encounter with the witch of Endor and how he summoned her expertise in the forbidden arts to call up Samuel when he wanted to know what God would have him do with the approaching army.
We automatically assume when reading about witchcraft in scripture that it must pertain to the sorcerers and witches, performing their spells and rituals in the darkness of a cave, but in Ezekiel 13:20-23 we are surprised to find it within the sacred space of a temple, being practiced by the religious leaders of Ezekiel's time, the very priests and prophets who claim they served Yahweh, the one and only God. more >>
A Satanic Temple group is petitioning Florida's State Capitol to include a display depicting the angel Lucifer descending into hell among other holiday stands. Florida denied the group's same request last year, deeming it "grossly offensive."
Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent the letter Wednesday on the Satanic Temple's behalf, arguing that the group deserves representation under the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
"Members of the religious majority are sometimes offended by the beliefs of religious minorities, and vice/versa," the letter states. "But the Satanic Temple is not required to censor itself in order to take advantage of a forum supposedly open to all." more >>
It would seem the practice of witchcraft would have somehow banished by now – reduced to the image of a cartoon character thus minimizing it to mere fantasy, perhaps in an effort to eliminate man's fears or an attempt to dismiss its spiritual validity. Yet, with each generation we see its subtle influences shed, then re-emerge in a new skin.
Witchcraft has been around for centuries. It's forbidden practice under suspicion and persecution from the Old Testament through the Early Modern Witch Trials and beyond.
Once considered the wise one who lived at the edge of town, the witch was known as the village healer, midwife and storyteller. Many feared this woman who practiced the forbidden arts and who it was said, had the power to summon the dead at the risk of her own life. Yet ironically, when it seemed one's own faith came up short of their wanted desires, they sought answers from what many saw as a peculiar woman. Some even resorted to her counsel, believing God had turned a deaf ear to them as was the case with King Saul. more >>
Three people allegedly practicing a form of Satan worship were arrested in North Carolina earlier this month and charged with murder after skeletal remains were found in their backyard.
Pazuzu Illah Algarad, 35; Amber Nicole Burch, 24; and Krystal Nicole Matlock, 28 were all charged with murder and accessory after the fact in the deaths of Joshua Frederick Wetzler, 37 and Tommy Dean Welch, 36. The three reportedly worshipped Satan and took their lifestyle cues from Charles Manson and Alistair Crowley, Anton LaVey.
LaVey was the founder of the Church of Satan, while Manson was the leader of a cult known as The Family. Crowley founded a religion known as Thelema, which is based on a law that states, "Do what though wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will." Crowley believed he was the prophet of a new age and wrote The Book of the Law, which outlines all the traditions of Thelema. more >>