This blog entry deals with an issue that I see reoccurring very often in Christendom. I do not teach on such topics to tear down the church, but to awaken us, as a body of Believers. The “issue” I am referencing is, what I call, “Superstitious Christians.” Before I go any deeper in my explanation of this, I would like to point you to some scriptures and lay my groundwork for this topic.
Remember the Bible says, “Whom the Lord loves he chastens and scourges”? Here is the exact scripture found in Hebrews 12:5-11: “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not? But if you be without chastisement, of which all are partakers, then are you illegitimate children, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh who corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are trained by it.” Furthermore, 2nd Timothy 4:1-5 says, “I charge you therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be diligent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they draw to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto myths. But you watch in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fully carry out your ministry.” The aforementioned scripture teaches us that there is a time to reprove and rebuke; in turn, this will cause the listener to be exhorted/encouraged to do right.
Please consider that this “rebuke” as one which is done out of love and in order to correct some weak points. I am not superior to anyone else, but when I see things that need to be addressed, it would be irresponsible of me to be slack in my duties. So, now that we’ve laid the groundwork, let us proceed.
Certain e-mails and Facebook “re-posts”… Have you ever received this type of forwarded e-mail from a friend? At first, it looks so sweet from the title, “Thinking of You” or “A Prayer For You”. Beware – when you open it you may be in for a surprise. You may find that the e-mail actually insults you and insults God! I will give the sender the benefit of the doubt that perhaps they sent it in good faith and didn’t read it completely before forwarding it. But after reading this blog entry of mine, maybe the offences will be brought to our attention so we do not forward these types of e-mails anymore.
What types of e-mails am I referencing? Well, I will give some direct quotes from some I have received. The e-mail will start with a sweet poem about God or a nice prayer, but then it says, “If you love Jesus, send this to at least 10 people including the person who sent it to you!” Okay, let’s stop right there. If I love Jesus but do not have 10 people that I know to send it to, that insinuates to me that I no longer love my Jesus anymore! The Bible tells us to share the Good News but it never says that if we don’t do what a person thinks we should do (forward the e-mail chain letters and/or share a Facebook status) that we are wrong or that we no longer love Jesus. Then, after reading the prayer included in the e-mail, I am commanded again to, “pass this on” so that I will “receive a miracle”. Stop! Time out! Where does the Bible say to forward an e-mail to receive a miracle? It doesn’t. Where does the Bible teach superstition? It doesn’t; it actually condemns it. We receive miracles through faith and grace; not by forwarding e-mails!
These types of e-mails and such equate God’s power to superstition and sets up false beliefs for others. It gives the mindset of, “God can only move or perform a miracle if you superstitiously forward this e-mail or Facebook status to 10 people.” Now, if we only forward it to 9 people then we are not going to love Jesus or get His blessing, but if we forward it to 10 then… Bingo! By the way, I am being sarcastic in order to prove the simple-minded ignorance of such e-mails. Personally, it makes me righteously angry that we would reduce God down to this. You are not doing your friends any favors by forwarding these types of e-mails. It would be better to send a sincere poem/prayer with no strings attached. Remember, as I said before, I am just trying to educate us so we don’t cause others to stumble or to be disillusioned when the promised “chain-letter miracle” doesn’t come. This has never been the way God operates nor does He operate this way now.
As you’ll notice in the image to the right, I took a screenshot of an exact Facebook status. It screams superstition! Forwarding things like this does not move the hand of God. We have faith, prayer, fasting, praise, and the Holy Spirit to guide us on our journey – not superstition; that something will magically happen if we share a hokey-pokey Facebook status that isn’t scripturally-based anyhow! In the image to the right, it says, “The angels have seen you struggling with something.” Pause right there. This sounds like a mystical fortune-teller, gazing into a crystal ball. She looks down at the crystal ball and then looks into her gullible customer’s eyes. She says, “You’ve been struggling with something, haven’t you?” The gullible person cups their hand over their mouth and says, “Oh my… how did you know?” Well, duh! (pardon my vernacular) We all have struggles! This is planet earth. We’re not in Heaven yet. Of course, this will ring true with many people and lead them on a false detour down that rabbit trail! Then, the next sentence is this: “The angels say it’s over.” Who was visited by an angel that told them to relay this message? And furthermore, it is God that raises up a standard against the enemy – the angels are lower than God and mere servants of His. If this whole thing were even true, it would be God saying “It’s over” anyhow… the angels only do what God commands them to do. They carry out His will. They don’t make up their own rules and dictate when things happen, etc.; that is, of course, if they are holy angels. We all know that Lucifer and the fallen angels (now demons) tried to be higher and mightier than God. That is why they were cast out of Heaven.
So, this Facebook status instructs the reader as follows: “If you believe in angels, send this message on… You are being tested. The angels are going to fix two (big) things in your favor.” So, if I believe in angels, I am supposed to re-post this. Why? Even though I do believe in angels, why would I re-post something that isn’t scripturally-sound, otherwise? I am being encouraged to share that angels are above God? No thanks, I’ll pass on that one. Also in scripture, it is God that tests us and promotes us – not the angels. It is God that does “big” things for us and gives us favor. You see, like I’ve stated before, the angels only do what they are commanded to do that is in alignment with God’s word. Also, I must muse at the limit this post allows… it says the angels will fix TWO big things. What if a mother was praying for her three sons which were away from the Lord? What if she believed this superstitious post and thought, “Oh no, only two of them will be saved.”
You see, this whole thing is just wrong. Why not say, “God is there for you” and leave it at that? Why are there always strings attached such as, “Share this post if you love Jesus” and “Forward to at least 10 friends”?? Why all the pressure? Sharing Jesus with others is great, but I don’t think that one should guilt another one into doing so. If I never re-posted one of these posts, that does not make me love Jesus any less. Personally, I share Jesus because I love Him and He loves me – not because of some external pressure to perform to appease what mankind wants. This whole epidemic of superstition and man-made commands is a real “pebble in the shoe” of the Church. Yes, Jesus should be shared. No, it shouldn’t be done in a superstitious, threatening, or demeaning way.
How can these e-mail “chain letters” and these Facebook re-posts predict the future? I have seen others that say, “Forward this to 10 people and God will answer your prayer in 24 hours.” As author Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote in his study, “Now it is vain to seek knowledge of the future, when one tries to get it from a source whence it cannot be foreknown.” He goes on to write, “Divination is a kind of curiosity with regard to the end in view, which is foreknowledge of the future; but it is a kind of superstition as regards the mode of operation… Accordingly superstition is a vice contrary to religion by excess, not that it offers more to the divine worship than true religion, but because it offers divine worship either to whom it ought not, or in a manner it ought not.”
“Superstition” is defined by Leonard W. Doolan in the Bible Encyclopedia as, “fearing demons”. Webster’s dictionary defines superstition as, “an excessive reverence for, or fear of, that which is unknown or mysterious… extreme and unnecessary scruples in the observance of religious rites not commanded, or of points of minor importance; The worship of a false god or gods; false religion; Belief in the direct agency of superior powers in certain extraordinary or singular events, or in magic, omens, prognostics, or the like.” Scripture says in Isaiah 8:19, “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that are mediums, and unto wizards that whisper, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? Rather than the dead on behalf of the living?” In other words, shouldn’t we seek God for our future, for help, for guidance, rather than some phony superstitious e-mail that makes empty promises of “miracles if you forward this”?? Such e-mails and Facebook re-posts actually pull many away from prayer, as they are relying on their “obedience to forward” as their means for obtaining their “miracle in 24 hours.” Instead of ignoring such posts or e-mails in the future, let’s lovingly educate others of how these types of things can cause disillusionment for the weaker, uneducated, and/or the new Believer. Jesus has all power and we must rely upon Him.