|Kingdom of the Occult|
Walter Martin, Jill Martin, Kurt Van Gorden
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The Kingdom of the Occult delivers the timely followup to Dr. Martin's best-selling The Kingdom of the Cults. This book takes Dr. Walter Martin's comprehensive knowledge and his dynamic teaching style and forges a strong weapon against the world of the Occult - a weapon of the same scope and power as his phenomenal thirty-five year bestseller, The Kingdom of the Cults. Chapters include: Witchcraft and Wicca, Satanism, Pagan Religions, Tools of the Occult, Demon Possession and Exorcism, Spiritual Warfare, and more!
|The Kingdom of the Occult was a book that Walter Martin wanted to have written before he died, but God took him before he had the chance. How much of this new book is Walter Martin, and how much of it could not have been written before his untimely death? |
My father’s work on the occult is the foundation of this book. His knowledge and experience, gained from more than 40 years in the ministry, make The Kingdom of the Occult a unique tool for the defense of the faith.
Kurt Van Gorden, who worked closely with my father for many years, brought his extraordinary research skills and a servant’s heart, and I brought my love of history and the training my father gave me as his daughter to the project. The blend of the three of us produced something quite remarkable, and we are still a bit amazed by it.
The occult is all about experience; the Bible is the complete revelation of God. How difficult have you found it to accurately present the Gospel to someone with deep roots in the occult?
Personal experiences can become a roadblock to accurately understanding the gospel, but we believe it is not any more difficult to share the Gospel message with someone in the occult than it is to share it with anyone estranged from God. People enter the occult to seek a spiritual answer to life's questions - an answer that only the biblical God can provide. 1 Peter 3:15 says it best: "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." (NIV) The Kingdom of the Occult provides solid biblical reasons for faith.
The 1980s seems to have been the clearing-house for much occult activity. Can you briefly explain why that was, along with some examples of what the 80s produced or stimulated?
The occult is as old as human history, and every generation has produced occult believers. Its modern history began in the 1800s when Spiritualism and Theosophy gained international followings, literally dominating the headlines. The Occult's popularity increased with each decade until it virtually exploded in the 1980s through widespread acceptance of New Age spirituality. In Chapter 2 of The Kingdom of the Occult, we document a progression of events that led to the Occult Revolution. The infiltration of Hindu philosophy into western civilization and the fascination with talking to the dead were two key movements that triggered intense interest in the occult.
Hollywood contributed greatly to the growth of the occult in much the same way it has contributed to the explosive growth of Witchcraft and Kabbalah. Stars like Shirley MacLaine and Madonna wield a tremendous amount of influence, and this is reflected in the level of press coverage their beliefs receive. We are a society that bows at the altar of celebrity; what stars worship, their fans inevitably worship. Our society is in rebellion against God. In the 1970s, my father wrote, "The revolt against reason and logic today has brought a yearning for a sense of security. It has brought to many a fascination with alcohol, drugs, sex, and even death. This revolt against reason and logic has produced a hopeless faith and an irrational way of life, fertile ground for the seeds of the occult."
The book refers to 'dimensions' - such as the dimension of Hell - when discussing places where humans are not usually able to inhabit or experience. Can you more closely define what is meant by the word? In the book, Hell is discussed as a place that is compartmentalized, with some parts not accessible and others which are. Can you elaborate further on this, and is this a biblical model of Hell?
The word dimension is a realm of reality, sometimes imperceptible, but nonetheless genuine. Our five senses usually restrict us to a three-dimensional realm, which is not the totality of what is real or genuine. Biblically, we must account for the realms or dimensions that extend beyond our senses that encompass God, angels, heaven, hell, spirits, Satan, demons, and occultism. The Bible is a dimensional book—it teaches that multiple dimensions (realms of reality) exist.
Hell is not described in the Bible with a single noun, like water, but rather it is a combination of several non-conflicting descriptions that forms a multifaceted picture. We described it in the following terms with accompanying biblical citations, in the same way that Bible dictionaries cover several facets of this subject.
The Bible describes hell as the alienation of the spiritual nature of man from fellowship with his Creator. It belongs to the "prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2). This dimension is portrayed in Ephesians 6:10-12, where the warning is given that it is the domain of the forces of incalculable wickedness, presided over by the one whom the Bible designates as "the ruler of this world" and "the god of this age" (John 14:30; 2 Cor. 4:4). This domain is described variously in the Bible as "outer darkness" (Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30), "fire" (Matt. 5:22; 13:42; 18:8, 9; 25:41; Mark 9:22-49), "suffering" (Jude 7), consciousness of separation from God and fear of others suffering the same (Luke 16:19–31), "prison" (1 Peter 3:19), and, metaphorically (in the sense that only God knows exactly what hell is—we can only speculate), a vast lake of molten sulfur, from which there is no deliverance (Rev. 19:20; 20:10, 14, 15; 21:8).
Perhaps this dimension is best described in terms of the condition of its occupants, who are portrayed as "wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever" (Jude 13). The apostle Peter indicated that some of the fallen angels were already chained in the darkness of hell, awaiting judgment: “God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment” (2 Peter 2:4). It is possible, then, that hell may be one dimension with many levels, some restrictive and some not, since Satan and an unknown number of his demons are still free to roam the earth.
Many Christian Harry Potter fans point to author J. K. Rowling's Christian faith and traditional use of fantasy as indicators of it being more in the line of Spencer's Faerie Queen or Tolkien's mythos. If traditional fantasy used magic as a metaphor for the supernatural (black or 'invocational' magic - the calling in of outside spiritual forces - as the demonic supernatural representation; white or 'incantational' magic - a sort of singing alongside natural forces - as the mirror image of God's miraculous wonders) then shouldn’t the protagonists’ magic system in the books be seen as just shorthand presentations of the supernatural? At that level they would have little to do with what is actually practiced as magic, even though some modern magical practices have been influenced by literary magic without recognizing its Christian foundations.
Actually, the traditional fantasy I’ve read throughout my life (fantasy literature was a favorite of mine) incorporates magic as an actual force that influences reality apart from the power of God. This is the occult. If you review the writings of Aleister Crowley you will find that these "shorthand presentations of the supernatural" reflect factual magical practices. In The Kingdom of the Occult we document ancient magical rites (including incantations and ceremonies) - rites that found their way into many types of fantasy literature.
We are speaking historically, here. Ancient magical practices, (documented by ancient records and artifacts) surfaced time and time again throughout the centuries. There really is “nothing new under the sun.” Crowley is just another example of someone who discovered and practiced this ancient magic in modern times. Rowling is simply echoing the ancient practice of spell-casting—a hallmark of the occult.
But we can’t paint all of this literature with the black brush of the occult - it is healthy to use our imaginations, and stories of dragons, unicorns and other fantasy creations are not necessarily evil. They only become dangerous when incorporated with actual occult power and teachings, and this is what J. K. Rowling did in her Harry Potter series.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a healthy example. The White Witch is evil, which is correct biblically, and Aslan accurately represents Jesus’ death and resurrection. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot out there in terms of Christian fantasy literature. I wrote a youth fantasy adventure story called Jack Star and the Secret Door based on the biblical supernatural power of God that was in limited release and, hopefully, will be available again soon.
Can the factors of her faith and her attempt to delineate between good and bad supernatural power be taken into account (and how it doesn’t seem as though interest in the occult has jumped appreciably in the decade since the first Harry Potter book) before dismissing the series?
J. K Rowling admits to an agnostic faith, and certainly does not subscribe to Evangelical Christianity. We don't dismiss the Harry Potter series, we analyze it and comment on the fact that J. K. Rowling incorporated the religious beliefs and practices of Witchcraft into a children’s fantasy book series - effectively blending fantasy and religion. If some Christians are comfortable with that, it is between them and the Holy Spirit. As Christians, we’re saying that we need to be aware of pagan religion influence in literature and respond to it accordingly.
The Kingdom of the Occult mentions the Harry Potter book series as part of a collection of trendy popularizations of the occult. We document its use of "white" and "black" Witchcraft as a modern invention, a distinction not found in the true history of Witchcraft, magic, or the occult.
As to the growth of Witchcraft and the occult, we provide solid statistics that interest in it has jumped by the millions - just in the past decade - through the popularization of Harry Potter, and through countless new books, publications, and Internet Websites. Interest in all occult activities has increased over the last 150 years, but the growth in Witchcraft has only been off the charts in the last decade.
The Kingdom of the Occult takes megachurches, the seeker-sensitive movement, and neo-orthodoxy philosophy (such as is witnessed in the emergent church movement) to task for infecting the church leadership with pragmatism…
No, we take the Emergent Church to task for denying biblical authority. We question the motivation of seeker-sensitive churches based on their teaching track records - lots of milk and very little meat. We don’t address megachurches, since the size of a congregation doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not they are biblically sound.
Perhaps I oversimplified, for which I apologize. But my point is that many results-based practices have been introduced into the some of these churches and movements. What should be the response of orthodox Christianity concerning the fact that yoga, contemplative prayer and meditation are so popular in some of these Christian churches nowadays?
Those who refuse to compromise the Word of God have always practiced Christianity in its purest form. This is why nearly every New Testament book tells us exactly what to believe and warns us against contamination by the flesh, carnality, sin, and occultism.
Hindu Yogis will be the first to tell you that Yoga is Hinduism. You cannot divorce one from the other and you cannot "Christianize" a practice specifically designed to worship demons. That is the bottom line. If you travel anywhere in India you will see shrines with idols set up in the streets, and people performing Yoga positions in worship of those idols. Prominent Hindu Yogis call Yoga, “Hindu Evangelism.” They teach that you cannot separate Yoga from Hinduism. Christians who practice Yoga are performing an ancient rite of physical exercise devoted to demon worship - if they are comfortable with that, again, it is between them and the Holy Spirit.
Are there biblical alternatives within the Christian tradition?
The concept that Christianity must provide alternatives to worldly ways is not found in Scripture, so there is no need to provide Christianized Yoga. There are so many great exercise programs available to people today that it should only be a matter of research and common sense. Meditation is simply focused prayer (King David mentions meditating quite frequently in the Psalms), and only ventures into the realm of the occult when combined with faulty theology and manipulation specifically aimed at getting people to "open up" to outside forces.
So you would take Richard Foster and his Celebration of Discipline (in which he warns readers of the possibility of encountering negative spiritual entities when practicing the type of meditation that his espouses) to task on this point? I'm sure you know that many people have found a deeper connection to the supernatural by using his materials, which are very popular in Christian circles.
The Bible takes Richard Foster to task. Foster’s interpretation directly contradicts biblical teaching. The fact that his work is “very popular in Christian circles” is a sign of the times. “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3 NIV
Jesus said, "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17). Since God's Word is truth, then it is the standard by which all other things are measured, therefore God is not offering an alternative to the world's corruption, He is supplying His standard of truth and anything that falls short of it is not an alternative, but is of the world. The epistle of First John is filled with this kind of contrast.
How about things like Mary Baxter's Divine Revelation books or near-death and out-of-body experiences - are they actual excursions into the supernatural dimensions, and if so are they what they claim to be or demonic counterfeits?
The Bible states that the body without the spirit is dead (James 2:26), therefore, if a person really leaves their body, such as in astral projection, out of body experiences, or near death experiences, then the body would have to be dead. We do not test the accuracy of God's Word by individual experience; we test individual experience by God’s Word.
If someone claims to experience something "out of body," the Bible does not recognize it as from God, so there really is only one other source.
Now, let me get this straight: Walter Martin himself saw UFOs? Don’t only crazy people who see UFOs? And if some UFO sightings are true but demonic, could demons appear as populations of aliens on other planets?
The term UFO only describes an Unidentified Flying Object - objects that are later explained with new evidence (such as a stealth bomber). It is only "unidentified" until it becomes "identified," which then moves it to the IFO category. My father did see several UFOs through his telescope, but he never claimed to know exactly what they were. He speculated that some UFOs could be demonic in nature and others reflect natural origins.
The Kingdom of the Occult does not comment extensively on the origin of UFOs, we discuss the relationship of the occult to some of the sightings, and how some religions have formed around UFOs.
What profit do you see in America having an active space program and looking for life apart from Earth?
We comment on the NASA program only enough to state that nothing has been found in their search for extraterrestrial life. We then point out that fallen angels or demons are, in fact, extraterrestrial life forms that have contact with earth and humans, which can plausibly account for some of the occultic connections to UFO sightings.
This book is one of the very few that actually addresses the New Apostolic Reformation (Latter Rain /Dominion/ Kingdom Now/Manifest Sons of God), but it does so very briefly. Since the movement is so large and perceived to be within Christendom, was this not addressed more fully because it had little to do with the occult?
Christian deliverance ministries often focus upon certain demons, such as the "Jezebel Spirit." There is no biblical evidence to support these so-called "demons" and we felt this fact needed to be discussed, along with the important point that Christians cannot be demon possessed. Our mention of the Latter-Rain movement was in reference to their heretical beliefs and the unbiblical practice of casting out the Jezebel demon that originated with them. The purpose of the book was to deal with larger forms of the occult rather than analyze a specific Christian movement.
So is this bunch of organizations (the hyper-charismatic groups, including groups like 'Joel's Army') a truly Christian movement with some unfortunate heretical beliefs or is it a heretical movement with Christian trappings?
Latter-Rain theology is heretical. There is no biblical foundation for the belief that some in the modern church are “Joel’s Army” called to bring judgment to the earth.
The book quotes Ray Comfort's Hell’s Best Kept Secret, which is a fantastic resource for evangelists and has been extremely influential in returning many Christians to a biblical foundation for sharing the Gospel. What part of the Gospel presentation do you find to be the most difficult to convey to those in the occult?
It may be surprising to many readers that those in the occult have an understanding of what Christianity teaches about the blood of Jesus Christ appeasing God's wrath against our sins; they just do not want to accept it. In other words, the Gospel message is conveyed clearly enough for them to reject it and some of them can repeat it back to us very accurately. Some of the most noted people in the occult (Edgar Cayce, Anton LaVey, Aleister Crowley) could state the Christian Gospel clearly, but they felt that it was inadequate for their needs. The problem is not in understanding the words; the problem is that there is no conviction.
Were there any occult topics [enneagram, NAR, evolutionism, Oprah] that you weren't able to include for whatever reason (space, time, permission, etc.)?
Yes, the subject of the occult is massive and we had to be selective in both the history and modern forms of occultism. Time, space, and permissions played a role in each of these, but the final content choices were largely based upon the subjects covered implicitly or explicitly by Walter Martin.
Ravi Zacharias edited the recent edition of The Kingdom of the Cults; was he unavailable for this book?
Ravi was kind enough to participate in one of our projects, The Kingdom of the Occult. This is just a separate project.
Can you comment on the rift between your ministry (Walter Martin's Religious Information Network) and Hank Hanegraaff?
Yes, further details on this are available at WalterMartin.com. You can find specific articles at WalterMartin.com/cri.html