Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Hidden War

There is a war going on that most Christians don’t recognize. I call it a war of Romanticism, and it's all well documented in numerous books and articles.

How does this war affect the everyday lives of Christians? It affects them a lot. For one thing, we have friends who are caught up in this war and made captive by it without really realizing it, to the point of even (unknowingly) naming their children after witches in fantasy stories.

We’ve mentioned before what tremendous shifts are going on in Christian thinking and worldview. One of these shifts is the enormous influence of imaginative literature in the lives of Christians, a shift some of whose effects I see particularly among young people. We are seeing Christians whose focus is becoming increasingly focused upon fantasy rather than Scripture. Why? Because of the progressive dominance of Romanticism in Christian literature.

Connected with this shift is the escalating use of street drugs both in the general culture and in the Church (especially in church youth groups). I am convinced that there is a strong connection between this love of imaginative literature and the escape into drugs. I have personally seen children of fervent evangelical Christians, raised within a close community, turn to drugs. Influenced by Christian “culture heroes” like Donald Miller, whose book Blue Like Jazz, promotes drugs and liberalism, they are simply swept away. (See my critique of Miller here.)

I have also met Christians who have gotten tangled into drugs and ended up on the psychiatric unit where I work. At that same unit I often see people tattooed with occult symbols, including runes (Celtic magical symbols used in The Lord of the Rings). These same people are reading and deeply engaged in games involving imaginative literature, especially mythology and fairy tales. The connection can be very strong because many street drugs—especially LSD, Mescaline, and marijuana—stimulate the imagination and can open the mind’s door to the occult. (I speak from experience.)

Can fairytales really be harmful?

The answer I have seen in my studies of recent history is yes. I’ve been reading a book called Metapolitics: From Wagner and the German Romantics to Hitler by Peter Viereck. Fantastic as it may sound, this thick and impressively documented book reveals the powerful influences arising from a love of mythology and fairytales that influenced Germany (and especially its youth) and led directly to Nazism.

Following is a list of some relevant books and articles I’ve been reading lately that are giving me deeper insight into the strong connections between Romanticism and the resurgence of paganism:

Viereck explains conclusively how Romanticism so changed the worldview of everyday Germans that it actually shaped political history and led to the Third Reich—which was a political, Romantic crusade. Viereck is a very interesting man uniquely suited to tackle this subject. A Pulitzer Prize winning poet, he studied Nazi propaganda as an Army intelligence analyst during World War II. At the same time, his father, a Nazi propagandist, was in federal prison.

I’m just beginning to read this. Veith talks about the influence of Romanticism. Veith is the Provost at Patrick Henry College and the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary.

Heely compares J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings with the opera The Ring of the Nibelung by Richard Wagner. This is a very disturbing article because the comparisons between the two works are so clear. They are a strong confirmation of how these streams and risings of Romanticism are really interconnected, whether supposedly “dark” or “light.” (I’ve been trying to make the point for some time that there is no “dark” vs. “light” magic, as is so often represented in modern writing; it is only dark.) In The Ring of the Nibelung, Richard Wagner retells an old German myth about the power of a gold ring. And The Lord of the Rings also tells a story of a magical golden ring. The article mentioned above reveals many other comparisons.

Baue reveals how much secular philosophy there is in Romantic literature, and especially how strongly Platonism and Neo-Platonism influenced C. S. Lewis’s worldview. This influence began early in his life, after he left Christianity. It continued later when he returned to Christianity and lasted up to his death. In fact, his final book, Till We Have Faces, retells a pagan myth. Lewis also incorporates Platonic philosophy into the Narnia stories. This is pretty sophisticated stuff to give to children, and, as a matter of fact, the stories are designed more for adults than for children. (Tolkien's fairy stories also seem designed more for adults than for children.)

Lewis’s work has become so accepted that there is a universal blindness to the philosophy embedded in it. Normally evangelicals do not accept Platonism/Neo-Platonism as their worldview, but through Lewis they have embraced certain aspects of this unbiblical worldview. (Platonism is a philosophy, and Neo-Platonism is more like a way of life.) This acceptance is quite apparent in the ministry of John Piper, by the way. (Watch his video, “Lessons from an Inconsolable Soul” for an amazing demonstration.)


It is astonishing to see in all of these writings how much Romanticism (that is, the love of mythology) has to do with the rise of fascism.

Basically, my research reveals that the same kind of mythology that became the religious and philosophical foundation for pre-Nazism in Germany was also exalted in England and is now wildly popular in the United States. This does not necessarily mean that just because Romanticism is growing in epic proportions in the United States that it’s going to dominate, but it does indicate that seemingly innocent fairytales can have a problematical effect on the mind and imagination, especially of young people.

Such powerful stories and films as The Lord of the Rings and the Narnia series have greatly altered the worldview of many people in the United States and, especially, of pastors and seminary professors. They appear to have very little awareness of the difference between Christianity and Romantic religion. Yet Christians, of all people, should be discerning and aware of the possible dangers of such a movement.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Our apologetics booklets for sale

We have recently updated most of the booklets we have written on various aspects of apologetics, and are now offering them for sale in PDF format


The Martial Arts: Should I Be Involved? – $5. Are you already a Christian and wondering if there’s a problem being involved with the martial arts? Or, maybe you’re not a Christian but wondering. Perhaps you’re involved but uncertain and want more information. This booklet’s aim is to help you understand the many grave implications of involvement with the martial arts.

The Glittering Web: A Survey of the Occult and the New Age Movement in Contemporary Culture and the Church – $7.50. The broad sweep of this 33-page booklet covers the false conversion involved and provides a historical perspective, and a chart of 15 current New Age (more popularly called “interspirituality”) trends. The booklet examines Eastern religions, psychedelics, witchcraft, Gnosticism, Romanticism, Mind Science, business usage, holistic health, cosmic evolutionary thought, globalism, education, women’s “spirituality,” UFO cults and mysticism, and Jungian psychology. At the end there are three pages of terms defined and two pages of resources.

The Christ of the Bible – $1.50. This booklet discusses who Christ really is and includes a chart comparing the biblical facts about Christianity with a variety of counterfeits.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit vs. Psychic Counterfeits –$3.50. Some Christians see any evidence of certain of the gifts of the Holy Spirit as demonic; others accept all spiritual manifestations as genuine. This booklet isn’t meant to take on the entire controversy but to focus upon one area we believe is of great importance—an area that many Christians largely overlook and often even avoid—that there is confusion today between the gifts of the Holy Spirit and psychic “abilities” and powers.

Strategies of Evangelism to New Age Culture –$3.50. The current shift in popular culture is affecting the Christian Church in a major way. In recent years the emergence of the syncretistic “Emergent Church” movement has swept the evangelical world by storm. The rising flood of paganism and rebellion is overwhelming many of our culture’s historical “antibodies” against it. The roots of the shift are many and deep, and focusing upon them is not this booklet’s purpose. What concerns us here is what Christians can do to reach out.

Visualization, Imagination & the Christian: Differentiating Between Biblical Prayer and Meditation and Occult Visualization –$3.50. Although originally the sphere of secret occult societies and private practitioners, the explosion of New Age / occult thinking in the past forty to fifty years has thrust occult visualization techniques into enormous popularity both in secular society and in the Church. In some instances, Christian teachers who have been confused about the difference between the two approaches have unknowingly promulgated occult methods. These days occult visualization techniques abound in many vital areas

Worldview Comparison Chart –$1.50. This handy chart compares the biblical worldview with the Eastern religious worldview in 6 major areas: the nature of reality, the problem of evil, the nature fo good and evil, the solution to evil, the nature of Jesus Christ, and the view of the serpent/dragon

The Christian and Yoga –$2.50. It’s everywhere these days. Schools and universities teach it. Health clubs promote it. The YMCA and YWCA (once Christian organizations) have classes in it all the time. And it constantly appears in popular magazines. Is yoga really as harmless as it seems? And is it for Christians?

The Devil’s Doorways is not available at this time.


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Coming Soon!

Our new novel,

The Glittering Web

Email for a free PDF copy of the first chapter and for advance notice of publication.

Recognizing deception isn’t easy—especially to Loren and Eve Montcrest who are convinced they’re on the true path. Newly initiated into Seattle’s Arcane Institute, the elite training order of their occult society in the year 2025, they become caught up in a fast-paced succession of intrigues and adventure that rocks their love for each other and even their sanity—and brings them to the brink of destruction. But in the fierce battle for their souls, God is working to strip away the glittering web of false spirituality.

“When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” (Isaiah 59:19, KJV)