I Am Not Afraid: Demon Possession And Spiritual Warfare

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While Africa and Madagascar seem like strange and faraway places, the world in which we now live has become much smaller than many of us could ever have imagined. Moreover, even our neighbors visit the local fortuneteller, read the horoscope page in the newspaper, and attend séances that seek to reach departed friends, lovers, and family members. Consequently, as we begin a journey into faraway places, we may soon find they are not as far away as we may have expected.

From Chapter 3

I Am Not Afraid is Rev. Dr. Robert Bennett s fascinating first-hand account of the spiritual warfare found within the Lutheran Church of Madagascar. Is spiritual warfare something new to the Church? Bennett reviews what the Bible, Church Fathers, and contemporary Lutheran leaders have to say.

Part One includes recent conversations dealing with spiritual warfare, an introduction into the Malagasy Lutheran Church, and the traditional Malagasy worldview. These are the stories of those who have been rescued from the darkness of sin and brought into the light of the Gospel.

Part Two looks to the Bible and the Church for explanation and historical perspective on the spiritual warfare found in the Malagasy Lutheran Church. Is it something only found in the time of Jesus and the apostles? What has the Church said in the past about such activities? Bennett explores the views of Martin Luther and other Lutheran leaders, and finally provides some helpful contemporary material and resources for dealing with spiritual warfare in today s context.

Includes a glossary of key terms, transcripts of personal interviews, bibliography, Scripture index, and subject index.

The Author

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Dr. Robert H Bennett is the Executive Director of Luther Academy. Before accepting the position to Luther Academy, Bennett served as the Administrative Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church and School of Reese, Michigan (2009-2014) and Senior Pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church of Benzonia, Michigan (2001-2009).

He enjoys teaching in the areas of The Lutheran Confessions, and Pastoral Theology. Bennett also serves as an International Mission Specialist and Guest Professor of Missions at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Dr. Bennett holds the degrees of B.A. from Concordia University, Ann Arbor (Human Resource Management), M.Div. (Exegetical Studies), S.T.M (Exegetical Studies) and PhD (Missiology) from Concordia

Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne Indiana. His PhD research focused on the growth of the Lutheran Church of Madagascar (F.L.M.). Dr. Bennett’s research led to the publishing of his first book on the subject Malagasy Lutheranism, titled, I Am Not Afraid: Demon Possession and Spiritual Warfare. Bennett is also the author of Afraid: Demon Possession and Spiritual Warfare in America and numerous journal articles and book reviews.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1?ie=UTF8&text=Robert+H.+Bennett&search-alias=books&field-author=Robert+H.+Bennett&sort=relevancerank

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The Fear Of Death Hunting Homosexuals In Africa

Is homosexuality a sickness or disease that can be cured?

Homosexuality is not part of the African culture but they are now listening to external voice: First traditional Gay marriage in South Africa.

Homosexuality, men having sexual intercourse, is an abominable act in many parts of Africa. Africa, a continent of different tribes and clans, doesn’t approve many things that they considered a taboo. Thus; someone caught in a homosexual act, instantly faces severe punishment, beatings and lynchings, many times leading to death.
                             Since homosexuality is a crime in African countries that don’t permit, those involved in such acts, hide it from the sight of the public, but homosexuality movements in Europe and America today, fighting for  recognition have inspired or encouraged African homosexuals to make their voice heard.
                            Thus, the social vice which is less popular in Africa, is now becoming famous in many African countries, turning the countries into an unnerving place to live in, because church leaders and many organisations against this practice, wouldn’t like to embrace this type of culture, they called it ‘Evil’ to add to their own culture.
                          At times, I do ask myself time and time, do Europeans or Americans think Africa will readily accept whatever they are interested? Africa has nothing to do with Christianity before the white missionaries ever went there. They thought Africans to follow the Bible or the gospel. Well, later the truth was discovered. The reason wasn’t to let Africans know about Christianity but to loot.
                       Fortunately, many parts of Africa derived interest in the Bible and studied it thoroughly, therefore living by its teachings. An African Christian, explaining his point, to defend his hate against homosexuality, would take one deep step into the Bible. Two of such scriptures confirming that homosexuality is an evil act can be read at  1st Timothy: Chapter 10 and 1st Corinthians, chapter 6, verse 9.
                      The question is: Why are Europeans and other Gay Rights Organisations, now fighting for the practice of homosexuality to be recognized in Africa, when they had already been there with the Holy Bible, a book telling Africans how evil the practice of homosexuality is?” The teachings of the Holy Bible can’t be reversed, so I am afraid to say that Africa can never change its mind or opinion on the negative aspects of homosexuality.
                       Africa is already overwhelmed by many diseases, such as AIDS, Ebola, malaria and others. It’s, therefore, make sense when they don’t want that practice. Europeans, Advanced Countries, and some Civil Right Organisations are the first people that voices are heard, whenever there is any bad situation in Africa, but whenever there is an epidemic, the respond to contain the situation never comes or very slow.
                      Aids have taken thousands of Africans to their untimely grave, since the early eighties, but there some rich people that had Aided in that period in America, who are still living. Many believed after Africa’s survival of Aids, Ebola, and other deadly diseases, America and Europe are destined to ruin the continent with homosexuality, just to continue to kill Africans, when any epidemic erupts.
                     Africa has learned a lot from their misfortunes, that is the reason it is fighting against homosexuality today. Unfortunately, the path Uganda has taken to deal with this issue is totally out of course. The proposal for the death penalty for homosexuals is sheer madness. Violence against homosexuals is not an option or solution.
                    According to many homosexuals, they were born with it. Who feels it, knows it. Do men bear to love men? That’s really a hard concept to accept. The more I think about this issue, the more I get confused. African leaders must find a way to deal with the rise of homosexuality in Africa because death is not an option to eradicate or stop homosexuality in Africa.
The next article: Is it right for homosexuals to adopt children?

Choosing A Wholesome Entertainment For Children

 

Ban dangerous games on the television

The love for money has encouraged companies to manufacture dangerous games for children

Very often psychologists and psychiatrists trace the cause of our present day ailments to homes.  Homes have straightforward stories to tell. The set up of our homes, immediately convey the message to a visitor the nature and character of those dwelling there and the sort of training or life being acquired from it. 

Living in unsafe community, low-quality child care, lack of resources, broken homes, divorces etc; are some of the causes affecting children. Even though entertainment is said to enhance children’s education, it is said to be one of the major factors which affect children’s behavior. What programs are children watching on the television or what kind of games are they playing?

Unsafe, violent and crime games, are yearly produced by ‘Games Manufacturing Companies’ for children. Those companies called them ‘entertainments’ for children. The strong desire for money prevents them to see the harm they are doing to children. Staying hours playing these violent games continue affecting and shaping the lives of these children.

When a child starts cursing, using bad words at home or school is the time the child needs admonition from parents or teachers. They often learn those bad words from the programs they watched on the television or the games they play. The next thing is asking for fake or toy guns for their birthdays. A mother who loves her child will do everything to make him or her happy.

However, buying a toy gun for your son on his birthday, because he wants it, is a way of training your child to be a gun lover. The reason in the United States of America, many children are involved in juvenile crimes, relating to shootings. Yes, some children indulge in entertainments that graphically portrays immoral behavior.

Think, for example, movie and radio stations. Some movie stations feature only violent movies and some radio  stations play sadistic and demonic music. Violent hip-hop or rap music, become some children’s favorite music. They don’t only sing, but they do the violent things the songs preach. When violently erupts, it doesn’t only sweep along those that called for it, but also innocent victims. That’s the sad part of it.

People are confused about religion. Islam they say means ‘Brotherhood, Togetherness, and Peace, but what we see now is terrorism engulfing our neighborhood, discouraging parents to speak to children about the Gospel  or to embrace Bible principles. Religious violence shouldn’t prevent mothers to encourage children to adhere to educating and inspiring Biblical principles.

Education starts from home and what parents teach children from early childhood, become part of someone’s personality and characteristics. Therefore, the things kids learn from their parents have a lasting impression on people. Thus; parents should be careful about teaching their kids the moral values and responsibilities to the society.

Color struck: America’s White Jesus Is A Global Export And false Product

Article By Wesley Muhammad, PhD.

What color was Jesus? Most American Christians—Black and White—would dismiss this question as both irrelevant and unanswerable as the Gospels fail to give us a physical description. The irony is that most of these same Americans in their heart of hearts are pretty confident any way that they know what color Jesus was. They attend churches with images of a tall, long haired, full bearded White man depicted in stained glass windows or painted on walls, and they return home to the same depictions framed in their living room or illustrating their family Bibles.

Further compounding the irony is the fact that America actually has an obsession with the (presumed) color of Christ and has exported her White Americanized Savior around the world, as recently documented by Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey in their book, The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America (2012).

In fact, the world’s most popular and recognizable image of Christ is a distinctly 19th-20th century American creation. It is true that versions of the “White Christ” appear in European art as early as the 4th century of the Christian era, but these images coexisted with other, nonwhite representations throughout European history. The popularity of the cult of the Black Madonna and Black Christ throughout Europe is evidence of the fact that the European ‘White Christs’ never acquired the authority and authenticity that the White Christ now has globally. This Christ and his authority are American phenomena. As a predominantly Protestant nation Early America rejected the imaging of Christ that characterized European Catholicism.

By the mid-19th century, however, in response to American expansion, splintering during the Civil War and subsequent reconstructing, “Whiteness” took on a new significance and a newly- empowered “White Jesus” rose to prominence as the sanctifying symbol of a new national unity and power. As Blum and Harvey observe:

“By wrapping itself with the alleged form of Jesus, whiteness gave itself a holy face … With Jesus as white, Americans could feel that sacred whiteness stretched back in time thousands of years and forward in sacred space to heaven and the second coming … The white Jesus promised a white past, a white present, and a future of white glory.”

As America rose to superpower status in the 20th century she became the world’s leading producer and global exporter of White Jesus imagery through film, art, American business, and Christian missions, and has thereby defined the world’s view of the Son of God. This globally recognizable Jesus is a totally American product. Indeed, he is an American. Warner Sallman’s iconic image of Jesus called Head of Christ (1941) became the most widely reproduced piece of artwork in world history and its depiction the most recognizable face of Jesus in the world.

By the 1990’s it had been printed over 500 million times and achieved global iconic status. With smooth white skin, long, flowing blondish-brown hair, long beard and blue eyes, this Nordic Christ consciously disguised any hint of Jesus’s Semitic, oriental origin—and departed from the older European depictions. It both shaped and was shaped by emerging American ideas of whiteness. The beloved White Jesus of today’s world was Made in America.

What, then, did Jesus actually look like? Despite the absence of a detailed description of Jesus’s physical appearance in the Gospels (though John the Revelator saw the risen Christ apparently with wooly hair and black feet, Rev. 1:14-15), there are non-biblical evidences that actually allow us to visualize the Son of God from Nazareth.

Revelation 1:14-15 – King James Version (KJV)

14) His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

15) And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

The first century Jewish writer Josephus (37-100 AD) penned the earliest non-biblical testimony of Jesus. He reportedly had access to official Roman records on which he based his information and in his work Halosis or the “Capture (of Jerusalem),” written around 72 A.D., Josephus discussed “the human form of Jesus and his wonderful works.” Unfortunately his texts have passed through Christian hands which altered them, removing offensive material. Fortunately, however, Biblical scholar Robert Eisler in a classic 1931 study of Josephus’ Testimony was able to reconstruct the unaltered testimony based on a newly-discovered Old Russian translation that preserved the original Greek text. According to Eisler’s reconstruction, the oldest non-Biblical description of Jesus read as follows:

“At that time also there appeared a certain man of magic power … if it be meet to call him a man, [whose name is Jesus], whom [certain] Greeks call a son of [a] God, but his disciples [call] the true prophet … he was a man of simple appearance, mature age, black-skinned (melagchrous), short growth, three cubits tall, hunchbacked, prognathous (lit. ‘with a long face’ [macroprosopos]), a long nose, eyebrows meeting above the nose … with scanty [curly] hair, but having a line in the middle of the head after the fashion of the Nazaraeans, with an undeveloped beard.”

This short, black-skinned, mature, hunchbacked Jesus with a unibrow, short curly hair and undeveloped beard bears no resemblance to the Jesus Christ taken for granted today by most of the Christian world: the tall, long haired, long bearded, white-skinned and blue eyed Son of God. Yet, this earliest textual record matches well the earliest iconographic evidence.

The earliest visual depiction of Jesus is a painting found in 1921 on a wall of the baptismal chamber of the house-church at Dura Europos, Syria and dated around 235 A.D. The Jesus that is “Healing the Paralytic Man” (Mark 2:1-12) is short and dark-skinned with a small curly afro – see below.

This description has now been supported by the new science of forensic anthropology. In 2002 British forensic scientists and Israeli archaeologists reconstructed what they believe is the most accurate image of Jesus based off of data obtained from the multi-disciplinary approach. In December 2002 Popular Science Magazine published a cover story on the findings which confirm that Jesus would have been short, around 5”1’, hair “short with tight curls,” a weather-beaten face “which would have made him appear older,” dark eyes and complexion: “he probably looked a great deal more like a dark-skinned Semite than Westerners are used to seeing,” they concluded. The textual, visual, and scientific evidence agrees, then: Jesus likely was a short, dark-skinned Semite with short curly hair and dark eyes.

Colossians 1:15 describes Christ as the “image of the unseen God” and in the Gospel of John (12:45; 14:9) Jesus declares that whoever sees him has seen God. What Jesus “looks like” then is not irrelevant as it is in some way a pointer to God Himself.

10 Reasons Never Wish To Be A Celebrity

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Actress Winona Ryder, stole over $5,000 worth of designer clothing and accessories at the Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue in 2001, despite all the fame and ‘success.’

Here comes a celebrity in glamorous dress, she wants to fly, yet she has no wings. The hungry paparazzi follow them where ever they go. Their names make the headlines in newspapers and faces appear on the television every time. That’s great isn’t it? And you wished to be one of them isn’t is? You can only taste a food before discovering how delicious or sour it tastes, because aroma or sweet scent can be deceiving.

Life is tough, so everyone wants to be successful, thus; many wish to be someone. Be careful what you wish for. If you haven’t been to someone’s farm before, you may think your farm is the biggest. No matter the weight of the problem, when hear someone’story, you’ll know that your problem is just as small as an ant or the tip of the iceberg.

Be content with what you have. Don’t be deceived. Who feels it knows it. Many smile behind suffering and live above their means, but your comfort, success and happiness, lie in your own hands. Below are ten reasons never wish to be a celebrity.

  1. Due to the thirst for fame and the desire to do something no other celebrity has done, they end up putting on degrading clothes they called it modern fashion.
  2. Many abuse the precious dignity of women by attending functions without underwear and they called it “Women Empowerment.”
  3. Many live beyond their means, buying expensive jewels, cars, houses etc; then later cry at home when running financially dry. Those in that situation often end up in shoplifting scandals.
  4. Most celebrities live in debt. The result is restlessness and lack of sleep.
  5. Many can’t handle fame, thus; they end up as drug addicts and alcoholics and often against the law.
  6. Some celebrities end up at rehabilitation centers, hospital and many commit suicide.
  7. Some date so many men and women to the extent that, by the time they are serious to settle and get married, nobody wants them, because they have misused their bodies.
  8. When many are bored, they take naked pictures of themselves and post it on social platforms.
  9. The fear of lacking behind in something or being forgotten by fans haunts them; therefore many do stupid things to attract media attention.
  10. Only few celebrities acknowledge God’s presence, as the omnipotent and depend on the gospel for salvation. Because of fame and pride many think God don’t exist and everything he or she owns comes from their effort.

There is nothing better than aiming high, following your dreams to be successful in whatever you want to achieve, but when pursuing that career, create a good name and inspire other people to follow you, because after your departure from this world, the seed you’ve sown, is what people would talk about. Would that seed be good or a bad one?

Shake The Dust Off Your Feet And Leave

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When Jesus sent forth his disciples to go and preach the gospel, he told them that “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.” This is a very strong advice we need to apply to our lives, especially in this violent world that people make us feel threatened most of the time.

There are things when broken, it can’t be mend. What’s the need to cry over that spilt milk, when you can’t take it back? I find it difficult to understand why many women caught up in an abusive marriage, still try to salvage that marriage.

That worthless man hits his girlfriend or wife every day. He has subjected her to a punching bag; giving her black eye, swollen face, broken nose, yet she still stays, hoping to save the relationship. My dear sister, that beast doesn’t love you, above all, you are too precious to be treated this way.

Real men don’t hit or abuse women. Please, lady; it’s time to shake off the dust of your feet in that abusive house and leave. One misses water when his well runs dry, thus; he will find out how important you are to him, after your departure. Above all, your qualities as a woman, which your abusive man never appreciates, will give you the love and happiness you deserve elsewhere.

I am a man; I know how it hurts when you love a woman who doesn’t love you. ‘The Jolly Brothers,’ the Jamaican reggae group wrote “When you fall in love, with someone, who doesn’t love you. They use you as, a puppet on a string. Look into yourself my friend, try to get wise and be a conscious one, when you fall in love.

Many men think money can buy love. Well, it may probably buy the love they are looking for. But do you know how stupid you are when in her heart she doesn’t love you but only pretending and enjoying your money? Apart from being a puppet on a string, you also become a laughing stock in the community, because the woman is telling all her friends “I am enjoying the fool’s money.”

It may be likely that she is cheating on you with the man she loves. She is enjoying your money with him. Hard working fellow men, please don’t be in such relationship. Shake the dust off your feet and leave. Not every woman wants a rich man. Some look for certain qualities, such as humbleness, humility, submissiveness, caring, loving and truthful. If you have any of such qualities, you will enjoy a happy relationship.

Life is precious, don’t waste it when you are lucky to live on this earth, in a time many people are committing suicide because they feel it’s meaningless to live. You’ve got the power to change your life positively, to let your light shine ahead of you, for everyone to see how great you are. That is if you shake off the dust off your feet in that stormy relationship and leave.

Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort The Gospel

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Modern historical study of the Gospels seems to give us a new portrait of Jesus every spring–just in time for Easter. The more unusual the portrait, the more it departs from the traditional view of Jesus, the more attention it gets in the popular media.

Why are scholars so prone to fabricate a new Jesus?Why is the public so eager to accept such claims without question? What methods and assumptions predispose scholars to distort the record? Is there a more sober approach to finding the real Jesus?

Commenting on such recent releases as Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus, James Tabor’s The Jesus Dynasty, Michael Baigent’s The Jesus Papers and The Gospel of Judas, for which he served as an advisory board member to the National Geographic Society, Craig Evans offers a sane approach to examining the sources for understanding the historical Jesus.

The Author

Evans

New Testament scholar, Craig Evans, is the Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College of Acadia University, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. A graduate of Claremont McKenna College, he received his M.Div. from Western Baptist Seminary in Portland, Oregon, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Claremont Graduate University in southern California. He has also been awarded the D.Habil. by the Karoli Gaspard Reformed University in Budapest. A well-known evangelical scholar throughout the world, he is an elected member of the prestigious SNTS, a society dedicated to New Testament studies.

After teaching one year at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Evans taught at Trinity Western University in British Columbia for twenty-one years, where he directed the graduate program in Biblical Studies and founded the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute. He was also a Visiting Fellow at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey.

Author and editor of more than sixty books and hundreds of articles and reviews, Professor Evans has given lectures at Cambridge, Oxford, Durham, Yale and other universities, colleges, seminaries and museums, such as the Field Museum in Chicago, the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. He also regularly lectures and gives talks at popular conferences and retreats on the historical Jesus, Archaeology, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible.

Along with countless interviews on radio networks across Canada and the US, Evans has been seen on Dateline NBC, CBC, CTV, Day of Discovery, and many documentaries aired on BBC, The Discovery Channel, History Channel, History Television and others. He also has served as a consultant for the National Geographic Society and for The Bible miniseries, produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.

 

http://www.craigaevans.com/books.htm

http://www.amazon.com/Fabricating-Jesus-Scholars-Distort-Gospels/dp/0830833188