Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Harshbarger’

Deeper Waters Podcast 10/12/2013 Jeff Harshbarger

October 11, 2013

What’s coming up this Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Awhile back, a good evangelical friend of mine recommended that there is one area in apologetics that I do not need to study the other side in. That is in the area of the occult. Why? Because this is a dangerous area and the temptations are great. It is best to not put yourself at risk by studying such things. Instead, leave it to those who have done some study in the occult.

That’s why I am having Jeff Harshbarger of Refuge Ministries come on my show this Saturday to discuss this important topic. Jeff is an ex-satanist who came to Christ decades ago and has written a couple of books on the subject. He has also collected the testimony of several Christians who came out of the occult, including the famous Son of Sam.

Also, Jeff has been a personal friend to Allie and I helping us out in some issues. He is a student working in counseling now and has a heart for people who are still trapped in the occult and wanting to make sure that they get accurate information.

Part of this for Jeff has been outing those in the field who he thinks are “padding their resume” as it were by making up stories about events in the occult that are not accurate. We’ll likely talk about how important it is to get an honest look at the occult and how those of us who are not specialists in this field can learn to examine some claims.

With Halloween being this month, I’m also thankful to have someone like Jeff on who I consider to be very level-headed in this area. I have often made the claim that too often, Christians are seeing demons behind most every bush. Jeff knows about the reality of demons, but he also knows that they are not responsible for everything. I know this especially since he shared an article I wrote on this topic called “Demon-Haunted World.”

What are you to do also when you meet someone in the occult if you yourself have not studied the occult? We’ll talk about that. Generally, my stance has been to try to pass them on to Jeff, but perhaps you might not have a Jeff in your life or it might be a face to face encounter and there’s not someone out there to send them to immediately.

And of course, how should Christians handle the presence of the occult in their own lives? Should we be scared of the possibility of being possessed by a demon? Do we need to fear any powers of those who might be in the occult? Are these powers even real? We’ll talk about all of these!

This is an important topic and I hope that you’ll be listening in to the show to hear what Jeff has to say on the matter. The show time is from 3-5 PM EST. The link can be found here. Call in number with a question is 714-242-5180.

I hope you’ll join us!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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Demon-Haunted World?

August 9, 2013

How is a Christian supposed to reply to the demonic? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

One of my good friends is Jeff Harshbarger, who wrote two books on the occult which include personal testimony of his involvement with demonic powers and how he came out and is now a Christian. He is now the head of his own ministry, Refuge Ministries, where he uses counseling to help people get out of the occult.

But here’s something I really like about Jeff. He’s someone who admits the reality of demons, but he’s not someone who sees demons every where and despite having personal experience in the past with demons, he warns Christians to not spend too much time thinking about demons and not to worry about them.

Now keep in mind in all of this, I am indeed affirming that yes, I do believe demonic activity is real. I’ve heard too many accounts from people who I know to be intelligent and reliable that are firsthand accounts that I cannot deny that it has happened. I also have of course, as a Christian, biblical testimony to the fact.

Yet we must approach this realistically. As C.S. Lewis said in the Screwtape Letters “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”

I have written plenty of times about my problems with a materialist view of reality, so if you’re on that side, this blog is not written to argue against you. This blog is written to deal with the problem that Jeff sees as well, and that’s Christians having too much of a fascination with demonic activity.

In fact, these Christians in having this can often take a view of Scripture that I consider to be occult. Scripture is treated as if it was a magic book and if you say this passage, you will ward off any demons that are in your presence. Now do I deny that there is power in the truth of Scripture? Not at all. What I have a problem with is its careless usage without a proper understanding of what is going on in a text of Scripture.

For instance, how many times have I seen a Christian use the passage about “My word will not return to me void.” When saying it, these Christians take it to mean that if you cite a passage of Scripture, it will be used and it will come back with results. I don’t think this is a Christian view of Scripture but an occult one.

For one thing, the passage is about the pronouncements of God Himself and what He’s saying is “If I make a statement, you can be sure that I will deliver on it.” It does not mean that we are the ones who can always deliver on His statements. God is not obligated to do our bidding. We are obligated to do His.

Furthermore, we often see people misuse Scripture, such as the devil in the temptation of Jesus, groups like Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, and of course groups like the Word of Faith community that think faith is a force whereby they can shape reality.

When we have this fixation on the occult, it will not keep us away from it, but will in fact draw us into it. Up and coming apologists. I make this warning to you. There are many areas in apologetics I try to at least have a basic knowledge of. This is not one of them! I have been warned by those much greater in the field than I and much more skilled NOT to even touch this stuff. In fact, they themselves don’t do it because the occult has such a drawing power. That’s why I leave it to people like Jeff.

We will also have undue fear in our lives of anything that could seem to be “occult” when we have this focus. I have interest in many activities that I’m sure a lot of Christians with this kind of fixation look at as occult. I play the Final Fantasy games regularly. (In fact, one of the songs played at our wedding was from Final Fantasy) I have every Harry Potter movie that there is and I’ve read all the books. I make it a point to know the difference between fantasy and reality.

Here’s something more important. I make it a point to know Scripture even better. It is in knowing the true God that I am supposed to be drawn to Him more and more. It can be good and helpful to have a good angelology and that includes knowing something about demons and any student of Scripture should know something about them, but that is as a metaphysical topic and not an occult topic and is not meant to be a fixation.

When we live in fear of everything around us and constant worry about the occult, we also have the sad condition of making ourselves look ridiculous to the world around us. Most of the world around us already thinks we’re crazy. We don’t really need to do anything to add to that.

Also, our culture has a fixation on end times. Most readers of this blog know that my view in end times is that of orthodox Preterism, but I’m happily married to a dispensationalist and I have several good friends who are dispensationalists.

If you want to be one, be one, but this is a problem I often warn against for dispensationalists. Make your fixation be Christ. Some are unfortunately so caught up in knowing the identity of antichrist that they do not pay as much attention to the identity of Christ, the one who they are to stake their whole identity in.

Now in all of this, there is no saying that Christians should be reckless, but do not let your Christian walk be defined by paranoia of anything that could have a negative reputation. Take the time to examine each issue and be settled in your own mind. If you disagree with your brother, feel free to make a case, but listen to his case back on why he doesn’t have a problem with what he does. It could be you’re wrong. It could be he is. Follow the admonition of Paul. Let each be convinced in his own mind.

And overall, remember to focus on God and His revelation in Christ. Christians are not to live their lives in fear, and that includes fear of the demons.

In Christ,
Nick Peters