God’s Light to Dispel the Darkness

April 18, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Posted in God's Light into Darkness | 1 Comment

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God’s Light to Dispel the Darkness of Animism: A Biblical response to traditional beliefs and rituals

In the beginning                                        Ge 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
God created light.                                     Ge 1:3 And God said, “Let there be light.” and there was light.
Before He created sources of light;           Ge 1:16 God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the
The sun, the moon, and the stars,               day, the lesser light to govern the night. He made also stars.T
He created light because He is light.         1 Jn 1:5 God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.
In heaven, God and Christ are the light.      Rev 21:23 For the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
In heaven, there will be no more night,       Rev 22:5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of
Only God’s heavenly light.                          a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light.

On earth darkness  is in hearts of men       Jn 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men
Because many continue to disobey God.       loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

Traditional beliefs and rituals continue to be followed by twenty five percent of Christians in Africa (Pew 2010)

The Bible teaches

Darkness came into the world through Adam.
God created Adam and Eve good.                .Ge 1:27 So God created mankind … male and female he created them.
God commanded they not eat of the fruit    Ge 2:17 “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and
Of the tree of Knowledge of good and evil.  evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.”
Satan tempted them to eat the core sin:     Rev 20:2 the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or satan,

You will be like God.”                              Ge 3:5 “you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
We are like God, made in His image.        Ge 1:26 Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.
But mortals (people) are not God or gods.   Eze 28:2 In the pride of your heart you say, ”I am god.”… but you are
We do not have God’s wisdom.                   a mere mortal not a god, though you think you are as wise as a god.
Through the sin of Adam all have sinned.    1 Co 15:21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the
Through Christ is resurrection of dead      dead comes also through a man.
In Christ all believers will be made alive. 1 Co 12:22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
Christ will  return for those who believe.  1 Co 15:23 when he comes, (for) those who belong to him.

In traditional beliefs: the supreme being is distant, uncaring, and uninvolved in our personal affairs.

In contrast, the Bible teaches
God continues to seek us.
God turns our darkness into light.             Ps 18:28 God turns my darkness into light.
God gave us the Law as light.                    Ps 19:8 The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
God gave us His Word as light.                 Ps 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
God gave us His Son as light.                    Jn 1:4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.|
God gave us the task to be light.                 Mt 5:14, 16 You are the light of the world. Let your light shine.
God wants us to earnestly pursue light.      Lk 11:35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.
God gave us the role to be light:                
Ac 26:17, 18 I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn
To turn them from darkness to light,         them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God, so that
To show them the Way to be forgiven,       and they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who
To show them how to have faith in Jesus. are sanctified by faith in me.

Traditional beliefs and rituals have been passed down through generations in almost every culture in the world.

In contrast, the Bible teaches
The Word of God is light.                         Ps 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Scriptures are written by humans.           2 Pe 1:21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but
Scriptures are inspired by Holy Spirit    prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along
Scriptures are the very Word of God:      by the Holy Spirit.
To teach us the ways of God                     2 Ti 3:15-17 The Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for
To give salvation through faith in Christ,  salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed
To teach us how to live holy lives,             and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in
To equip us for ministry, righteousness   so that you, a man of God may be thoroughly equipped
To encourage us to do good works.            for every good work.

In traditional beliefs there are: many gods, many spirits of ancestors and things to be pleased or worshiped.

In contrast, the Bible teaches
God is the only one God.                           
Ro 3:30 There is only one God.
We are not to worship any other gods.      Ex 20:2, 3 I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods.
A Holy Trinity One God three Persons:    Mt 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.                    them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

God, the Father, is the one true God          Eph 4:6 One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all
God is over all.                                         and in all.
God is the creator.                                   Col 1:16 In him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth.
God is the sustainer.                                 Col 1:17 In him all things hold together.
God is over all nature.                               Job 25:2 God is in control and rules the heavens. (CEV)
God is over all humans.                              Jer 32:27
I am the LORD, the God of all mankind.
God is over all evil spirits.                       Rev 12:11 They triumphed him (the evil one) by the blood of the Lamb.

Jesus is God’s one and only son.                Jn 3:18 God’s one and only Son.
Jesus is the only Way.                              Jn 14:6 I am the way, and the truth and the life no one comes
Jesus is the truth and the life.                  to the Father but by me.
Jesus is the light of the world.                 Jn 8:12 I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never
Jesus calls us to leave darkness.               walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus has authority from the Father.        Mt 28:18 All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Jesus is our example.                               Jn 13:15
I have set you an example that you should do as I have done.
Jesus is our Savior.                                 Lk 2:11
a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
Jesus is our forgiveness of sins.              Lk 1:77
salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.
Jesus reconciles us with the Father.        2 Co 5:18
God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ.
Jesus intercedes for us to the Father.       Heb 7:25 He (Jesus)
always lives to intercede for them.

In traditional beliefs there is still need for sacrifices and rituals to please spirits of ancestors or other beings.

In contrast, the Bible teaches
We are not to worship other gods.             2 Ki 17:35 Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them,
We are not to sacrifice to other gods.       serve them or sacrifice to them.
Jesus’ Blood the only sacrifice for all sin. Heb 7:27 He sacrificed for their sins once for all.
Jesus sent to the world to die for our sins Jn 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son
So those who believe in Him will live.       that who so ever believe in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Salvation is through faith,  a gift of God.   Eph 2:8
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this
We receive by believing in and following..  is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

Jesus gave us The Great Commandments:   Mk 12:30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your
To love God,                                               soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
To love others.                                           Mk 12:31 Love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus gave us The Great Commission:        Mt 28:19, 20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing
To go and make disciples,                           them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
To teach obedience, and                             and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And
To trust in His presence.                          surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Jesus is The Great Physician.                   Mt 4:23 healed every disease and sickness.
Jesus sent us Holy Spirit.                         Jn 16:7 I will send him to you.

Holy Spirit is the only one Spirit of God.  1 Co 12:13 One Spirit so as to form one body.
Holy Spirit speaks the Father’s words.     Jn 16:13 He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears.
Holy Spirit goes from the Father.             Jn 15:26 the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will
Holy Spirit testifies about the Son         . testify about me.
Holy Spirit reminds us of Jesus words    
Jn 14:26 will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Holy Spirit convicts us of sin.                 Jn 16:8 H
e will prove the world wrong about sin.
Holy Spirit guides us to truth.         Jn 16:13 the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into truth.
Holy Spirit teaches us what to say. Lk 12:12 Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say
Holy Spirit empowers us.                 Ac 1:8
receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will
Holy Spirit enables us to be witnesses.     be my witnesses.
Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.        Ro 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do
Holy Spirit intercedes for us.                   not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes
Holy Spirit prays for us.                           for us through wordless groans.

Holy Spirit is given to those who ask.     . Lk 11:13 Father in heaven [will] give the Holy Spirit to those who ask.
Holy Spirit gives us  Gifts of the Spirit:  1 Co 12:7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for
Manifestations: wisdom, knowledge,         the common good.
Faith, healing, miraculous powers,            1 Co 12:8-10 (wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers,
Prophesy, distinguishing spirits,               prophesy, distinguishing spirits, speaking in tongues, interpretation of
Speaking and interpretation of tongues     .tongues.)
Holy Spirit gives us Fruit of the Spirit.   Gal 5:22, 23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance,
Love joy, peace, patience, kindness,.         kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Holy Spirit is the power against evil.      Mt 12:28 it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons.

In traditional beliefs there is a concern about many spiritual beings, of ancestors and objects that are evil.
In contrast, the Bible teaches
There are other spiritual powers,            Eph 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the
There are other forces,                            and rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world
They are aligned with the evil one.           and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
The evil one, or satan, is a fallen angel.    Rev 12:9 Satan who leads the whole word astray. He was hurled down to
Demons are angels who follow satan         the earth, and his angels with him.
Demons do perform signs.                        Rev 16:14 They are demonic spirits that perform signs,
The evil one pretends to be light.              2 Co 11:14 For Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
The evil one is a liar and father of lies.    Jn 8:44 for he is a liar the father of lies.
Do not believe every spirit.                      1 Jn 4:1, 2
do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see
Test spirits to see if from the evil one.    whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out
If they are from God, they will say           into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every
Jesus Christ is God’s Son.                      Spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.

In traditional beliefs and there is a powerlessness against bewitching, curses and spiritual beings.

In contrast, the Bible teaches
Remember that God gives us victory         1 Co 15:57 Thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord
Through Jesus Christ.                              Jesus Christ.
Remember Jesus keeps believers safe      .
1 Jn 5:18 the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil
So the evil one cannot harm believers.       one cannot harm them.
God gives us authority over the enemy:      Lk 10: 19 given you authority… to overcome all the power of the enemy.
First. submit to God.                                 Jas 4:7
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will
Then, resist the evil one and he will flee.   flee from you.
Ask the Lord for protection from evil.       2 Th 3:3 He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

Put on the full armor of God                       Eph 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand
Against the evil one’s plans.                      against the devil’s schemes.
Be strong in the Lord’s strength, not own. :10 be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Put on Truth of Jesus and Holy Spirit.      :14 with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
Follow commandments to be righteous.       :14 with the breastplate of righteousness in place
Stand on peace know the Good News.          :15 with your feet fitted with… readiness …from the gospel of peace
Put on faith to block the lies of satan.         :16 the shield of faith, extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil
Protect the mind with the gift of salvation. :17 the helmet of salvation,
Use the Word of God an offensive weapon.  :17 the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Pray continually with Holy Spirit,.             :18 pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers.
Be alert do not be passive or ignorant.        :18 be alert and always keep praying.

The Bible tells how to defeat the evil one.   .Rev 12:11 They triumphed him (the evil one)
The evil one was defeated by Jesus death.    by the blood of the Lamb and
The evil one is defeated by our testimony.    by the word of their testimony;
The evil one is defeated by not fear death.
   they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
The evil one is defeated by God’s Word.      Eph 6: 17
the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Tell your testimony against the evil one.    1 Pe 3:15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks
Give others hope in Christ.                        you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
Speak God’s Word from within you            1 Jn 2:14 the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the
To overcome the evil one.                           evil one.
Jesus used words of Isaiah when tempted  .Mt 4:1-11 Jesus answered, “It is written …”
Speak the name of Jesus against evil.        Mk 16:17 In my name they will drive out demons.

In traditional beliefs there is use of idols, charms, and magic turning to evil for power over circumstances.

In contrast, the Bible teaches
There is an end for those who do magic.   Rev 21:8 those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they
They will be in hell.                                  will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
The Bible explicitly condemns idolatry.    Isa 42:17 But those who trust in idols, who say to images, ‘You are
They will be shamed.                                 gods,’ will be turned back in utter shame.

The Bible explicitly condemns magic.   Eze 13:20 the sovereign
LORD says: I am against your magic charms
They will have God against them.             with  which you ensnare people.

In traditional beliefs one uses seers, sorcerers and witch doctors to fight curses and evil spirits causing illnesses.

In contrast, the Bible teaches
Not to see sorcerers or witch doctors     .Dt 18:10
divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,
False seers are a source of shame.            Mic 3:7 The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced.
Jesus is The Great Physician.                   Mat 4:23 healing every disease and sickness among the people.
If we are sick, call the church elders.       Jas 5:
14-16 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of
Pray and anoint in the name of the Lord.    the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of
The prayer in faith will make him well.     the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well;
Because the Lord will raise them up.         the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.
Confess your sins one to another.              Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so
Pray for each other so you may be healed.  that you may be healed.
God forgives sins and heals diseases.        Ps 103:3 forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.

In traditional beliefs one uses divination to determine the will of evil or ancestral spirits to plan for the future.

In contrast, the Bible teaches
Divination is wrong.                                Lev 19:26 Do not practice divination or seek omens.
Divination is deception of the evil one.     Jer 29:8 Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you.
Paul cast a demon out of a diviner.             Ac 16:18 “
In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of
Using the Name of Jesus Christ.               her.”
At that moment the spirit left her.
Christians should use discernment.           Ro 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be
Discernment is seeking God’s will.           transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test
Seeking His best will for your life.           and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
If your earnestly seek discernment.          Pr 2:3, 4 I
f you cry out for discernment, … if your seek her NKJV
God will give you understanding,               Pr 2:5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the
God will give you knowledge of His will.   knowledge of God.

Discernment guidelines:
It must agree with the Word of God.        Heb 4:12 The Word of God …is a discerner of thoughts. NKJV
It must Glorify God.                                 1 Co 10:31
whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.
It must use your gifts to serve others.      1 Pe 4:10 use whatever gift you have received to serve others.
It is confirmed by mature Christians.       1 Co 14:29 the others should weigh carefully what is said.
It is in surrender to God’s will.               1 Jn 5:14 if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
It must include aspects of contentment.     Php 4:11
be content whatever the circumstances.
It must express the love of Jesus Christ.  Jn 15:12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
It will come to pass or bear fruit.             Dt 18:22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not

.                                                                take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken.

In traditional beliefs there is continued fear of angry spirits, bewitching or evil eye.

In contrast, the Bible teaches
To fear the Lord means to revere him.      Ps 33:8 fear the Lord, let all the people of the world revere him.
God is not an angry God to be feared.         Ps 86:15 You Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger.
God is love.                                               1 Jn 4:8 God is love.
We express love for God with obedience.  Jn 14:23 Any one who loves me will obey my teaching.
We express love for God by loving others. 1 Jn 4:11 Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Perfect love casts out fear.                        1 Jn 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.
We should not to be anxious                      Php 4:
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by
Instead we should pray and give thanks.    prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Jesus said we should not worry.              Mt 6:33, 34 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all
Jesus said first seek His righteousness . these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry.
Holy Spirit dispels fear,                          2 Ti 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid (fearful),
Holy Spirit replaces with power, love       but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

In traditional beliefs one seeks to have power and there is power in evil, but that is aligning with satan.

In contrast, the Bible teaches
God is all powerful. He is omnipotent.      Rev 19:1 Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
Jesus gave us power and authority.          Mt 10:1 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them
So we can resist.                                     authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
Jesus gave us power over evil.                 Lk 10:19 I have given you authority … to overcome all the power of the
So nothing will harm us.                           enemy; nothing will harm you.

In traditional beliefs curses and evil eye lead people to retaliate with curses and evil of their own.

In contrast, the Bible teaches
Do not curse parents.                                Ex 21:17 An
yone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.
Do not curse rulers.                                 
Ex 22:28 Do not blaspheme Godor cursethe ruler of your people
Do not repay evil with evil.                       1 Pe 3:9
Do not repay evi lwith evil or insult with insult. On the
Instead, repay evil with blessing.             contrary, repay evil with blessing.
In this way overcome evil with good.         Ro 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Bless and pray for those who curse.           Lk 6:28 Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Anger gives the evil one a foothold.           Eph 4:,26, 27 In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while
Do not go to bed if you are still angry.       you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
Instead cancel anger with forgiveness.     2 Co 2:10, 11 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have
In Christ, God forgave us.                         forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight
In Christ, we are commanded to forgive.   of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For
Forgiveness fights the evil one.                 we are not unaware of his schemes.


The people of Africa are very religious                                Jesus died on The Cross to defeat the evil one
They are very aware of spiritual realities                            Jesus gave us The Great Commandments
They need to learn how to test the spirits                             Jesus gave us The Great Commission
Traditional beliefs and rituals                                              Jesus is The Great Physician
Try to influence spirits aligned with the evil one                  Holy Spirit gives us The Gifts
Through divination, sacrifices, and magic                             Holy Spirit gives us The Fruit
To fight against curses, bewitching and evil eye                   Holy Spirit gives us The Power
The forces of evil give fears                                                We give Glory to God
The forces of evil give darkness                                           We give Compassion to others
The forces of evil give condemnation                                    We give Thanks in all circumstances
The Bible says to resist evil                                                 Instead of divination—discernment
The Bible says to give our testimony                                    Instead of anger–forgiveness
The Bible says to put on the Armor of God                            Instead of darkness—light
God gave us Life                                                                   Instead of curse–bless
God gave us Light                                                                 Instead of lies–truth
God gave us His Son                                                            
Instead of fear–love

Unless otherwise indicated all verses are from the NIV New International Version
by Biblica, Inc of Zondervan Pub 2011
NKJV New King James Version by Thomas Nelson Pub 1982
CEV Contemporary English Version by The American Bible Society 1995
Pew Forum report Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saran Africa 2010


Dalene Rooks DeGraaf, PhD
Missionary Set Free Ministries: East Africa
© 3/2011
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