Volume. XXXI, No. 9
Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The Addictive Obsession over Pokemon Go - Go or No Go? (Part 2)

Christian Parents’ Discernment
It is hard to teach restraint to children who are seeking for instant gratification. Wanting to please them rather than counsel or admonish them with God’s Word, many Christian parents even compromise their principles. Parental authority do not go well due to the fast-spreading views of social equality in the home taught through the media and schools. Yet, we must obey God. He has told us to train our children to choose His way (Proverbs 22:6), and we cannot turn back now to this if we want to honour God. You may want to prayerfully consider these suggestions. They may help you equip your child with the awareness needed to resist seductive occult entertainment (or poketainment).
1. First, look at God's view of contemporary toys, games, movies and cartoons. As a family, read and study relevant Scriptures such as Ephesians 5:8-16, 6:10-18 (the armour of God); Philippians 4:8-9; and Colossians 2:9. Compare and contrast them with the values encouraged by Pokemon and other role-playing games and explain the dangers behind them if any.

2. Share your biblical observations. Spark awareness in a young child with comments such as, "Did you know that in the Bible, serpents, wizards and dragons usually represent Satan and evil and as Christians we are to avoid them?" (and give them the texts as well).

3. To teach young children a Biblical attitude toward evil before they learn to delight in gross, ugly characters, make comments such as, "Who would want to play with that evil monster and will God be happy if we do that? I don't even like to look at him. Let us find something to do instead that makes us right before God." Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 says, ‘Abstain from all appearance of evil.’

4. Model wise and godly decision-making. Tell and explain to your child what and why you would not want to buy certain things for yourself (i.e. buying a skeleton).
When your child wants to play a questionable game or toy, ask questions that are prayerfully adapted to your child's age or context, such as:

What does this game teach you (about power, about magic, about God, about yourself and is it sound)? Discuss both obvious and subtle messages.
Does it have anything to do with the supernatural power? If so, what is the source of that power? Does it oppose or agree with God's Word?
What does it teach about violence, horror or immorality and their consequences and should we engage in it in the first place?
Does the game or toy have symbols or characteristics that link it to God forbidden practices found in the New Age or occult powers? Does it have an addictive or obsessive nature and possibly enslave us?
Does it build in us the fruit of the Spirit, godly character or the reverential fear of God?
Is it a wise use of our God given time and resources as a steward?

Warnings from the Old Testament
Moses clearly warns us of the dark arts of occultism in Deuteronomy 18:10-14 that says, ‘There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.’ These are darkening days of the far-spreading influences of the new age movement which is pantheistic and syncretistic in its nature. The dark arts of occultism are well blended with modern day mysticism. There is a revival of evil in our midst and believers have to be vigilant and watchful against the wiles of the devil (1 Peter 5:8). We are to put on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and withstand the covert forces of darkness with the pure gospel of Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). The prophet Isaiah warns the people in Isaiah 47:12,13, “Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.”

King Josiah led in the national revival of Judah and removed the occultic influence in 2 Kings 23:23, 24, “Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.“ Let us keep ourselves and our children away from these diabolical influence of these last perilous days. As parents, teachers and Church leaders, we need to be informed and aware of the insidious influence and warn, and counsel others of its diabolical effect. We live in a sinister world of seductive occultism that has enthralled many. The Church of Christ today needs to be discerning, vigilant and to warn our children and members of this grave peril in these momentous days.
Virtual Dangers
Particularly disturbing is the strategy that it is targeted at young gullible children and youths who are being trained to "capture" demon-like creatures, train and control them, and use them against others. Many believe this very closely mirrors what many high-level occultists attempt to do with real demons. Here, we are actually preparing children with the dark arts for the occultic practices of the demonic world.
Occultists attempt to do so with real demons. Here is more from Bill Schnoebelen : The magician works from within a specially prepared magic circle which supposedly protects him from the demon as long as he stays inside it. He uses special magical weapons like a wand, staff or sword to threaten the demon and make it do his or her bidding. Once the ritual is successful, supposedly the demon belongs to the magician to do his or her bidding—as long as the stipulations of their contract are kept by the sorcerer. Often the demon will grant the magician occult powers or give him or her special talismans to control others. This is a large part of dark magic. There is no difference between this and what goes on in the "make-believe" Pokémon universe!

As the Pokemon Go craze continues to enthrall and sweep the world (and has come to Singapore in August), it is inevitable that this game will be hotly discussed in Christian circles. And just like with the recent revival of the latest Harry Potter book ’Harry Potter and The Cursed Child’, (launched on 31 July 2016, see Strait Times dated 1 August 2016, A3) which has mesmerised many children and adults and a movie soon of it, some will become upset at the revelation that there might actually be something wrong with Pokemon Go (or Harry Potter ..Tract on this available from MBPC). But we all have a responsibility to evaluate what we are feeding into our minds, and this is especially true if you are a parent of young children and you need to know what they are playing. We need to pray fervently and seek the will of the Lord as God-honouring Christians and stewards of limited time. After examining its content, we should be keeping a distance from this malevolent Pokemon Go. As for me, it is a “No Go” for Pokemon Go.

We live in a world of moral and spiritual declension and deception. The evil one is seducing the people with all forms of malevolent devices, including the use of Pokemon in our handphones and computer games, unedifying internet websites, with new age practices like yoga, crystals, horoscopes through the social or mass media, the horror movies, videos, magazines, the pervasive cultic influences and the open and secretive occultic means of glamorised witchcraft and wicca as well (i.e. Halloween). Believers should not be ignorant of these. To be forewarned is to be forearmed and share with family, friends and others and fervently defend the truth against these diabolical movements of the last perilous days. May the Lord awaken, equip and enable Christians with discernment to fulfill these to the glory of this name and the edification and admonition of the saints. As a substitute, encourage the reading of edifying Christian books, sports, Christian fellowship and interaction.
An obedient and faithful child of God has nothing in common with demonic games. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling within us and we separate ourselves from these unedifying games. Remember Romans 12:2, ‘And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.’ It is possible, however, they can be negatively influenced by demons. To guard against these attacks of the evil one, we are told to submit to God and resist the devil and he will flee from us (1 Peter 4:7; James 4:7). We are also to put on the full armour of God, to withstand the wiles of the devil, as mentioned in Ephesians 6:10–18. If a believer persists in the occultic activities, God will discipline him as He does to all sons (Hebrews 12:5–11), and there would have been temporal consequences of sin, that we may have to bear up with.
The only way of deliverance from the occult is through repentance of sins and belief and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:16 says, ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.’ He comes to break the bondage of sin and the stronghold of the evil one (2 Corinthians 10:5). Only a saving relationship with Christ our Lord can protect and deliver us. Obey His Word and submit to His will constantly. Flee from these things and follow after righteousness, godliness, truth, with those who call on God out of a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Timothy 6:11–12). Jesus Christ is the only way (John 14:6).

(For works consulted and deeper studies, see Michael Snyder http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58602-is-pokemon-go-evil-dangerous-or-demonic,. http://www.pokemon.com , http://bibleresources.org/pokemon/  https://carm.org/what-is-pokemon and http://www.wizards.com/Pokemon/Rules/Welcome.html, Jack Sin, Exposing and Examining the Cultic and Occultic Movements, 2000, 47-51,70-73 and The Strait Times dated 24, 28 and 31 July 2016, A6 and A3)

This article is written by and reprinted with permission from Rev. Dr. Jack Sin, Maranatha Bible-Presbyterian Church, Singapore.

More Lively Hope



*Kitchen Roster - Helpers this week: Bros Houston Li & Jae Hoon Mun; Sis Kristy Low. Helpers next week: Bro Kevin Low; Sisters Jen Xin Li & Jun Lin.
*Welcome to our pulpit - Rev Mathews Abraham from Ebenezer BPC (Melbourne).
*Welcome to Rev & Mrs Mathews Abraham & family; Rev Mark Chen; Elder Stephen Lim; Elder & Mrs Jimmy Orchard.
*Rev Alfred Ngoma will leave Adelaide to take up position as Chaplain in Wagga Wagga, NSW, next month.
*Sunday School Teacher Training begins today.

Praise and Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Rev Alfred Ngoma (Wagga Wagga); Rev & Mrs Mathews Abraham & family; Rev Mark Chen; Elder Stephen Lim; Elder & Mrs Jimmy Orchard (Adl); & others arriving safely at their destinations.
Visitors & new worshippers.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Church activities in the  past week.
Safe labour & delivery of healthy baby boy, Matthew, by Sis Emily Zhang.
Successful treatment - Sis Tina Kour.

Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Pastor Ki; Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore) & Rev George van Buuren; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Grandpa Ki (S’pore) & others in affliction.
Special Prayer: Mr Ballan Sanders (ICU); & Sister Siew Fong Cho.
Rev Alfred Ngoma - God’s guidance & provision in his work as Chaplain in Wagga Wagga.
God’s comfort for Dn Raphael Ng & family.
iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Cambodia Missions.  
New Life BPC (London) - Dr Carl Martin; God’s guidance & encouragement for congregation.
Future ministry at Hope BPC: Bro Kevin Low & family.
Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.
Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.
Journey mercies:  Rev Alfred & Bro Timothy Ngoma (Adl/Wagga Wagga); Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki (S’pore); Rev & Mrs Mathews Abraham & family; Elder Stephen Lim (Melb); Rev Mark Chen; Elder & Mrs Jimmy Orchard (Perth); & others who are travelling.
Safety in final weeks of pregnancy: Sis Maritas Mangco (HoH, Cebu).
Postnatal health of Sis Emily Zhang & baby son.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
Year 12 students as they prepare for exams.
God’s guidance for settlement of new church property.



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