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How to Use This Book
The Zondervan Guide to Cults and Religious Movements comprises sixteen volumes, treating many of the most important groups and belief systems confronting the Christian church today. This series distills the most important facts about each and presents a well-reasoned, cogent Christian response. The authors in this series are highly qualified, well-respected professional Christian apologists with considerable expertise on their topics.
We have designed the structure and layout to help you find the information you need as quickly as possible. All the volumes are written in outline form, which allows us to pack substantial content into a short book. With some exceptions, each book contains, first, an introduction to the cult, movement,
or belief system. The introduction gives a brief history of the group, its organizational structure, and vital statistics such as membership. Second, the theology section is arranged by doctrinal topic, such as God, Christ, sin, and salvation. The movement's position is set forth objectively, primarily from its own official writings. The group's teachings are then refuted point by point,
followed by an affirmative presentation of what the Bible says about the doctrine.
The third section is a discussion of witnessing tips. While each witnessing encounter must be handled individually and sensitively, this section provides some helpful general guidelines, including both dos and don'ts. The fourth section contains annotated bibliographies, listing works by the groups themselves and books written by Christians in response. Fifth, each book has a parallel comparison chart, with direct quotations from the cultic literature in the left column and the biblical refutation on the right. Some of the books conclude with a glossary.
One potential problem with a detailed outline is that it is easy to lose one's place in the overall structure. Therefore, we have provided graphical
'signposts' at the top of the odd numbered pages. Functioning like a 'you are here' map in a shopping mall, these graphics show your place in the outline,
including the sections that come before and after your current position.
(Those familiar with modern computer software will note immediately the resemblance to a 'drop-down' menu bar, where the second-level choices vary depending on the currently selected main menu item.) In the theology section we have also used 'icons' in the margins to make clear at a glance whether the material is being presented from the cultic or Christian viewpoint. For example,
in the Mormonism volume the sections presenting the Mormon position are indicated with a picture resembling the angel Moroni in the margin; the biblical view is shown by a drawing of the Bible.
We hope you will find these books useful as you seek 'to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have' (1
---Alan W. Gomes, Ph.D.
A glow of new light is borne out of the night and Lucifer is risen, once more to proclaim: 'This is the age of Satan! Satan Rules the Earth!' (Anton Szandor
LaVey, The Satanic Bible, 23).
[God] having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (The Holy Bible, Col. 2:15).
I. What Is Satanism?
A. The Difficulty of Classifying Satanists
1. Contemporary satanists defy easy classification. This is partly because of the independent nature of satanism and partly because of satanists'
desire for secrecy.
2. If satanists could be characterized in one term, it would be 'self-serving.'
That is, one's own needs, desires, beliefs, and goals are supreme.
Consequently, it is to be expected that satanism could have almost as many definitions as practitioners.
B. The Worship of 'Satan' the Common Factor
1. 'Contemporary satanism is a form of religious belief and expression holding to the worship of Satan, whether Satan is defined as a supernatural person, a deity, a devil, a supernatural force, a natural force,
an innate human force, or, most commonly, the self.'1
2. Most satanists, such as Church of Satan founder Anton Szandor
LaVey, are strict materialistic iconoclasts who worship themselves2
and use the term 'Satan' to symbolize their rejection of Christianity,
which they define as self-sacrificing, self-debasing, self-denying, oppressive,
and powerless. These satanists do not believe in the existence of any spiritual being, Satan or God; they believe in the power of the self.
3. Some satanists (usually self-styled teenage satanists who make up their own system) are not sure whether either God or Satan exists,
but they practice their system as though Satan were a powerful spirit being who can give the worshiper power for self-indulgence. These satanists would agree that 'Whatever the truth is, this works.'
4. Some satanists believe that spiritual power exists, but this power is not directed by any personal entities, spirit or material. This power is available to anyone who learns how to harness it. These satanists practice using this power for self-advancement, not for selfless acts of goodness toward others.
5. Some satanists believe that competing, equal spiritual forces exist
(whether personal---God and Satan, or impersonal---good and bad),
either of which can be used by humans to achieve power goals. This religious view is known as a form of dualism. These satanists have chosen to use the negative, destructive, or self-indulgent spiritual force.
6. A few satanists (usually self-styled teenage satanists or mentally aberrant adults) believe what the Bible says about God and Satan, but have chosen allegiance to Satan in this life even though they believe that thereby they may be condemned to eternal punishment after death.
C. Satan as Defined in the Bible
1. The Hebrew word from which we get the English term Satan comes from a root that means one who opposes or accuses.3 While the Greek sometimes transliterates the Hebrew term, forming satanas (Mark
1:13; Luke 22:3), the corresponding Greek term is diabolos (John
6:70; 8:44), and the English term is devil.4
2. In addition to being used as the name of the chief fallen angel (Luke
10:18), the Hebrew term is used in the Bible to refer (a) to a human opponent, as in 2 Samuel 19:22; (b) as one sent by God to block one's way, as in Numbers 22:22; and (c) as an evil adversary, as in Zechariah
3. Demon, from the Greek daimon, or 'spiritual power,' is often popularly synonymous with devil (Greek version of Isa. 65:11; Matt. 8:31).
4. Other less frequently used terms include Beelzebul5 (Matt. 10:25),
'the evil one' (Matt. 5:37), and one of the evil or unclean spirits (Matt.
12:45; Mark 6:7)