Witchcraft in the Church (Growthpoint Week 2 Notes)

For those in my Growthpoint class, I am posting my notes here. This series is based on the book “Exposing Witchcraft in the Church” by Rick Godwin.

Week 2

CHAPTER 2 Witchcraft in the Family

A. THE PARENTS’ AUTHORITY

-God placed parents in authority over their children. In some households the child rules the roost. In these cases the child is exercising illegitimate authority. As it turns out, illegitimate authority is witchcraft.

B. MANIPULATION IN THE FAMILY

-Children as young as toddlers have learned to usurp the authority from their parents. It usually involves the child throwing a fit, and since the parents just want it to stop, they give in and give the child whatever they want.

-Another example is a child pitting one parent against another. Or in divorced single-parent home they often use guilt on the parent.

-It isn’t always the children. Sometimes it is the husband or the wife manipulating their spouse to get what they want.

C. DOMINATION IN THE FAMILY

-Domination is one step past manipulation. Manipulation is covert, while domination is overt in nature.

-Manipulation says, “I’ll trick you into doing things my way.” Domination says, “I’ll make you do the things my way.”

-Sometimes a parent may dominate their child. Like a single-mother that wraps her entire life around her son and then “guilt”s him into not moving out when he is an adult.

-Sometimes a husband dominates a wife. He controls most, if not all, aspects of her life. She is not allowed to have friends and a life of her own and sometimes he even isolates her completely from her friends and family.

D. INTIMIDATION IN THE FAMILY

-Intimidation is a step past domination.

-Intimidation operates form fear on both sides: Fear on the part of the perpetrator that he or she will lose what they already have, including the person under their control; and fear of possible further punishment on the part of the recipient.

-Anytime a parent rules with fear, he or she is ruling in witchcraft, not in love. When overbearing parents intimidate their children in the name of God, those children view God as a harsh taskmaster, just the way they view their parents. When we rule by intimidation, we teach our children that God rules by intimidation. Yet who is it that rules by intimidation? Satan.

-Every time I insist on having my own way I expose myself to satanic, demonic influence. Every time. the door just swings wide open, and Satan’s demons can come right in. If I don’t submit to God’s righteous authority, to His plan, and to His way, I’ll reach out through manipulation, domination, or intimidation–witchcraft–to get my way.

CHAPTER 3 Manipulation, Thy Name Is Jezebel

Introduction:

-The family unit is a prototype of the local church. Dysfunctions inherent within a family eventually surface in the body of Christ.

-Countless churches around the world stagger under the weight of their walking wounded. Held captive to the control of a few, these churches resemble a barren wasteland of spiritual bodies scattered over the battlefields of dissension and manipulation. Unless strong leadership is in place, a single person can render a church defenseless–even in Spirit-filled congregations.

A. JEZEBEL AND LUCIFER: AN ANSWER TO PRAYER

-These two spirits are toxic to the church and often most difficult to detect in the early stages. They can hide in anointed gifted, hard-working, friendly people who seem to be an answer to prayer. Initially when such a person appears in your church you are very excited. They seem to have such high-level potential for ministry. But when you strip away the veneer underneath lies rebellion, accusation manipulation control, lying, anger, arrogance, super-spirituality, rumor-spreading, criticism, jealousy, cunning, craftiness, and false concern.

B. THE NATURE OF JEZEBEL

-In the Old Covenant, Jezebel was a living, breathing, woman; but in the New Covenant she is a spirit (see Revelation 2:20-23).

-Often that which is singular and local in the Old Testament is corporate, boundless, and spiritual in the New Testament. This is significant because when you are dealing with Jezebel, you are dealing with a spirit more than you are dealing with flesh and blood.

-In 1 Kings 16, Jezebel, the daughter of the king of Sidon, evangelistic and devoted worshiper of Baal, became the wife of Ahab (king of Israel). She led her husband and all Israel into the sin of idol worship. God then sent Elijah to call Israel to repentance and to speak a famine over the land.

-In 1 Kings 18, Jezebel killed the prophets of God and replaced them with the prophets of Baal. She had usurped an authority that God had not given to her, but had been given to her husband king Ahab. Then Elijah challenges the prophets of Baal to a contest. When God prevails in the contest, Elijah has all of the prophets of Baal killed. When Jezebel hears about this she sends Elijah a message threatening to kill him.

-In 1 Kings 21, Ahab eyed a vineyard in Jezreel that would make a lovely addition to the palace garden. The problem was that Naboth, the owner, refused to sell it to him. Jezebel then directed the elders and nobles of Jezreel to frame Naboth for the crime of blaspheming God. In the end, Naboth was stoned to death so Jezebel could acquire the garden for her husband. Worst of all, the leadership of Israel complied with Jezebel’s directive. Why? Because they were afraid of Jezebel–just as Elijah was. Jezebel can be blatant and manipulative at the same time.

-We wrestle with the same problem in evangelical churches. The man behind the pulpit is often not in charge. Some person, a woman or a man on the deacon board or in the congregation, may be running the church by witchcraft.

-Denominations can use witchcraft by saying or intimating, “If you don’t believe and say everything we tell you to say…If you have that person speak…we’ll cut you off and take your credentials.” That’s nothing less that control through intimidation.

C. THE JEZEBEL SPIRIT

-In Hebrew Jezebel means both “Baal is husband” and “inability to cohabitate.” Jezebel refuses to partner with anyone because she is allied to Baal, a false lord. She wears the pants; she leads, she controls, she rules. She shares nothing with no one.

-In Revelation 20:20, Jezebel, not the church people of Thyatira, claimed that she was a prophetess. The fornication into which she is seducing the faithful in Christ can be literal, sexual, or spiritual. The people in the Thyatiran church were either seduced by her persona, or fearful of her manipulative personality–or both.

D. JEZEBEL’S AGENDA

-So what is Jezebel’s agenda? False religion, false doctrine, and most of all, the undermining of authority. Anywhere you find a Jezebel you will likely find weak men with passive authority. A Jezebel spirit feeds on Ahabs–weak men, men-fearers, and men-pleasers. She goes after leadership with the intent of rendering it useless powerless, and lifeless. Using any means necessary, she lures people away from a true spiritual covering–from their pastor and from their church–and entices them into her sphere of influence. The tools of her trade can range from false prophecy to flattery and even sex.

-She fiercely defends her little kingdom and fosters unusual dependence from her followers. Her groups are literally covens of witchcraft but of course the Jezebel spirit would never reveal that overtly, so the covens are often referred to as home groups or Bible study groups.

-Above all, a person exhibiting a Jezebel spirit resents strong male leadership. She yearns to control her environment. Her Bible study group presents a platform for undermining the leadership of her church. Even her prayers seem to resound with the resentment she feels toward those in leadership of her church: “Father, show our pastor the deeper things you’re revealing to us.” She is committing sedition–“the undermining of God-delegated, constituted authority with the intent to overthrow.” We use another word for it–treason. Galatians 5:20 lists sedition as a work of the flesh.

-The subtle, stealth-like attack upon the church through sedition has caused many church splits. It has destroyed relationships, created dissension and fueled the fight in church wars. Any attempt to undermine the spiritual authority of church leaders is sedition.

-Jezebel drives God’s anointed leaders to discouragement, depression, despair and sometimes even suicide. This is exactly what Jezebel did to Elijah the prophet after he prevailed over the prophets of Baal. He holed up in a cave, fearing for his life, depressed, desperate and wanting to die. Many leaders encounter deep periods of loneliness and discouragement during which they despair of life. They may never share their feelings even with their wives or closest friends. Unbeknown to them they may be dealing with a powerful Jezebel spirit that seeks to dominate and control.

-Before Satan comes after the sheep, he first comes after the shepherd. Then he gets the sheep. Zechariah 13:7 says, “Site the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.”

-Both Jezebel and Lucifer cause church splits, broken marriages, and destroyed lives. We should not cast these casualties out of our fellowships; instead we should go after them and seek to bring them back to God.

E. DYSFUNCTIONAL, DEFENSIVE, AND NOSY

-More times than not, a person with a Jezebel spirit comes form a dysfunctional family background. Jezebel feeds on dysfunction. Usually in the family history one can find alcoholism, abuse, mental illness parental domination, or some other sort of dysfunction. It is not uncommon for Jezebel to be sexually unclean or to have some other sexual perversion in her life. Because she is dysfunctional, dysfunctional people are attracted to her. But underneath the seedy veneer lies a person with deep hurts and wounds.

-When challenged, Jezebel becomes defensive and reacts with hostility. She lashes back with guilt-ridden accusations such as. “You’re not praying enough. You’re not submitted to authority. You’re in rebellion. How could you do this to me? I love you! I’ve given you my life!” With aggression she will intimidate, quote scripture and try to make those who challenge her feel inferior. She is skilled at talking people out of challenging her seditious ways, but when they walk away they feel dirty because they know they have been used.

-Another characteristic of the Jezebel spirit is that she must know everything going on in the church, from top to bottom. She is nosy and concerns herself with church matters that are none of her business.

-At times it may be difficult to detect the spirit of Jezebel at work in a church. She may masquerade as care, concern, intercession support, or a number of other positive characteristics.

-Gossip is one of the biggest threats to the spiritual life of any church. The old “Christian grapevine” is a favorite tool used by Jezebel. Many things are shared with her as prayer requests that she then spreads as gossip.

F. DEALING WITH JEZEBEL

-Jezebel will have a toxic effect on the church if she is not dealt with swiftly and thoroughly. There are two method of dealing with Jezebel which will stop her influence and expel her from your midst:

1) Confront Jezebel head-on, using strong spiritual authority to rid yourself, and your church, of her influence.

-Stand up to her, confront her sin, render it useless with the authority God has given you.

2) Live in submission to God, and teach those under you spiritual authority to also.

 

CHAPTER 4 Lucifer: Ambition to Position

Introduction:

-If the Jezebel spirit symbolizes degenerative heart disease, the Lucifer spirit symbolizes a heart transplant–stealing the hearts of the people away from their leader. Just as the Jezebel spirit is predominant among women, so the Lucifer spirit is predominant among men.

A. LUCIFER: SON OF THE MORNING

-The name Lucifer in Hebrew means “shining one” or “morning star”. In fact, Lucifer it the Latin term for the planet Venus, which even to this day is referred to as the “morning star”.

-Isaiah 14:12-15 says, “12 “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! 13 “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. 14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ 15 “Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit.”

B. LUCIFER’S DOWNFALL

-The progenitor of the first church split was Lucifer. He convinced a great number of his underlings in heaven to join him, move across town, and start a new church.

-Revelation 12:3-4 says, “3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. 4 And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.”

-Lucifer, who at one time served as one of heaven’s principal angels, was expelled from heaven because he fell prey to the “three Ps”–Proximity, Pride, and Perceived Injury. If we can find out what went wrong with Lucifer, maybe it can help us too.

-The Lucifer spirit is most pervasive among people involved in a support ministry: associate pastors, music ministers, cell group leaders, Sunday school teachers, elders, and the like. It is a divisive, splitting, rebellious spirit. It’s strength lies in its utilization of illegitimate authority and rebellion. As we already know the use of illegitimate authority and rebellion is witchcraft.

-Lucifer’s primary means of motivation is false religion. At times his counterfeits come across as bizarre and easy to detect, but at other time they may look as harmless as a stained-glass window. His perversions look valid enough to appear acceptable–by indulging in them surely no person would veer outside the parameters of “acceptable” Christian behavior.

-Lucifer was perfect he was wise, he was beautiful, he was liked, he was anointed, he covered the throne of God, and he was free to roam–to come and go as no other angel. He was the perfect associate pastor of heaven.

C. PROXIMITY: FAMILIARITY WITH GOD’S PRESENCE

-Ezekiel 28:14 says, ” “You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.”

-He ministered personally to God Himself. Nobody was closer to God (the Trinity) than Lucifer.

Proximity – Lucifer entered and exited God’s presence at will. Perhaps he grew so accustomed to his privilege that he took the right to enter in for granted. Even in his fallen state, Satan still enters the presence of God to accuse the believer before the Father (Revelation 12:10 – “…for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.” Possibly, as he moved around heaven and talked to the other angels, they complimented him, telling him how beautiful he was, what a great musician he was, how wise he was, etc.”

D. PRIDE: WHO CREATED WHO?

Introduction:

-Lucifer’s close proximity to God opened up his heart to pride. Possibly, the compliments and comments of other angels helped this pride to grow.

-Many people are placed in leadership positions over different ministries in a church. All ministries belong to God, but God appoints or calls one particular person to lead a church. All other leadership in that church fall under the authority of the pastor. Sometimes however, one of these church leaders begins to get prideful and begins to think that the church couldn’t do without him or her. In time, this person grows critical of the pastor under whom they are ministering. Left unchecked, this person may end up leaving the church and taking many members of the congregation with him/her. This is how many church spits occur.

  1. Ambition to serve or ambition to position?

-An underlying motivation of a person who succumbs to a Lucifer spirit is selfish ambition. Ambition is defined as “the eager desire to achieve something.” Ambition in itself isn’t bad; in fact, it is a key characteristic of an effective leader. Selfish ambition, on the other hand utilizes the arm of the flesh for the purposes of self-promotion, fame, or power.

-The word “ambition” comes from a French word which means “to go around for votes”. A perfect illustration of this concept is King David’s son Absalom. He sat at the gate of the city, turning the citizens to him, away from his father.

-True, legitimate promotion comes from God, not from man. Jesus said that if we wanted to become great among men, we should become their servant.

E. PERCIEVED INJURY

-Ezekiel 28:13-14 says, “13 “You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared. 14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.”

-This seems to indicate that Lucifer had not yet fallen when God created the Garden in Eden. Perhaps he had ruled over the garden before the creation of man. Obviously he had already fallen (been kicked out of heaven) by the time he tempted Eve in the garden. Maybe one of his motivations in tempting Eve and Adams was that he was trying to get his former position back as ruler of the Garden. (Just conjecture on the part of the author.)

-We began with Proximity, then Pride, and now we move to Perceived Injury.

-The following is just conjecture by the book’s author, so do not take it as doctrine:

-One day Lucifer realizes that man is going to be created in God’s image, and he panics. “God has a new creation. I must not be good enough. After all I’ve done for God, He probably doesn’t appreciate all the sacrifices I’ve made for Him. I’m probably going to be demotes. He’s hiring another pastor. He doesn’t appreciate my gift. I always thought that. Now I know.” Wait a minute; this isn’t true at all! He’s merely perceiving it. This information didn’t come from the Father. It came from his imagination–perceived injury. How often do we perceive injury from others? Often, even before getting our facts straight, we begin dealing with perceptions–basing our feelings and reactions not on facts but on assumptions.

-See how easily this can happen? People involve themselves in a church, then they take ownership of the ministry God has placed them in as stewards, and soon they become proud in their sphere of influence. But when things don’t go the way they want them to, they’re easily hurt. Out of their offense, the people pick up their marbles and go somewhere else where they can control their destiny. This occurs every day in congregations around the world. If it hasn’t affected you church yet, it will.

-Sometimes persons with a Lucifer spirit will leave the church, taking other members with him. Others remain in the church and operate like a cancer from within.

-As long as the spirit of Lucifer is allowed to flourish in that church, the team members with bad attitudes will act as a barrier to the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that city divided against itself cannot stand (Matthew 12:25).

F. FAMILY DYNAMICS IN THE CHURCH

-In a growing church, change is inevitable. New people join the church and put into ministries. Sometimes those who were already in that ministry are moved to a different ministry position, often one that is “less visible”. This can lead to “perceived hurt”. Whenever there is pride in position, perceived injury is not far behind.

-The natural reaction to perceived injury is to verbalize one’s feelings to anybody willing to listen. At first the offended person may be seeking comfort and solace, but a few ill-placed comments form the wrong people may plant seeds of malcontent. Nurtured over time, these seeds can grow into full-blown rebellion, witchcraft, and illegitimate authority.

G. PROMOTION COMES FROM GOD

-When you begin promoting yourself, your authority comes from yourself, not from God. By listening to the accolades of those who follow you rather than the voice of God it is easy to get puffed up and start believing what the people say. Then when some disgruntled member suggests, “You ought to start a church because you’re a better leader than Pastor So-And-So” you agree. Beware. Perceived injury is not far behind. If you do start your own church, God isn’t the one who promoted you to lead it–you are! And you won’t keep it. In fact, you will likely lose it in the same way you stole it from someone else.

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