Bokors are featured in many Haitian tales and are often associated with the creation of 'zombies' by the use of a deadening brew or potion usually containing poison extracted from puffer fish. However, some legends dispense with this more rational explanation, and have the bokor raise zombies from dead bodies whose souls have departed. Thus we have the idea of the ‘walking dead’. Today’s literature, movie and television menus are full of tales and shows relating to the dark side of life. Witches, vampires, werewolves, and zombies are not just becoming the norm and quite acceptable, but are fascinating and looked upon with favor. There seems to be a rise of interest in this genre of entertainment being filtered into the market place.
With so many people in our society, and our churches, being Biblically illiterate, Spiritually illiterate, and even God illiterate we live in a vacuum of illiteracy ready to suck in any philosophy, thought, or belief. Once when I was much younger, while ministering to a former youth group I was informed by the youth that they did not need to read their Bibles for themselves because that is what the church had hired me to do, ‘to read it and tell them what it said’. My response was that they needed to fire me and begin to read God’s Word for themselves. Several years ago a secular survey was conducted at a secular university by a secular professor about the belief system of students attending the university where he taught. The results were that it did not matter about the background of the student’s belief system, but that the overwhelming majority of the students had little or no knowledge of their professed belief system. This was true across the span of all religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Mormonism, Shintoism, Atheism, and Christianity. They could not tell about the main figures of their religion, what they did, nor could they explain the basic tenets of their faith. When my children went away to Lancaster Bible College in Pennsylvania they were amazed at their classmates’ lack of knowledge of the Bible and Christian doctrine. These students were raised in church, attended Christian schools and were failing Old Testament and New Testament Survey courses not even knowing the difference between Abraham and Moses.
There are a lot of spiritual zombies in our country, people who claim to know God [Matthew 7:23] but according to what God says in scripture, they do not know Him at all [1 John 4:8, 20]. They may be physically, mentally, and emotionally alive, but they are Spiritually dead.
For years American churches of all denominations have been producing church members who are ‘walking dead’. Our churches have become better at discipling people to become spiritual zombies than in becoming Christians. We have sacrificed to the ‘gods’ of entertainment, fellowship, and social gatherings forgetting that we are commissioned to teach, instruct, discipline, win, baptize [Matthew 28:19-20], and equip believers for the work [Ephesians 4:11-12] of the ministry of reconciliation [2 Corinthians 5:18] between holy God and sinful men [2 Corinthians 5:19]. Therefore we have blindly added to the spiritual vacuum in America and our youth have been sucked into the dark vortex of alienation from a loving holy God [Isaiah 59:2]. Since we care more about who wins the ball games at our favorite high schools and universities than what they teach, we blindly send our children off to secular humanistic institutions ill-equipped to survive the systematic scholarly, intellectual, and scientific dismantling of their belief systems [Ezekiel 16:20-21].
If you ask most adults about their children’s and grandchildren’s faith, the response will be, “They made a profession of faith and we had them baptized.” Other answers to this question will be, “They are good children,” “They are members of the church,” or “They were born into a Christian family.” Yet none of these answers address the question posed. They have nothing to do with what the child believes or if there has been a spiritual change in their lives [2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15] because of the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit [Romans 8:11]. Maturing can happen naturally, morality can naturally change with age, but having the Spirit of Jesus the Christ is neither natural nor is it related to the aging process. It is the result of believing what God says about Jesus [Galatians 4:6].
1] Jesus is God’s only begotten Son [John 1:14]
2] Jesus came to earth and lived a sinless life, pleasing to God [Hebrews 4:15]
3] Jesus willingly died in our place for the payment of our sins [1 Corinthians 15:3]
4] Jesus came back to life after three days and was seen by over five hundred people [1 Corinthians 15:4-6]
5] Jesus ascended back into heaven and sits at the right hand of God interceding for Christians [Mark 16:1; Hebrews 7:25]
6] Jesus will come back one day for Christians so they can live with Him forever [John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18]
7] Jesus calls men to repent, stop and turn from their sins [Matthew 4:17]
8] Jesus calls men to believe in Him and commit their lives to Him, thus enabling God to forgive their sins [John 14:6; Romans 10:9-10]
Being able to pass a test on Bible knowledge is an admirable accomplishment. The ability to recite verses and lists of scriptural information is a worthy goal. Yet until a person takes that information, along with the teaching of God, and allows the Holy Spirit to apply it to their lives it is just accumulated religious data [1 Peter 1:23]. Until we, by faith, give our lives to what God says about ourselves, about Jesus, and about Himself we will never be more than an occasional pew sitter. We must live like God is telling the truth about every area of our lives [Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:7]. Is God telling the truth about eternal punishment? Repentance? Admitting sin? Confessing sin? Living by faith? If not, then He is a liar. By living in disobedience to what God says about us, we are saying that we do not believe God and therefore we are calling God a LIAR [1 John 1:10].
We teach our children by example as well as by words. They learn to live by faith by watching someone live faith out each day as well as through our teaching [Hebrews 13:7; Deuteronomy 11:19]. Faith not only comes through the teaching of the written Word of God [Romans 10:17], but it comes through the living Word of God, the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 12:9].
Let us each one heed Paul’s admonishment to evaluate his relationship with God [2 Corinthians 13:5]. We need to know if we are really in the Faith, really saved through faith in Jesus Christ and His shed blood and being daily sanctified through faith by His Holy Spirit. We need to be assured [Philippians 1:6] that it is His Spirit bearing witness with our spirit [Romans 8:16]. Like the songwriter, before our children leave for school, they need to be able to say with confidence, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long; This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.” *
Minister of Education and Youth
*Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine – Words by Fanny Crosby, Music by Phoebe Palmer Knapp