This week I finished the Doctrines of Demons course by KI and figured I’d write up a review on it since it’s part of my Unschooled Master of Theology Program. While you’re at it, you can also check out my other assignments here.
I have to say, so far I’ve been pretty disappointed with the quality of most online courses I’ve undertaken so far. I’m starting to wonder if the overall quality for courses these days is just really poor, or if maybe it’s the choices of topics I make in designing my uThM program in the first place.
I guess it’s a matter of really digging in and honing my research questions, struggling through the process of determining what it is I’m really trying to solve, all the while, focusing and refocusing my efforts (and course materials) until I strike a vein of gold and can mine for answers successfully.
This course, as the title describes, is supposed to be about “doctrines of demons.” Sadly, this is not what I discovered as I went through the lectures.
Interested? Let’s find out…
No Discussion of Demons!
Despite the title of the course, there was literally no discussion at all about demons! Surprise, surprise! Of course, the title is lifted from the bible passage in 1 Timothy 4:1 where Paul states, “In latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.”
It is actually the only direct reference to it in the bible (the others being 1 Corinthians 10:20 about sacrificing to demons and having fellowship with demons, and Revelation 9:20 in worshiping demons).
It is prevalent today, the norm in fact, to dismiss demons as mythological, but my personal conviction, which stems from a literal interpretive view of the biblical text, is that demons are all too real. Demons. Angels. Fallen Angels. Lucifer. They are real and powerful and have a heavy hand in the affairs of humanity.
But, even many in the “so called” church seem oblivious or “willfully ignorant” (2 Peter 3:5) of the truth.
My hope in taking this course was to learn more about these corrupted creatures, where they come from, what was their origin, what awaits them at the judgment, and what their intentions are currently on this earth?
But, this course had none of that. Instead, the lecturer focused entirely on the doctrines themselves without once mentioning the source of those false doctrines, which I found not only annoying, but kind of bizarre.
Is it a Church?
Toward the end of the second lecture, the lecturer made a comment that I thought was rather poignant and speaks a lot to my personal view of the church today and church attendance.
He said, “in what we call the church” referencing the false doctrines the church will all too readily accept in our age.
But, this statement is quite pregnant with a great deal. First, I see no local church, only a universal church. The reason I say this is I have never seen a biblical church in operation for more than a few meetings before it slides down into dogma and any number of fleshy devices.
Once, while in Germany, I attended a afternoon meeting at a local Missionary Baptist church. At the time, this church was going through an upheaval. The pastor who had planted the church had moved on, and a new pastor was brought in who brought with him all kinds of Charismatic ideas that splintered the congregation. Yet, despite this, I watched on this particular afternoon, where we gathered together about a half dozen of us, maybe a few more, and we informally took up seats in a circle (not normal), had no sermon, and simply each took turns giving a word, a testimony, informally, no structure, no pomp, no direction.
The ONLY gathering I’ve ever been too that remotely resembled a biblical church was a small prayer meeting that had been meeting 6 days a week for years. They met in a sleepy little town, in the back of a tire-shop. Around 6am, before the shop opened, the door was unlocked and people from all walks of life quietly came in and took up a folding chair in the back. There was no direction, no explanation, and at a certain point, the people seated joined hands and began to take turns praying. This could last for 30 minutes or a few hours, typically ending when the tire-shop opened for business and the owners had to go to work.
We call the modern structured organization the church because we want it to be the church. We identify it as the church, but it is not. It is not biblical. The modern evangelical church is a corporation. It is build on capitalism, focusing on first evangelism (building numbers) and then assets (retaining numbers and sustaining the program and the paychecks).
A genuine biblical model for the church is one that builds from house to house, then splits. There are no pastors (this is not even a term in the bible, but a French word misappropriated for elder). There are no paid clergy. There are apostles (missionaries), evangelists, elders, teachers, servants, and all are a part of the body of Christ, which is the church. The church may meet in a building on the corner, it may meet in an upstairs apartment, or it may meet in the back of a tire-shop, or it may meet online, but the church is the people. There should be no separate, dedicated buildings. There should be no clergy, laymen distinction. All are called before God for works of service.
But, this is not what we find today in the modern church. In Evangelicalism, we find entertainment. Shows put on for us and by us. We sing, we clap, we pass around a cup. But there is no love, no sacrifice, nothing genuine.
The Catholic service is no better. Steeped in dogma, we drown in liturgy that keeps us from Christ, from the Word of God, often times from a saving grace.
This is why I have abandoned the modern organization “we call the church.” It is false. It is not biblical. And, in my experience, I have never found a functional church meeting that lasts.
No Mystical or Experiential Evidence
One thing that caught my attention in this course was the lecturer’s denial of experiential events or mystical encounters with God.
It’s ironic, since the lecturer’s states he was raised in a charismatic household growing up. Apparently there was a backlash for him at some point. KI is, of course, loosely affiliated with Calvary Chapel (or was, now that there was a split there is no real Calvary Chapel any longer).
I find it incredible, though (and especially given his denominational background) that he could discount such a huge portion of the bible.
Did God not speak to Moses through a burning bush? Did he not speak to Jacob through a dream? Was not Paul’s conversion supernatural? Was not the entire book of Revelation given to John through a vision?
We are all, certainly, human and prone to blind spots in our beliefs. I am not immune to such limitations and shortcomings.
But, the entire foundational thread of my faith in Christ is experiential. My experience could still be different, though, than others or even the typical. Maybe the fact that my mystical, supernatural experience led me directly and subsequently to building a solid foundation in the Word, has solidified me against the raging seas of every wind of doctrine from men or demon alike. It has, indeed, served me well over the years, having a firm grasp of the biblical text. It has fended off Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and a whole host of other cults, all because I could spot the counterfeit so quickly.
I simply reject his conclusion that experiential faith is not faith. For me, at least, my experience is grounded in the Word and that grounding in the word was sparked by the mystical experience.
But, I’m also not a Charismatic. I have never spoken in tongues (there has been no need to supernaturally speak in a foreign language), and I give no credence to the word faith movement. I do not have visions or dreams on a regular basis. I do not pretend to be a prophet of God.
In the end, this is not a Chuck Missler teaching. The K-House organization will suffer for lectures like this, and others I’ve undertaken, only to find they contain very little in the way of real information. This is typical of “teaching” organizations when their founders have passed away and the focus shifts from the message to making money.
Until my next review….
Please consider supporting my writing, my unschooled studies, and my hermitic lifestyle by purchasing one or more of my books. I’m not supported by academia or have a lucrative corporate job – I’m just a mystical modern-day hermit trying to live out the life I believe God has called me to. So, any support you choose to provide is GREATLY appreciated.
Excerpt from Seeking Light Aurora:
Thomas opened the front door of the diner and leaned inside, holding himself up by the door frame.
“What’s the matter?” Terrance said, looking away from Peg and Carol. They were all huddled together at the counter.
“Her truck is still freaking out. I’ll try to keep her busy for as long as I can, but I’m running out of ideas.”
He looked over at Derrick who was quietly sitting at the back booth reading one of his books.
“You’ve got to keep her busy,” Terrance said. “We don’t have any other choice.”
“Look –” Thomas hesitated. “This isn’t all on me you know. I’ve already told you. I don’t know jack shit about trucks or engines. I’m sure as hell not a mechanic.”
“It’ll be fine,” Peg said.
“We all know there’s nothing I can do to fix that truck.” Thomas was shaking his head. “She’s going to figure out that something’s up. What if she starts asking questions?”
“Stall her,” Terrance said. “We just have to keep her busy for a little while. Remember, whatever it takes.”
“But, what about –” Carol had tears welling up.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Terrance said. “We’ve all been through this before.” He looked at Thomas. “Just take a deep breath and relax.”
“Relax my ass,” Thomas said. “Save that bullshit for her, okay?”
“Just keep her occupied in the garage as long as you possibly can. She’s focused right now on getting her truck fixed, so use that.”
“Whatever you say.” Thomas pushed off the door frame and let the door close behind him.
“It’s not going to work,” Carol said. “She’ll figure out something is wrong and that will be it.”
Terrance put his hand on Carol’s arm, gently trying to reassure her.
“It’ll work, Carol,” he said. “Have faith. It’ll work. Whatever it takes.”
Buy my book Seeking Light Aurora to find out what in the world is going on at this strange, out of the way diner in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness!
But, you better strap in, because this is definitely not child’s play. People are getting hurt right and left – it just might be you next!