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Scripture Memory: Answer to Prayer.

VERSE : Jeremiah 33:3 “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

28 August 2016

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Colin Wong (Be Sensitive to the Spirit’s Leading, Acts 16:1-10)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Rev Lee Hock Chin (From Death to Life, Matt 9:18-26)

4 September 2016

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Charles Seet (When the Lord Opens the Heart,  Acts 16:11-15)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Power Over Darkness, Matt 9:32-34)

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GOTTA CATCH ’EM ALL?

Forget about the gold that Joseph Schooling won, people are more mesmerized by Pokémon Go. It has flooded news and neighborhoods ever since it was launched in July 2016. It has become a global craze and millions have downloaded the free-to-play app.

This game is a spin-off of the long-running Pokémon series and card game, in which players capture and battle monsters in their quest to become the greatest Pokémon trainer in the world.

Pokémon Go is an augmented reality mobile game that places animated monsters in the real world with the help of Google Maps and Global Positioning System (GPS). All that players, also known as Pokémon trainers, need to view this world full of Pokémon is their smartphone.

The object of the game is to capture as many Pokémon as possible, or, as the slogan says, “gotta catch ’em all.” After assembling their personal team of Pokémon, trainers can compete against other trainers by participating in “Pokémon Battles” at a Pokémon Gym which is essentially a Pokémon boxing match.

There are significant negative media attention with reports of people falling off cliffs, crashing cars and trespassing. Recently, a motorist exchanged blows with a pedestrian playing the game, and hundreds have descended upon Hougang Avenue 10 and have disregarded their own lives dashing across roads to catch the monster, causing noise pollution and litter.

There are people who swear by Pokémon Go as it offers opportunities for people and strangers to socialize and get to know one another. It offers families an opportunity for relational building and outdoor exercise. Pokémon Go seems to help those who are suffering from depression or anxiety to get up and out of the house - something that’s often a struggle for them.

Some pastors are believing that the “Go” in the Great Commission of Jesus refers to the Pokémon Go and have “lured” the monsters to their churches (by purchasing “incense” from the game) to become Pokémon Stops so that the unchurched would be churched.

The benefits seem to outweigh the negative impacts. However should Christians go all out to catch them all? Dr Charlene Tan, a Lifer, has given me permission to adapt her article about Pokémon which she wrote in 2001 in response to the then Pope John Paul II who gave his blessing to Pokémon in the year 2000 saying that it was nothing more than fodder for a child’s imagination:

Pokémon contains strong occultic and anti-Christian elements with pernicious albeit insidious effects on the children.

What Does the Bible Say?

Christians are clearly instructed to abhor that which is evil (Romans 12:9) and not to give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:27). We need to be vigilant and stand against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:11) who is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). We have to guard our action, speech and thought so that we can do all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Among the many forms of evil influences, one of the gravest sins is to dabble in the occult. In Deuteronomy 18:10-12, the Lord issues this warning:

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.

Knowing how sinful and subtle these evil influences can be, Christians must prove all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21), be circumspect about how we occupy our minds (Proverbs 4:23) and subject every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

Parents are especially responsible for training their children in the ways of the Lord (Proverbs 22:6, Deuteronomy 4:9-10) lest they become “a stubborn and rebellious generation (Psalm 78:8), “which knew not the Lord” and “did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim” (Judges 2:10-11).

What is Pokémon?

First created in 1995 in Japan, Pokémon stands for “Pocket Monsters” which is a role-playing card game. There are altogether 150 Pokémon classified under 7 types which are 7 different “energies” (Grass, Fire, Water, Lightning, Psychic, Fighting and Colourless). The player plays the game by using his Pokémon to conquer other Pokémon with sorcery and violent means such as poisoning and slashing. The game also allows other Pokémon to “evolve” by summoning powers, and heal the wounded Pokémon fighters magically using “super potion.” We shall further examine Pokémon’s sources, objectives, values, practices and tactics to prove that they are antithetical to Christian principles.

Sources

What is the origin of Pokémon and who is the maker of the game? Originating from Japan, Pokémon is highly influenced by Japanese mysticism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Hinduism and New Age philosophies. For example, the concept of reincarnation is taught as individual Pokémon can “evolve” into more powerful creatures. A Pokémon Master or Trainer (one who catches other Pokémon) is modeled after the martial arts masters in ancient Japan where victory was gained through violent extermination of their enemies.

The maker of the game is “Wizards of the Coast,” the same company that produces “Magic: The Gathering” and “Dungeons and Dragons,” which are heavily occultic games for adults and teens.

Objectives

The objectives are clearly spelt out in the Pokémon ditty as follows: “I will travel across the land, searching far and wide, each Pokémon to understand, the power that’s inside. Gotta catch them all!

The New age influence is seen in the “power that is inside” each Pokémon, and since this is a role-playing game, the power is in turn possessed by the player himself. Rather than looking up to God who is the only source of power, Pokémon teaches children that they can possess supernatural powers with the “energy card” that can make their Pokémon (and indirectly themselves) bigger and more powerful.

Author and researcher Berit Kjos reports an actual incident where a school boy, while discussing his Pokémon with his friends, proudly exclaimed: “I’ll just use my psychic powers.” The game maker also intends to get children addicted to the game as they must “catch them all.” Hence this game can easily become an obsession, an idol which substitutes God in the hearts of the children.

Values and Practices

More insidious are the occultic and anti-Christian values that children are unconsciously embracing in their obsession with the game. I have earlier pointed out that Pokémon shares the same producer as “Magic: The Gathering.” Indeed, a comparison of the two games will show that there are parallel similarities in promoting the occult. While Magic contains 3000-plus monsters with the adult players role-playing using sorcery, spells and witchcraft, Pokémon has 150 monsters with the children role-playing using magic and psychic powers. This is not far from actual occultism where real demons possess participants using the above-mentioned methods of witchcraft and sorcery.

Occultic spells disguised as innocuous Pokémon names are also printed on the cards. For example, two cards, “Abra” and “Kadabra” forms a well-known occultic word (Abrakadabra) which, according to Webster’s dictionary, is a “magic spell or formula,” “used in incantations.” There are also occultic symbols on Pokémon Kadabra such as the pentagram on his forehead and his Satanic salute with his left hand. The players are encouraged to “summon powers” using “stones” (thunder, water, moon, fire and leaf) in order to enable their Pokémon to “evolve” into something more powerful. As this is being done when the player role-plays, the child is unwittingly summoning the evil spirits. This has already been reported in the States: “He (a boy) told her (his mother) that during recess on the playground the children would “summon” the forces on the cards they collect by raising sticks into the air and saying “Spirits enter me.” They call it “being possessed.”

Another concern is that Pokémon fans may proceed to other role-playing occultic games such as “Dungeons and Dragons” and consequently develop a curiosity and fetish in the occult. It is no secret that Pokémon websites have links to these sites as well as New Age sites. Researcher Rich Deem documents some of the ways in which Pokémon can open the door to demonic oppression: possession of occultic records, tapes, books, pictures, charms, tools and games, seeking or giving consent to occultic power or occultic revelation, fascination with occultic power, occultic revelation, or psychic phenomena, chanting or other occultic forms of worship etc.

The senseless use of violence, another anti-Christian value, is the only way for a Pokémon player to annihilate his enemies. The propensity to violence only fills the mind of the child with violent thoughts and malice with a low regard for life, instead of friendship and love towards his neighbour.

Many anti-Christian values and practices are also transmitted when the Pokémon characters in the video games, comics, cartoons and movies glorify undesirable traits. For example, Ketchum is “too competitive,” Misty is “headstrong” and “stubborn,” Brock is “most hormonal” with his “fascination with the opposite sex,” Gary is “a real jerk, self-centred, vindictive and obnoxious,” and Jessie and James are “stuck up, fashion-conscious, and prone to cross-dressing.” These are certainly not characterisitics that we want to see in our children. Yet by constantly exposing themselves to these role models, the children may emulate them and forsake the correct values and practices established in the Bible.

Tactics

Some people may protest that Christians are over-reacting to the dangers of Pokémon as it is after all “only a game.” People who hold to this view are in fact not aware of the cunning strategy of Satan. The Bible describes Satan as “transformed into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14) and reminds us that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against… spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). This is guilefully used in Pokémon where the effects are subtle but deadly. The Pokémon maker deliberately blurs the line between reality and fantasy by describing the Pokémon as real. The Pokémon booklet says: But what is a Pokémon, you ask. “Pokémon are incredible creatures that shares the world with humans,” says Professor Oak, the leading authority on these monsters. There are currently 150 documented species of Pokémon … Carry your Pokémon with you, and you’re ready for anything! You’ve got the power in your hands, so use it!

A child who role-plays and takes the game seriously (as millions do) could readily regard these Pokémon as real friendly monsters possessing magical powers. This explains why many are dabbling in occultic practices (using their psychic powers, summoning the powers) without realising the danger. Another subtle tactic is to slowly manipulate the child psychologically to develop new habits and patterned responses to certain stimuli. This may ultimately result in a personality change. Many parents have confirmed that their children’s interest in ordinary family life had withered away. Far from being “only a game,” Pokémon is a tool used by Satan to ensnare and lead children down the path of occult and sinful practices which are condemned by God.

Conclusion

Despite the economic and social benefits deriving from Pokémon Go, Dr Charlene’s article has made us aware that Pokémon contains occultic and anti-Christian sources, objectives, values, practices and tactics. May we be discerning to do what is right in God’s eyes. Abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

                         —Pastor Quek Keng Khwang 

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Be A Soul Winner

Be Equipped to share the gospel to Your Loved Ones and Friends.

Good Soil Evangelism & Discipleship 2016

12 & 17 Sep, 2016

Register at LBPC Website or URL: bit.ly/gsed2016

Registration closes on 31 Aug 2016.

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1) Video recording of Seminar by Dr Mark Harwood held on 23 Jul 16 on Creation vs Evolution available on DVD. If you missed the CMI seminar, you can order a DVD (Mpeg4) at $2 per copy by contacting Mr Lun Chee Leong at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or send a message to 96528013. Payment and collection can be done at the RTL Office (next to the Cry room in the kindergarten block) either before or after our morning worship services on Sundays.

2) Infant Baptism on Anniversary Sunday, 16 Oct 16. Parents who intend to have their infants baptised must register by TODAY. Please call the Church Office (6594 9399) or email Yin Chan giving child’s name, date of birth and parents’ names and contact.

3) The annual Lively Teens Fellowship Camp will be held on 5-9 Dec 16. All teens who are 11-17 years of age are encouraged to join! More details will be announced when registration opens in Oct.

4) Musicians are needed for vigil services. Please contact Daniel Phang .

5) Our condolences to Chua Hui Tin & family on the homegoing of her father, Chua Kim Yeow (90 yrs old) on 21 Aug 16.

 

Preaching appointment:  Rev Lee at Maranatha BPC, 10.45 am.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25