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Cult Awareness Ministry
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Free In Christ Ministries is a non-denominational Christian counter-cult ministry which has been raised up to provide the Christian Church and community in general with information about the Jehovah's Witnesses and other cults.
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Papua New Guinean culture?
Animism basically is a belief in spirits, spirits that inhabit - Forests, Swamps, Graveyards, Villages, Old battlefields, Groves of trees or Bamboo etc etc.
The spirits are sometimes believed to be departed loved ones, sometimes ghosts, sometimes territorial type spirits that are the custodians of certain sacred areas or objects, ie, Spirit Houses, Graveyards, and inanimate objects like stones, trees, swamps, bamboo groves and such like.
These spirits are believed to have power to kill, make sick, cause accidents, destroy crops, send or withhold rain, weaken livestock, kill children etc. etc. They also have the power to heal, prosper, make gardens grow, enable women to bear children, help pigs breed healthily etc etc. Animism as a belief system is promoted and practiced particularly through the use of sorcery, witchcraft, amulets, trinkets, herbal medicines, tree barks, bones of animals and certaim poisonous substances.
Each village has its own secret society of witchdoctors, sorcerers, necromancers (spirit mediums), and the such like.
Our village here (Kagu) has plenty of them.
Praise The Lord some of them have been saved and are now Faithful in Church.
In any Animistic society basically everything is attributed to spirits. There is no death by natural causes except on very rare occasions in very elderly people, but even then there are numerous Animistic beliefs surrounding the death.
The Families are extremely careful to appease all the necesary spirits associated with death, particularly the spirit of the departed loved one. Certain customs have to be strictly observed at every death in order to avoid the wrath of the spirits. In an Animistic society, death has precedence over life, children and the elderly are often neglected in the village, they have no clothes or blankets and very rarely if ever do they receive any thing new (like clothing, beddings etc) However whenever somebody dies, immediately money is dished out fror clothing, blankets, bed sheets, decorative coverings, all for the corpse and the coffin.
Expensive pigs are killed, Rice is purchased from town, all these are for the purpose of fulfilling custom and appeasement of the spirit of the departed loved one.
Most animistic societies have an initiation system whereby (young men particularly) when they are come of age are initiated into the spiritual mysteries of their ancestral beliefs. This usually involves the use of the village "Man House", every different Animistic Society has different procedures but basically the same underlying principle applies, prepare the young men spiritually through use of sorceries and witchcrafts to become seasoned hardened warriors to defend their clan against enemy intrusion and continue the perpetual cycle of revenge killings by means of either weaponry or sorcery.
Though because of the whiteman's incursion, whether by Government or by Mission influence many of these beliefs have slipped somewhat into the background, they are still foundational to the daily existence of these village people. Until people are truly and soundly converted they will hold incessantly to these beliefs. As a result of this deep rooted system, The Gospel when preached in its truth and entirety is seen as a great threat to the safety and stability of the village life.
And so the story goes on, needless to say the greatest enemy we have is the deadly mixture of Animism & Seventhday Adventism, believe me it is a deadly mixture. I'd better close up now or this will end up being a sermon rather than a brief outline.
I trust that will give you a little bit of insight as to what we are up against in preaching the Gospel to an animistic people. Satan obviously doesn't take lightly to this intrusion into his domain, these same spirits the people fear and appease, often turn on the missionary and his family, and of course on the truly Born Again people of God who have repented and turned to God from these Idols. We need you to continue to pray for us, as we also need to pray for you all, as you continue in your battle against a maybe even more subtle and deadly ISM, called, Materialism!
Bro Dave Crowe
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