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What Luther Says

I'll Take The 'Sword of the Spirit' Over A Lightsaber Any Day!

In the previous post, we looked at a new and growing religion called "Jediism" that's based on the beliefs and value system of the fictional Jedi characters in the classic Star Wars mythology.

Given that the souls of men are at stake, we encouraged ourselves to take the strange news seriously and to pray for those caught up in what they believe is nothing but good, harmless fun.

We also briefly pointed out how this is really nothing new. To put it another way, we've seen this before. That's because, at the end of the day, the Jedi Religion is merely Gnosticism all dressed up for the 21st Century.

What is Gnosticism and why is it in direct conflict with Christianity? Greek Gnosticism taught that the flesh was evil and only the spirit was good. Christianity and Gnosticism are mutually exclusive systems of belief. The principles of Gnosticism contradict what it means to be a Christian. In addition, Gnosticism was perhaps the most dangerous heresy that threatened the early church during the first three centuries.

So, clearly, this is not just some "harmless fun" that we should ignore and turn a blind eye to. We have our weapons of warfare (Ephesians 6:10-20) and have been commanded to wield them on a battlefield that is not of this earth (Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 6:12). All we have to do is confess the truth faithfully and preach Christ crucified for the sins of all of mankind. Specifically, we are to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20). Those are our marching orders.

But what exactly do such self-proclaimed "Jedi Knights" actually believe? And how does it differ from Christianity? For that matter, how is it similar to Christianity (if at all)? Why should you and I even care?

Well, again, I think our Lord was pretty clear when it comes to telling others about Him. Besides, a basic familiarity with their perspective could be helpful too. That being said, here's some info I found from another blogger on this subject who is also writing from a Christian perspective. However, please note that he will remain nameless since I've decided not to link to the website where it came from only because I haven't had the chance to review his writings closely yet.

First it must be stated that followers of the Jedi faith do not run around with lightsabers getting in swashbuckling duels. They do not pretend to lift objects with their minds and they (as far as I know) don’t try Jedi mind tricks on the simple. Jediism attempts to take the philosophical worldview as presented in the Star Wars movies and apply many of its concepts to daily life. As you explore the various Jedi websites you will find that there is no definitive faith statement. There is no ultimate authority that they look to and they have no official doctrine. They do however have ordained ministers and hold non-profit statuses on many of their ministry websites. Jedi ministers even preform Jedi marriages. The following Jedi Creed is probably the closest thing I could find to an official statement of faith.

The Jedi Creed

*- Jedi are the guardians of peace in the Galaxy.

*- Jedi use their powers to defend and protect, never to attack others.

*- Jedi respect all life, in any form.

*- Jedi serve others rather than rule over them, for the good of the Galaxy.

*- Jedi seek to improve themselves through knowledge and training.

The Jedi Creed, found in several different Star Wars related products, is followed by many of the Jedi faith.

We also know that Jedi must control their thoughts, which is similar to Philippians 4:8. In Jediism, Jedi’s will attempt to keep their minds clear of distractions. One way they will accomplish this is through meditation. Very similar to the Buddhist version of meditation, the Jedi will relax and empty their minds. A similar practice has crept into the church called "contemplative prayer" or "lectio divina." Clearly, this is not the kind of meditation mentioned in the Scriptures. Biblical meditation involves filling our minds with the Scriptures, not emptying our minds of all thoughts.

Jediism adherents believe in life after death. Jedi believe that after you die, your soul will move on to be embraced by the Force. We see from this definition of the Force as well as from other writings that the Force is described in terms of being an intelligent being or consciousness. The Force is described as providing both free will and destiny for mankind. You almost get the feeling that the Force is the 'Great Uncaused Cause' of all creation. After all what is there beyond the Force? This concept that the Force is in all and all is part of the Force, yet the Force is superior to all, comes from panentheism. Panentheism is similar to pantheism in that God is in all and all is in God. The difference is that panentheism has God being more than the sum total of all that there is. He/She is superior to everything.

According to Jediism there is both a light (good) and dark (evil) side of the Force. Are we to believe in an entity that is both good and evil? Can we trust or respect a being that is ok with child sacrifice, murder and rape? I don’t believe many of them have followed this thought process to its logical conclusion. The Force would either have to be very demented to allow for this kind of dichotomy, or very confused. Why would anyone want to connect with a being like this?

Jediism holds that everyone has a soul-plan. The Force that resides in all things including the soul also has a plan and purpose for all of humanity. Keep in mind that Jedi also believe that they all have a mission in life that they alone choose. I’m not sure if they have thought this through. How does the Force determine their destiny and yet they alone choose their mission in life? Again this gives you the impression that the Force is in some aspects like a god. The Force has a panentheistic feeling to it as it both resides in all things and all things in it. Yet, the Force also seems to be superior to all of its creation be having a destiny for each soul. The Force also receives all living souls to itself after the souls body dies. Jediism holds that life continues on after the death of the body. It is believed that after death the soul returns to the Force. This almost gives one the impression that the Force may exist as a sort of collective conscious too. I’m not sure how that works. Either way, Jedi try to avoid excessive mourning for the dead as they believe the soul has returned to the Force.

Believers in Jediism believe in the law of attraction. The law of attraction is similar to what is taught in some Christian circles as positive confession. It’s the idea that our thoughts and words can attract or supernaturally change the world around us. If you believe and speak as if you are healthy, then you will become healthy. If you believe and speak that you’re wealthy, then you will become wealthy. Our words are portrayed as containers of power that can influence and change the world. This is not much different than what Rhonda Byrnes teaches in here book The Secret. The truth is, we can speak words that can change others attitudes, but we cannot use our words to supernaturally change the world around us. We can pray to the Creator of the heavens and the earth and ask Him to help us, but we ourselves do not hold that kind of power.

Jedi feel that it is their purpose to become one with the Force.
To become one with the Force equates to immortality. Jedi believe they can see into the future.

As previously mentioned, the Jedi Religion is simply Gnosticism by a different name here in the 21st Century, and so we would be wise to familiarize ourselves with Gnostic beliefs so that we can confront them boldly with the truth of God's Word.

Greek Gnosticism taught that the flesh was evil and only the spirit was good. Christianity and Gnosticism are mutually exclusive systems of belief. The principles of Gnosticism contradict what it means to be a Christian.

Gnosticism was perhaps the most dangerous heresy that threatened the early church during the first three centuries. Influenced by such philosophers as Plato, Gnosticism is based on two false premises.

First, it espouses a dualism regarding spirit and matter. Gnostics assert that matter is inherently evil and spirit is good. As a result of this presupposition, Gnostics believe anything done in the body, even the grossest sin, has no meaning because real life exists in the spirit realm only. Second, Gnostics claim to possess an elevated knowledge, a “higher truth” known only to a certain few. Gnosticism comes from the Greek word gnosis which means “to know.” Gnostics claim to possess a higher knowledge, not from the Bible, but acquired on some mystical higher plain of existence. Gnostics see themselves as a privileged class elevated above everybody else by their higher, deeper knowledge of God.

It's not hard to see the similarities between ancient Gnosticism and contemporary Jediism, is it? So then how does a Christian go about evangelizing a Jedi Knight if they were to ever come in contact with one?
To discredit the idea of any compatibility between Christianity and Gnosticism, one has only to compare their teachings on the main doctrines of the faith.

On the matter of salvation, Gnosticism teaches that salvation is gained through the acquisition of divine knowledge which frees one from the illusions of darkness. Although some might try to claim that their views are similar to Christ's and His original teachings, Gnostics/Jedi Knights contradict Him at every turn. Jesus said nothing about salvation through knowledge, but by faith in Him as Savior from sin. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Furthermore, the salvation Christ Jesus offers is free and available to everyone (John 3:16), and not just a select few who have acquired a special revelation or who possess "midi-chlorians" in their bloodstream (see Star Wars Episodes 1-3).

Christianity asserts that there is one source of Truth and that is the Bible, or the inspired, inerrant Word of the living God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice (John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12). It is God’s written revelation to mankind and is never superseded by man’s thoughts, ideas, writings, or visions. The Gnostics/Jedi Knights, on the other hand, would emphasize that you trust your emotions and feelings since "only the Sith deal in absolutes" we've been told.

Gnosticism is based on a mystical, intuitive, subjective, inward, emotional approach to truth which is not new at all. It is very old, going back in some form to the Garden of Eden, where Satan questioned God and the words He spoke, and convinced Adam and Eve to reject them and accept a lie. He does the same thing today as he “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). He still calls God and the Bible into question and catches in his web those who are either naïve and Scripturally uninformed or who are seeking some personal revelation to make them feel special, unique, and superior to others. Yes, I'm afraid even Jedi Knights suffer from this kind of superiority complex fueled by sin.

Let us follow the Apostle Paul who said to “test everything. Hold on to the good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21), and this we do by comparing everything to the Word of God, the only Truth.

No, the Apostles didn't carry a lightsaber, but they did carry the "sword of the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12). For that reason alone, forget about a Jedi Knight's Creed and consider the Apostles Creed.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, I'll take the "sword of the Spirit" over a lightsaber any day!

It's like I said in the previous post, yes Luke, the I AM is your Father whether you like it or not, and without Jesus, the Jedi will still die in their sins no matter how "good" and "noble" they may be by the world's standards (John 14:6; Mark 6:12; Acts 17:30).

I pray that God uses these truths to FORCE you to come to Him in repentance and faith. May the Lord and His grace be with you.

[NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with Lutheran doctrine -- in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word -- so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Thank you in advance for your time and help. Grace and peace to you and yours!]

About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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