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What Luther Says

Without Jesus, The Jedi Will Still Die In Their Sins

I can't imagine anyone in the world not knowing this, but the "Jedi" are a fictitious order of warrior/monks from the iconic Star Wars movies (a.k.a. "the good guys" in the story).

They are known for their mystical, occult-like powers through their ability to manipulate and utilize a cosmic energy called the "Force" that's sort of like a New Ager's  (or Eastern Mystic's) version of a god.

You might think that because it's Halloween today that's why I was thinking about the characters. Unfortunately, there was a sad story in the news recently that got me thinking about all of it.

It's not a new story by any means though. In fact, I believe I've seen something like this every now and then reported over the course of the past several years ago.

For instance, here's a brief introduction from another Lutheran perspective from back in 2008:

Who knew there was a church of the Jedi? Apparently in both Wales and Scotland, there is a growing movement of people listing the teachings of the as their religion. It is also a growing movement in the United States.

What has always fascinated me about Star Wars and the whole Jedi mythology since the advent of the “new” Star Wars series (Episodes I-III), is this notion that the Sith believe in absolutes, while the Jedi believe in, uh, not absolutes. As Obi-Wan said in Episode III: “Only a Sith Deals in Absolutes”.

It is for that reason that the “religion” of the Jedi is probably most closely related to Hinduism. Many paths to god, peace and tranquility, meditation, etc.

I wonder what George Lucas thinks of this movement? Does he get a percentage of the offerings? Is he considered a demi-god, or just the Prophet?

All joking aside, it is tragic that formerly Christian countries (if one can use that term) like Wales and Scotland have fallen so far as to elevate a great movie series into a religion.

Kyrie eleison,
-Lutheran Logomaniac

To reiterate, even though this is old news, I did see it come up again in the mainstream just last week, which is why I felt it necessary to comment on it today.

Thousands Foregoing Jesus Christ To Become One With The Force; People Flock To Jedi Church

New waves of religious followers are coming to adhere to Jedi teachings in droves as the Church of Jediism sees unprecedented growth.

But while many are unsure of exactly the beliefs of those who adhere to Jediism followers would have you believe that energy or the force is what connects any and all things in the universe.
"No we don't worship Yoda. And telekinesis is not something that we necessarily do - at least not like in the movies," Ally Thompson, 28, an Iraqi-war veteran from Tennessee, told Details Magazine in an interview.

"But I won't deny that the Force is very present in our teachings. Some people call it magic. Some call it Ashe. The scientific community calls it energy. But it's everywhere. You can find it in the Bible. When Moses parted the Red Sea - how did he do that? With energy. With the Force," she claims.

While some chapters only have a hand full of followers, other places around the globe are attracting new members in large numbers.

The Jedi church has been growing around the world. In England it's the seventh-largest religion with 175,000 members. There are 15,000 Jedi in the Czech Republic, 9,000 in Canada and 65,000 in Australia.

Figures taken from a nationwide census in England and Wales showed the most popular alternative religion were people who identified themselves as "Jedi Knights," according to the U.K's Daily Telegraph.

The census figures revealed that 176,632 people in England and Wales thought of themselves as Jedi Knights, which made it the seventh most popular faith overall and the highest followed faith encompassed by the option of "Other Religions."

The figures do mirror a larger social trend that has seen a decline in membership from longstanding religions and an increase in secularism and alternative faiths.

The Jedi Church is an online organization and has orders in several U.S. states and countries abroad.

According to its website, "The Jedi church has no official doctrine of scripture. The Jedi church recognizes that all living things share a living force and that all people have an innate knowledge of what is right and wrong, and the Jedi church celebrates this like no other religion."

Just in time for Halloween I suppose, huh?

"Paging Pastor Fisk...Paging Pastor Fisk...Come in Pastor Fisk..."

Not coincidentally, Rev. Jonathan Fisk devoted a section of his book Broken: 7 "Christian" Rules That Every Christian Ought To Break As Often As Possible to this very subject and highlighted the very real spiritual (and possibly eternal) dangers presented by the Star Wars mythology and place in pop culture.

But Star Wars broke the mold by adding to all these things the experiential promise that the American movie-going soul was beginning to crave incessantly: emotion as the key to all truth.

But at the heart of all this pulp fiction was the embrace of the one thing all the movies that came before it had only flirted with -- complete, mind-adulterating MYSTICISM.

But this is just science fiction. It's just fantasy, right? Not so fast. ... In 2006, a book called The Secret was recommended by Oprah Winfrey's book club and marketed on her weekday show. This in itself was nothing out of the ordinary. What is extraordinary is the self-help advice contained in this book, gobbled up by twenty-one million real people, taught that the universe is made up of an energy field each individual human can control by exercising a practiced willpower. This is to say twenty-one million American consumers forked over $14.92 each in order to be taught -- get this -- the exact same religion a little green man named Yoda once taught Luke Skywalker in a swamp on Dagobah in backwoods of the Star Wars universe. Who would have thought that modern people would believe such a science fiction fantasy? But here was Mysticism, bold and strong, proudly reminding the emerging pragmatic world, Good. Your feelings make you powerful. So join me, and let us rule the galaxy together. [pp. 89-91]

Speaking of brother Fisk's assessment and warning, this story is reminiscent of the message presented in a recent Worldview Everlasting video too.

In all seriousness though, how sad is it to see and read about this sort of thing though, my dear friends? Pop culture's "Cult of Celebrity" birthed a religion of its own. Sorry, I didn't really ease into that one gently, but the urgency demands we don't beat-around-the-bush or worry about offending people (Galatians 1:10; 1 Corinthians 1:18-21).

Now, When we hear the word “cult,” we often think of a group that worships Satan, sacrifices animals, or takes part in evil, bizarre, and pagan rituals. However, in reality, most cults appear much more innocent. The specific Christian definition of a cult is “a religious group that denies one or more of the fundamentals of biblical truth.” In simpler terms, a cult is a group that teaches something that will cause a person to remain unsaved if he/she believes it.

As distinct from a religion, a cult is a group that claims to be part of the religion, yet denies essential truth(s) of that religion. A Christian cult is a group that denies one or more of the fundamental truths of Christianity, while still claiming to be Christian. The two most common teachings of cults are that Jesus was not God and that salvation is not by faith alone. A denial of the deity of Christ results in Jesus’ death not being a sufficient payment for our sins. A denial of salvation by faith alone results in salvation being achieved by our own works, something the Bible vehemently and consistently denies.

The two most well-known examples of cults are the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons. Both groups claim to be Christian, yet both deny the deity of Christ and salvation by faith alone. Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons believe many things that are in agreement with or similar to what the Bible teaches. Yet, the fact that they deny the deity of Christ and preach a salvation by works qualifies them as a cult. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and members of other cults are “good people” who genuinely believe they hold the truth. As Christians, our hope and prayer must be that many people involved in the cults will see through the lies and will be drawn to the truth of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Now, by that kind of detailed definition, Jediism is, in fact, a religion and not a cult. Either way, the main question on our minds right now should be the same: What is the best way to evangelize someone who is in a cult or false religion?

The most important thing we can do for those involved in cults or false religions is pray for them. We need to pray that God would change their hearts and open their eyes to the truth (2 Corinthians 4:4). We need to pray that God would convince them of their need for salvation through Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Without the power of God and conviction of the Holy Spirit, we will never succeed in convincing anyone of the truth (John 16:7-11).

We also need to be living a godly Christian life by His power, and honestly confess our shortcomings and sins even after we are saved, so those trapped in cults and religions can see a genuine change that God has made in our own lives (1 Peter 3:1-2).

We need to pray for wisdom in how we can minister to them in a powerful way (James 1:5). Simply put, we must be bold in our actual sharing of the Gospel. We must proclaim the message of salvation through preaching Jesus Christ crucified while remaining faithful to confessing the truth at all times (Romans 10:9-10).

We always need to be prepared to defend our faith (1 Peter 3:15), but we must do so with gentleness and respect as we speak "the truth in love" (Ephesians 4;15). We can proclaim the doctrine correctly, win the war of words, but not with an attitude of angry superiority (1 Corinthians 13).

Ultimately, we must leave the salvation of those to whom we witness up to God (John 6:44). It is God's power and grace that saves people, not our efforts (Ephesians 2:8-9). While it is good and wise to be prepared to give a vigorous defense and have knowledge of false beliefs, neither of these things will result in the conversion of those trapped in the lies of the cults and false religions (Ephesians 4:18). The best we can do is pray for them, confess the faith to them, and live an authentic Christian life in front of them, trusting that the Holy Spirit will do the work of drawing, convincing, and converting.

This is really nothing new. We've seen this before. At the end of the day, the Jedi Religion is merely Gnosticism all dressed up for the 21st Century, and so it's hardly taken God by surprise.

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. By the way, 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.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, 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 (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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