World Cup and Demon Powers

My friend, Macklann, is a Togolese man who is a leader in my church. Mac told me that before he was a Christian, he played soccer. He said that it was common practice for soccer players to use witchcraft and fetishes to make themselves better players. He said when a player stole the ball from him, he would simply rub a special ring that he acquired from a witchdoctor and speak a curse and the player would fall down.
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In National Geographic this month, the cover story is a series of essays about soccer. In one essay, it claims that the team from Cote D’Ivoire has been plagued for years by a curse. This is not like the Red Sock’s curse that was broken two years ago (at the expense of the poor Cardinals.) This curse was from a group of disgruntled witchdoctors and juju men who were hired help the team about 10 years ago, by a Cote D’Ivoire government official. When the government official cheated the witchdoctors out of their money, they put a curse on the team. The soccer team has had horrible seasons ever since. This past year, the government finally paid off the witchdoctors who lifted their curse, and now the Cote D’Ivoire team will play in the World Cup.
What is the validity of these spiritual forces? Is this “just superstition” or is their real power, from demonic sources, that can be manipulated for human purposes?
I believe that demonic powers exist. Sometimes they work like Screwtape and Wormwood by using subversion and deception to confuse and distract us from God’s will. I experience this all the time in my relationships and in my job. Other times, the powers of darkness operate out in the open like the giant, Goliath, taunting us and humiliating us by flaunting power that is real.
In 1 Peter 5:8-9, we receive this warning:
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering.”

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  1. #1 by Neil on June 8, 2006 - 6:21 pm

    Very interesting, Kirk. I believe that satanic powers exist and are active in the world, particularly in regions that have been given to animism or idol worship. Missionaries in foreign countries it seems have often had to revise their theological categories based on ecounters that they have had with spiritual powers. That is not to say that Satan’s minions aren’t working here. They are, and in ways that seem more subtle and potentially more insidious and intractable.
    In an odd sort of way hearing about the activity of malevolent spiritual forces, and especially about their defeat by Christians, is encouraging to my faith. It reinforces my faith and belief in that the supernatural exists.

  2. #2 by Heidi on June 9, 2006 - 10:23 am

    Hum? Kirk, interesting blog! I think the National Geographic commentator wrapped-up the world’s obsession beautifully—you know—how the laws promote equality, nonviolence, and restraint. I like thinking of the referee as a kinda Priest who blesses and protects people with the all gracious “spirit of fair play”. About demonic powers, I think certain aspects of the Enlightenment, namely, Modernism—makes the US and most other first world countries more interested in winnowing life down into a predictable materialism, leaving us money hungry and humanistic enough that demons don’t need to go around and blatantly attack us. It seems that it’s money, power, and truth (small “t”) that the Devil uses here to deceive us. Now, Jacob’s sister Maggie is experiencing real demonic interactions in Nepal. I think this is because the people there…especially the poorer people are culturally aware of the spiritual realm…they don’t have money to delude them, they have demi-gods trying to win their favor…just a hunch.

  3. #3 by katiek on June 9, 2006 - 2:38 pm

    Well, you know what I think Kirk! Heck yeah demons! I think that it’s kinda sad that we assume that we are not attacked by demons. We are, certain mysterious illnesses that don’t go away, can’t be diagnosed….hmmm,makes you think. repeated money problems that do not directly attach to personal irresponsibility, accident prone. I mean we aren’t free form trouble in the world, but sometimes prayer needs to be taken up a notch so we can declare our blessings in Christ. Our houses should be blessed, our health, our cars, etc….
    We do have spiritual forces acting on our behalf. Praise God! We shouldn’t believe that just because we are more enlightened means that we are any more safe. There are witches that hide as yoga instructors, herbalists, natural childbirth instructors. Witchcraft can be very attractive in the Western world, and very very PC.
    It’s awesome that the Holy Spirit is in us to guide our hearts to help us be wise. Nothing is wrong with the afore mentioned careers (although I would check out your yoga material just in case) they CAN be magnets for the occult, like many other things.
    I’ve never experienced “3rd world” demons, but I am fascinated how folks that might not believe in demons these days have there doctrine shaken when they come face to face with it.

  4. #4 by Heidi on June 9, 2006 - 4:21 pm

    Well said Katiek! Your right, the rise of the Enlightment didn’t make the demonic presense less in first world countries, but it changes the way demonic attacks look or are precieved. I know that the demonic attack that I receive has not been as physically blatant or violent as what Maggie, my hubby’s sister, has seen, but just as real. Sickness and a bah-jillion other things for sure can be demonic! Then again, I think some struggles or sicknesses are simply a product of living in a fallen world. One thing that freaks me about demonic attack is that God sometimes allows it to strengthen us…Like in Job’s case. Yikes! I say JESUS thank you for being over all this! This is a great topic for a blog!

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