Christians and obeah
Recently, gospel artiste Glacia Robinson, in an interview on TVJ's Entertainment Report with Anthony Miller prior to her Boxing Day concert last December, recounted the dark road she travelled for five years as she battled an unknown illness.
Through a spiritual encounter with a pastor in New York, not only was she miraculously healed, but it was revealed that she was being 'obeahed'.
Facebook lit up with opinions as many weighed in on a clip of the interview - some making fun or stating their disbelief that obeah had that kind of a power. Some had a problem with a Christian being overpowered by obeah.
Family and Religion reached out to the Reverend Andrew Green, president of Proclaim Ministries International, to get his views on the issue.
Clarifying what is meant by 'obeah', he said that it is established upon the foundation of worship and appeasing of the snake god Obi.
"It is a combination of witchcraft and magic and is practised by descendants of African slaves," he said.
Responding to the question of obeah having the power to affect a Christian, he said that a curse without a cause will not manifest.
"However, the obeah man will tell you that he is in the business of meeting the needs of his clients. He is not concerned with whom the obeah is being sent to. Regarding the Christians being affected by obeah curses, it is possible if there is any form of compromise in the believer's life, which would result in a high level of oppression and/or torment," said Green.
USING EVIL SPIRITS
Green points out that people normally go to the obeah man because they believe that he has the power to help them with their problems. Disclosing that the obeah man is able to assist his client(s) by using the spirits that are in his control to have sexual intercourse with the living, haunt houses, and even kill persons, he said that the Christian community is not excluded from the obeah man's listing regarding his clients' request.
"Even though the Christian community is reassured [of] protection by the Lord, we can be hurt by the obeah man's curses if there is any form of compromise in the life of the believer.
For those who think obeah is a fallacy, Green said it is as real as it can get, as he said it unfolds the potency of the kingdom of darkness and its ability to empower whoever avail themselves to its concept and philosophies.
"This brings out even more man's ability to relate to the spirit world and to seek out any of the two spiritual kingdoms by choice. There is always a nonphysical battle taking place in the spiritual realm, which manifests itself within the natural realm of mankind," he said.
According to Green, obeah is one of several devices of the kingdom of darkness. It brings to the forefront man's ability to choose between the two spiritual kingdoms and thereby fulfil the purpose of the selected kingdom. This, he said, plays itself out in the way mankind relate to each other, and enables man to be a product of evil and/or of righteousness.
For sceptics who dismiss the practice, he said we always disapprove of what we don't understand. Christians expect to win every battle, but many find themselves going through what is called the 'valley experience', better described by Green as suffering.
"We suffer because we are disobedient in the fulfilling of the Word of God in our individual life. This causes Satan, the accuser of the brethren, to openly accuse the believer before God, knowing that God, being a just God, will turn the believer over to be afflicted by the kingdom of darkness," he said.
Christians, too, are expected to suffer for Christ's sake. For Green, it is not an option for the believer but a command.
MATURING THE BELIEVER
"It is not God tempting the believer, because He will not tempt anyone; neither can He be tempted. He will, however, permit Satan to test you as He had done with Job. This type of valley experience is designed to mature the believer in fulfilling their God-given destiny for their lives," he said.
In closing, Green said that for obeah or demons to take possession of a believer's body, they would have to first gain entry through 'open ports', which he said is two dimensional.
"A believer can be bound to pre-conversion activities, as result of a compromise sin, nature to live independent of God and his principles. The believer is outright indulging in sinful practices, which would give demons legal rights to exist in the life of the believer while serving the Lord," said Green.
He said that for Christians to fight effectively and overcome, they must be empowered through knowledge.
"The word of God reminds us that the righteous are delivered through knowledge. It becomes imperative that the Church review its curriculum in order to educate its membership as to their position in Christ, the elements of the world and how to be empowered by the kingdom of God through knowledge," he said, adding that Christians have been deceiving themselves for a long while now regarding man being an embodied spirit, as man's main task is to please his Creator.
"However, there is another spiritual entity that has a vested interest in man with its purpose of marring and usurping the will of God for man."