A Dangerous Question – Does Satan Exist?

In The Pastor's Blog on March 31, 2009 at 11:00 PM

My wife and I were channel-surfing last week when we came upon a program which literally shocked us to our bones. We watched in awe as one of the ministers we admired many years ago literally speak words that so totally opposed our beliefs, it was beyond our understanding.

One of our favorite gospel artists was Carmen, but we haven’t listened to him in a very long time. Tastes change, and our certainly did. We still listen to his music if we happen to hear it, and remember some of the songs which made him so influential years ago. We haven’t kept up with him over the years, so we don’t even know what he’s doing these days.

Carmen’s pastor, at least when we were keeping up with him, was a man named Carlton Pearson. My wife and I used to love listening to Carmen’s CDs when Carlton would show up and sing along with him. Oh, those were some good times. No doubt about it, Carlton Pearson is full of talent.

On the 26th of March, 2009, there was another Face-Off aired on NBC, which just happened to be the first one I’ve ever seen. The Face-Off took place on the 20th at Mars Hill Church and was hosted by ABC Nightline’s Dan Harris. It was quite shocking, to say the least. The four panel guests were:  Deepak Chopra and Bishop Carlton Pearson facing-off against Pastor Mark Driscoll of the Mars Hill Church and Annie Lobert, founder of the Christian ministry “Hookers for Jesus” about the existence of the Devil. All I can say is, “Wow!” There sure was a lot of hot air coming from the first two on the panel.

I know what I believe, and am convinced both God and Satan exist. Understand, I do not worship Satan, but give honor and glory to God my Father, and his Son, Jesus Christ. I believe in the power and majesty of the gospel of Christ and am persuaded the Spirit of God still works in the lives of people who are saved by faith in the shed blood of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Now, it’s your turn. Do you believe the devil, or Satan, is real? Please answer with thoughtful reasoning. Thank you.

  1. I think our understanding of Satan can be fantasy but he is def. in the Bible and he is def. working in our world today. The debate is interesting and being someone who is both interested in Driscoll and Pearson. I think Driscoll did well but I really wish the debate was just between those two, Driscoll and Pearson and not Chopra or the former Prostitute.

    • Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment. The debate was interesting, to be sure. I think Dan Harris did a good job keeping the subject on track and flowing. You’re right about a debate between Driscoll and Pearson in that it would be a good one.

      The word of God is full of absolutes, and one of them is the fact Satan exists. Jesus spoke of hell, too, and warned people not to go there. I’m not quite sure what you meant by “our understanding of Satan can be fantasy”. That many people believe he looks red and has a pitch fork does not negate the fact he is cunning and is a deceiver. He is the father of lies, too.

      Again, thanks for your comments.

  2. I think Pearson had given Satan to much power, and that we view him as more powerful then he actually is. Doesn’t mean there aren’t powerful forces of evil, but they have been defeated on the Cross and will be defeated at some future date.

  3. Satan is real, and this world is his with tight controls by God or else we’d all be destroyed or suffering at much greater levels. Jesus saved people from Satan and evil spirits when he walked the earth. Jesus told us about Satan and the other angels that rebelled with him, and the Revelation of John gives us specific examples of the power that angels wield in this creation and exactly what Satan and his forces will do before being thrown in the lake of fire.

    For me it came down to a late night when I was a young Christian and curious about evil spirits as I read the Bible. It was after 2am on a weekend off when I worked graveyard, so after unusually heavy rains I went to an AM/PM to see the flooded streets and grab a snack. There was a woman under the front awning with a small suitcase talking to herself. On my way out I offered her some food thinking she might be hungry. Her somewhat ditsy demeanor changed instantly. I saw hatred in her eyes, then I got a condescending comment about being a nice man as she took the food. The interesting thing was I was filled with fear and eager to get away. It took me a moment to put it together. I sat in my car wondering why I was so afraid as I’m 6’2″, 200 lbs and capable of defending myself, and she was small. Then I recognized how she changed as if taken control of at that exact moment. It was in the eyes for sure, but the speech changed and on some level, probably spiritually I was made aware of exactly what I was dealing with. Then I became aware that I hadn’t witnessed her talking with herself at all before, but that she was being tormented by an evil spirit capable of taking control. I prayed for the woman not capable of doing much else for her. Satan and his demons are real and tormenting people all over the earth this very day.

    • bugz, thanks for dropping by again; you always have something to add to the conversation. That was quite an eye-opening experience you had, and one I don’t doubt at all. You brought it down to reality, and that is the devil is a tormentor who enjoys destroying lives.

      Thank God forever, one day both he and his cohorts will be put down eternally by the power of our loving Father.

  4. Whenever I think about this subject I’m always reminded of a quote from the movie The Usual Suspects: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.”

    I absolutely believe there is an actual devil, a rebellious, fallen angel. I believe the basic teachings regarding him as the Bible reveals, and as orthodox and evangelical Christianity teach.

    Unfortunately, Carlton Pearson has apparently swayed from his former teachings and beliefs. When I last read about him several years ago he was defending “universal reconciliation.”

    • e.b.,
      It’s so sad to see what has become of Carlton Pearson, how he has been so duped and fallen so far. I really don’t know what to say about the situation other than the fact Satan is the master deceiver.

  5. Well I got here late so I can’t add anything that hasn’t already been said. To Bugz: I read your account and felt a cold shiver. I’ve often wondered what my reaction would be if I came face to face with a demon as you did.

    In answer to your question, as I said I can’t add anything further but to agree that the Bible and Jesus clearly referred to Satan. I think Job is the most illustrious example of who and what Satan is and what he is capable of.

    And what he is capable of is absolutely nothing unless God the Father allows it. I think that Christians give Satan entirely too much power. What I mean is that we spend so much time battling Satan and demons when Jesus has already defeated Satan for us.

    According to the Bible all we have to do is resist Satan and he will flee. So why do we spend so much time hollering and battling him? It takes our eye of the ball and the ball is worship of God.

    I’m rambling. Hope I made sense.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • AJs_Dad,
      Your comments are both welcome and right on. Yes, I think we give too much power to Satan; the eternal Son of God has already defeated him, and that is a fact.

      My congregation hears this all the time: don’t blame Satan for your clogged arteries if you can’t resist eating that 5th pork chop and third piece of chocolate cake. Don’t blame Satan for your weak spirit if you won’t spend quality time with God through prayer and reading his word. Don’t blame Satan for the hole in your bag if you fail to give God his portion.

      Do I give Satan no power at all? Absolutely not. The word of God is plain regarding Satan’s power and influence, though. He is a liar from the beginning and the father of lies.

      Oh, that people would see the wool Satan has pulled over their eyes!

  6. My husband and I watched the program. It was telling, the amount of arrogance from Chopra and Pearson. It seems they felt they had “evolved” to a higher level of thought than we can comprehend, thinking we hold onto a medieval thought of Satan. And I suppose some do.

    I don’t believe in the medieval Satan, but I definitely believe in the one the Bible makes known. I’m thankful God is omniscient and omnipresent, while being all-powerful as the Lord of Hosts. Satan’s got nothin’ on Him. Without God’s permission, he can’t touch God’s people. That’s so good to know.

    • Michelle,
      Yes, Chopra and Pearson spoke of evolution as though it was fact. The earth bazillions of years old – I think not. Neither you nor I came from salamanders oozing up from the ocean floor somewhere. How ridiculous.

      The scriptures are plain about Satan being an angel of light.
      II Corinthians 11:14 (KJV) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
      II Corinthians 11:14 (ESV) And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

      I would love to know what brought Carlton Pearson to his warped view of the scriptures. What did Satan sell him that he would turn from the one true living God the way he has? Ooops. 😳 I’m not evolved enough to ask questions like that.

  7. Satan certainly does exist, although I am not convinced he is a being with a pitchfork and tail. I believe the Bible teaches that he was beautiful angel and maybe that is one reason he holds so much power over man. He can not force you or I to do anything against our will, but he is not called the great deceiver for no reason. He does have power, but his greatest power is his ability to deceive mankind.

    • Larry,
      I certainly agree with you on all your comments. Thanks for adding to the discussion. BTW, did you happen to see the show in question? We were appalled, to say the least.

  8. I haven’t watched all of it, but the segments I have watched are way off base. The two gentlemen who are trying to explain Satan away are missing the entire point of the discussion. It’s no wonder our world is in the shape it is in with that kind of thinking.

  9. Years ago when I moved to grad school in Ohio, I spent the first several weeks waking up at 3am in absolute terror. At first I thought it was just stress about the move and being in a new place on my own, but I thought it odd that I kept waking at the same time. When I spoke to a pastor about it, he told me that area was home to a large satanic cult and that 3am was their gathering hour and time of “prayer” to Satan. I immediately sought prayers from fellow Christians, and each night before going to bed, I would pray God’s protection around every inch of my apartment and my person. I didn’t wake up at 3am again during the 3 years I lived there.

    • I definitely believe you, Kerry. Sadly, many people still believe Satan is just a guy wearing a red suit with horns and wielding a pitchfork. Oh, he’s a sly one, to be sure.

      Satan is real and his days are numbered. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ already has plans for him and those who continue to follow him. We must keep this in mind as we live our lives – we win. Satan is the ultimate loser; unfortunately, there are scores of people who choose to be blinded by his cunning charms.

  10. When I first moved to Tulsa, OK, I was attending Bishop Pearson’s church. It was awesome! His preaching/teaching was great and the worship was like nothing I had ever experienced.

    A few years later, while I was doing my bachelor at ORU, the news came out that Pearson had walked away from the tenets of the gospel. To this day, it saddens my heart.

    It seem I often hear that scripture in my head that says [paraphrase] “even the very elect will be deceived.” I wonder how many more pastors will fall for the wrong way?

    • Dominique,
      What an experience that must been as you worshiped in the bishop’s church. The singing and ministry of the word must have been powerful. To see him now must be an awful shock to many of the ones who sat on the same pew you did. Sadly, there are many who don’t even realize what’s happened to him.

      The scriptures also teach us judgment begins at the house of God. We must look at ourselves through the eyes of the Spirit and eternal word of God. The scriptures are very plain about being drawn away of our own lusts.

      Thanks for the comments.

  11. I just want to say that I am so surprised and disappointed in Carlton Pearson. He used to be one of my favorite Bishops. But now, it is a disgrace to know what he stands for. You know that the Bible tells us (You) study to show yourself approve. We should study the word of God for ourselves because man will deceive you everytime. How could a strong, powerful man like Pearson will the devil take control of him? What happened man? You have been studying and reading the wrong books. Hey world, let’s pray for our brother. Something happened to him. He is not thinking straight. Bishop Pearson, Satan is so real. He is killing people everyday. Do not let him get you. He is a deceiver. I want God to save you. Open your heart to God not Satan. Saints, let’s pray. God loves him.

    • Linda, it is a shame about Carlton Pearson. It was such a shock when my wife and I first found out about what happened to him. Choices in life lead us to where we are and where we go. The same holds true with this man who used to be such a powerful minister of the gospel. Yes, I agree with you about praying for him; Christ is his only hope. Thanks for dropping by.

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