Thursday, September 17, 2015

Is it Wrong for a Christian to have a Dreamcatcher?

By Reverend Mark Hunnemann

“When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering,5 anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or cone who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the LORD your God, 14 for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this.
“If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people. 7 Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. 8 Keep my statutes and do them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you.
Psalm 3:5   I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.
6  I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
Psalm 4:8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king win haste and said thus to him: “I have found among the exiles from Judah a man who will make known to the king the interpretation.” 26 The king declared to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?” 27 Daniel answered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these: 29 To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be after this, and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be. 30 But gas for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind.


Dream catchers have long been a part of Native American religion, lore, and art, originating with the Ojibwe, or Chippewa, and the Lakota, a confederation of seven Sioux tribes. Dream catchers are webbed and beaded circles hung with feathers from the base of the circle. As the name suggests,, the purpose of a dream catcher is to catch dreams—that is, to trap bad or evil dreams and channel good dreams to the sleeper. Dream catchers are usually placed in a window or above the bed, allowing the good dreams to drip down the feathers onto the sleeper below.
Millions of Americans adorn their bedrooms,front porches, and various rooms in their homes with dream catchers. It has become extremely popular and fashionable to own a dream catcher. The motive or intent of why folks buy and display them vary—for some it is merely an interesting piece of historical art…..looks cool….Others do so for protection while sleeping. However, since the name is so self-explanatory, when a person purchases/displays one, they can’t help but know what their purpose is. Besides, we usually have mixed motives when doing most anything. For example, while a person may primarily buy a dream catcher simply because they think it is cool, deep down they know the crystal clear intentions of those who originally made and used them. It is, after all, a DREAM CATCHER!

My guess is that the vast majority of folks who buy them do so with at least some desire for them to produce the results for which they were originally created….positive vibes while sleeping and warding off bad dreams. But regardless of intent, is there any problem or danger in the use of a dream catcher? To answer that, consider the following fact….

Essentially, a dream catcher is intended to manipulate the spirit world.
You may wish to re-read the last sentence. Folks have become enamored with all things Native American. What many folks may not realize is how much of their religion is focused on spiritism and other attempts to manipulate the spirit realm.
Most Native American tribes believe that the souls of the dead pass into a spirit world and become part of the spiritual forces that influence every part of their daily lives.
Deuteronomy 18, Leviticus 19, 20 list forbidden practices…they are all attempts to communicate/manipulate the spirit world. While dream catchers are not explicitly mentioned in the bible, what they purport to do (protect our dreams) is a demonic lie. We are to look to God alone for protection, while awake or asleep. God demands that we look to Him alone for protection (Psalm 125:2…see verses above) If we are anxious we are to look to Him alone (Philippians 4:6-7)
To look to a man-made object to protect our dreams is idolatry. That in itself should be enough to steer clear of them. God is jealous, and He will not share His glory with His creation.
By their very nature, dream catchers are unclean. Spiritually polluted. Objects which are unclean and are used for unclean purposes, can attract demonic attention or even attachment to the object. Recently I cleansed a young woman’s room which had a dream catcher on her door (and a voodoo necklace), which were removed.. I don’t think that her room was infested, but better safe than sorry…many others have not been as fortunate..
Am I saying that every person who owns a dream catcher is under demonic oppression? No. I’m not. However, not every person who owns and uses a Ouija board is under demonic oppression either.Nevertheless, owning a Ouija board is playing with fire….playing spiritual Russian Roulette.The purpose of a Ouija board is manipulating the spirit realm, as is a dream catcher. This will become clearer as we see the connection between spirits and dreams in Native American thought.
There are many stories about folks coming under attack when they placed a dream catcher in their home, and the activity stopped when it was removed….similar to the experience countless other folks have had when they played around with many other types of occult objects.Those  of us who do cleansings of homes know how important it is to extract/destroy any and all objects that may have some ritualistic connection to the occult.
Some things are mysteries, but one thing is crystal clear—dream catchers, are by their very nature, spiritually unclean objects. Even if you only view your dream catcher as purely adornment, we need to ask how God views your dream catcher. In the above texts He makes it abundantly clear that ANY objects whose purpose is to manipulate the spirit realm is an abomination in His eyes.(Deuteronomy 18:9-14) As I mentioned last week God is love, but He is an intellectual authoritarian. He demands that our thoughts conform to His Word, and not be conformed to sentimental or romantic ideas of false religions.
According to Romans 1:18ff non-Christian religions (though they all have noble elements in them), are essentially demonically originated lies, designed to flee from the Living God. This may not be politically correct, but we must seek to please God and not man. Throughout the bible non-Christian religions are seen as attempts to flee from the Living God, and not an attempt to seek Him.(Isaiah 40-48) In Colossians 2:8 elemental spirits (stoichea) are the demonic forces behind the false teachings of humans.
In Genesis 40-41 Joseph, and in Daniel (see text above), are both given interpretations of the kings dreams. It is important to note that both of these godly men deflected the glory away from themselves and towards the Living God, who alone can interpret the king’s dreams. No pagan occultist could accomplish this. The point is that God is in control of all things (Ephesians 1:11), including our sleep and dreams. To impute to a pagan artifact the ability to control or interpret part of God’s world—our sleep and dreams—is cosmic treason. It is idolatry. The texts in the Psalm 3 and 4 state that we are safe while we sleep only because the Living God protects us! (see Psalm 91) Yahweh is our refuge, our fortress, our protector, and only under His wings do we find redemption and protection.
Perhaps I should have placed this earlier, but we need to understand dream catchers in the context of Native American spirituality in general, and the Ojibwe in particular. The first article summarizes what most Native Americans believe regarding ghosts and spirits. The second article summarizes the spiritual beliefs of the Objibwe, the tribe thought to have created the dream catcher.

Native Americans: Ghosts & Spirits
American spiritual beliefs hold rich accounts of ghosts and spirits - that the dead live on and even visit us. Death is typically viewed as a door into the next life, or world, and not something to be feared but embraced.
"We believe that the spirit pervades all creation and that every creature possesses a soul in some degree, though not necessarily a soul conscious to itself. The tree, the waterfall, the grizzly bear, each is an embodied force, and as such an object of reverence." - Ohiyesa, Sioux 1902 (aka Charles Eastman)
The Native American belief in spirit (and ghost) visitation can be found in an amazing speech made in 1854, by Chief Seattle:
"And when the last red man shall have perished from the earth and his memory among white men shall have become a myth, these shores shall swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children's children shall think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway or in the silence of the woods, they will not be alone." - Chief Seattle, 1854
This incredible Native American idea of spirit interaction with the living, what we call spirits or ghosts, could be understood as meaning that Chief Seattle's people (Suquamish) will be with us, for we are all connected as one, great humanity - brothers. However, his address from 1854 is also haunting as we continue to read his words for he seemed to give a warning that, in the afterlife, ghosts and spirits affect the living:
"The white man will never be alone. Let him be just and lindly deal with my people, for the dead are not powerless. Dead - I say? There is no death. Only a change of worlds."
We might say that Native American beliefs in the afterlife reveal a hidden, spirit world that interacts with this earthly plane - a greater, underlying connection that exists before our eyes - many remaining unaware of its existence. Black Elk, a Lakota Sioux medicine man, had much to say about the unseen world of Spirit co-existing with the physical world we know:
“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when theyrealize at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”
"The Great Spirit is everywhere; he hears whatever is in our minds and our hearts, and it is not necessary to speak to him in a loud voice."
This idea of a Great Spirit being everywhere and within everything is the meaning behind Black Elk's words. Here are two more quotes from this great Native American:
“Peace will come to the hearts of men when they realize their oneness with the universe. It is everywhere.”
“The Holy Land is everywhere.”
Another example of this idea is reflected in the story of how the great warrior, Crazy Horse, was said to have found his courage and strength. According to the book, Black Elk Speaks, Crazy Horse shared with Black Elk his vision that occurred in the spirit world:
“Crazy Horse dreamed and went into the world where there is nothing but the spirits of all things. That is the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that one.”
Crazy Horse also described his horse floating and moving differently above the field (thus, "Crazy Horse") in his powerful vision. It's been said that he was able to move in and out between the spirit realm and the physical world, able to see both, and so his courage and power was greater than most men.
Let's consider the concept that people can make a choice to move beyond this plane after death of the body but still interact with the living (at times, as loving, guiding spirits often seen in dreams and visions), or consistently remain behind, earthbound and troubled (what we would call ghosts). We can find this choice upon death of the body reflected in Native American beliefs by reading A Speech to the Dead by Native American (Luiseno) Chief Fox:
"Now this day you have ceased to see daylight.
Think only of what is good.
Do not think of anything uselessly.
You must think all the time of what is good.
You will go and live with our nephew.
And do not think evil towards these your relatives.
When you start to leave them this day you must not think backwards of them with regret.
And do not think of looking back at them.
And do not feel badly because you have lost sight of this daylight.
This does not happen today to you alone, so that you thus be alone when you die.
Bless the people so that they may not be sick.
This is what you will do.
You must merely bless them so that they may live as mortals here.
You must always think kindly.
Today is the last time I shall speak to you.
Now I shall cease speaking to you, my relative."

Ojibwe Spirituality and Beliefs

Spiritual Connections
The Ojibwe people believe in the Great Spirit or Creator. Their Creator holds a supernatural power that it shares with all aspects of nature, humans, and the forces of the universe, such as the sun, moon, lightning, ghosts, and thunder. All of these non-living and living things posses animistic spirits, some of which are evil and some of which are good. The Ojibwe oral tradition states that these good spirits can help the people in their quest for self-awareness, growth, and spiritual development because everyone and everything in nature are spiritually connected and influence each other.

The Vision Quest
When a young Ojibwe boy or girl reaches the age of adolescence, they are expected to begin a journey called a "vision quest". This quest leads them into the wilderness, where one can find seclusion from the outside world. On these quests, the young Ojibwe practices fasting and meditation in an attempt to invoke a vision or dream. Through these dreams, one becomes capable of being guided on a spiritual path. The main purpose of a vision quest is to discover a spiritual guide. This guide typically comes in the form of an animal, only revealing itself with an important message when it so chooses. The success of a young Ojibwe's vision quest may determine their potential role as a Shaman, or spiritual leader, later in life. Spiritual development continues into adulthood where one discovers the meaning of life and moral responsibilities. Transitioning through each stage of life, an Ojibwe eventually reaches old age, and their sacred journey becomes fulfilled. It is then the responsibility of the elder to impart their wisdom and teachings unto the young tribal members.

The Medicine Man and the "Shaking Tents"
The Ojibwe medicine man is both a physical and spiritual healer. He is the tribe's connection to the spiritual world, who calls upon powers and knowledge through song and prayer. The medicine man is responsible for a great deal of knowledge concerning the tribe's ways of life, spiritual healing, and plant and herbal properties. Most importantly, the medicine man is responsible for teaching his young tribal members the Ojibwe way of life and the importance of spiritual healing.

The Ojibwe practice a ritual known as the "shaking tent". The main purpose of a shaking tent is to consult with the spirits about a health issue or an important event in the future. During this ritual, the ailing person lays outside the tent, or wigwam, while the medicine man goes inside to sing or pray to the spirits. Then, when the spirits are present, the tent begins to shake back and forth. The medicine man asks for their advice, and they answer with many different voices, sounding like a crowd. The medicine man then treats the ill person and tells them of the message sent by the spirits.

While there is great diversity of belief amongst Native Americans, they generally share an occultic cosmology….shamnism. Though Native Americans decry the abuse of the dream catcher by New Agers, their spirituality is quite similar to New Age, which is actually quite old.Hopefully the above quotes/article clarify the dangerous side of Native American spirituality.
It is common knowledge that Native American lands are prone to being infested. (For many paranormal investigators one of the first things they seek is whether or not there is an Indian connection.)  Many folks assume that the reason for the infestation is that these people, and especially their dead, have been desecrated. And there is no doubt that this has happened on a large scale, which is tragic.
However, given the intensely spiritistic nature of Native American spirituality, may I suggest that the land was spiritually polluted by their beliefs and practices…and generations of occultic ceremonies. Remember, ALL non-Christian religions originated and are continually energized by demons.(see Colossians 2:6ff) When you combine that with the fact that Native American spirituality is occultic to the core (all is one….animism….daily seeking of interaction with ‘spirits. ect) Suppose a group of 10,000 witches settled on a land and for generations  practiced their incantations, ect, What do you think would happen to that land? In the Old Testament we are told that the spiritistic practices of the Canaanites polluted the land so badly that the land vomited them out.Witches have a high view of nature, like Native Americans, and many similar beliefs. Why would we think that generations of witches may spiritually pollute the land (causing infestation), but not with Native Americans?
Americans, including many Christians, have a high regard for Native American religion. Perhaps we feel that way due to their being the ‘original inhabitants”…..or that they were treated so horribly (which they were)….or that they have such a high regard for nature. Even though almost all religions have some good traits, we must not forget that Jesus is the only way to salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 John 5:13, ect.). Apart from Christ we are not merely spiritually sick, but we are DEAD. It was Jesus, and not Christians, who created this “narrowness”. However, given our rebellion, we are blessed that God provided one way of salvation!

Once we understand the context/cosmology of dream catchers and how they are tied to an occultic spirituality, then that should put them in proper perspective.For God’s glory, and for your safety, please get rid of all Native American artifacts, especially dream catchers or masks.

One of the most critical issues facing the Native Christian Church today is the effort to revive, adapt and utilize Native cultural forms in worship of the church. In the light of the resurgence of Native religious traditionalism, the coming of the peyote movement (Native American Church), the influx of New Age philosophy, and questions concerning Native spirituality and Biblical truth, we as Native believers in Christ, from a score of tribes and with hundreds of combined years of experience in tribal ministry among us, have gathered together to speak with one voice on these subjects to the body of Christ at large, basing our responses on the clear statements of the revealed Word of God.

1Tm 4:1, 2Tim 4:3-4, 2Cor. 4:1-2, 1Pet 4.- 1.

1. As Native leaders,

3. We believe our salvation is in the finished work of Christ and that we cannot add anything to that work to improve our relationship with God. As believers, we should not, therefore, use or attach any spiritual value to items regarded as sacred such as tobacco, cedar smoke, sweet grass, peyote, prayer feathers, fetishes, masks, drums, dances, etc.; to places regarded as sacred such as mother earth, kivas, mountains, sweat lodge, longhouse, or other traditional religious places of worship, etc.; or to spirit beings
Acts 4:12, 1Tim. 2:5-6, Josh. 24.14-15, Mark 7:1-9,
5. We believe we are redeemed and purified only through the blood of Christ for forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation; therefore, we should not teach that a Native can be purified by any other means (smoke, sweats, smudging, other blood sacrifices, etc.). To do so is to substitute or add Native rituals and ceremonies to the finished work of Christ.

1Pet. 1:18-19, Eph. 1:7, Heb. 9:12-14, 22, 1Jn. 1:7, Col. 1:14, Tit. 3:5, Eph. 2:8-9, Col. 2:7-10, Col. 2:20 - 3:2.

6. We believe that Christ has set us free and that the liberty we have in Christ should not be used as a license to introduce anything from the native traditional ways that would hinder our lives in Christ, that would offend any of our fellow believers, or that would hinder our witness to unbelievers.

Gal. 5:1, Jn. 8: Gal. 5:13-15, 1Cor. 8, 1Cor. 10:31-33, Rom 6:16-18.

7. We believe that Christ reigns supreme above all cultures. When Christ redeems and transforms us through faith and obedience to His Word, then Christ will transform our culture through us. (We believe that Christ only redeems people by His blood; the Bible does not teach redemption of culture). At the same time, we affirm that there are many good traditions within our Native cultures, which enhance the lives of both Christians and non-Christians. Such traditions include: respect for elders, love for children, sharing with others, entertaining strangers, considering others before oneself, honoring the accomplishments of others, etc. These all are outstanding examples of the scriptural "law of love" and are to be encouraged.

Eph. 1:20-23, Col. 1:16-18, Phil. 2:9-11, 1Pet. 2:9-12, Gal. 2:20, 2Cor. 5:17, Rom. 12:1-2, Rom. 1:5-6, Tit. 3:5, Gal. 2:16, Eph. 2:8-9, Rev. 5:9, Heb. 9:22, Eph. 1:7-8, Eph. 2:12-13, 1Pet. 1:18-19, 2Thes. 2:15, Phil. 4:8-9.

By biblical truth, we mean the sole authority of the divine revelation of God to man, clearly inspired by the Holy Spirit in the Holy Scriptures, and not what man thinks about God.

By native religious traditionalism, we mean the influence of the unwritten rules concerning spiritual conduct in our historical cultures which are not in accord with the revealed Word of God.

One of the most critical issues facing the Native Christian Church today is the effort to revive, adapt and utilize Native cultural forms in worship of the church. In the light of the resurgence of Native religious traditionalism, the coming of the peyote movement (Native American Church), the influx of New Age philosophy, and questions concerning Native spirituality and Biblical truth, we as Native believers in Christ, from a score of tribes and with hundreds of combined years of experience in tribal ministry among us, have gathered together to speak with one voice on these subjects to the body of Christ at large, basing our responses on the clear statements of the revealed Word of God.

1Tm 4:1, 2Tim 4:3-4, 2Cor. 4:1-2, 1Pet 4.- 1.

1. As Native leaders, we believe that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is personal, eternal, and pre-exists all of creation. God is both the Creator and the Reason for all creation, including the heavens and the earth, plant life, animal life, and man. Life originated from God who is our true heavenly Father, not from earth as our "mother".

Gen. 1:26, Heb. 4.14, Jn 1:14, 1Tim. 1:17, Jn 1:1-3, Col. 1:16-17, Neh. 9:6, Rom. 1:20, Acts 17:26-30, Gen. 2:7, Deut. 32:39, Psa. 104:5, Isa 51:6, Job 12.7-9.

2. We believe that Christ should have preeminence and permeates all aspects of our l ves and, through us, all aspects of our cultures, to promote the glory of God. God will not share His glory with anything in creation. To do so is idolatry. To combine elements of Native religion and Biblical truth is syncretism. We must renounce and avoid any form of idolatry and syncretism, because they are forbidden in Scripture.

Deut. 32:39, Col. 1:17-19, Eph. 1:6,12,14, Heb. 1:3-4, 1Cor. 10:31, Isa 42:8, Ex. 20:3-6, Rom. 1:23, CoL 3:5, 2Ki. 40:41, 2Cor. 6:14-17, 2Cor 4.2, Acts 19:18-20, ICor. 5:11, Isa 42:17.

3. We believe our salvation is in the finished work of Christ and that we cannot add anything to that work to improve our relationship with God. As believers, we should not, therefore, use or attach any spiritual value to items regarded as sacred such as tobacco, cedar smoke, sweet grass, peyote, prayer feathers, fetishes, masks, drums, dances, etc.; to places regarded as sacred such as mother earth, kivas, mountains, sweat lodge, longhouse, or other traditional religious places of worship, etc.; or to spirit beings such as kachinas, skin walkers, animal and nature spirits, etc.

Jn. 19:30, Eph. 2:8-9, 5:8-12, Ex. 20:1-5, Isa. 1:13-16, Deut. 18:9-13, Jn. 4:21-24, Deut. 12:2, 2Chron. 34:4, Thes. 1:9.

4. We believe that Christ has always been and always will be the one and only mediator between God and man. Man is totally helpless to reach God through any traditional spiritual efforts such as Native ceremonies, rituals and forms of worship.

Jn. 14:6, Acts 4:12, 1Tim. 2:5-6, Josh. 24.14-15, Mark 7:1-9, Rom. 3:9-18,23, Col. 2:20-23.

5. We believe we are redeemed and purified only through the blood of Christ for forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation; therefore, we should not teach that a Native can be purified by any other means (smoke, sweats, smudging, other blood sacrifices, etc.). To do so is to substitute or add Native rituals and ceremonies to the finished work of Christ.

1Pet. 1:18-19, Eph. 1:7, Heb. 9:12-14, 22, 1Jn. 1:7, Col. 1:14, Tit. 3:5, Eph. 2:8-9, Col. 2:7-10, Col. 2:20 - 3:2.

6. We believe that Christ has set us free and that the liberty we have in Christ should not be used as a license to introduce anything from the native traditional ways that would hinder our lives in Christ, that would offend any of our fellow believers, or that would hinder our witness to unbelievers.

Gal. 5:1, Jn. 8:32,, Gal. 5:13-15, 1Cor. 8, 1Cor. 10:31-33, Rom 6:16-18.

7. We believe that Christ reigns supreme above all cultures. When Christ redeems and transforms us through faith and obedience to His Word, then Christ will transform our culture through us. (We believe that Christ only redeems people by His blood; the Bible does not teach redemption of culture). At the same time, we affirm that there are many good traditions within our Native cultures, which enhance the lives of both Christians and non-Christians. Such traditions include: respect for elders, love for children, sharing with others, entertaining strangers, considering others before oneself, honoring the accomplishments of others, etc. These all are outstanding examples of the scriptural "law of love" and are to be encouraged.

Eph. 1:20-23, Col. 1:16-18, Phil. 2:9-11, 1Pet. 2:9-12, Gal. 2:20, 2Cor. 5:17, Rom. 12:1-2, Rom. 1:5-6, Tit. 3:5, Gal. 2:16, Eph. 2:8-9, Rev. 5:9, Heb. 9:22, Eph. 1:7-8, Eph. 2:12-13, 1Pet. 1:18-19, 2Thes. 2:15, Phil. 4:8-9.

Definitions:

By biblical truth, we mean the sole authority of the divine revelation of God to man, clearly inspired by the Holy Spirit in the Holy Scriptures, and not what man thinks about God.

By native religious traditionalism, we mean the influence of the unwritten rules concerning spiritual conduct in our historical cultures which are not in accord with the revealed Word of God.

By native culture, we mean the dynamic learned lifeways, beliefs and values of our people as revealed in our languages, customs, relationships, arts and rituals. In native culture, religion permeates all aspects of life and is often identified as being the culture, even though it is only an aspect of it.
• By syncretism, we refer specifically to the subtle attempt to integrate Biblical truth and faith in Christ with non-biblical Native religious beliefs, practices, and forms. The result is an adulteration of biblical truth and the birth of "another gospel (Gal 1: 6-9)."

By idolatry, we mean exchanging the worship of the Creator for the worship of the creation. The Bible teaches that we must not "exchange the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures (Ro. 1:23)."

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