Deb’s Dozen: Christian Basics can Deliver Us from Evil on The Soul Journey Home
I had the most delightful conversation last week with Kent and Katie Philpott, authors of a multitude of books. The three we covered in our interview were Christian Basics, Deliver Us from Evil, and The Soul Journey.
Christian Basics: Lessons, Debates, and Conversations is a just what the title suggests—a book on the basic tenets of Christianity—those facets which are non-negotiable if you want to be a Christian, those areas that are still debated among theologians, and things about which we can have a conversation, but which don’t really impact the issue of whether one is a Christian or not.
The book is a great reference book, is well-organized, and is well thought out. I asked Kent why he felt the need to write such a book at this particular time. He responded it was due to pastoral need. He has been the pastor of Miller Avenue Baptist Church in Mill City, CA, for thirty-one years (his wife and son also minister there). He found that he “all of a sudden” seemed to have a large group of new Christians who needed instruction in the basics—hence the book. He wished he’d had such a book at the beginning of his Christian walk.
Telling me a bit of his background, he said he’d been saved when he was twenty-one years old in a Southern Baptist church, but never understood the basic theologies; however, he has studied significantly to come up with his system of beliefs. From an Arminian beginning, he now considers himself a believer of moderate Reformed theology—not a one hundred percent follower of TULIP (Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, Preservation of the Saints), he has some problems with Total Depravity, but acknowledges that we are all totally dependent on God’s grace. He was particularly interested in two presentations in the America’s Awakening series: Zale Nettleton and Charles Finney. They debated the issue of conversion from opposite points of view. In fact, in 1985, Kent penned the book The Mystery of Conversion.
His favorite part of Christian Basics is the last section on intramural conversations. He chose ten areas that are “hot buttons” among Christians, but are not deal breakers. Topics like abortion, divorce, gifts of the Spirit, about which many have differing views.
I asked him what he learned about Kent writing the Basics book. He said he learned that theology is not something that is a simple presentation. He tried to keep in mind the audience he was addressing—which was not an audience of his peers. He realized that he was too complicated—and needed to learn how to present in a way that people could grasp at any level.
I recommend Christian Basics highly—a book everyone should have on their reference shelf. To purchase, click this link: Christian Basics: Lessons, Debates, and Conversations
The second book we discussed was Deliver Us from Evil: How Jesus Casts Out Demons Today. Kent told me he was involved in the Jesus People movement in 1967 in the San Francisco area. He saw so many people who were involved in cults, practitioners of Zen, Transcendental Meditation (TM) and the like. Many of these people had unwittingly become possessed by evil spirits. In 1973, Zondervan Publishing asked him to write a book on the topic, which was A Manual of Demonology and the Occult
After the book was published, he had people from all over the States and the world coming to him to be delivered. A church in San Francisco asked him to produce something they could give to their counselors as a resource to assist them in determining whether a person was demon-possessed or not. Deliver Us from Evil was the result.
I asked him if Christians can be demon-possessed and he replied that there is no really adequate answer: almost everyone who came to them to have demons cast out were Christians—one percent or less were non-believers. Kent has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in psychology (he wanted to be a high school counselor), which helps him to discern the problems those seeking help have. He stated quite firmly that issues such as schizophrenia and bi-polar are illnesses, not demonization. Demonization is real and any Christian can cast them out.
His view is that once a person has really become a Christian, they cannot be demonized. The people who come to him have usually been involved in something before like Tarot or Ouija boards or involvement with psychics or some other cultish activity. The other thing he sees is that people can be falsely converted but really weren’t at all. However, if someone comes to him and says they may have a demonic spirit, he doesn’t judge them but performs an exorcism. If they didn’t have a spirit, something else is bothering them that could be psychological. To purchase, click this link: Deliver Us from Evil: How Jesus Casts Out Demons Today
The Soul Journey: How Shamanism, Santeria, Wicca, and Charisma are Connected is the third book we discussed. He started studying this topic when a member of his congregation asked him to talk with her son who was being recruited into Santeria. He spent a couple of years studying the extant material about those religions and writing up his findings. (He has make videos of all his talks on the subject—many are posted on YouTube.)
Kent found that most of the material written about these areas by Christians are just attacks. He felt that an explanation of what these religions are and what is involved might be the best way to keep a person from going into one of them. He told me that in his area of California, in the area around his church, there are more atheists than Christians, more Buddhists than Christians, more Wiccans than Christians, more Shamans than Christians. In fact, Shamanism is the underlying foundation of the North American Indian faiths and also most of the Eastern religions.
In doing his research for The Soul Journey, he talked to Reb Anderson—a world-renowned Zen Master. Reb told him he encounters both benign and malevolent spirits in his trance state and that only the most sophisticated and trained can resist the influence of evil spirits. The problem is the trance state most of these religions encourage their followers to attain—once in a trance, the person can be approached by both good and evil spirits—the person speaking to them may not be God, but Satan.
The Philpotts see The Soul Journey as targeted toward non-Christians—to try to reach people and warn them of the dangers of getting involved. Use the link to purchase: The Soul Journey: How Shamanism, Santeria, Wicca, and Charisma are Connected
Asked what his readers might not know about him, he chuckled and said he’d spent thirty years at San Quentin as a volunteer and eighteen years as a baseball coach. He loves baseball!
If you’re interested in delving into these areas more deeply, Kent and Katie publish an online blog called Earthen Vessel Journal—they get about 2500-3500 visitors each month. About half the articles are on Santeria and Wicca. His website is: http://kentphilpott.com/