A Trip to Booksale: Finding Christian books at a Second Hand/Used Bookstore

21 05 2010

Want to do something that will flex you Christian life? Read a Christian book! But you don’t have a budget to buy those books at National or PCBS. Go to Booksale!

Booksale is a popular second hand or used bookstore in the Philippines from a company called Visual Mix Inc. It’s a sort of ukay-ukay for books. They sell those books (from novels, children’s, coffee tables, comics etc.) in a very cheap price. It also carries new and back issues of magazines, local and international. You can find it at malls as stalls or a store branch. Sometimes it has Christian books that are classics and written by famous authors.

For years now, I’ve brought books at Booksale. Some had impact my life. You don’t have to pay expensive Christian books just to fuel your Christian walk. You can find some treasures at Booksale.

This article intends to give advice and tips on finding a Christian book if you ever be or planning to go to Booksale.

For first timers: Prepare for a lot digging, flipping and bending for books at Booksale. But your effort will be paid off if you get hard to find or classic books in a very affordable price. It might surprise you that big stores sell that same book for a hefty price but find it at Booksale very cheap.

You might as well be informed that this is not a Christian bookstore. Booksales carries men’s magazines and other stuff Christians should not set eyes upon.

Another don’t expect for the sales clerk to know or find a book for you. They are not like those from big bookstores.

The budget: Booksale gives prices as low as P10. The price ranges to P10-75 and over 100 which are still cheap compare with popular bookstores. If you’re going there, it’s safe to have P50-100. If you’re lucky, with that amount you can buy 3-5 books. If the book is prolific in Booksale, you might as well wait for them to lower its price. I’ve observed that if a book wouldn’t sell, they will change the price. You might notice the multiple price stickers on the book. I brought books which are classic for as low as 10-25 pesos. They don’t price it because of the authors, but to sell and dispose it.

Some publishers you might look out while digging: This list will give some ease and save some time on what is a Christian book by looking at the publisher’s name. Some publishers are Whitaker, Tyndale, NavsPress, Revell, McMillan, Moody Press, Regal, Bethany House, Spire, New Leaf, CLC (Christian Literature Crusade), Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, Inter Varsity Press. These are legitimate Christian publishing company, but that doesn’t mean we should put off our discernment radar. Let’s use our Christian discernment by comparing those books with our stand in doctrine, morality, biblical worldview etc. Also I would recommend old stuff (50’s -70’s) from them which, I think still have biblical integrity rather that the new one (driven to just make money).

It will also help if you find a book or author to check them in the internet before buying it. You can search info, reviews, criticism and recommendations for that book and the author. Ask someone like a pastor or a fellow Christian if he knows something about the book you like to get.

Authors you shouldn’t miss: Booksale sometimes has great books by these authors: Chuck Swindoll, Josh McDowell, E.M. Bounds, Andrew Murray, Corrie Ten Boom, Charles Spurgeon, and C.S. Lewis. Some of these authors are available in thin pocketsize books. I spot Left Behind series, In His Steps and Lee Strobel’s A Case For Easter more recently. The list I provide are some that are prolific in Booksale (which I have seen in BS over the years) but not necessary always available.

Of course, there are Bibles in different versions and sizes you can find in Booksale. You can own the greatest book in the world for a very affordable price.

Topics or Category you may find: Mostly Christian living, devotional and discipleship.

Rarely are apologetics and theology.

Great titles that influence me: Here are some books I brought that greatly helped me in my Christian walk that I got from Booksale (and I hope you can find it too.)

  1. More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell
  2. Spiritual Maturity by J. Oswald Sanders
  3. In Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray
  4. Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
  5. Of The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis
  6. Discipleship: Up Close and Personal by Chuck Swindoll
  7. Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur Jr. (hardbound)
  8. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
  9. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  10. The Song by Calvin Miller

Books You Should Avoid: Once in awhile I find some books that have spiritual stuff but don’t uphold a biblical Christian stand. So please check carefully the book you’re buying. Here are some of them:

  1. self help
  2. Hare Krishna/Divine Consciousness
  3. Robert Schuller
  4. New Age, Yoga and Shirley MacLane
  5. Dianetics by Ron Hubbard
  6. Book of Mormon, Great Controversy, Steps to Christ and other so called religious text from cults.
  7. Horoscope and other fortune telling stuff.

Top Secret Tips: If you find something that you really like but forgot to bring cash or you budget it to something else and you don’t want to come back to find its gone, don’t worry. You can reserve the book for a few days with no additional fee till you can buy it. Just tell the sales clerk or cashier and they can keep it for you.

Booksale changes books every month. That means new (old) books with much lower prices are available. Sometime they do it every first day of the month. So before anyone get something, better know when they change products.

Advantages: Here are some advantages in buying at Booksale:

  1. The price is very low. As I have said, you can buy something for P10.
  2. If your fortunate a Christian book can be in hardbound.
  3. Popular, hard to find and out of print Christian books are available.
  4. Books are printed in the US.

Disadvantages: Although the prices are very low at Booksale (which is an advantage) there are some disadvantages.

  1. Quality of the books-sometimes (but not always) some got ugly because of the price sticker, has missing or falling away pages, worn out, torn and crumpled cover. Flap jackets are missing. Markings like “Used” or “Discarded”. Lots of pencil or ballpen markings.
  2. You won’t get what you want-unlike PCBS or National bookstore you can go to a section for a specific book or topic you’re looking for. Sometime you won’t find any that fits your taste.
  3. Sales clerk- aside for not having one attending, they don’t know about the books and won’t even recommend you one.
  4. Not all malls have Booksale.
  5. Some Christian books available at Booksale (or even at National or PCBS) can be read or in some cases downloaded in the internet for free.
  6. Some are old editions and not updated.
  7. Sometimes they don’t have multiple copies of a title.

Not all the time I buy at Booksale, I visit National or PCBS and purchase (if I have the budget) books that are new, fresh and relevant with the time or culture. Or simply research the internet for specific topics that are available in different digital format free.

Interesting stuff: Over the years of buying, collecting and reading books, I find in Booksale I notice some stuff worth noting. Some of the books are discarded from libraries in the US because it still carries the index card or has the name of the library stamp on the first page. In some books I own, you know it’s a gift because of the handwritten dedication for someone. You can also know who previously owns it with the sticker of the owner’s name complete with address! Other times, someone might be studying the book that you can see pencil or ballpen lines and hand written comments on the spaces of each page.

I hope this article help you in finding a worthy read for your enjoyment and spiritual growth. If you have some question you can send an e-mail: allstarboyscout@yahoo.com or use it to add me up in FaceBook. Booksale has a website:Booksale. Happy Christian book hunting at Booksale!

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Sex Sold: An Interview about Prostitution with Mastering Life Ministry

12 03 2010

We always hear these stories about prostitutes in some campus. They are students by day and prostitute by night. Others go by groups to a certain beach destination and sell their bodies. Its hard to imagine the oldest profession in the world can be found in an institution that promotes morality and dignity.

ROCK Ministry recently got a privilege to interview David Kyle Foster a former prostitute, now a pastor and heads Mastering Life Ministry and Pure Passion TV. We talk this very sensitive and controversial topic and we learned a lot from this issue.

ROCK Ministry:  First why prostitute yourself? Is their no other alternative to chose from for an individual? Do these individuals count what will cost them to sell their bodies? What really goes through their minds?

David Kyle Foster: The reasons people prostitute themselves vary widely. For me, I was very angry at God and wanted to do something that would demonstrate my extreme anger at Him. I happened to be at a location where prostitution was going on and accepted an offer from someone.

Financial need drives most prostitutes to do it. They are generally people who are being propositioned often anyway, so they decide to meet their need that way because it is the quickest way. They often dot not seriously consider the dangers because their need is so great.

ROCK Ministry:  What are the reasons why some goes to prostitution? I think no one will go to the mirror one day and say “I will prostitute myself today”.

David Kyle Foster: Sometimes people are violently forced into prostitution and sometimes they are tricked into it and then fed drugs and are beaten to keep them doing it.

Others continue because they are sex addicts and it becomes a way to satiate their unquenchable sexual appetite.

ROCK Ministry: I know that you have talked to people who gone to this line of “work”. What was the first time experience for them? How did they start? Do they look for a pimp or what?
David Kyle Foster: Every story is completely different. Some people are sold into prostitution by their parents or guardians. Others are lured by pimps. No one goes looking for a pimp. Male prostitutes almost never work for pimps.

ROCK Ministry:  What are the emotional and mental effects of having sex every night and getting paid for it? Especially for students how can they live a normal life by day and be a prostitute at night?
David Kyle Foster: Emotionally it is very difficult. It makes you feel less than human, worthless, perverted and sick. It is likely that the person already felt this way about themselves which is why they even considered prostitution to begin with. But to actually do it makes you feel like dirt.

ROCK Ministry: Are their any physical abuse? Any horror story you might have heard?
David Kyle Foster:  Every male prostitute gets beaten by about 10% of those who pick them up. For females, it is probably closer to 40%. A smaller percentage also attempts to torture the prostitute. It’s only a matter of time and luck before it happens. People tried to murder me on 3 occasions during my 7 years as a prostitute.

RM: what diseases they might catch in having different sex partner? Are they curable? How about HIV? Do you have cases that got AIDS?

DF: It is guaranteed that a prostitute will contract many sexually transmitted diseases, no matter how careful they try to be. Even condoms do not prevent some diseases like HPV virus, which eventually causes cancer. HIV is also prevalent. I have had many friends and acquaintances die from AIDS.

RM: I don’t think some of them really like this kind of work. But is their a point in time that they actually enjoy what they are doing?

DF: If the prostitute is a sex addict, there are times when they enjoy the work on the surface, but the underlying self-hatred and self-disgust never goes away.

RM: Does nymphomania develop to prostitutes? What other abnormal behavior do they get in this?

DF: Some prostitutes are nymphomaniacs or sex addicts and even more male prostitutes are satyrs or sex addicts. The consequences of this behavior are very severe. Demonic spirits from customers enter the prostitutes, so they end up with a great need for deliverance, for example. Needless to say, they are rendered incapable of ever having a normal, satisfying sexual relationship once they marry without significant inner healing prayer and ministry.

RM: Can a prostitute especially students sell their bodies without being hooked into smoking, drinking or even drugs?

DF:  It is extremely rare for a prostitute not to develop smoking, drug and/or drinking problems because they need those substances to cover up the psychic pain of their lives.

RM: Do straight prostitute eventually end up being a homosexual?
DF: Male prostitutes who start out mostly straight will inevitably program their minds and bodies to respond more and more homosexually over time if they are having sex with other men.

RM: How about those who will do it “just once” and their out? I mean just to pay this one tuition fee or pay a project for the school and that’s it. Nothing to follow. What can you say to them?

DF: Prostitution is like quicksand. Once you enter it, you cannot escape consequences. There will be spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical consequences that can be quite severe from the very start.

RM: Are prostitutes still longing for a real relationship? Even if they feel dirty do they still hope to have a family? Do they think someone will get serious to them in spite of what they have done?

DF: Prostitutes desperately long to be normal and to have normal relationships. However, their behavior prevents them from having that. Just the fear of their spouse finding out – that alone can ruin the peace they otherwise might have in a marriage. It is extremely rare for someone to fall in love with someone they know has been a prostitute. It happens in Hollywood movies, but almost never in real life.

RM: For guys and even girls who found out their partner is or use to be a prostitute, how can they face this issue? How can they forgive their partner and still be with them or call it a split? How can they live out their relationship day by day thinking his or her partner is a prostitute?

DF: No one should stay in a relationship with someone who is a prostitute. You never know what day they will bring home to AIDS virus, or some other incurable disease.

If they fall in love with someone who used to be a prostitute, that is another story. They should take measures to be certain, however, that the person has truly been transformed from that way of thinking and living, and have been checked out physically by a doctor.

RM: How can a prostitute forgive that one who led them to prostitution? Maybe a partner or a family member who force them to this work.
DF: Sometimes only God can give us the power to forgive someone, but He does do that if we want Him to.

RM: What if someone wants to get out of this lifestyle? What is the first thing they have to do? Maybe someone reading this and they want to get out. Is their hope for them?

DF: A person who wants out need only turn to Jesus Christ for forgiveness, cleansing, healing and transformation.

They need to get into fellowship with believers who are faithful to God’s Word and who study it together and pray for each other.

They need to find a church that practices intimate worship of God, which is spiritual warfare.

I ended up attending a large church that also had small home fellowship groups, where I got alot of prayer. I also went through various healing and deliverance sessions at conferences and at a YWAM training school.

RM: How do they get back the respect for themselves? How can they go back to society with dignity and without guilt? How do healing the wounds starts? Who can they approach?
DF: Only God can give them their self-respect back. They need to pursue an intimate relationship with God where He speaks worth and value into their hearts, and where they come to experience the fact that Jesus’ blood has cleansed them from all sin. They need to practice believing 1 JN 1:9 and operate from what God says rather than from what they feel or have felt in the past. The Bible says that they are a new creation if they have repented and made Jesus Christ truly the Lord of their life. They need to learn and practice spiritual warfare. Dean Sherman’s book, Spiritual Warfare for Every Christian really helped me.

As for who to approach, they need to carefully watch people in church and see who are the ones who pray for and care about sexually broken people, and approach them.

RM:  I remember this one story about Ravi Zacharias. He was witnessing in a red light district and a prostitute say something like” If Jesus can really get us out this, how can He help us to find our daily living?” What practical help can a Christian do for these people?

DF: Our churches need to have outreaches to people who are coming out of these kinds of highly dysfunctional lifestyles. We need outreaches to former prostitutes, and human trafficking victims, and strippers and homosexuals and you name it. Pray for God to send those who can minister to such populations as Christ would and approach your pastors and entreat them to financially support such outreaches. As I read the Bible, these kinds of outreaches were among Jesus’ favorite!

People coming out of sex trafficking, for example, often need a place to live for a year or so while being trained in job skills as well as discipled in God’s ways. The church should finance these things. It is infinitely more important than plush carpeting and all the other excesses that we too often concern ourselves with.

RM: Thank you for this interview. We learn alot from you. Can you tell us about your ministry, what does it do and how can we reach you.

DF: Our ministry (www.MasteringLife.org) does 2 things: 1. we reach out to sexually bound and broken people with the news that God can set anyone free from anything, teaching them how He does it, and 2. we equip the Church to do the same.

We are trying to reach as many people as possible and so now put all our efforts into media outreaches, whether it be our weekly TV program (www.PurePassion.us), our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/purepassiontv), our iPhone app (which should be ready in a few weeks), our multi-front internet outreaches, Google ads, and our teaching resources (DVDs, CDs, books).

Currently our Pure Passion TV program is seen on 11 TV networks around the world in English, Bulgarian, Romanian, Spanish, Arabic and Russian, and we hope that we will be seen in every country and every main language very soon.





Truth Twisting: An interview about Cults with Fran Shankey of Tower to Truth Ministry

12 03 2010

ROCK Ministry: First Lets define an important word. What is a cult?
Fran Shankey: The word cult comes from the Latin word cultus and originally carried the meaning “to worship or give reverence to a deity.” So, originally, the term cult could be applied to any group of religious believers: Southern Baptists, Mormons, Presbyterians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics, Hindus or Muslims. However, as words change over the years the word cult wouldn’t be applied like this anymore but means something else.

I deal with what is sometimes referred to as non-Christian cults, which would be any group that claims to be Christian but distorts, perverts or deviates from Orthodox Christianity. It’s important to understand that a cult will deny one or more of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. Essential doctrines are those that are indispensable beliefs for a true Christian because they are integral to the Person of God and the gospel message. These would be doctrines like the Deity of Jesus Christ, the virgin birth, the Trinity, salvation by God’s grace through faith apart from works, the bodily resurrection of Christ and His second coming.

Teachings that are important, but would not brand a group as a cult if they differed from your views would be, for example, the timing of end time’s events such as the rapture of the church, speaking in tongues, Calvinism, how often communion is shared in the local church, etc. Again, these teachings are important but not ones we should divide over.

ROCK Ministry: What are the marks of a cult and why are they dangerous?
Fran Shankey: The marks of a cult can vary from group to group. Not all cults will have all of the following marks, but will usually have at least 1 or more. Although the list isn’t exhaustive, some of the marks of a cult would be:
1) A deviation from essential doctrines of the Scriptures, as mentioned already.
2) An authority figure whose word is final on all matters. This could be an individual who calls himself a prophet, or an organization that governs all affairs. They often claim to be hearing directly from God, or are commissioned by Him in some way.
3) Cults may strip you of your former identity. Some cults in an effort to conform a person to their organization will go as far as replacing one’s personal clothing with the groups. We saw this in the UFO cult group Heaven’s Gate in the late 1990’s. When found dead in a house in California, all were wearing the same color sneakers. Some cults require you to give over your bank accounts and all personal possessions to the group. Some will even change your name or replace your family members with themselves. Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his wife, from the Unification Church, have done this. They’re referred to by members as their ‘True Parents’
4) Cults often use mind control on members. One form of this is information control which filters outside information away from the group, such as TV, radio, phone or internet access. A less extreme example is the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses) which warns members about reading any religious material other than its own. That’s why JWs will refuse your tracts but have no problem handing you theirs.
5) Behavior control is another make of a cult. Cult groups often keep their members so busy with the group activity that they have little time to rest and think. The Moonies (Unification Church) do this as many of their members are out early in the morning selling flowers and come home very late at night exhausted.
6) Fear tactics are often employed by cults. Most non-Christian cults claim that adhering to the group is the only way a person can be saved and will tell its members that leaving the group will result in severe disfavor, discipline or damnation from God.
ROCK Ministry: How do they differ from Protestants or Bible believing Christians? Why is it so easy for people to lump a true Christian and a cult member?
Fran Shankey: Cults generally differ from Protestant/Bible believing churches for all of the reasons I already mentioned above. They deny one or more of the essential doctrines of the faith and/or use some type of control over their members to keep them under the group’s power. A good Bible church would never challenge anyone from thinking or acting independently, reading the Bible on their own, nor would it manipulate anyone’s personal life or claim one must read its own literature as a requirement for salvation. It also will never put its own writings on par with Scripture as, for example, the Mormons and Unification church do. Also, no sound Bible church will ever claim to be the only true church and the only way a person can be saved.
The reason why people lump zealous Christians in with a cult is basically because they don’t know what a cult is, nor do they usually know what a Bible believing church is. It’s basically done out of ignorance on their part. Plus unbelievers lack the understanding that when someone gets saved, they have a profound love for Jesus that overflows into their daily life. This zealousness for God is abnormal to the unbeliever since they don’t have the Holy Spirit so they lump them together with weird religious groups they see in the news.
ROCK Ministry: What’s the difference between a cult and false religion?

Fran Shankey: Good question. The main world religions today are Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism. These are not cults. They aren’t all true, of course only Christianity is true, but none of these is a cult. They’re all separate religions that don’t claim to be Christian, so they can’t be examined as such. They have their own particular doctrines, teachings and holy books that they hold to. However, there are cults within these religions. For example, a cult of Islam is the Nation of Islam. A cult of Hinduism is the Hare Krishna’s. My ministry, Tower to Truth, concentrates on exposing and evangelizing cults that would claim to be Christian, but, of course, are not.

RM: If someone handed you a cult literature say a magazine or tract, what would you initially expect to see or read from those materials?
FS: Probably a lot of truth. Remember, cults do teach truth. The problem is that it’s mixed with error. Rodent poison usually contains 98% ingredients that are harmless to the rodent. Only 2% of it is poisonous. Satan didn’t tell all lies to Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden. This is why cults are hard to detect for the average person. Unless you have good discernment and are studied up on the subject of false teaching, many cults initially come across as just another Christian denomination. It’s important to have a good knowledge of the Bible, to test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21) and test the spirits (1 John 4:1) because a cult will reveal itself in time by its teachings and practices.
For example, the 1st article of faith from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) is “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost”. Sounds good to me! But upon further inspection into the doctrines of Mormonism, you’ll find out that they believe in a totally different God, Jesus and Holy Ghost. Their vocabulary is the same as ours, but their definitions are much different.
RM: We use the same Bible but how come some eventually use it and turn into cults?
FS: Why groups go astray and become cults is not always clear. The Bible gives us clues. Man is inherently sinful (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12) and, because of this, likes to take advantage of others. Some people start cults because they want power and control. It feeds their flesh. They like the attention, women, money, fame. Peter talks about these people in scathing detail. For instance, 2 Peter 2:14 says these false teachers have “eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, beguiling unstable souls”.
Others start cults perhaps because they are deceived themselves and truly believe they have the truth. I have sometimes wondered if Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, really had some of the supernatural visions he claimed. Personally, I don’t know. Remember, 2 Co 11:14, 15 says that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light and his ministers transform themselves into ministers of righteousness. If Smith did have encounters with an angel, we can be sure from the angel’s message that he certainly wasn’t from God. Whether men start cults with full knowledge that they’re duping others or whether they are demonically deceived themselves is difficult to fully know. Maybe some of both is true. 2 Timothy 3:13 says that “evil men will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived”. It seems to suggest that after a while, you begin to buy your own lie.
RM: Some of the cults here in the Philippines dates from WW1 and WW2. How do these times significantly contribute to the development of cults?
FS: I would have to take a stab at this one since I never researched this. I would say that cults prey on man’s fears. Certainly fear is at its pinnacle in times of uncertainty like war. Cults promise men peace and happiness apart from the wicked ways of the world. They promote themselves as safe havens that have the blessing of God and naturally draw those who are looking for meaning, security and satisfaction in life. These groups often advertise a utopian society but never deliver the goods.
RM: Some readers might say that we are so judgmental and unloving about these people. What can you say about that?
FS: If ‘we’ is referring to Christians at large, I would have to say that, sadly, some of us are judgmental and unloving toward these people. This plays into the cult’s hand as the leaders often tell the group that the world will attack and hate them. I would hope anyone reading this interview, or anyone calling themselves a Christian, wouldn’t be like this. Jesus had compassion on the multitudes because they were weary and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd.
This can be tricky because the Bible has some very scathing descriptions and warnings about false teachers. It describes them, among other things, as beasts, dogs and wolves in sheep’s clothing. Perhaps a good way to reconcile this is that Jesus was compassionate with the multitudes but had very harsh words against the religious leaders who led them astray. It’s easy to get angry at people who pervert the gospel since its so dear to us, but we must strive, as Paul wrote, to speak the truth in love. This should be every apologist’s life verse.
But there is nothing unbiblical about calling someone’s doctrine wrong and trying to persuade them to the truth. Some Christians feel as though any negative remark against anyone’s religion is judgmental and unloving. I would like to see this verse in the New Testament since I haven’t read it yet. To say nothing or, even worse, to encourage someone in their error is perhaps the most unloving thing we can do. Sitting idly by watching others go to hell isn’t in my definition of love. The New Testament is full of verses that exhort Christians to share the truth with people in error, to correct those in opposition (2 Timothy 2:25) and to contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). The Apostle Paul didn’t go into Corinth or Athens and say “Oh, well, as long as you really believe in your religion, who am I to judge?” He traveled throughout the Grecian world telling idol worshippers they had the wrong God and that they needed to repent and put their faith in the only true Savior, Jesus Christ.
RM: Are those people in cults aware that they might be wrong? Well I think they can sense they are different from others but have this sort of skepticism to prompt them to check what is truth?
FS: People in cults are people. Real people have doubts. I think most of us would say that at some time in our walk we’ve asked ourselves if we’re sure Christianity is really true or if God truly exists. Questioning our beliefs is a normal part of being human. Although cult groups try to dissuade independent thinking, they can’t stop it altogether. So, yes, people in cults ask themselves these things too. Does their questioning lead them to seek the truth? Maybe. Hopefully. Can God send someone who knows Jesus to them at just the right time when they doubt? Definitely. Many ex-cult members began their exodus from the group by questioning the group’s teachings. The questioning is usually bottled up inside but its there.
RM: How can someone get out of cults? What are the steps in finding freedom from it?
FS: Getting out of a cult isn’t like leaving the Baptist church to go to the Lutheran church down the street. You have to understand that it’s often leaving your entire known world. If someone was in the group long enough, they often will leave many friends and close family behind, maybe forever. All they know, do, and lived for will be forsaken.
Many ex-cultists, even when out of the group for considerable time are scared to death to go to another church. The cult mentality still dictates their thinking even though they’re inactive. Depending on the length of time spent inside, leaving a cult is painful, frightening, lonely and bleak. If you know someone in this position they need a very loving and patient person to walk them through the process. There are groups online that specialize in getting former members of specific cult groups together. Sometimes they meet together once a month at someone’s house or at a restaurant. These groups can be invaluable and places where confused people can meet others who have trod down this terrifying road before them, and lived to tell about it. One thing we need to remember is that just getting someone out of a cult doesn’t mean the job is done. It’s a two-fold process. Out of the cult and into the truth.
RM: Schools here have religious freedom and are tolerant to spirituality. How can we be still maintain respect to their religious freedom and point them to truth? How do you witness to someone who is your friend or classmate or a professor? I think that’s very hard to do.
FS: Religious freedom is a good thing. We should be able to choose which religion we want to follow. Jesus never forced conversions. He invited men to Himself. I meet people in my daily life from all sorts of religious backgrounds. I’ve learned a lot about them and their beliefs by asking questions. I try to maintain an outward interest in them as individuals and show respect to them, even though I disagree with their religion. Questions are one of the best ways to witness. It shows you’re interested in the person plus it allows you to place thought provoking questions into their minds. You can ask questions to anyone whether you have known them all your life or just met 5 minutes ago. If you are witnessing to a religious person you may want to check out some books by Ron Rhodes. He has a series of books called Reasoning from the Scriptures. He has them on a variety of groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and Roman Catholicism. Greg Koukl from Stand to Reason (str.org) also does a great work regarding sharing your faith, especially with those with a postmodern worldview. Although we should equip ourselves the best we can, the best witness can be as simple as just sharing a simple gospel presentation and what Jesus did for you. The man in John 9 said “I was blind but now I see”. Simple and to the point.
RM: Some may come to you to talk about their religion. How would you graciously decline such conversations? When is the time to give them answers to their beliefs?
FS: Personally I love it when people come to me and want to talk about their religion. I just wish it would happen more! I might not ever decline, as long as the time was appropriate. Paul said to be ready in season and out of season. Think about it, there are only 2 times we need to share our faith: in season and out of season. The rest of the time we have an excuse. Ha! If someone comes to you and you don’t have the time or feel unprepared, the best way to handle that is to ask them if you could speak to them at another time that you both agree on. This will give you time to pray, prepare and become more confident in your witness.
RM: I love your radio show “Test All Things”. It’s short but very informative. Tell us about it, your ministry, website and how can we contact you for further information.
FS: Test all Things is an extension of Tower to Truth Ministries. Tower to Truth was started about 10 years ago to witness to Jehovah’s Witnesses. The name Tower to Truth is a play on the word Watchtower (from the Watchtower to the truth). The radio show began in October, 2004 and it continues airing twice a week on WVCH in the Philadelphia, PA (USA) area. Since beginning, the topics have grown considerably but the show is focused on apologetics, exposing false teachings and equipping Christians to share their faith more effectively.
My web site is at http://www.towertotruth.net You’ll find articles and a huge inventory of downloadable mp3 files of my radio show and personal testimonies of former cult members. Feel free to contact me by email at help@towertotruth.net or by phone at 610-513-5525. Thank you for this opportunity and God bless your ministry!





Eat This Book: Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris

2 12 2009

THE GLAM: I’ve been contemplating on how I wasted my years as a Christian in those time I was young. I should have done this and that. It’s like that milk commercial “growth gap” years. With the use of paper dolls as illustration, it shows that between a certain age you have a gap of no growth. If by judging that I can say: Yes I truly wasted it. Maybe you have done it too.

The book “Do Hard Things” by the Harris twins, Alex and Brett (younger brothers of Joshua Harris author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye) does not provide salt for your wounds but insights and a message that its not too late or early to do for the glory of God. Filled with heroic stories, humorous anecdotes and biblical insights from rebelutionaries (as they call themselves) to combat low expectations and wrong culture upbringings that stops teens and young adults to do hard things. Mind you, this not a Alex and Brett show. In the first part its there stories how they amazingly started the rebelution and finish off with ordinary teens stories of what they have done. As they say, this is a different kind of teen book. They should change the title to “Christian Teen Counterculture Made Easy” (well thats every uncool title, please pardon me). Because it is easy to do hard things when your in God’s team.

The part that really hit me are the the Kidult and The Myth of Adolescence (check the link at the end of the review to read the excerpt). The twins thought this book really hard. This not the usual dos and donts for teens. It changes the way you look at things we do for God a great way. Every pages shouts to you “Doing hard things is cool!”. In God’s family your enlisted to be rebelutionaries, but will you heed the call to go out of your comfort zone?

If you think this book is geared to Western readers only, think again. You’ll find in the midst of rebelutionary, stories of three Christian Pinoy teens who done the hard things. Now your worry about getting lost is dropped and you dont need a Penaflorida to inspire you. Just be as ordinary as yourself and you can move the world with the gospel. Prepare to do hard things. It starts by obeying God’s will and putting it to action. Teens (and adults too) the book really has an impact. Its an engaging and easy read. This book calls you stand up, fight back and be cool.

Taste Test: Read articles included in the book originally posted from The Rebelution blog:

My First Shower Nearly Killed Me

The Myth of Adolescence Part 1

The Myth of Adolescence Part 2