In his preface to The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis wrote:
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race falls about devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.
Lewis’s observation, written 70 years ago, defines a major difference between our enemy’s strategy in the United States and Canada and his approach in Haiti.
In North America, the enemy’s primary strategy seems to be to appeal to the materialist, to deny spiritual reality. If the devil can cause us to doubt his existence, he can then operate unchallenged as he sows his lies and distracts us from our calling. He has worked hard to convince the mainstream that demons and devils are “archaic nonsense,” throwbacks from medieval fairytales. Even among Christians, he has largely blinded us to the truth that, as the Apostle Paul warned, we struggle “not against flesh and blood, but . . . against the spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12).
This is just a part of a larger strategy of the enemy in the United States and Canada, to obscure all things spiritual and numb us to anything of eternal consequence. Over the last couple of months, we’ve witnessed his latest assault, this time from within the church herself. A prominent, supposedly-evangelical pastor now openly questions the existence of hell. This isn’t a new heresy, of course – just a dangerous repackaging of old liberal theology. But what could be more offensive to the Lamb who was slain than to eliminate any real need for His sacrifice?
And therein lies a significant challenge to evangelism in the United States and Canada: offering spiritual hope to people who fail to see spiritual reality let alone recognize their spiritual need.
It’s much different in Haiti, where the enemy has taken the opposite approach. In Haiti, the devil appeals to what Lewis calls the magician. Nobody in Haiti doubts the spiritual realm, and the enemy embraces that, using fear to perpetuate spiritual bondage through the tyranny of Voodooism. And that presents a much different mission field than in North America.
That is the situation God has called us to this month when Bernie and I (Philip) will be in Haiti. Glenn and Boone Bridges, as well as Dave Morley will accompany us, as will a team from Washington State University. While we are there, we will participate in an evangelistic crusade near Tricotte.
Steve Barke, who is leading the team from WSU, and I will preach at the crusade during the week, as will Pastor Diogene and other Haitian evangelists. I am excited to join with my brothers to present the one true God against the myriad of impostor gods that have, for far too long, plagued Haiti. I am excited to offer a message of hope against the despair of Voodoo. And I am excited to share the freedom that comes from Christ alone against the bondage inflicted on these people by evil spirits and their own sin.
I believe that the fields in Haiti are white unto harvest, and I am praying that God would grant us that harvest. Please pray with me. The crusade takes place the week of May 15. Each day, members of Pastor Diogene’s evangelistic crusade will canvas the village and the surrounding area, inviting the people to come. In the evening, we will begin to worship. And then, when the people have arrived, we will share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Please begin to pray now. Pray that God would prepare hearts, that the Spirit would begin to cultivate the soil of those hearts and ready them to receive the seed that will be sown. Pray that the enemy would be prevented interfering with the crusade. Pray for safety, both physical and spiritual, for all of us involved. But above all, pray that as the gospel is proclaimed, as the Word of God goes out, that the Holy Spirit would, at that moment, breathe life into dead souls, and draw many Haitians to the Lord Jesus Christ, to the praise of His glorious grace.
And thank you for your support. Thank you for all that you do to sustain all that God has called us to in Haiti – including this crusade.
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp