Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Journal Review-Spiritual Counterfeit Project

SCP Journal
Volume 28:4-29:1 2005
“Soul Traps of Thought and Culture”

This is the first time I have been exposed to the Spiritual Counterfeit Project ministry and their journal. After doing some reading on them and what they do, I am impressed with their goals and longevity, and am glad to have such people involved in this sort of ministry. There has been, and will continue to be, a great need for Christians to do the sometimes hard but necessary work of addressing the issues of spiritual deceptions.

I was provided with their latest journal as well as their latest printed newsletter for review.

The journal itself is well produced. I was impressed with the quality of the cover, the layout, and the general form of the contents. It contained a (supposedly) complete list of back issues and their contents for purchase. I found this a positive addition in that many people who are dealing with or struggling with these sorts of issues would likely be interested in picking up articles that cover certain topics.

This journal edition contained three articles: The Soul Under Siege: Part II by Lee Penn, From Old Gnosticism To New Age: Part I by Alan Morrison, and The Suicide Option: When Life Has Lost Meaning by Josh Ong. Each article was very informative and extremely well researched and cited. There is no lack of follow-up potential within each set of topics dealt with.

The first article was a bit of a surprise to me in that I was anticipating an article of more theological focus than it turned out to be. The thrust of this article was a description of the players and potential players in the New World Order and a tide of growing global spiritualization/mysticism. The first third or so was devoted to setting a political scene within which a potential global scheme might come to the surface, and the last two-thirds of the article was devoted to establishing a connection between that political analysis and a New Age-style New World Order. Again, this article was very well researched, and I do not doubt many of the political ties that the author makes. But I did not think the link between the first theme and the second was as tight as it could have been. The most straightforward connection in the article comes on page 10 when the author notes that many global leaders hold to a view of how social change happens: “via a dramatic event that shapes a new consensus of that is possible and desirable. Groups and agencies that act as [catalysts] can build this new consensus creating a New World Order from the rubble of the old regime.” The very next paragraph is the logical connection: “These leaders are following a trail blazed for them by New Age theorists.” The rest of the article then proceeds to argue for a very real New Age-style New World Order. Though the research was clearly in-depth and thorough, I was not entirely convinced by the argument.

The next article is a well-done intellectual history of Gnosticism and its contemporary incarnations. Along the way, the author takes time to engage the various forms of Gnosticism and Neo-Gnosticism from a Christian worldview, and this helps the article reach its potential goal of elucidating the differences between Gnosticism and Christianity. The strengths of the article lie in its research, order of argument, and importance of topic. Many researchers and theologians have noted that Gnosticism has survived through the ages in many forms, and this piece does an admiral job of detailing and documenting much of that. If there was a portion of this article I wasn’t convinced by it was some of the biblical application. At one point the author contrasts the body of Christ with what he labels the “body of Antichrist” and the point and biblical support seemed just a bit stretched.

The last article is a much more personal reflection by one of their staffers on his own experience with suicidal tendencies. The article combines his own present reflection on the issue, several of his journal entries during that period of his life, and then ends with some reflections on aspects of the current culture that lend to suicidal tendencies in the youth culture today. I would highly recommend this article for anyone who is or who knows a young person struggling with this extremely difficult issue.

The newsletter I received was also a wonderful resource. It contained two pieces. One was an insightful reflection on the differences between the original War of the Worlds and the recent Spielberg version, and the other was a shorter piece on the importance of picking justices for the federal court system. Both articles were well written and well reasoned. What I am supposing was the primary purpose of the newsletter, presenting the ministry’s news and work for those struggling with relevant issues, was well highlighted.

Overall, I found this journal to be a thorough and insightful resource that would make a wonderful addition to anyone’s library that is interested in or involved in ministry to people struggling with different spiritualities and religions.

I would like to thank SCP for the journal and the newsletter, and Mind and Media for the opportunity.

2 comments:

Josh said...

Dear Phil,
Thanks so much for taking the time to write up your thoughts on the SCP Journal and Newsletter. We're glad that you enjoyed the issues. With respect to the Lee Penn article, it may be that since the issue you have is the second part of the Soul Under Siege article, just reading the second part of the article made it less convincing.

On a personal note, thanks for your kind words and recommendation for my article. I appreciate the encouragement.

I'll definitely pass along your feedback to the editor; it really helps us as a ministry and a publication to hear honest feedback about how we're doing. We look forward to hearing more from you!

Blessings,
Josh Ong
SCP, Inc.
josh at scp-inc dot org

Phil Steiger said...

Josh-

I am glad I get a chance to tell you "personally" that I really appreciate the free copy and the chance to review the journal. I am looking forward to the next edition!