Free book by T.K. Chapin!
Each month from now until March 2024, I’ll give you a link to a free book by another author. During one month of that time, my book will become free for my subscribers. Scroll down to find out more about this month’s free book.
New Pagan Influences in a Country Once Considered Christian
In the past month, while I was teaching about Moses and Egypt in Discovery Club, I needed to deal with another pagan culture. Though I’m an American, I’ve lived in Taiwan for sixteen years and now New Zealand for 25 years. In many ways, Kiwi (New Zealander) life is much like life in America. When it is different, that difference is often because New Zealand shares many aspects of British culture. Maori culture is also a major contributor of the culture.
Maori are the indigenous Polynesian people, descended from settlers who arrived in New Zealand by canoe in the 1300’s. Europeans didn’t settle in New Zealand to any degree before the 1800’s. Today, less than 20% of the population identifies as Maori, and most of them are not pure Maori. For years, Maori culture wasn’t emphasized in New Zealand, and some aspects of it were getting lost. In recent years, however, there has been a revival in Maori culture and students study cultural aspects in school, as well as learn to speak native Te Reo words.
The Maori culture emphasizes the importance of family and loyalty. Along with these admirable qualities, however, are spiritual beliefs that are contrary to the Bible beliefs of Christians. Public school students are taught the ancestral stories in their earliest years. Matariki (Maori New Year) became a national holiday in 2022 and this June or July holiday is now being emphasized throughout New Zealand.
Christians can use the holiday to thank our God for the stars and calling them out each night. But Kiwi Christians need to be discerning, because Maori culture has many pagan and religious elements. During Matariki, people are encouraged to pray to the stars, offer food to them, and ask them for guidance. This is animism, a worship of spirits within nature. Some even offer food to their ancestors or gods. When we lived in Taiwan, we often saw our neighbors worship the spirits and the ancestors in these same ways. Some Maori mix worship to the God of the Christians with forms of worship to others gods or ancestors. Twelve times God says in the Bible, “I am God and there is no other.”* These verses show us that mixing worship of false gods with worship of the one True God is not acceptable to the God of the Bible.
This is an issue that I’ve faced in my ministry this month. Where do you see pagan elements creeping into your culture today?
For more about Maori elements taught in school in New Zealand and a Christian parent’s response see my article.
For more about ways Christians can celebrate Matariki see my article.
Today I’m featuring Author TK Chapin.
T.K. Chapin is the pen name for Ben Chapin. He uses the initials “T.K.” because he writes Christian romance which is mostly dominated by women. Ben lives with his wife and three children in Southern Idaho. In 2023, he lost his biggest fan when his father, a great man of God, suddenly passed away. Ben says, “Before this tragedy touched my life I only hoped and believed God would comfort me and hold me together. Now I know He does. He is so good even when it hurts.”
A few years ago, I really enjoyed reading Ben’s book Amongst the Flames, a love story between a firefighter and his wife in which trust has been broken. I would describe his “faith-filled fiction” as distinctively Christian. Which I love. In this book his characters read the Bible, pray and see the need for church. He earned my respect for that. Though I expect to see some mention of these in Christian fiction, sometimes all three are missing.
T.K. is the author of 63 books, which tells you he’s been busy! At one time, he was producing a new book every couple of months. Last year, however, after eight years of writing full time, he returned to his secular job.
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When Broken Roads Lead Home
Discover the heartwarming story of Natalie and Jacob in “When Broken Roads Lead Home,” a clean and faith-filled Christian romance novel. Join these two characters as they navigate the challenges and joys of life while rediscovering their faith and falling in love. This inspiring story is sure to encourage your own faith and remind you of the beauty of God’s love. Download it now for free and get ready to be swept away in a gripping tale of hope, love, and redemption.
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Find out more about T.K. here.
*You can find the basic words, “I am God and there is no other,” in these places: Deuteronomy 4:35, 4:39; 1 Kings 8:60; Isaiah 44:80, 45:5-6; 45:14, 45:18, 45:22, 46:9; Joel 2:27; Mark 12:32.