Contend Earnestly: Satan Debate: Is He a Reality?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Satan Debate: Is He a Reality?

*image courtesy of Mars Hill blog

I would love to go to this event here in Seattle, but it seems as though Mars Hill was only given a minor amount of tickets and gave them out very quickly. So, I will be watching it on March 26th like the rest of you. Check it out, looks very interesting. I will say that the last time I saw Deepak Chopra, he was debating with John MacArthur on Larry King and was more heated than an IFB preaching against Hollywood. I will say that MacArthur did a fine job with handling Deepak's strange ideas.

Here are the details:

The devil -- also known as Satan, Lucifer and Beelzebub -- has become the primary antagonist in almost every major religion. He is seen as the rebel, a serpent and a fallen angel who tempts mortals into committing sin, and preys upon their despair. But does Satan really exist?

That question will be debated Friday, March 20, when "Nightline" tackles the controversial and sensitive issue in the third installment of the "Face-Off" series.

The "Nightline Face-Off" launched two years ago by asking the question "Does God Exist?" The Face-Off aired on and more than 15,000 comments were posted on the Web site as viewers engaged in the debate.

The conversation will pick up with a debate on the devil in Seattle at the Mars Hill Church, moderated by Dan Harris, who covers faith issues for the network.

Watch the "Nightline Face-Off" Thursday, March 26, 2009, on and at 11:35 p.m. on "Nightline"

On one side of the debate is Deepak Chopra, famous philosopher and author of "Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment" and Bishop Carlton Pearson, author of "The Gospel of Inclusion." They will argue that Satan does not exist.

Chopra is the founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in California. He specializes in mind-body medicine and gives lectures and speeches around the world.

Pearson began his spiritual journey as a fourth-generation Pentecostal minister who enjoyed a vast following as an heir apparent to Oral Roberts. But his revelation almost a decade ago that a loving God would not condemn people to hell just because they are not Christian caused him to question the very existence of hell and the devil. It also caused him to lose the vast majority of his congregation. Since then, he has become an independent spiritual leader in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and preaches his message that God loves all mankind.

On the other side will be Pastor Mark Driscoll of the Mars Hill Church and Annie Lobert, founder of the international Christian ministry "Hookers for Jesus," who will argue that the devil does exist, and has made a personal impact on their lives.

Mark Driscoll is the co-founder and pastor at Mars Hill Church and also the author of the "Books You'll Actually Read" series.

The church, founded in 1996, has almost 8,000 members. Most of his parishioners call him "Pastor Mark" but, in a recent interview with "Nightline," he said, "You can call me Pastor Dude if you want."

Driscoll is often referred to as the "indy rock star" of the evangelicals. His 20-something members, who arrive on Sundays wearing torn jeans and sporting tattoos, are there to hear Driscoll's edgy sermons.

Lobert, a former Las Vegas escort, now preaches the Christian message in her effort to rescue girls and young women from the sex trade.

"Nightline" recently profiled Lobert and her organization, "Hookers for Jesus." Her mission is to save prostitutes from the streets and, if possible, bring them to church and to God. A one-time escort, Lobert now enlists other ex-prostitutes and volunteers from a local church to reach out to working girls on the street, in the casinos, even over the Internet.

Her journey out of the industry began with a terrifying moment. "One night I was just so desperate, I was telling God I hated him. 'I hate you. Look what you did to my life.'"

At one point Lobert was living in her car and was addicted to cocaine.

"[It was the] very lowest point of my entire life," she said. "Just hitting rock bottom. I took a hit of [cocaine]. I didn't mean to try to commit suicide. It just kind of happened. I had a heart attack and I remember everything turning black. Fading to black. And just this total emptiness and there was nobody there."

Thinking she was surely going to hell, Lobert's instincts kicked in.

"I said, 'Jesus, please help me. I am alone. Please help me.'" After surviving the overdose, she began to turn her life around and formed "Hookers for Jesus."

In Seattle, representatives from both sides will fill up the church to watch the debate. After, they will be encouraged to ask questions.


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