Just as an image formed on a plane mirror is a duplication or reflection of the object placed directly opposite its surface, there is also a dangerous condition that can affect Christians contending for the faith which can make them start to reflect what they are contending against.
A person opposed to a set of errors can also develop signs of errors: becoming dishonest, hateful and rigid. I call it the “Mirror Image Syndrome.” When this syndrome affects a cult expert, he takes on the very cultic mindsets he is fighting – exclusivism, elitism and tyranny of thoughts.
Sometimes, it’s baffling how a person would seem to stand on an impressive edifice of Christian scholarship only for you to realise that his intellectual integrity is actually in the pits. The more famous and influential a Christian figure is, the more they need to be held accountable for what they say or write in public, especially, if their agenda is more important to them than truth.
Previously, I used Rebecca Brown and Daniel Yoder as examples of how spiritual warfare can devolve into spiritual quackery when integrity is lacking. I will be using another popular Christian author to highlight the blighting effects of the Mirror Image Syndrome.
For five decades, Chick Publications, the ministry founded by Jack Chick, has published hundreds of illustrated gospel tracts in different languages, along with many Christian articles, comics, books and videos on issues like abortion, homosexuality, false religions, evolution and Bible versions.
Fittingly, Dr. Rebecca Brown once worked for Mr. Chick. In her words, “Jack Chick is one of the kindest and most honest and Godly men I have ever met. He taught me many valuable things in the Lord’s work” (Standing on the Rock, Solid Rock Enterprises, 2002, 64).
In the May/June 2016 Battle Cry article, we are also told that: “Many parents write to Chick Publications, grateful for the unwavering stand for the Truth in the tracts and books.”
Since 2003, I have feasted on many Chick materials. They influenced my early Christian walk and opened my eyes to many truths. But when I began to double check things for myself, I started to question some of the “facts” being disseminated by Chick’s ministry said to be “standing for the Truth”:
1. The testimony comic series of ex-Jesuit priest, Alberto Rivera (1935-1997) drew much ire to Chick’s ministry when it was published. There is still a debate whether his testimony was genuine or fake. He gave dates and names of places; presented his ID card and papers, and had his past confirmed by Dr. Gerard Bouffard, an ex-Catholic bishop in Quebec. To an extent, he also defended himself before his critics.
Notwithstanding, there were several glaring errors and outright embellishments in his stories which cast much doubt on the veracity of his claims.
In the Double Cross, after he had left the monastery with his sister, the Mother Superior said with a frown: “He is damned forever! The Virgin will take care of this Father Rivera. He is another Judas that has sold out our Holy Father, the Pope” (p. 9). How did Rivera know she said this?
On page 11, a Vatican priest asks “Would Father Rivera go to the Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Mormons?” his fellow replies “Never! He’s a real Christian and he knows about their false teachings.” Rivera wasn’t present there, so how did he know they said this?
Was he also suggesting that Catholic leaders don’t consider themselves to be real Christians but secretly admit that Protestants are? Either Rivera or Chick was putting words into these people’s mouths to further an agenda.
2. The series spent more ink spreading Jesuit hysteria and instilling mistrust in readers than presenting the Gospel to Catholics. It says Kathryn Khulman was a Catholic “undercover agent” sent to the Pentecostals; Jim Jones was “another undercover Jesuit” who sacrificed his flock to fulfill his oath (Double Cross, p. 27) and Fidel Castro was also a “well trained Jesuit under oath” (The Godfathers, p. 31).
No credible evidence was presented to back up these accusations. The reader is simply asked to take Rivera’s word for it because he knew centuries-old, “hot secrets” of the Vatican.
3. The Alberto comics are laced with Vatican conspiracy theories, wild enough to make Dan Brown green with envy. Rivera claims the Nazi and Communist parties, the KKK, Illuminati, Masonry, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormonism, Christian Science, Unity cults and Islam were all founded and developed by the Catholic Church or Jesuits (The Godfathers, p. 4, 31; The Force, p. 25; The Prophet, pp. 12-23).
Again, no evidence of these claims was given. While I agree that Catholicism is an aberrant religious system with a bloody history, to blame it for every other cult and social or political plague on earth is tabloid sensationalism and sheer inanity. Satan has been creating false religions long before the Vatican came on the scene and he doesn’t need it to create a newer one today. Christians who wish to reach Catholics with the truth should not use these materials.
4. Chick’s Statement of Faith on their website says:
[W]e believe God in His Singular providential care has KEPT HIS WORD all through the ages, right down to the present day as found in the King James Version. We consider this version our final and absolute authority, above and beyond all other authorities on earth.”
This is “KJV Onlyism” in its strictest form. Its chief flaw is the curious silence on which Bible version was God’s Word “all through the ages” before the 17th century when the KJV emerged. The fully illustrated book, Did the Catholic Church Give us the Bible? (David Daniels and Jack Chick, 2005) tries to give a “chain” of preservation:
“In a valley in the Alps was a people that God used to translate His preserved words into Latin. These people were called the ‘Vaudois.’ They lived in the Piedmont Valley of the Alps, at the northwest corner of Italy, east of France. In about 120 AD some got saved, and went to Antioch to receive God’s words” (p. 40)
Where did they get this piece of information from? No citation or reference was provided there. Why? Because the statement is a lie. The Vaudois (or Waldenses) were followers of Peter Waldo (1140-1205 AD). How could they have existed a millennium before Waldo was born? If the Vaudois didn’t exist at that time, to assert they went to Antioch to receive an Italian Bible is pure fabrication.
5. In order to cover up the fact that the KJV came from a Greek text by Desiderius Erasmus, a Catholic priest, the book says:
“God chose Erasmus as His vessel to shine the light of the Gospel during the hellish Dark Ages … Erasmus was God’s undercover agent! By day he was a faithful Roman Catholic serving the pope, working diligently in the libraries. But at night he wrote tracts that ridiculed the Catholic system… This was a dangerous game. But Erasmus played it because he utterly despised the devilish pope” (p. 67).
A footnote said: “Much of the information in this section comes from the excellent research of Gail Riplinger’s In Awe of Thy Word (2003), Chapter 27.” The term “excellent research” is meant to psyche the unwary reader. In fact, Gail Riplinger’s research is as “excellent” or reliable as National Enquirer, TMZ or any other gossip tabloid.
While Erasmus attacked the corruption and immorality among the clergy, he was a real Catholic. He was “a devoted worshipper of St. Anne” and wrote “a collection of prayers to the Holy Virgin.” He believed in the Eucharist and upheld papal authority.
He pledged to always be “a faithful subject of the Holy See” and wrote: “Christ I know; Luther I know not. The Roman Church I know, and death will not part me from it till the Church departs from Christ.” He didn’t recant his beliefs (Anthony Froud, Life and Letters of Erasmus, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1894 pp. 86, 279, 261).
If Chick and Daniels cared more about truth, their information should have come from Erasmus’ original works instead of a secondary work of a KJV Onlyist fraud. By the way, if being an “undercover agent” was evil for Jim Jones or Kathryn Khulman, why was it acceptable for Erasmus?
6. This Give Us The Bible book – typical of Chick materials – devotes several pages to conspiracies and poisoning the well. On page 137 is a cartoon of a Christian reading the NIV Bible and Satan holding his head saying: “Haw haw! GOTCHA!” The heading says “CHRISTIANS NOW READ HIS BIBLE!”
This is meant to instill fear into readers to think those who read a modern Bible version are under Satan’s grip.
Page 125 shows a chart linking the NIV Bible to its Zondervan publisher (formerly owned by Harper Collins Inc.) and this links to the Satanic Bible and the News Corporation owned by Rupert Murdoch, a Catholic knight. This is guilt by association. It was intended to link the NIV with “Catholic Church” or “The Satanic Bible” in the reader’s mind. In the absence of solid facts, the authors resort to inflaming emotions.
7. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fiction as “something invented by the imagination or feigned; specifically an invented story.” It’s also called a fable or fabrication. For instance, if a person today writes a story about Abraham in Ur, imputing words to the characters in the story, he has written a work of fiction.
In the illustrated book, Babylon Religion (David Daniels and Jack Chick, 2006), the first chapter gives us a detailed account of before and after the Flood, including the words and thoughts of the characters. On page 16, Satan soliloquized:
“One of Noah’s sons has got to be the weakest link. I’ll find him and make him serve me!” He tells Cush: “Look, Cush, you don’t need this pressure. You’re a man. GO BUILD YOUR OWN CITY!” (p. 20) So Cush “built the tower of Babel … to unify the people under one religion” (p. 21).
When you compare this with Genesis 10:8-10 you can easily see that Chick and Daniels wrote from their own imaginations.
We are told: “Nimrod had hated Shem and all followers of God Almighty so he started to persecute them with the help of his secret police.” (p. 32) “Nimrod and his wife demanded human sacrifices, which were devoured by him and his priests” (p. 33).
On page 34 Shem charged: “Nimrod is pure evil! He must be stopped once and for all!” Then “he came to Babylon and with righteous anger sliced Nimrod into pieces. Everyone was caught off-guard. The priests went into hiding and his [Nimrod’s] false religion came to a standstill.”
There is no biblical or extra-biblical evidence that: (a) Nimrod had a wife (b) started a religion or was worshipped as a god (c) Shem had followers let alone were persecuted and (d) Shem killed Nimrod. In fact, there is no historical record of Nimrod; only a possibility that he is the same as Gilgamesh.
8. On page 40, Satan tells Nimrod’s widow, “Stick with me, Semiramis, and I will make you the Queen of heaven!” Holding up her baby to the Babylonians, Semiramis says “Behold Nimrod, your slain and risen god!” (p. 41).
In reality, there is no trace of Semiramis in Sumerian or Babylonian records. The only Semiramis (which is a Greek name) known in history is Queen Sammuramat, wife of Samshi-Adad V of Assyria who ruled approximately 824-811 B.C.
A Babylonian priest, Berossus, (c. 3rd century B.C.) in his Babyloniaca lists the kings of Babylon and makes a reference to Semiramis ruling in Assyria – not Babylon – after 812 BC. This date matches the period the historical Sammuramat lived.
This proves Nimrod and Semiramis didn’t live in the same era. There is a gap of more than 1000 years between them. No reference work – whether it’s the Encyclopedia Britannica, Jewish Encyclopedia or the World Book Encyclopedia – places Nimrod and Semiramis as contemporaries, let alone as a couple.
Page 52 says: “Ancient and modern writings are clear that Tammuz and Semiramis got married.”
False. Tammuz was a Sumerian deity. He is never described as a real person and never mentioned as the husband or son of Semiramis in any standard reference work. Semiramis was not worshipped as a goddess and she is not Ishtar, Astarte or Inanna because these deities predate her. Even Daniels and Chick quote a work on pg. 198 saying:
“The goddess Ashera was probably the oldest [Canaanite goddess]. As early as 1750 BC a Sumerian inscription refers to her as the wife of Anu, who can be identified as El, the father god of the Canaanite pantheon…” (Baring and Jules, Myth of the Goddess, Penguin Books, 1991, 454)
This disproves their theory that “All goddesses were made from one woman [Semiramis]” (p. 82). These deities have been worshipped for centuries before Semiramis. All pagan goddesses are demons, not geographical mutations of a dead Assyrian queen!
Page 53: “As ‘Asshur’ Tammuz rode north and built four cities, including Nineveh.” A footnote gives Genesis 10:11-12 as reference but vs. 22 says this Asshur was one of “the children of Shem”!
The dramas between Semiramis and Tammuz illustrated between pages 52-59, were based on nothing but “ancient myths.” I remember I was disappointed when I first read this book, because I had expected a scholarly work. How sad that Mr Chick who has attacked the myths and fables of Catholicism, Mormonism and Paganism has resorted to the same.
Personally, I will think twice before I allow my name be put on a Christian book filled with lies, shoddy research and “tales [Gr. mythos] artfully spurn” by pagans (2 Pet. 1:16). A soldier of the cross would rather starve than profit on falsehood.
Some will say “But his works have brought many people to Christ.” I’m not disputing that, but we must not become so naive that we lose our understanding of Scripture’s warning: “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying…” (1 Tim. 1:4)
As Christians, we must not lose sight of the Biblical standard of honesty and integrity of character and we also need to watch out for this syndrome in our lives.