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Repentance, Relativism, and the Occult

By Dr. Douglas Groothuis

Celebrity tattoo artist and reality TV personality, Kat Von D, who reveled in the occult and curated a dark persona, has recently been baptized, and she claims she has left the occult behind. The Daily Wire reports her saying this:

Today, I went through my entire library, and threw out books that just don’t align with who I am and who I want to be,’ the tattoo artist said in part in a July 2022 Instagram post. ‘I’ve always found beauty in the macabre, but at this point, I just had to ask myself what is my relationship with this content? And the truth is, I just don’t want to invite any of these things into our family’s lives, even if it comes disguised in beautiful covers, collecting dust on my shelves.

If Kat Von D has come to a saving faith, then she is right to dispose of occultic books. This is what the new converts did in Ephesus, as reported in The Book of Acts. After two Jewish exorcists had been humiliated by demons they could not dispatch (19:13-16), we are told that:

Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power (Acts 19:18-20).

But there is a hitch. She also said:

I know that everybody’s on their own journey and it’s not for everybody, but this is where I’m at... And to me, my baptism was a public demonstration of where I stand with my faith, and basically letting people know that I’m not ashamed.

The statement, “I know that everybody’s on their own journey and it’s not for everyone” is pure relativism, which is incompatible with biblical repentance. Relativism teaches that what is right for me may not be right for you and that morality and spirituality is relative to the individual. This is incompatible with biblical morality and spirituality, which makes absolute claims on us. When Paul preached in Athens, he said:

In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

All must repent, as Jesus taught as he began his public ministry (Matthew 4:17). God will judge the world with objective justice, not according to how sincere people had been in their own beliefs. If one has been involved in the occult, one must repent of that and condemn all occult activity, since it is sinful and dangerous, as God told his people:

When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 18:9-13; see also Revelation 22:15).

I hope Kat Von D has truly embraced Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. I commend her for going public with her baptism. I also hope she is under godly and biblical pastoral care. If so, she must not only leave the world of the occult, but encourage others to do so as well. If we embrace Jesus Christ as Lord, we can be free from the works of the devil. As Paul wrote:

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:13-15).

For Paul, “authorities and powers” refers to the realm of the Devil, demons, and their nefarious influence.

No one can justify involvement in the dark and hazardous world of the occult as part of one’s “journey.” That kind of journey, if not interrupted by the grace of God through Christ, leads straight to hell.

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Andy miltner
Andy miltner
Oct 26, 2023

Thank you Professor. I recently read an article that discussed the large number of Gen-Zers who apparently reject the woke indoctrination they grew-up in, but are too afraid to say anything about it. If this is the case, a good portion of contemporary relativism may not actually be relativistic beliefs , but rather a learned fear to draw a distinction between right and wrong. Another example it would seem of Francis Schaeffer's "Line of Despair" and its further erosion of the Law of Antithesis in human behavior.

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