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The ministry is headed by Jeff Harshbarger, a former self-styled Satanist, and his wife Liz. Staff member Annie Fintan is a former Celtic Traditional Witch.
Harshbarger understands why today's kids--including many church kids--are attracted to Satanism.
"It's very hip, very cool to say you're a Satanist," he explains. "There's a pseudo-intellectualism in the Church of Satan. They believe they're higher-level creatures and that Christians are ignorant and weak-willed."
Satanism is all about having power and control, he explains, and it promotes indulgence rather than abstinence.
"The satanic Bible has a ceremony for everything," he continues. "If a guy is looking for a girlfriend, he can say a certain incantation. He can talk to a demon and say, 'I bid you to do this because I belong to you and you belong to me.'"
Another attraction, he notes, is that Satanism is very secretive. "I know from 16 years in youth ministry that many teens lead a dual life," he says. "There's what they show and tell Mom and Dad, and then there's their hidden life. In Satanism they don't have to hide anything. It's OK to indulge in greed or lust and be the most obnoxious sinner."
What really disheartens the Harshbargers, though, are the young people they see in the occult who are from Christian families.
"They've grown up in the church, went to Sunday school," Liz says. "But they never really grasped who God is and how much He loves them. They're not fully educated, so they don't know that the devil's been defeated. Otherwise they'd be able to say no to Satanists and Satanism."
Jeff agrees. "Satan has a designated place that God gave him," he says. "He's been judged a fallen angel--that's all he is. He takes what God has done and perverts it."
The Harshbargers are also concerned about a preoccupation with Satan's influence that they see in some churches today. It amounts to a misconception, they believe.
- Source: Nancy Justice, Escape From Satan's Web, Charisma, Oct. 2003
Jeff has his M.A. in Pastoral Counseling and, aided by his wife, he is the Family minister of Calvary Chapel Aiken, South Carolina.
A steady stream of inquirers find their way to the Refuge Ministries website at www.refugeministries.cc
The vision of Jeff and Liz is to also provide a bricks-and-mortar place where people can come find a place of refuge.
Couple looks to bring hope to those struggling with Satanism, Suzanne R. Stone, Aiken Standard, SC, USA, Aug. 3, 2008
Escape from Satan's Web "Ex-Satanist Jeff Harshbarger now ministers to others caught in the occult's spreading net." By Nancy Justice, Charisma, Oct. 2003
From Darkness to Light: How to Rescue Someone You Love from the Occult by Jeff Harshbarger. Read Chapter One online.
"The Devil Inside" - The Jeff Harshbarger Testimony Two online videos with Jeff's testimony. One from the 700 Club, and another one produced by RockDC.com. A transcript of the 700 Club interview is included.
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