The Expository Files

Superstitious America

 Last fall (Sunday, October 29, 2000-two days before Halloween, no less), The Wichita Eagle ran a front page article entitled "Reputation bedevils town of Stull." (Geographical note: Stull is located on the northwest shore of Clinton Lake, equidistant between Topeka and Lawrence.) Here are a few excerpts from that article:

"STULL, Kan. - Nearly three decades after reports first appeared claiming the devil haunts this town, residents have had their fill with occult-seekers and vandals.

"Each year the curious stream to the town cemetery, where a handful of trees and tombstones surround a burned-out prairie church.

"'There has been so much destruction of that cemetery and little church,' said Virginia Wulfkuhle, who grew up in the area and is now the public archaeologist for the Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka. 'People have gone out there and destroyed headstones... Those are my relatives buried out there, and I know they aren't in hell.'

"It seems odd that this northeast Kansas town could generate such interest...

"Nevertheless, various books on the occult, articles and Internet chat claim that this is one of the Seven Gates of Hell-where witches, werewolves and the devil himself visits....

"Every Halloween, the legend goes, Stull Cemetery becomes one of the Seven Gates of Hell.

"Some visitors take glass bottles and throw them against the walls of the church. The story is if the glass shatters, it means the person who threw it will go to Hell; if it doesn't break, it means they will be OK..."

Allow me to make six observations regarding the above news item:

I notice that the word "church" is misused. The Bible uses the word to refer to human beings who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and who constitute the body of the saved, whether locally (1 Cor. 1:2; 1 Thess. 1:1; etc.), regionally (2 Cor. 8:1; Gal. 1:2; etc.), or internationally. (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22-23; etc.) Beccy Tanner, the author of the article, mentions "a burned-out prairie church." I doubt that she is referring to a congregation of exhausted, depressed Christians! "Meetinghouse" or "church building" would have been better choices.

Archaeologist Virginia Wulfkuhle says of her dead and buried ancestors in the Stull Cemetery: "I know they aren't in hell." Technically, no one is there NOW. (See 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 20:12-15; 21:8) However, on a future Day of Judgment, Jesus Christ will consign all the lost to that terrible place. (2 Cor. 5:10) Did Ms. Wulfkuhle's ancestors obey the pure gospel? After their baptism (immersion) into Christ, were they faithful disciples of the Lord? If the answer to either question is "no," then their destiny is sealed. They will spend an eternity with the devil and his angels, human protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. (Matt. 25:31-33,41,46)

It has been a long time since I have heard anything so ridiculous as SHATTERED VS. UNSHATTERED GLASS BOTTLES revealing whether or not a person is lost or saved. The Bible says that a soul shattered by sin is lost. (Rom. 3:9-18) One is saved who lets Christ repair and heal his shattered life. (Isa. 53:5; Lk. 4:18) "Bring Christ your broken life, / So marred by sin, / He will create anew, / Make whole again..."

Some claim that the devil haunts the town of Stull. In reality, he "haunts" (definition: "visits often") the whole earth. Carefully read Job 1:7 and 1 Peter 5:8.

News items such as this sadden me. Why? Because it shows that religious superstition is alive and well. Anywhere ignorance of Bible truth prevails, something else will take its place. It has been said that "Nature abhors a vacuum." What is true of the physical realm is true of the human mind. The less of God's wisdom a person has, the more human wisdom he will need to take its place. Remember, those to whom Paul preached in Athens were "very religious" ("superstitious," KJV), and yet they were IGNORANT of the one, true God. See Acts 17:22-31.

Finally, the article states that occult devotées believe in SEVEN gates of hell, one of which is located in Stull, Kansas. However, the Bible says that there is just ONE "gate" of hell. Listen to Christ: "Enter by the narrow gate, for *the gate is wide*, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it." (Matt. 7:13) The broad way that leads to the wide gate is nothing other than a life that is lived antagonistic to the will of God. (See Matt. 7:21-23.) The fate of those who so live has already been addressed. (See #2 above.) However, if we live our lives in the light of God, then we will never have to walk through that awful "gate." (1 John 1:7,9; 5:20)

By Craig Meyer
From Expository Files 8.5; May 2001