Popular online challenge Charlie Charlie has lit a firestorm of controversy on the Internet, with mainstream media and social media alike sharing their thoughts on the demon-summoning game.
Faith leaders are also speaking about the game, and their advice is all but unanimous: Stay away.
Billy Graham has referenced biblical warnings against attempting to consult with the spirits of the dead or with demons. Citing the tragic last days of King Saul's life, where the leader of Israel turned his eyes from God and focused instead on occult practicioners, as well as a key warning from Deuteronomy 18:10-11: "Let no one be found among you ... who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens ... or who consults the dead."
"You are wise to protect your children from anything that might bring them into contact with occult spiritual forces that do not come from God, and are even opposed to God," Graham advises parents.
Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas also cited the Deuteronomy verse in his warning against the demon-summoning phenomenon.
"The Bible is clear that Christians should run—not walk—away from any attempt to contact or harness demonic powers through games like 'Charlie, Charlie,'" Jeffress said to the Christian Post.
Other leaders liken "Charlie Charlie" to a demonic gateway drug, opening spiritual doors and demonic desires that should stay closed.
Father Jose Antonio Fortea, a Spanish priest and Vatican-approved exorcist, warns that participation in the game could seed interest in other occult practices.
Meanwhile, Pastor Carl Gallups compared the game to Ouija boards, with all their inherent dangers despite the purportedly "fun" game aspect.
"This is the Ouija board of our time in the sense that it is a trick, but also a gateway drug," Gallups told WND News. "This is a gateway to the occult.
"With this, you are literally praying to a supposed demon, calling out to 'Charlie,' asking for a gateway to be opened," Gallups added. "So it is a trick, but it can set people on a path to something darker.'"
The 700 Club host Pat Robertson also warned against the game, decrying claims from many participants and the mainstream media that the game is just harmless fun.
"Folks, like it or not, demons are real," Robertson said. "They're not play things, and they're certainly not parlor games."
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