Pastor Bob Birch

Intercessors for Canada

Mid-Month Notes - October 2007


I am pleased to write about Pastor Bob who, God willing, will be 100 years young at the end of December! His prayer life has helped to shape a generation across Canada. I can't resist commenting once more about Harry Potter as I am still amazed at the endorsement of the books by many Christians. And if Harry P is linked with the Deathly Hallows, it is a reminder that the pagan festival of All Hallows Eve is nearly upon us. A seasonal, Halloween, advert for Guinness (a thick, black beer) boasted 'Darkness Reigns'. Sure its about the beer but it still seemed like a demonic boast. 


Pastor Robert H. Birch, of Vancouver, will be 100 years old in December, and to mark this there will be a special celebration to which all are welcome, on Saturday, December 1st, 2:00 pm at Harvest City Church in Vancouver, 7416 Victoria Drive.

Pastor Bob is a man who wanted his life to count. Still an icon and inspiration, the legendary Pastor Bob has lived against the backdrop of the dynamically growing city of Vancouver through most of the twentieth century.

In his thirties, Pastor Bob surfaced miraculously from a deadly disease, alive but burnt-out as a pastor. and turned to fruit growing in the Okanagan. In time, God brought him back to Vancouver and cornered him into pastoring at St Margaret’s, where his clear gospel preaching grew eternal fruit in people’s lives. But he prayed for more until, fifteen years later, out of his depth, out of his comfort zone, with problems at home and conflict in his church, this serious 60-year-old was being loosened up by the Holy Spirit and ambushed by a hippy invasion. Through extreme prayer, he led thousands of (mostly young) people to lead lives full of meaning. In his seventies he pioneered Burnaby Christian Fellowship, another cutting edge church, and in his eighties he confronted Vancouver like an Old Testament prophet and established a nationwide group of prayer warriors committed to extreme obedience to the Holy Spirit for the sake of the destiny of Canada. He was married to Dorothy for 47 years until her death in 1979 and then married Margaret in 1991.Pastor Bob and Margaret are pleased to invite all to a 'Celebration of the Faithfulness of God' on Saturday, December 1st. Refreshments will be served from 2:00 pm and the Celebration will start at 3:00 pm. They request that there be no personal cards or gifts presented. Instead there will be an opportunity to make a donation to the Canadian Bible Society for Bibles and there will be some wonderfully designed large cards for guests to sign their names and give a greeting. Please come if you possibly can.

HARRY POTTER O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you …?

Our English word 'fascinate' is linked to the Greek word 'baskaino', translated in the RSV as 'bewitched'.  It literally means an occult charm that misleads, deceives and brings evil on a person. It is a strong power that operated with effect 2000 years ago to remove the believers from the Spirit filled life of faith to rely on their own works, ignoring the Cross of Christ. Paul did not mince his words, and neither should we, as this sort of influence is most certainly still active in the church today. (see Galatians 3:1-5). Paul continues:

So with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe. But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" (Galatians 4:3-6).

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were in bondage to beings that by nature are no gods; but now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits, whose slaves you want to be once more? (Galatians 4:8-9)  (RSV)

So there it is! What fellowship do we have with something that does not have its source in the Living God, the Cross of Christ and the poured out life of the Holy Spirit in the believer? An ex high-level adept has said that Harry Potter is written to look like a fantasy when, in truth, it is a carefully written description of the training and work of an initiate in an occult order. He continues:

"...everything Harry does is an extension of his belief system. His foundation is in magic through will. The concept that magic is an extension of will is a foundational occult truth and is diametrically opposed to the Christian concept of will where every born again believer’s individual will is brought into submission under Christ."

See: Harry Potter article on Crossroads Website

I urge a discernment that comes from the Spirit of God on these matters. I am not against great literature but the spiritual reality demands a strong prayer life.


“Trick or treat? October 31st is a night for the kids (and their dentists!) when adults put their hands in their pockets to fill the sacks of little gremlins, ghosts and witches doing their rounds on Halloween.” So started a light-hearted article in a local newspaper describing the origin and customs of this very ancient festival. To many, Halloween is just harmless childish fun, especially as the Harry Potter books have recently made witchcraft and the occult user friendly. But what is the real reason for this season of horror and fear and how should Christians respond?

A Witch in BC was quoted as saying “This is probably our most holy night. All witches will celebrate, and sing and chant to bring the god forth to thank him and to feast with our ancestors”. So beyond the superstition there is also an adult dedication to the spiritual world to restore the powers of darkness, the same powers that Jesus made a public humiliation of when He died on the cross for the sins of the world. Christians have had their minds opened to turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God (Acts 26:17). Why then should we want to have anything to do with a festival with a bad spirit behind it?!

History is very clear, Halloween goes back thousands of years to the days of the ancient Celts in Europe. For them October 31st was the start of Winter and also the start of their New Year. It was thought to be the night when the Lord of the Dead, Samhain, called forth the spirits of the dead to seek the warmth and affection of the homes they once inhabited. They were attended by other darker, hideous creatures: witches on broomsticks, demons, fairies and hobgoblins. This gave the villagers two problems:

What if the spirits were bad tempered when they arrived? And what if they liked it in the village and wanted to stay? They resorted to appeasing and soothing the spirits with offerings and gifts to stop them making mischief and making life miserable - hence the origin of trick or treat - a sort of protection money to ghostly blackmailers! And to discourage the spirits from staying they would dress up in disguise as the creatures and in a magical way take on their powers and drive them away. Even the turnip (or pumpkin today) carved with a fearful demonic face was designed to discourage the spirits from feeling comfortable. As a centre piece a huge bonfire was lit to attract the evil spirits away from the fires of home. Now, should we really be involved in this, even if its popular? I think not.

To sum up, Halloween, the cult of death, is a blatant demonstration of the occult and the ongoing spiritual battle we all face. Let us separate ourselves from the defilement of this season. We are being transformed by the renewing of our minds and we will not be conformed to the world. We will separate ourselves to pleasing God and walking in holiness, filled with the Spirit and ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about spiritual issues. Let us be careful what we watch on TV. The build up in October intentionally fosters fear and horror. (see Galatians 5:16 - 25)

We can pray with confidence for protection over our families and property, but there needs to be great caution when deciding to pray against high places or principalities over our cities. We have to be clear on the level of our authority in aggressive prayer to avoid a damaging backlash from the enemy. Please take counsel with established leadership before taking on the ‘strong man’. You may want to develop a regular prayer walking strategy for your neighbourhood that would weaken the occult and enhance the power of the Gospel. (see Ephesians 5:13-18)

Now with all the ‘armour of God’ in place, and in an atmosphere of praise and worship, pray:

  • With confession and repentance from sin
  • Proclaim the power of the Cross and the shed blood
  • Pray for a mighty move of God in the City
  • Pray against the activity of Satan on Halloween
  • Pray for the powers of darkness to be broken and confused
  • Pray that many  involved in the occult would come to know Christ
  • Mention by name people that you know are in bondage

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