Using Paul’s tactics for spiritual warfare is more important than ever.

Stroking the soft fur of the tiny black-and-white kitten, Steve Newberry and his teenage friends carried the playful animal to a secluded spot in the Missouri countryside. Putting the kitten in a sack and hanging it from a tree, the four boys took turns hitting it like a piñata until the animal was dead.

They had killed and mutilated many animals before as part of satanic rituals. This time three of them sought to enter a new level of devotion to Satan—they turned on Steve. Jim Hardy struck the first violent blow. Immediately the other two Carl Junction High School boys joined in swinging their baseball bats in a frenzied bludgeoning of Steve. Afterward, they dragged Steve’s limp body to a cistern and dumped it. The boys were soon apprehended, and one of them, Pete Roland, confessed to the horrific December 6, 1987, murder.

Their motive? A sacrifice to Satan. Jim Hardy claims that Satan had promised him a surge of power for the ultimate proof of his loyalty—taking the life of a human being. In a nationally televised interview, Pete Roland similarly claimed that Satan promised him power in return for killing. All three boys, who turned 18 in prison, are serving life sentences without parole.

From the Night Stalker slayings of Richard Ramirez to the drug-cult murders in Matamoros, Mexico, satanism is gaining increasing publicity for its frequent tie to ritual killings. Police officers throughout the country are now receiving training in identifying crimes related to the occult.

But is there anything to it? For the Carl Junction boys, certainly many of their murderous ideas came from the satanic themes in the heavy-metal music they listened to. Horror movies, ...

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