June 14, 2010

Examining The Scripture XXVII: The "god" That Isn't and The World that Wants It To Be - Interfaithism

Part I: Laying The Ground Work

When I type posts I do not begin writing with the intent of being divisive but often times, to determine what truth is, I need to determine and define what it isn't. That which isn't truth in accordance with Scripture is non-truth. Often these non-truths are what people hold dearly as truth. When someone like myself explains why these untruths are are wrong (yes I said wrong), this gives a tone of divisiveness and is unavoidable.

Part II: Patterns In The Past-History Repeats

Having read through the story of Solomon we know that Jeroboam and the Northern kingdom break off from the South because of the oppressive yoke of forced labor and heavy taxation instituted by Solomon and tragically continued by his son Rehoboam. Once Jeroboam ascends to power he immediately became the benchmark for evil for all subsequent kings. The worst thing that could be said of any of the subsequent kings is that they “did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat" (2 Kings 10:29). We then see in the story of Jeroboam the installment of the golden calves in Dan and Bethel to further separate the Northern kingdom from the Southern physically and spiritually. In this way Jeroboam ”captures” their bodies and their minds. He set the calves up as symbols of God to negate the importance of Jerusalem in the south as a religious center. By rejecting the south as religious center the people of the north would inevitably forsake the monarchical system of the south too. Although he would set up these calves (idols) for worship, he continues to allow worship of Yahweh alongside these other “gods”.

What we have here in this story is ancient Interfaithism / Ecumenicalism (or Interfaithism for short) and a watering-down of the faith in God with a myriad of other false religions with false gods. We see the same thing happening today in Christianity, a gradual and slow erosion of truths in Christianity until laypeople are uncertain of their doctrine and core beliefs. Once this is achieved we have a slow methodical infiltration of other faiths into our churches for either political reasoning or something more sinister and evil and it begins as claims of “fairness”, "tolerance" and “diversity”. The intent of those claiming use of those terms (fairness, diversity) couldn’t be farther from the true definition of these words. They could care less about fairness and giving equal time to all religions and they want diversity only if Christianity is one of those religions NOT included in the list.

Satan doesn’t care that his false religions are indistinguishable from Christianity. As a matter of fact I am sure that he prefers they are as similar as possible so that a majority of people including Christians do not know the difference. This is why many of the books in the New Testament deal with apostasy, false religions, false prophets/teachers (1,2 Peter, 1,2,3 John, Jude) and their ilk permeating the church. The warnings are throughout Scripture but they are more heavily concentrated in the letters of Peter, John and Jude. As early as the first century we see twisting of Jesus’ words and misapplication of scripture to promote false religious teaching. Satan couldn't stop Jesus so he tries to stop his messageor at least twist it. It also isn’t long before we see the corruption of Christianity (as Judaism in the Old Testament) for political purposes and to manipulate and control people either individually or en masse. Sadly, because Christianity was used as a tool by non-believers to achieve political/power ends (Hitler, later Crusades, etc) Christians in general get a bad rap. Murderers killing in the name of Christ and not really Christian at all.

It is why God calls Christianity to remain distinct. It is one of the reason teachings within the Bible has always had Jews and Christians as a people side aside as a nation of holy priests and demanded they be a holy nation. Christianity by its very nature is not inclusive to the culture. It is why the world views us as "intolerant". We won’t play by their rules or play their game. Nor will they accept our rules. They won’t accept our rules because it forces them to take stock of themselves and see themselves as they really are. If understood correctly it requires one to humble themselves and "kill" the old self. Tell that to most Americans in this culture and they'd laugh at you in your face or stare at you in disbelief. Besides the Bible clearly states that:

"The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:14

Additionally, embracing the Christian faith forces a person to take responsibility and take accountability for their actions because the Holy Spirit will convict them to do so. Our westernized culture does not like that. They want God but they don’t want His rules because it makes them realize they are flawed and, God forbid, sinners. So they settle for religion that does not force them to change. Religion without the requirements. A Christianity that doesn't require them to change. Please let me state now: A Christianity that doesn't require you to change isn't Christianity.

"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son" 2 John 1:9.

Interfaithism adheres to the postmodern philosophy that words do not have definitive meanings. That terms themselves have no true absolute meaning or bearing in our lives. To postmodertists terms and words, at best, are abstract and nebulous concepts. To better explain this philosophy please review one of my former post called: "Postmodernisms". It would suffice to say that postmodernism likes to deny absolute truths and to deconstruct words until they have either no meaning or a meaning not in adherence to a correct definition. It has long been understood that if you can control the terms or words you control the beliefs and ideas. If you control ideas you control the way people think. If you control the way people think you can control their actions. Its what Jeroboam tried to do and it is what modern culture is trying to do. What do they have in common? They are corrupt, reprobate and have totally alienated themselves from The Lord.

"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" Isaiah 5:20

Interfaithism blurs the lines and makes Yahweh the equivalent of and idol and I believe this is the intent. Either that or it makes God, well...not God. Different things such as shortcomings or flaws from the other Gods and religions creep their way into the Christianity effectively neutering the perfect and divine aspects of Jesus because people get confused. If the “worshipper” eventually learns or understands that the fake gods they’re worshipping can do absolutely nothing to help them they will associate this impotence to any god including Yahweh also. Instead of an omnipotent God they then get impotent gods. If they don’t understand God exactly the way He is put forth in the Bible then they formulate an idea or image in their head of a god that really isn't God (Yahweh). They then proceed to worship a false god never realizing they are doing so. The truly scary thing is this is done in a lot of “Christian” denominations that the world views as Christian. They are not Christian, haven’t been in a long time...or they never were.

"I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them." Romans 16:17

"The undiluted preaching from God's Word and an authoritative stand on truth seem to be on the decline. What we're seeing instead is a broadening of the gospel, a redefining of what it means to be a Christian, and a growing emphasis on inclusion and tolerance. Ecumenism has come to mean "reducing all elements of faith to the lowest common denominator. God's Word is neglected, experience is valued above truth, a false and selfish "faith" is promoted, and sound doctrine and correction are despised as "divisive" and "unloving." (1)

Part III: Modern Application-Rubber Meets The Road

Sadly, this is where the Coexist Foundation and Bono from U2 supporting Coexist, get it totally wrong (a shame to because I like their music). You need only read some of the comments on the website for Coexist to realize that this organization is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt at syncretism. The irony is that it is being passed off as distinctly not syncretistic on websites like Wikipedia. Like I said, he that controls the terms; controls the ideas (even I reference Wiki for convenience). What we see in organizations like Coexist is a modern form or what Jeroboam created by allowing Yahwehism and Baalism (worship of Baal) simultaneously in the places of worship at Bethel and Dan.

It begins with a deliberate watering-down to try to "get along" and find common ground and then it turns into trading doctrine for "diversity" and "fairness". It has been my experience that the only religion that ends up trading away beliefs in order to maintain peace and relationships is the Judeo-Christian religions. Some of the statements about the organization from those involved are below.

I am convinced this is one of the most helpful methods of improving integration." [referring to Coexist]
Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra

Integration by definition is: Incorporation as equals into society or an organization of individuals of different groups. These religions are NOT equal nor do they describe the same God/god.

"God has given us many faiths but only one world in which to co-exist. May your work help all of us to cherish our commonalities and feel enlarged by our differences." [referring to Coexist] Sir Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations

God gave us many faiths? No, he didn't He gave us one. His Son Jesus Christ. To deny this is to deny the Christian faith. In this man's case (being a Rabbi), he is denying the one true G-d. It is a shame that a "learned" man of a faith doesn't recognize an obvious manifestation of Universalist Theology that believes "all religions lead to the same God"...or perhaps he is willfully blind? Not only is this belief considered apostate for Christians it is apostate for Jews also! This may not be what the Coexist organization advertises itself as but it is clear that adherents of it are clearly using it as an ecumenical "land grab" or in this case "mind grab" to merge different religions that are not even remotely alike.

Additionally, liberal mainline Catholic and Protestant denominations pretty much hold to the same philosophy and beliefs. We have begun to see the major shift in mainline liberal Protestant traditions, with the "emerging church" and liberal Catholics churches after councils like Vatican II. We also see it in certain denomination's cultural acclimation to appeal to current cultural mores such as liberal sexuality/alternative lifestyles. We also see it manifested in "easy-believism" or "seeker-friendly" congregations that have "tone down" Scripture by taking God's wrath out of it to make it more palatable for weak-kneed people. All of this amounts to nothing more than apostasy. To add to, to take away from or to twist Scripture is apostasy (regardless of what Wikipedia tells you)

The doctrinal constraints of "Christ is the only way" have largely been cast off. Many theologians, pastors, and lay people from these traditions do not hold to uniquely Christocentric understandings of how God was in Christ. They engage deeply in interfaith dialogue as learners, not converters, and desire to celebrate as fully as possible the many paths to God. As if there was more than one way. Absolute and utter nonsense and even my 6 year old understands the ludicrousness of that statement.

Any Christian that claims that their is a possibility of approaching God other than through the cross and Christ either read the Bible and misunderstood it or they are deluding themselves. If this is what they truly believe then they wouldn't even be Christian. Why do they suppose the word "Christ" is in Christian? Why do they suppose the cross is the iconic symbol of the Christian faith?

Again, I will add that this organization may have been started with good intent(s) to increase dialogue between faiths, to avoid misunderstandings or violence but it has now morphed into a syncretistic entity. Let me be clear: If an organization is formed solely to discuss the marked differences of faiths so that ignorance or "real hate" is not passed along because of poor information or misunderstanding, I am supportive of this type of dialogue. But if the organization crosses the line into distinct syncretism and blending of religions into a universalist God, I am dead against it. It is pretty clear from reading excerpts from those in groups like Coexist that this is not the case. Ironically, that is also like some of the kings of the Old Testament too. They started out well and looked promising (Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah) but their power and reign either ended in disaster or tragedy befell them. Why? They drifted gradually away from Yahweh. Gradually sacrificing what they held as truth for lies either about other gods or lies about themselves (pride, ego, etc). Whenever we put another idea ahead of God we run the risk of apostasy and begin the long slide of decline and ruin.

Any organization that attempts to blend religions or water them down into constituent parts deconstructs the whole intent of Christianity which is meant to be viewed as a complete whole and inspired revelation of God about God in the Bible. You cannot just page through a Bible close your eyes and point at a verse and make it apply to you out of context. This is improper interpretation/hermeneutics. When we only attempt to take a portion of it or take single aspects of it to allow it to meld with another faith we are apostatizing in a deconstructive manner. We are dismantling God into parts and this defies the God of the Bible. Well intentioned but totally misguided. It is religious pluralism (or even polytheism) with a new name and a snazzy looking bumper sticker.

Note: Interfaithism and Ecumenicalism to me are nearly the same. I believe certain closely related denominations can possibly be more unified because their differences are in non-salvation areas but anything that requires changing or accepting something that directly affects a person's salvation is a no-no. Trying to merge entire religions is errant and counter intuitive to a person truly being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. At the same time I do not believe in painting with a broad brush because of either the errant beliefs of a few prominent bad teachers or due to lack of correct information. I have learned that there are some people within errant denominations that can be saved and attacking them is not the way to do it.

(1)"The Spread of Ecumenism." Bible Prophecy | Christian Apologetics at the Jeremiah Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 June 2010.


grasshopper said...

MR PIERSON, I have not read all of your blogs, but this post is the very best one I have read and very impressed with your wording and exactness. YOU HIT THE NAIL RIGHT ON THE HEAD!!! THANK YOU MY DEAR BROTHER! I can't express or yell enough AMENS & HALLELUJAHS. Lets get off the bench and get into the game! You are either living for CHRIST or you are sadly not. Being a Christian in this country, passiveness or compromise in our daily lives doesn't line up biblically. Are you a servant and heir or just want your free ticket to heaven? I apologize, I just get so excited when the truth is spelled out and the Bible demands/commands is for one team or the other. JOHN XIV.6- Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. Need I say more! No other words of defence needed.

ArtWerx said...

i also find your posts consistantly interesting & they bless me no end!

Andy Pierson said...

I am blessed to have such complimentary friends. God is good. I also appreciate the critical/helpful feedback I receive from you to. It assists me honing the edge I need to cleave between right and wrong.

Andy :P

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