Friday, July 9, 2010

One Lord, One God, One Truth - No Syncretism

Jesus said "...on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." (Mt. 18:18b NKJV)  Lest we forget our roots let us memorialize these eternal words of Christ who also said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away." (Mark 13:31 NKJV)

Two of the awesome gifts of Christ to the world were His word and His Spirit. No other religion ever has nor ever will be able to claim these two gifts as universally given from above for the empowerment and illumination of every believer. By themselves alone they cast life changing and life generating power into every faithful believing heart. Christianity is truly unique and it's foundation secure. In Christ "we live and we move and we have or being" (Acts 17: 28a NKJV)   We, as God's faithful, must never grow weary in upholding the banner "We Shall Not Be Moved!"

There was a time in history when this was not so in the lives of God's chosen. They had comingled with the people of the lands they had migrated to and in turn, lost their identity.

"In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 17:6)

Somewhere in the vicinity of 1100 B.C. the book of Judges chapter 17 tells us that the people of Israel were wont of a centralized state leadership.  Being tribal they had no centralized king but only chieftans, so they lived according to what was right in their own eyes. In those days having a king meant there would be some form of state religion that would be complimentary of  its political law. A temple would be at the center of its capital and the god of the temple would symbolize the spiritual and political unity of the people.

A man of those days,Micah, lived in the mountains of Ephraim (northern Israel). We are told his mother had saved up 1100 shekels of silver and had put a curse on it. In those days a curse was often pronounced upon something of value in order to discourage a crime such as theft. When the money came up missing, Micah, her son, and thief, confessed to the crime. Remembering the curse she placed upon the money she quickly blesses him in the name of the Lord hoping to reverse the curse.  After Micah gives the money back to her she then states that she had fully dedicated the money to God for her son. She then takes 200 shekels and gives it to the silversmith who crafts a molten image for Micah. Hmmm.

Now Micah, like other families of the day, decided to put a shrine in his home alongside of the new molten image and some other idols. He also created an Ephod, or a priestly garment, and dedicated his son as a priest. One day a man from Bethlehem of Judah, a Levite, happened to stop in while traveling through the mountains. As the story goes Micah found out he was just traveling abroad to find a place to live. Upon inquiry he also found out he was a Levite. The tribe of Levi was responsible for priestly duties to the Lord. Because of this he invited him to stay at his home for an annual salary of 10 shekels as long as he would be Micah's personal priest. He of course, accepted the offer.

Here we have Micah, a man who was somewhat familiar with Judaism but also was well aware of other cultic beliefs that permeated the the Levant and Mesopotamian culture. We are not told which idols he worshipped but it was most likely the Canaanite Baal and or other deities of Mesopotamian origin. He must have felt in his heart that life would be perfect now. After all, he had all the bases covered, multiple deities, a son who administered prayers to them, and now a real live Jewish Levitical priest who could wear the ephod he had created and serve as his own personal priest. The gods would smile upon him. Surely, no evil would ever come his way.

Lets move ahead in time. 2010 A.D. to the land of America, the land of "In God We Trust." The nation with a church located on just about every corner of the land. The people of this land also have quasi-knowledge of the Lord. Although they have a president and a government they do not have a centralized religious center to which all the people rally in unity. Instead, they infer there is a god but they could not tell you who he is or by what name to call him, after all, do not "all roads lead to Rome?" So they seek to embrace them all. One must wonder how long a syncretistic society like this can continue to exist without crumbling from internal strife.

"Syncretism is the process by which elements of one religion are assimilated into another religion resulting in a change in the fundamental tenets or nature of those religions." (http://mb-soft.com/believe/txc/syncreti.htm) It can also be cultural whereby two or more cultures combine effectually eliminating the uniqueness of each. Cultures also bring with them their religious or non-religious beliefs.

In America today we see the syncretism of the many religious cultures found elsewhere in the world abutting the faith of our fathers, Christianity. We also see the non-religious and secular belief systems syncretized into the mish-mash of a non-binding hedonistic soup. These have all been combined to produce an "anything goes, if it feels good do it," society.

And then there is the one stumbling block to the full implementation of this new culture, the one restraining influence that keeps full immorality at bay, true Christianity. The people of the book. The ones who lead a life dedicated to only one God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. The true church in which Christ reigns supreme in the hearts of its adherents. morality, ethic, and law all being derived from its tenets.
 
Today America seeks to break down its walls. It seeks to create a shrine where the government dons the ephod to service a morality which is only as effective as the ethics of the people who enforce it. An America where the idols of atheism and political correctness emanate a non-committal truth that has no foundations from which to anchor itself. An aloofness of relativity that results in a society of immoral activity. A society that cannot forever stand because of the nature of its ethics. Where the law of the land has no rallying cry or foundation to support it, failure becomes imminent.

Micah had a household based on polytheistic syncretistic religion that was built upon a shifting foundation. It was not long before a group of murdering marauders happened upon his doorstep and took all that he had. His only option was to let them have it or die.  Where were his gods now?

In America today many have opted to just let the invaders have what they want rather than face the fight.  This includes many denominations.

Christianity stands strong in many circles but is slowly, inch by inch, being encroached upon by the secular society who see her, like modern Israel, as a stone of stumbling. The world wants the church. They want control. They want to instill within her the hedonistic lifestyle of the godless.  And sadly, many who call themselves church leaders are beginning to allow the syncretism of the tenets of amorality into their ranks, slowly, very slowly eliminating the foundation truths of scripture and relegating the word of God to a myth.

Unless we fight for the right to worship our Lord and share His gospel in its full truth preaching it as the only pure truth to stand upon we too, like Micah, will lose it all.


May Jesus touch your heart with the truth of His love and His justice.  

God Bless, Mike 
Maranantha. Even so, come Lord Jesus!

2 comments:

Myles said...

Hi Mike,
Very well thought-out in light of scripture exposing the dangers society faces when it's foundation is not based on true biblical percepts as given to us by the word of God, even today the dangers that the book of Jude tells us is happening with just the Purpose Driven Movement.

Rick Warren With the help of his Purpose Driven books, Warren has convinced many Christians to initiate radical changes to the church ranging from thematic preaching and rock music to a more corporate style of church leadership.

The latest is is a 52 week health and fitness program known as “The Daniel Plan” he relies on individuals such as Daniel Amen, Mark Hyman and Mehmet Oz, these men are steeped in Eastern mysticism and the occult.

"Syncretism is the process by which elements of one religion are assimilated into another religion resulting in a change in the fundamental tenets or nature of those religions." This is just what Rick Warren is doing to his church that has lost it way because it's foundation is not based on Christ alone!

The danger to Christians comes from those who do not read their bibles and search the scriptures to see that what their Pastors are preaching is true.

I'm going to get your book, it does look to be a good read and thank you for being faithful to the Lord and His word.

~~Myles

Rick Warren Introduces the Devil Plan. An article by Marsha West:
http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/mwest/110124

A first-hand account of the Daniel Plan kick-off gathering at Saddleback Church by Jennifer Pekich:
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=5636

Michael (Mike) Henderson said...

Thanks for the comment Miles. I am in 100% agreement. I appreciate your sincerity toward the Word of God. We surely must stand on the truth of the complete Scriptures. The Lord will judge our honesty and to water it down will only produce a people who will call themselves Christian but have no real fruit of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Thank the Lord that He can distinguish between those who are sincere and those who are not. Leaders of all ages will be judged by this faithfulness. To water down truth and lead others astray in the interim is in my opinion the worst possible sin. Because you are playing into the hands of Satan.

May God bless you in your walk with Him and your wisdom to know the truth.

Thanks for the links, great examples!

Bro. Mike