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Tag Archives: Syncretism

Misrepresenting God

When you misrepresent someone or something, this usually involves giving a false or misleading account. Whether by action, deeds or words, misrepresentation distorts, perverts and puts a new spin on something. From a spiritual perspective, Christians and or churches often exhibit subtle ways of misrepresenting God. This is displayed through Syncretism which is the  fusion of two or more belief systems, and can be applied to philosophy, politics, and religion. In the Old Testament, Jews began to misrepresent God by adopting and observing pagan gods and practices.

Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life, John 8:12.

There are other examples in Scripture that are much more obvious. The context of the passage above involves a woman caught in the act of adultery. According to Jewish law, this woman must be sentenced to death. The local scribes and Pharisees brought her to Jesus to either test him or simply get his opinion on this matter. Instead of taking the bait, Jesus gets down on one knee, writing with his finger in loose soil. Legend has it that Jesus began to write down transgressions committed by people in the crowd who were about to stone this woman. Bible scholars suggest that Jesus was writing down specific sins, ways that these religious leaders were also misrepresenting God.

We are even discovered to be misrepresenting God, for we testified of Him that He raised Christ, Whom He did not raise in case it is true that the dead are not raised, 1 Corinthians 15:15.

According to the apostle Paul, anyone who denies the resurrection of Jesus also misrepresents God. Prior to this passage, Paul lists several accounts of individuals who met with Jesus after being crucified on a cross. Perhaps, Paul was merely reminding first century believers of the facts. Nearly 2000 years later, atheists and agnostics have cast doubt on Jesus’ resurrection, relying on science rather than faith. However, an entire chapter of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 15, is devoted to highlighting the power and significance of Jesus’ resurrection. While it takes time to change, may this blog inspire you to stop misrepresenting God.

by Jay Mankus

The Fine Line Between Compromise and Tolerant

According to Luke, a woman named Lydia was the first believer at the church of Thyatira, Acts 16:14. This church first met outside along the banks of a nearby river. After the apostle Paul baptized the members of her household, Lydia convinces Paul to stick around for a few days. Following Paul’s departure for Philippi, the disciple whom Jesus loved gives an update on the church at Thyatira. John begins with a list of positives. However, in an attempt to appease others, there was one obvious blemish.

But I have this against you: that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess [claiming to be inspired], and who is teaching and leading astray my servants and beguiling them into practicing sexual vice and eating food sacrificed to idols, Revelation 2:20.

Whenever an individual comes to faith in Christ, God meets us where we are in life. Nonetheless, there is an expectation that as you develop, learn and mature spiritually, you should draw closer to God. The New Testament calls new Christians to be set set apart by living according to the standards of the Bible. Jesus’ goals for his followers is to become Light in this World and Salt of the Earth. Yet, when uninformed Christians become lazy, without checking the Bible first, subtle compromises are conceived.

I gave her time to repent, but she has no desire to repent of her immorality [symbolic of idolatry] and refuses to do so, Revelation 2:21.

The term tolerate allows for the existence, occurrence, or practice of something that one does not necessarily like or agree with. Based upon the acceptance of Jezebel’s teachings, false practices were embraced by the church at Thyatira. This is known as Syncretism, the blending of religion with cultures and schools of thought. Whenever Christians deviate from the Bible to merge with social norms, the fine line between compromise and tolerant is broken. The next time you have an urge to blend in like a chameleon, remember God’s call to shine like the stars, Philippians 2:15.

by Jay Mankus

What It Means to be One Nation Under God

Since October media reports has followed caravans of people from Latin America, hoping for a better life.  Depending upon your choice of cable news networks, reporters covering this story have attempted to define who these people really are.  As the masses have reached the border seeking asylum, politics have divided Americans.  Those who don’t want borders have invoked religion, accusing opponents of being anti-Christian, failing to love these individuals like Jesus.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world, James 1:27.

Anyone who picks and choses what they want to believe from the Bible while disregarding other parts is known as syncretism.  This practice blends cultures, religions and schools of thought to appease, relate to and unite a large diverse audience.  Unfortunately, when politicians use syncretism it’s often masked with Saul Alinsky tactics from Rules for Radicals.  Instead of using the Bible in its proper context, political talking points often seize opportunities like the caravan to condemn and criticize anyone who dares to disagree.  If you watch any nightly news, politics is a vessel of division.  What America needs is to go back to its roots.

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? – 1 John 3:17

The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States was composed by Captain George Thatcher Balch. Balch was a Union Army Officer during the Civil War and later became a teacher of patriotism in New York City schools.  The most recent alteration of its wording came on Flag Day in 1954, when the words “under God” were added.  When my father’s family fled Lithuania during the Soviet Union’s invasion of the Baltic States, he came to America to start over living with a host family.  While a large number of Lithuanians migrated to Binghamton, New York, these immigrants eventually became citizens.  The goal wasn’t to make America Lithuanian.  Rather, it was to become one nation, united by a common faith in God, to carry on their former nation’s heritage united under one flag.  This is what it means to live as one nation under God.

by Jay Mankus

A Church That is Right When the World is Wrong

Fulton J. Sheen was born in 1895.  Before his death in 1979, Sheen became an outspoken bishop in the Catholic Church.  Sheen’s popularity began as a preacher on radio and television programs.  One of his famous quotes would have offended many if announced today.  Yet, Sheen’s goal was to establish a church that is right when the world around it is wrong.  While logical on the surface, a changing world is often offended by those who cling to absolute truths.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect, Romans 12:2.

Fulton was merely practicing the teaching of the apostle Paul.  During the height of the Roman Empire, emperors used their influence to ban, persecute and on some occasions put Christians to death.  Like a bully trying to control those around them, the apostle Paul urged first century believers to win the battle of the mind.  Unless you protect your mind through a daily dose of Bible Study, prayer and worship, conformity to the world will occur at some point.  When this happens to church leaders, the power of the Bible is lost as doctrines become watered down.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

The Bible uses several analogies to explain the ongoing schemes of Satan.  Jesus refers to this fallen angel as the father of all lies.  One of Satan’s objectives is to convince Christians to bend, overlook or stretch the truth.  When weak minded leaders take over a church, worldly beliefs are slowly blended into biblical teaching.  The theological term for this process is known as syncretism.  Unfortunately, when this dangerous practice begins to spread, there isn’t much difference between the church and the rest of society.  When the light of Christ fades and the saltiness of faith disappears Fulton’s goal becomes impossible.  May the Fulton’s quote many years ago inspire believers today to develop a church that is right when the world is wrong.

by Jay Mankus

Importing Deities

Countries tend to import articles, goods or services when there is an increase in demand or no entity from within who can provide this in a timely manner.  However, spiritual elements are imported daily, often going unnoticed by citizens.  These subtle deities contain hidden powers, fueled by demonic strongholds that exist throughout the world.  If not rejected and deported, hearts, minds and worldviews will be transformed, shifting the beliefs of a nation.

According to C.S. Lewis, apologetics involves finding common areas and beliefs that you share with other world religions.  His logic is based upon one simple principle, “no one want’s to hear that you are right and everyone else is wrong,” Mere Christian, Book 2, chapter 1.  When it comes to importing deities, no one is as resolute as Islam.  Meanwhile, several Christian denominations have begun practicing Syncretism, blending practices not found in the Bible, Deuteronomy 4:2, with the Christian faith.

As Israel approached the promised land, a similar temptation arose to import gods from Egypt.  Leviticus 17:7 suggests that some had already carried foreign traditions with Israel into the desert.  Laying down the law, through the words of Moses passed down from generation to generation, this command still applies, importing foreign deities is prohibited.  Going forward, make sure you practice 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, testing everything you hear or read with the truths of Scripture.  By doing this, you will protect your mind from further harm, 2 Corinthians 10:5.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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