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October 30, 2009

ApocryphaThe quest for the knowledge of God began at the beginning of human creation, and people have sought God through multiple self-oriented human speculations, such as meditations and mystical experiences.  This speculation brought forth writings, which every religion touts as holy.  Yet, they could not find God through these things.  But God didn’t keep aloof, for He made Himself known from the beginning in nature, which is the knowing of God through General Revelation.  He also made Himself known in the Bible and this is called the knowing of God through Special Revelation. 

Human speculation can not apprehend God because mans’ wisdom and mind has been corrupted by sin, insomuch that no conclusions about God and His actions can be obtained.  Since this is so, both the speculations and the books containing those speculations are erroneous.

General Revelation reveals the God of Creation through human observation.  This makes people aware and desirous to know God, but contains no information about the Gospel of Christ.  Thus salvation is not obtainable through General Revelation.

Special Revelation comes directly from God.  It is not received by human speculation, insight or actions of mankind.  Only God’s people spoken of in the Old Testament and the New Testament were entrusted with Divine Revelation, who in turn passed it on through the written word that became those Testaments.  What people in other religions discover on their own without God can not be equated with Divine Revelation, nor are similar statements in the Bible and in other religious writings equated.  This is true because the human mind is totally blinded by sin.   This fact is the “T” in Calvinism’s theological mnemonic known as TULIP.  Total Depravity is represented by the first letter of the word tulip, meaning that humankind is totally depraved and cannot know God or be morally good by their efforts or in their choices.  It takes an act of Divine Grace to open the spiritual eyes of a human being, and that through the means of the Special Revelation of God’s Word, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit.

Any similarity in wording between the Biblical text and other religious writings is mere coincidence.  To claim that another religious text is inspired by God like the Bible, is heresy, and such thoughts should be addressed and suppressed in the pulpits and in the theological classrooms, for information about Jesus Christ and salvation is available through no other text than the Bible.

Increasing world social contact in the past (and present) has brought with it more general knowledge about non-Christian faiths, and with that came inter-faith comparisons.  The reason for the comparisons is that nearly all religions talk about the same subjects; God, sin, punishment, salvation, afterlife and good deeds.  In examining these things, some have come to the conclusion that all religious teaching comes from the same source.

Eventually many thinkers, including heretofore Christians, leaped to claim that both the Bible, as well as non-Christian scriptures, is equally inspired.  From this, another leap in thought concluded that because salvation is universally taught in religion, all religious roads lead to salvation as long as you understand and follow a religious belief system. 

The above thinking has led to the stand that evangelism is unnecessary and even sinful.  This error goes against the Bible that says, “go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel” (Matthew 16:15).  The reason for this Biblical command is that besides Jesus, “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved: (Acts4:12).

Fast paced societies, like ours and the Egyptian and Canaanite societies at the time of Moses allow little time for reflection about spiritual realities.  And like in the days of Moses, our society is undergoing fast paced changes and experiencing great attractions to pagan religions and philosophies, due to social and intellectual mingling.  The internet itself may be contributing to this mingling and pagan attraction.  Yet, the believer should instinctively know that this is wrong and contrary to the inspired Canon.  However, like moths to a flame, the pagan fires continue to draw professing Christians into its flames.  Why is this?  

God knew the attraction to paganism would be strong, so over 400 places in the Bible warn against such attraction to these faiths, for an attraction and appreciation of such faiths is the first step towards worship.  See Exodus 20:3; 23:13 and 34: as an example of God’s warnings about being attracted to pagan religions.

And, because of this strong attraction: 1) God openly declared in the Old Testament that only He is God, for there were multiple oracles of the pagan gods; 2) The Lord affirmed that His Word was given only to and through the Jewish people; and 3) That though the Apostles speak about the progressive nature of revelation (Hebrews 1:1), they also recognized only the Biblical revelation about God.

Some assert that Revelation 22:18-19 applies to the whole Bible, when in fact the verses only speak to the book of Revelation.  It can only apply to the whole Bible by extrapolation, because of the many other verses that speak to the inspiration and authority of the Biblical Canon.  But whether this is a good hermeneutic (method of interpretation), or not, is open to question.

Only the books of the Bible are identified by God as being inspired by the Holy Spirit.  All other religions’ books are resultant from human wisdom or from the influence of demons (1 Timothy 4:1), such as many books produced by the Theosophical Society that are said to be dictated by a demon named Dhwaj Khul.  This should ring a bell to those of the Mormon persuasion.

Human religious systems, gods and goddesses are to be rejected by Christians, for God says, “make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth” (Exodus 23:13).

Some Christians may think that, though not God inspired, other religious books have spiritual merit.  However, this cannot be for “the natural man receives not the things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:14), and, “there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God” (Romans 3:11).

religious-symbols-t8326Unfortunately, many Christians are studying for spiritual insight the plethora of non-Christian religious books on the market. (It should be noted here that these unchristian ‘insights’ have been included in many ‘Christian’ books today.)  Two groups that support this type of study are the radical theologians and the universalistic Hindus.

Theological radicalism developed out of the church-state marriage in Germany, whose theological institutions were run by the state and whose professors, though greatly learned did not profess Christ Jesus.  These professors have written many books that have affected and infected theological students worldwide.

One contention of this radical movement was that there was nothing original nor Divine about the Biblical writings, so they spend much time studying the books of other religions.  This has brought non-Christian religious books into the churches, along with their pagan symbols.

The idea behind Hindu universalism is that since all religions lead to the same place, all religions should be accepted and respected.  So, many Hindus can be found quoting the Bible to justify their own brand of philosophy.  Also, Hindu texts have crept their way into Christian churches.  The falsity here is the belief that if passages in non-Christian books are similar to Biblical passages, then they are proclaiming the same truth.  But is this so?

First of all, some of the similarities are only coincidences, as was mentioned earlier.  Considering the volume of religious literature written, it would be impossible for there not to be similarities, for they often discuss the same subject.  Because the wording is similar doesn’t mean that the ideas the words are conveying are the same.  In fact, they are not.  For example:  For the Hindu, God is impersonal and salvation is a going out of a personal existence.  The Biblical God is personal and salvation is the rising to the most blessed personal state, both here on earth and in the afterlife, because of a personal relationship with Jesus our Lord. 

Secondly, the similarities disappear when the passages are seen in context.  Often only one to three words are pulled out of the Hindu Sanskrit texts and presented as similar to the Biblical text.  This is the result of deliberate deception, either by the Hindus or the deceived radical theologians and their followers, who spend multiple pages interpreting the ‘similarities’ of these text fragments.  If read in their entirety, these Sanskrit texts would not read like the Biblical texts.

Thirdly, similarities are because of spiritual blindness or an imposed Christian hermeneutic upon the texts of other religions and visa versa.  But it is to be remembered that statements have context, and that context has to be understood to properly interpret those statements.  For example: A verse in the Bible must be seen in the context of the verses preceding and following, which in turn must be seen in the context of the chapter it is in and the book it is in, and finally the statement or verse is to be filtered by the context of the whole Bible.  That is why “no scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20).  This type of contextual study takes time to do correctly.  Too many Christians do not regularly read their Bibles, let alone do any in depth study.  And too many are not willing to devote themselves to the study of the one book that is the truth, the Bible.  Because of this spiritual laziness, many fall away from the true faith in Christ Jesus and become bound into the spiritual slavery of the false doctrines of other religions.

Jesus did not say in vain, “I am the way the truth and the life.  No man comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6).  Christ Jesus is the only way mankind receives salvation, and the only place you find truth about God is in the Bible.

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