The world is moving toward a one world order â€“ of which the Book of Revelation speaks â€“ consisting of a dangerous confluence of world power and government. This order is being facilitated by efforts to obliterate distinguishing characteristics between people while encouraging a ubiquitous oneness.
Among the contemporary casualties of such efforts â€“ like Judaism in the Old Testament â€“ is Christianity.
In the August 17, 2008, edition of The Washington Times, Claude R. Marx reviewed the book Beyond Tolerance: Searching for Interfaith Understanding in America by Gustav Niebuhr, great-nephew of the Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and an associate professor of religion and the media at Syracuse University.
According to Marx:
Genuine interfaith dialogue, in which people learn about the theology, rituals and history of other faiths and learn to appreciate them, not just tolerate them, can go a long way toward closing the knowledge gap. â€¦[Niebuhr] has picked out exchanges thatâ€¦foster greater respect for the differences. â€¦Mr. Niebuhr sees interreligious dialogue as being especially important in the wake of the increased awareness of Islam since Sept. 11. â€¦[Gustav Niebuhr] cites the theologian [Reinhold Niebuhr] as an advocate of the type of moderation that is needed to prevent other religious-driven hostilities.Â â€¦[T]he best practices described by [Gustav] Niebuhr could go a long way toward fostering better relations between believers of the worldâ€™s great religions.
The Bible consistently commands a sacred separation â€“ outside of evangelism purposes â€“ between those who follow the Bibleâ€™s God and those who do not because of the risk of idolatry, syncretism, and apostasy.
Dr. Gailyn Van Rheenen defines syncretism as follows:Â
Syncretism is the reshaping of Christian beliefs and practices through cultural accommodation so that they consciously or unconsciously blend with those of the dominant culture. It is the blending of Christian beliefs and practices with those of the dominant culture so that Christianity [loses its] distinctive nature and speaks with a voice reflective of its culture (emphases added).Â
In Deuteronomy 6:13-15 (all Scripture quotations taken from the NKJV), as the nation of Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land, God commanded His people: â€œâ€˜You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Himâ€¦ You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you (for the LORD your God is a jealous God among you)â€¦â€™â€
Further, from Deuteronomy 12:29-31:
When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, â€˜How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.â€™ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination [detestable thing] to the LORD which He hates they have done to their godsâ€¦ (emphases added).
Since the ultimate goal of interfaith dialogue is nonjudgmental interrelationship among disparate faiths, God gives some explanation concerning His displeasure at interreligious exchange in Deuteronomy 7:2-4:
â€¦[W]hen the LORD your God delivers [the pagan nations] over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other godsâ€¦ (emphasis added).
Christianity routinely suffers under religious blending. A Biblical case in point: the church at Colosse (Book of Colossians), into which syncretism had crept. Though established upon Christian doctrine, this church was soon swayed by false teachers who introduced a pluralistic blend of Jewish legalism, Greek speculation, and Oriental mysticism.
The result? A weakening of the churchâ€™s Christian foundation and adherence.
More recently in America, the various interfaith worship services following September 11, 2001 â€“ which mixed Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic worship, among others â€“ were a prime example of what is forbidden by the Bible. Ditto for the interfaith activities held at this yearâ€™s Democratic National Convention.
Additionally, the removal of Ten Commandments monuments from government property; the war against Christmas in public schools; disapproval over invoking the name of Jesus during public meetings; the recent attempt by one company to add a non-traditional, non-Christian holiday to its calendar; and the general move to silence all things Christian in the public square in deference to other religions all testify of a syncretistic accommodation that has severely weakened Christianityâ€™s historical preeminence.
America was founded to be a â€œreligious peopleâ€ and a â€œChristian nationâ€ (Church of the Holy Trinity v. U.S.). Interfaith dialogue tears down a Christian nationâ€™s adherence to its Christian moorings. It must be avoided.
Dr. Walter Jones is a trained physician, award-winning educator, and former state and national pro-family public policy analyst. He is presently preparing for ordination as a minister. His Web site and blog can be found at www.thebibleandtheculture.com.