OceanSide church of Christ

 Previous Return to list of articles Next 


John Waddey

From:  Christianity:  then & now, February 1, 2008


     When Jehovah liberated the Hebrews from their Egyptian bondage, He brought them into the desolate wilderness of Sinai to prepare them to nationhood.  Through Moses He delivered to them a new law for both their civil and spiritual governance.  They were to be a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, and people for His own possession (Exodus 19:6).  To sustain a proper relationship between himself and the people, Jehovah gave them a religious system complete in very detail.  It showed them how to worship Him acceptably and how they should conduct themselves in daily life.  He then added these solemn warnings:


            “After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do:

            and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye

            not do; neither shall ye walk in their statutes…Mine ordinances shall ye

            do, and My statutes shall ye keep to walk therein…” (Leviticus 18:3-4).


            “…take heed to thyself that thou be not ensnared to follow (the Cannanites),

            after that they are destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not

            after their gods, saying, How do these nations serve their god?  Even so

            will I do likewise…What thing soever I command you, that shall ye observe

            to do:  thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it” (Deuteronomy



God foresaw a danger and warned them against it.  The thing of which He warned is called “syncretism.”  It is the blending or meddling of two different religions.  This warning was needed but sadly unheeded by the people.  They soon began to adopt the practices of their Canaanite neighbors and incorporated them into their worship of Jehovah.  Among the most glaring features was their adoration of Baal and Ashtoreth, the fertility god and goddess of their predecessors.  Along with their images, they adopted their degenerate worship which included ritual sexual indulgence and, in some cases, human sacrifice.

      Syncretism is still very much alive and with us to this day.  The Church of Rome is a classic example of syncretism as is Masonry.  Those members of the church of Christ who are pushing their agenda are blending various denominational teachings and practices with worship ordained in Scripture.  They put women into public leadership roles in the church, including teaching “over men” (I Timothy 2:11-12).  They add denominational teachings about how to be saved such as instructing candidates to recite the “sinner’s prayer” popularized by Bill Bright.  They add instrumental accompaniment to their singing.  They bring in dramatic presentations, interpretative dancing, and entertainment.  They do not renounce the church, the Bible, or the worship of God through Christ – they just corrupt it with their innovations.

      A still more insidious kind of syncretism is unfolding today.  A new phase of the evolving change movement is known as “the Emergent Church” movement.  The leaders of this new wave of error are even bolder and more reckless than yesterday’s change agents.  They are eager to meld New Age beliefs and practices, Catholic mystical disciplines, and the contemplative practices of Hindu gurus with a watered-down denominational version of Christianity.  All of this first originated in the Evangelical world and is being promoted among us by religious teachers at Abilene Christina University and Pepperdine.  To understand where this Emergent path is leading, consider the following lines from Brian McLaren, a principal promoter of the Emergent approach:


            “I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the

            Christian religion.  It may be advisable in many (not all) circumstances

            to help people to become followers of Jesus and remain within their

            Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish contexts” (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 293)


Other Emergent leaders include followers of Islam in their new circle of fellowship.  You may be thinking, “But this is a denominational leader.  What has that to do with us?”  McLaren is a key voice of the Emergent Church movement.  Rick Warren (Baptist) and Bill Hybels (Methodist), admire and emulated by our change agents, give McLaren the highest praise and utilize his methods.  Some of our change agents are already embracing the Emergent approach in their ministries.  This was evident at the numerous sessions devoted to Emergent type worship at the 2007 Abilene Christian University Lectureship.  It is but the next step on the descending ladder of apostasy.  Remember the word “syncretism” and beware of any and all who advocate it.  Destruction is the end thereof.