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Hill 1 Gary Hill Professor Bill Carnagey BBS 105 Religions of the Word 1 9 July 2013 4048 Religions

s of the World Comparative religion, with me coming from a charismatic church setting, is not a subject one is going to learn in a Church situation in most cases, or as a pastor, from an educational background except in a few courses. However, the older Ive become, or should I say more mature, I realized that to be an effective witness to a diverse background of people it serves one well to know something about the religions one will encounter. Most atheists Ive had the opportunity to speak with have more knowledge of the Word of God than the average Christian. I realize that the academic discipline of comparative religion is vast. Any short article can only scratch the surface of but a few of the 45 religious practices in the world. God knew exactly whom to call to preach the Gentiles into the body of Christ in the person of Paul. The point man for the Jewish opposition to this new heresy the Way, Paul over saw the stoning of Stephen who gave the Sanhedrin one incredible performance on Israel getting it right the second time. His first sermon was also to be his last. Undoubtedly, Paul was the first scholar who wrote on Religious Diversity. Paul was a highly educated Jewish Rabbi trained under Gamaliel. As a Roman, Paul had an excellent education in philosophy, music, poetry and science, etc. Here is an almost complete artistic expression of Paul, He wrote his epistles by inspiration. As the channel of a great river is used to pour its flood from the mountain to the sea, so the Holy Spirit used the channel of this great

Hill 2 soul to pour the divine message from the mountains of God to sea of human life and need. (Hall and Wood 18) I mentioned Paul for this reason. After Jesus partially blinded Paul and his Temple guards on the Damascus Road, he wrote some of the greatest literature ever written through the Holy Spirit. He was also one of the greatest supporters of the faith. Paul identified and either removed or corrected the Judaizers, those who practice occultism, other gods and those who were later to become the first Gnostics. Religious Diversity If Paul walked with us today, he might compare religious diversity to a veiled attempt to modify or replace the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While this subject may be a viable for academics, to my knowledge, not one of the founders of the Christian church wrote anything positive about religious diversity. It is useful to determine what religious diversity means, words for which there is no real consensus. However, here is one that seems to contain many of the facets of what describes religious tolerance: Religious diversity means inclusion, the worldview according to which one's religion is not the sole and sole source of truth, and thus that at least some truths and true values exist in other religions. It also includes religious tolerance, the condition of harmonious co-existence between adherents of different religions or religious denominations. Also, religious ecumenism is the promotion of some level of unity, co-operation, and improved understanding between different religions or different denominations within a single religion. Religious diversity also means in a given society there exists a multiplicity of religions together. (Basinger, Religious Diversity)

Hill 3 Basinger, in his paper Religious Diversity (Pluralism), and Section 2. Possible Responses to Religious Diversity, attempts to explain all religions lumped into three degrees of accuracy claims: religious exclusivism, nonexclusivity and pluralism. Of the three, most passionate Christians would fall into the politically correct term of religious exclusivist. Jesus Christ, when he returns, will also be classified in this same category. On the objective of ecumenism Got Questions Organization states, The ultimate goal is Gods glory and the evangelism and discipleship of the lost. The ecumenical venture must be structured in this way. Thus, those we join with must believe the biblical definition of the gospel, and they must also be about seeking the same goal of Gods glory and the salvation of the lost. (S. Michael Houdmann, Is Ecumenism Biblical?) For we who have accepted a literal hermeneutic of the Word of God, religious tolerance presents a difficult problem; the Word of God. God spoke from heaven and said, Listen to Him in reference to Jesus Christ. (NKJV Matthew 17.5) Jesus Christ said to Thomas, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14.5, 6) This statement, augmented by several more like it, invalidates those religions that are not Christocentric. Christ at the center of everything I do is something I want to do consistently. Christianity, unlike some other belief systems, demands a commitment. When one gives his or her life over to the Lord Jesus Christ, each must be prepared to meet the insults of characterizations: narrow mindedness, homophobia, intolerance, bigotry and any of many other judgmental tags. However, this does not appear to match the injustice, demeaning, scornful, cruel and disrespectful actions of the Jewish majority against Jesus Christ during His walk on earth.

Hill 4 I somehow feel that I have not subjected religious tolerance to in-depth thought. We know that one of their stated goals is inclusion. There is nothing wrong with Biblical inclusion. Jesus Christ said, Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11.28) Jesus was practicing Biblical inclusion when He stated all you who labor and are heavy laden. When Jesus proclaimed all, this would encourage every person who labors and are heavy laden in the world, whether Islamic, Hindu, heathen, atheist or any other sinner. There are many with labels unknowingly hiding behind the mask of eternal damnation. However, Inclusion Theology, when practiced, places the Koran next to the Bible in a Christian Church pew and becomes pure evil. Inclusion as a theology cannot be found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It does not honor God when one places any other doctrine next to the Word of God. We, as Christians, are as religiously tolerant as those who do not understand the Word of God as a reality. However, we are not going to reassure anyone who worships a false god by telling them that they are alright. Instead, we are going to love them, and make sure ones actions show them that God is real, and make them jealous for Him. Not all parts of religious tolerance are inherently evil. However, I believe as stated in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, it is an attempt by scholars to try to replace the Word of God in the name of diversity that we, as Christians, must be aware just as Paul was in his time. It would be easy to call me a biblical conscientious objector to most manmade philosophies. We have a perfect example to follow in knowing how to respond to differing religions and their application to the truth; His name is Jesus Christ. He is the one to emulate. Spiritual Warfare As Christians, we must be aware there is spiritual warfare all around, which one cannot see, strongly influencing what is going on in the world that we can see. We can be prepared, or

Hill 5 we can be sitting ducks. The most significant issue facing the United States is not the economy, and there is no doubt that we are in trouble. The biggest weakness is not military deployment and spreading troops too thinly. The biggest issue confronting America today is a moral free-fall that since 1963 has been unabated. America is the subject of its own ignorance of spiritual warfare, which started when the people of America thumbed their collective noses at the God who formed them. Economic experts can blame the countries ills on any number of factors, but the real reason for the countries decline is spiritual. The media deliberately reports only what their told. We have courts legislating decisions without justice. We have schools that intentionally hide the truth from youth. The United States traditional Christian heritage robbed, tainted and revised, by a politically correct multiculturalism and revisionism. The governments of the world are purveyors of immorality. They long ago learned that a social or military crisis was an open call for increasing budgets, bigger bureaucracies and subjugating the population. Paul stated clearly, For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6.12) Ignorance of Gods laws of physics, medical, social, or other sciences do not exclude one from the results obtained from violating common sense. Natural disasters may be Gods warning that a country has turned it back on Him, worshiped false gods or even staying in ignorance of Him in spite of the obvious. Elishas servant of 2nd Kings 6.8-17 is a glimpse into the unseen world that Paul talked about. The king of Syria becomes extremely frustrated because, despite secrecy, his every

Hill 6 military action becomes countered by Israel. It sounds like the original event of wiretapping, does it not? The king finds out that this man of God, Elisha, is telling the king of Israel his every move. The king sends a strong division of soldiers to seek Elisha in Dothan. Elishas servant rises early and goes outside, surprised to see the massive troops of the Syrian army all around the city. The servant rushes into Elisha and asks him, What should we do? Picking up with 2nd Kings 6.16, So he answered, Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. Continuing with 2nd Kings 6.17, And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see. Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. Elisha then prayed that the Lord would hit the Syrians with blindness, and God complied. The end of the story is an example of the grace of God. Elisha led the blind Syrian troops into Samaria to the king of Israel where God opened their eyes. There was a sumptuous feast prepared and the Israelites and the Syrians sat down together and ate a meal. Afterwards, Elisha sent them back to Syria; never to attack Israel again during his lifetime. Other Practices and Religions - Astrology Having the Holy Spirit within ones soul protects him or her from the unseen world. (1 John 1.5-7) Dabbling in the occult is akin to handling a rattlesnake; the question becomes why would one do that? Even the seemingly harmless use of Astrology is just that, dabbling in the occult. Many who are into Astrology invariably become involved in other forms of the occult. The real issue of trying to predict your future through Astrology is nothing but trying to predict your own destiny. The Bible speaks to us clearly on the importance of Gods Word in Psalm

Hill 7 119.105, Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. God loves us and wants to light the way we should go, and by His words be a lamp unto ones feet. The Bahai Religion I have to admit that prior to taking this course I knew remarkably little about the Bahai religion. The Harper Collins Dictionary of Religion states this: The Baha'i faith was founded in Iran in 1863 by Mirza Husayn ali Nuri (1817-92), known as Bahaullah or Baha Allah (Arabic for "splendor of God). This religion's name comes from the Arabic word for splendor. Baha Allah was imprisoned or exiled from 1852 to 1877. During that time he wrote the Kitab al-aqdas (Arabic for "The Most Holy Book"). After his death, his son, Abbas Effendi (1844-1921) or Abd al-Baha, was named the leader of the community and given the power to interpret his father's work. At the time of his father's death, the Baha'i were based in Iran and Acre in Palestine. Through Effendi's travels, he spread the faith around the world. Since 1962, the Baha'i have been administered by the Universal House of Justice, which is elected every five years, and based in Haifa. (Smith and Green eds. 58) The issue with the Bahai religion is the same as with other religions that deny the deity of Jesus Christ. Even though they receive other religions freely, they reject the Lord Jesus Christ. John 14.6 with Jesus speaking with Thomas said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Buddhism Buddhism is another mystery. Buddhism claims the first implementation of almsgiving. However, Judaism almsgiving was in use some 2,000 years before the creation of Buddhism.

Hill 8 Buddhism shares choosing to ignore the facts with Coran. In the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. I, there is a definitive history of this practice with Judaism: But it was in Judaism that almsgiving was first highly regarded from a religioethical point of view. The Old Testament has a higher conception, based upon the ideas that the land belongs not to individuals but to God, whence all have equal right to its fruits and that the regulating principle of conduct toward others among Gods chosen people must be thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (Leviticus 19.18, 34) Benevolence follows as an ordinary duty. In post canonical times almsgiving almost imperceptibly assumed the character of a voluntary act of merit and even of expiation for sin and assurance of salvation. (Herzog ed. 353) Buddhism does not believe in any Divine entity, so all theological issues are not debatable. With no hope of forgiveness of sin or eternal salvation, Buddhism seems to have more in common with atheism than Christianity. All occult practices, whether channeling, tarot cards, New Age, fortune telling, Ouija board and trance media all have their origin in the days of Nimrod, pre flood. The New Age movement, championed by Oprah Winfrey, is not new at all, but is the continuation of the changing of the Gospel started by the Gnostics and many others that followed. Solomon states in Ecclesiastes 1.9-10, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, 'Look! This is something new'?"

Hill 9 The New Age Movement Oprah Winfrey, as the media priestess of the New Age movement started by Nimrod, has stated that she will not follow Jesus Christ because the Bible states that He is a separator. She has also stated publically as the New Age doctrine includes, there are literally millions of ways to God. This creates doubt among those that are seeking the truth, and what Winfrey does not realize is that the original creation of uncertainty in the Word of God originated with none other than Satan. From a Time Magazine article June 24th, 2001, Winfrey states: These are my go there moments, spiritual episodes of divine guidance that far transcends chatty exchanges within the studio. Sometimes the epiphanies carry the voices of Nego slaves Joe and Emily and Dara; Sue and Bess and Sara. I have come to know each of them personally and call them in at will to guide me at work. The spirits have been visiting me for years. (Kovar, Dare to go There) Paul issued a strong warning to the church at Corinth about recognizing those who possessed a false spirit: For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles for Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2nd Corinthians 11.13-15) Anyone with the massive numbers of daily viewers that Oprah has gained has the potential to affect millions away from the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. Is it possible that Satan is using Oprah in leading people astray? By her personal revelation, dabbling in mysticism, calling spirits to help her with the success of her television program, it is entirely possible.

Hill 10 The Freemasons The Freemasons are a highly secretive organization that one rarely comes into contact with or hears anything. Before the call by God to go into the ministry, I worked in the public sector of the airline industry and do not recall hearing anything about the Masons. It was not until I began my studies into the ministry that I began to understand the spiritual requirements of this ultra-secret society. Another name for the Freemasons is the Christian Brotherhood which has been responsible for countless worthy projects and causes. However, just like a television personality who denies Jesus Christ, the Freemasons believe that all religions whether Christian, Hebrew, Moslem, Brahmin, followers of Confucius, Zoroaster and others can come together as brothers. Then they can pray to one god who is above all others. Trying to reducing the God who created the heavens and earth and all that is in them to other gods is a heresy. Further, their pluralistic theory of Jesus Christ states that He was just a man, is also another heresy. Christians who are in Freemasonry must understand that the views of this organization are in direct conflict with the deity of Jesus Christ, ones only way to God. Hinduism Nita Sharma, of Satyam at George Washington University, states, Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world dating back to 5000 B.C. and is also the third most popular religion with 762 million followers. One of the beliefs of Hinduism is that man is Divine in nature. We also show that ego is the beginning of all suffering; the world is an illusion, we believe in the incarnation, and do not believe in recruiting anyone into the faith. Their beliefs include transcendental meditation, dancing, fasting, symbols and a book of scriptures called Veda. Hinduism has no faith in a savior, Jesus Christ. (Sharma, Satyam)

Hill 11 Since Hinduism states that humanity is the divine nature in the universe, they clearly reject the Biblical account of Creation of which the Lord is extremely jealous. (Romans 1.18-20) Incarnation of souls, the existence of Brahman is antithetical to the Lord Jesus Christ. As with most other religions, each tries to find a way to God other than Jesus Christ. In this regard, Hinduism is no different from the other religions we have touched. Without Jesus Christ 762 Hindus become one of the largest mission fields, second only to Islam. Jesus clearly states, The person who is not with me is against me, and the person who is not gathering with me is scattering. This stern warning goes for individuals, churches, Christian universities, governments, the entertainment industry and any other institutions who are not gathering for the Lord. There is a whole lot of scattering going on by a whole lot of people whom all requires a total wake up call. I love the way that John gives us what we need to be equipped to be Spiritual discerning. Here, John clearly warns us: Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 1-4) When we begin to believe that what is in us is greater by far than what is in the world, we will stop cowering and be more like Paul bold for the Lord who strengthens me. Then, and

Hill 12 only then, we will start doing the works that we did not think we could do, aim higher, and smarter than we have ever done before through Christ who is far greater than ones negative doubts. Conclusion When one evaluates religions, or those that have similar traits, and all share denying the Deity of Jesus Christ, we have the largest mission field ever created in the history of the world. The world is full of humans who have access to the Word of God and have rejected it or, more unlikely, have never picked it up, and are without excuse. Romans 1.18-20 reads, For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who repress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse. Regardless of whether they have indirectly rejected God or knew the Word and allowed situations to be an excuse for turning their backs if they die tomorrow their destiny is an eternity in hell. If we will just start to look at these individuals through the eyes of Jesus Christ and not ones own. The very people that the church has rejected today: those improperly dressed, the wrong color of skin, the poor, the widowed, the orphaned, or whatever the situation, was the singularly first people that Jesus Christ went to with the good news of the Gospel.

Hill 13 James states how the church should consider the indigent and lost who enter the church, My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy cloths, and you pay attention to the one wearing fine cloths and say to him, You sit here in a good place, and say to the poor man, You stand there or, Sit on the floor at my footstool, have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?. (James 2.1-4) Ill close my paper with this. Pauls doctrinal memo to the Romans is full of theology, the outcome of the Jewish people, and Christians right to change the world. Romans 8.28-29, And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. Jesus clearly declared His main reason for taking on sinless human nature, For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Perhaps if we will change ones paradigm and let the Holy Spirit to work within us, we might be a small part of serving to bring in the definite last saved sinner before God tells Jesus Christ to go and get his bride. Maranatha Lord Jesus!

Hill 14 Works Cited Basinger, David, "Religious Diversity (Pluralism)", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 25 May 2004, Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Web. 3 July 2013. Hall, Newton, and Irving Wood. Paul Life Letters. 3 ed. Chicago: John Rudin and Company, 1966. Print. Herzog, Herta. The new Schaff-Herzog encyclopedia of religious knowledge... 1918. Reprint. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1966. Print. Houdmann, S. Michael . "Is ecumenism biblical?" Bible Questions Answered. N.p., 12 June 2002. Web. 4 July 2013. Kovar, Jason. "Dare to go There - Oprah Winfrey." Good Fight Ministries - Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 July 2013. Scofield, C. I.. The Scofield study Bible. Red letter ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. Sharma, Nita. "Satyam - The Hindu Awareness Organization of the George Washington University." The George Washington University. N.p., 1 Mar. 2012. Web. 9 July 2013. Smith, Jonathan Z.., and William Scott Green. The HarperCollins dictionary of Religion. San Francisco: Harper, 1996. Print.