A recent blog on Roman Catholicism prompted some readers of another person's blog to post some negative comments and questions. One anonymous writer accused me of “Catholic bashing.” The post stated, “These smear tactics have no place in these unique times... For you to engage in senseless mudslinging is a waste of time when all Christians will soon be challenged for their convictions.”
Another poster who did provide his name, shared the following:
Million's of Catholics pray to and worship Jesus Christ by name every day. Tradition may have adopted symbols over time but I think that you would agree that symbols do not have mutually exclusive meanings. Many symbols have different meanings to different societies. The symbol of a cross was used before Christ gave it meaning to us now and I am sure that it challenged the meaning it may have had for pagans in the first centuries AD. But do pagan cultures now worship Christ because their form of cross is now largely considered His symbol? No, I don’t think they do. Nor do I think that the use of Fleur-de-lis gives Satan a hold on anyone. (However, I would agree that it may make Satan’s deception easier.)
If a Fleur-de-lis were to be an obvious sign of Satan, it would be dropped in a nanosecond by any and all Catholics. Such as the pentagram or upside-down crosses are. The test, I think, will be when Satan uses doctrines and forms (including symbols) to deceive and those who cannot discern the false message may be lost. If Christ essentially throws entire communities away simply by dint of the form of the worship, then salvation becomes technical and not holistic and meaningful; which goes against the concept of Christ's Grace or Forgiveness. (IMHO)
I very much appreciate your insight, but I would like you to think about how Jesus would look upon faithful members of the Catholic or any other "faith tradition." I think His mercy will be shown to all who believe in Him. To the extent that they have been lied to and deceived in the form of their faith, then I also believe that He knows their hearts and will save those who He has written into the Book of Life. I pray that all with simple faith in Him shall see salvation in His Grace, no matter the form of their faith.
However, having said all that, I do agree that those who believe that the form of faith is the path of salvation may be in for an unhappy revelation.
I would like to assure all my readers that I am not offended, nor angered, when an opinion, or belief contrary to my own is shared. The Scriptures clearly reveal what the mature spiritual response of a minister of Christ should be.
II Timothy 2:24-26
And the Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
I do want to answer the statements of this second man, for they express a mindset that is growing greatly among professing Christians today. Truth has been replaced by tolerance. I find this trend cause for great concern among the body of Christ. This concern has led to this present series of writings on the practice of Syncretism.
If you are still a little unclear as to what syncretism is, I will further define it. In the realm of this current discussion, syncretism is the merging of Christian belief and practice as defined by Christ and His apostles, with extra-Biblical beliefs and practices which often derive from pagan religions. For example, the adoption of the observance of Easter among professing Christians is a manifestation of syncretism. The very name Easter is the English form of the goddess of fertility whose name in other cultures was known as Eostre, Ishtar, Astarte and Ashtoreth.
Understanding this, one can discern that the practice of syncretism was in existence long before the Christian era. The Israelites of the Old Testament were prone to merge the worship of Yahweh with the worship of the gods and goddesses from the nations around them. Astarte and Ashtoreth are both named in the Old Testament, and they are the same as the goddess known by the English name Easter today.
I Kings 11:4-5
For it came about when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to Yahweh his God, as the heart of David his father had been. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites.
What was Yahweh’s attitude toward this mixing of the holy and the profane? He was very clear.
Yahweh said to Moses, “... this people will arise and play the harlot with the strange gods of the land, into the midst of which they are going, and will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. Then My anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide My face from them, and they will be consumed, and many evils and troubles will come upon them; so that they will say in that day, ‘Is it not because our God is not among us that these evils have come upon us?’ But I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they will do, for they will turn to other gods.”
Yahweh laid upon the shoulders of His ministers the responsibility to teach His people the difference between the holy and the profane. He commanded those who served as teachers to advise the population concerning those things that would bring His wrath upon them.
"Moreover, they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.”
Yahweh has not changed today. In this present church age, God has not made any treaty with error. Yahweh has not made peace with idolatrous practices and doctrines of demons. Many Christians have adopted a delusion that God is all mercy, forbearance and tolerance. They have foolishly abandoned the fact that Yahweh is Holy, and His name is Jealous. He will still not abide any admixture of the holy and the profane.
II Corinthians 6:14-17
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the Lord. "And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you.”
It has escaped the notice of a great many today that the above words were written by an apostle of Christ to a Christian church. God commands His people today to be separate from darkness, and from the things of Belial (Satan) even as He did in the Old Testament. The above passage is just one of many that speak of God’s abhorrence of mixing together the holy and the profane. Following is another New Testament Scripture relating to this subject.
“But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray, so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.”
In the verse above, we have Christ speaking to His saints in the church of Thyatira. Yahshua declares that Jezebel, a self-professed prophetess, is leading His bond-servants astray. She is inducing them to commit acts of immorality and to eat things sacrificed to idols.
Keep in mind that Revelation is a book where truth is conveyed in the form of a parable. It was not an actual woman named Jezebel of which the Lord was speaking, nor was He referring to the literal act of eating foods sacrificed to idols. Jezebel stands as a symbol of the soulish (feminine) nature of man. The soul of man prophesies many things, and those who are not careful to divide between soul and spirit are easily deceived.
Foods sacrificed to idols are a parable of doctrines of demons. Food is something that people feed upon, and the church feeds upon doctrines. Things sacrificed to idols are impure doctrines that are devilish in nature. We can discern this parable more clearly in the following words.
Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were thus occupied were not benefitted.
Observe how these terms teachings and foods are used interchangeably with one another. Consider then the meaning of Christ’s words to the church of Thyatira. There were those present among them that were inducing the saints to partake of “strange teachings” (foods) and actions (immorality) that did not come from Him. Satan was the originator of these things, and Christ’s warning against continuing to practice this immorality (idolatry is pictured as fornication throughout the Bible), and to imbibe these impure foods is clear.
And I gave her time to repent; and she does not want to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence; and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.
This judgment of the Lord was brought about due to the practice of syncretism. The people of God were failing to divide between the holy and the profane. The saints were partaking of unclean food. As I mentioned previously, adopting the pagan celebration of Easter is one manifestation of syncretism. Easter’s origin is as obvious as its name. It has nothing to do with the crucifixion and resurrection of the Son of God. Christ was crucified on Passover and resurrected three days later. These dates do not coincide, and neither do their practices and symbols.
Easter Bunny and Easter Eggs
People of God, what do these things have to do with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ? Christ was the Passover Lamb, not the Ishtar Ham. Rabbits and eggs are symbols of fertility. Easter is derived from the ancient Babylonian fertility religion that centered around Nimrod, Semiramis and Tammuz.
I have written of the origin of these practices elsewhere. If you have not carefully studied these matters and asked God to direct you in knowing whether you should participate in pagan practices which are characterized as food sacrificed to idols, then you should not hesitate any longer in doing so. I recommend to you the following teachings:
Removing the High Places
Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), Ash Wednesday, Lent and Easter
I would also recommend to you the article on Valentine’s Day. Please note, however, that it is necessarily sexually explicit.
Valentine’s Day - Babylon’s Romantic Deception
Consider for a moment one of the comments of the man who wrote to me. He stated, “If a Fleur-de-lis were to be an obvious sign of Satan, it would be dropped in a nanosecond by any and all Catholics.”
People of God, this is simply not true. I have watched Christian men who were inordinately devoted to God endure tremendous wrestling of soul and spirit when they began to look at the origins of many of the practices of the PROTESTANT church today. Many of these men in the end chose to maintain what they knew to be Babylonian practices due to the grief it would cause if they were to separate themselves from that which is profane and impure. Many a Christian man will place a desire to please wife, children, parents, brothers, sisters or friends, above a desire to please God.
Even when it becomes obvious that the cause of their wrestling is a pagan rite that was immoral and idolatrous in its origin, a great many will place a desire to avoid suffering above obedience to God. Consider how contrary this is to the pattern of those who will be included among the overcomers in Christ.
"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt...
The test always comes to the people of God when the Spirit begins to perform a work of separating them from the works of darkness. By faith Moses left Egypt. By faith we must also leave Babylon.
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her [Babylon], my people, that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues...”
As long as you or I conform to the pattern of this world, and as long as the church embraces the practices of Babylon, there will be no persecution, and no cost to following Christ. It is only the righteous who suffer persecution, and the righteous are those who follow the Spirit wherever He leads, no matter the cost.
II Timothy 3:12
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Yahshua will suffer persecution.
As long as we remain in Babylon we will avoid the censure of the world, and the attack of Satan. One thing we will not avoid, however, is the judgment of God. He says “Come out of Babylon My people, that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues.” If you remain in Babylon (which means “confusion, mixture”) you will fall under the judgment of Yahweh.
I have shared previously that I am persuaded that those in Babylon are already partaking of her plagues. I believe one of Babylon’s plagues is a plague of darkness. Those who refuse to leave Babylon will lose their spiritual sight. They will lose all ability to discern between the holy and the profane; that which is truth and that which is error and deception.
One of the principles upon which God’s kingdom operates is found in the following words of Christ.
"I tell you, that to everyone who has shall more be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.”
Those who are faithful with the little Christ gives to them will be given more. Those who are unfaithful will have even that which was given to them taken away. This pertains to the revelations and truth Christ entrusts to His servants.
If you will not obey Christ when He makes known to you the unclean practices that are defiling His church; if you prefer to remain at ease and to not “rock the boat”; if you console yourself with the thought that so many other Christians are practicing pagan rites and adopting unclean doctrine and they are unconcerned, then why should Christ give you further revelation? Do you not stand to risk even the truth you have received?
I am seeing many losing the truth they once held as inviolable. Some are even coming to reject the truth that there is no other way to God other than through Christ. As the man wrote to me above, “I very much appreciate your insight, but I would like you to think about how Jesus would look upon faithful members of the Catholic or any other "faith tradition."
There is great deception abroad in this hour. Some time back I wrote concerning the deception in the book The Shack. This book has been wildly popular among Christians, yet it espouses a message that there is more than one path to God. It says only that Christ is “the best way.” It denies that He is “the only way.”
See the article Divorced From Truth - Part Two
People of God, do not be deceived! There is a cost to discipleship. Following Christ will require you to lose EVERYTHING. You cannot walk righteously and avoid persecution.
If you are not encountering opposition in your life from the world, and an apostate church; if you are not in conflict with family and friends who are not fully devoted to Christ, is it not possible that you have failed to obey the witness of the Holy Spirit in your life?
Syncretism is nothing other than compromise. Are you a syncretist? You are either a syncretist or a saint (a set-apart one).
This topic will be continued in the next post.
Note: The following graphic is provided to understand the symbols from the COEXIST image at the beginning of this post.
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