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Sermon: “Judaism — the Roots of Christianity”

Series:  “Jesus Christ Is the Only Way to God: An Examination of Christianity and Other World Religions and Cults.”

Sermon: “Judaism — the Roots of Christianity”

Date:   July 10, 2022

Praise the Lord Saints and to God from whom all blessings flow. Well, we have reached the last week of our series “Jesus Christ Is the Only Way to God: An Examination of Christianity and Other World Religions and Cults!” Week before last, we covered Islam and the Nation of Islam and found them to be incompatible with Christianity.

Information for this sermon series was gathered from Biblical scholars such as, Dr. Norman L. Deisler in his study on “Christianity Cults & Religions,” Books and DVD; and Josh McDowell in his book: “The Best of Josh McDowell: A Ready Defense” and other materials related to Christianity, other religions and cults.

Before we go into Judaism, I want to go over what we have covered over the last seven weeks in synopsis. We will first cover our beliefs as Christians and then each religion or cults’ beliefs based on Writings, God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Salvation and Death. We have omitted Founder because Jesus Christ is the founder of Christianity and not the founder of the other religions or cults. Additionally, under Writings, we will indicate if the Holy Bible is listed, for example: how it is interpreted, corrupted or uncorrupted.

Writings:

Christianity: Written in Hebrew and Aramaic (Old Testament), and Greek (New Testament).

Jehovah’s Witnesses: New World Translation (Their translation of the Holy Bible rejects every central belief of Christianity. They have altered the Bible in 300 places to fit their beliefs and to say what they want it to say. Their publications take precedence over the Scriptures.

Mormonism: Joseph Smith wrote his version of the King James Bible called Inspired Version or Joseph Smith Translation. His version wasn’t a real translation at all since he wasn’t fluent in any biblical language nor did he have any ancient manuscripts in his possession. He “corrected” anything he felt was necessary (adding a prophecy of his own birth to Gen. 50:33).

Hinduism, Transcendental Meditation, Buddhism, and Scientology: The Holy Bible is not included.

Christian Science, Unity School of Christianity, and New Age:  Has the Bible listed but it is not reliable as it denies many tenets of the Holy Bible.

Islam: Claims usage of the Torah, Psalms, and Gospels, but claims it has been corrupted by Jews and Christians.

Nation of Islam: Quotes the Bible often, but claims it has been corrupted by Jews and Christians. Additionally, claims that Christianity is a white man’s religion and enslaves blacks.

God:

Christianity: The one God is Triune (one God in three Persons, not three gods); Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God is a spiritual being without a physical body. He is personal and involved with people. He created the universe out of nothing. He is eternal, changeless, holy, loving, and perfect.

 Jehovah’s Witnesses: One person, God called Jehovah.

Mormonism: The Mormon doctrine contradicts the Holy Bible. They believe that God was a man that progressed to godhood. He has a physical body. Believe that men someday may become God.

Hinduism: God is “The Absolute,” a universal spirit. Brahman, the eternal Trimutri, or three in one God: Brahma, the Creator; Visnu, the Preserver; and Shiva, the Destroyer. Everyone is part of God (Brahman).

Transcendental Meditation:  Each part of creation makes up “God” (Brahman). Supreme Being is not personal. All creation is divine, “all is one.”

Buddhism: The Buddha did not believe in the existence of God. Others speak of the Buddha as a universal enlightened consciousness or as a god.

Christian Science: God is an impersonal Principle of life, truth, love, intelligence, and spirit. God is all that truly exists; matter is an illusion.

Unity School of Christianity: God is an invisible impersonal power. “God” is interchangeable with “Principle,” “Law,” “Being,” “Mind,” “Spirit.” God is in everything, as the soul is in the body. The spirit is reality; matter is not.

Scientology: Rejects biblical descriptions of God. Everyone is an immortal spirit (thetan) with unlimited powers over its own universe, but not all are aware of this.

New Age: Everyone and everything is God. God is not a person but an impersonal force or principle.

Islam: Allah is one and absolutely unique.

Nation of Islam: Officially, there is one God, Allah. God is a black man, millions of Allahs have lived and died since creation, collectively the black race is God, and Master Fard is the Supreme Allah and Savior.

Jesus

Christianity: Jesus is God, the second Person of the Trinity and He has always existed and was never created. He is fully God and fully man (the two natures are joined, not mixed). As the second Person of the Trinity, he is coequal with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. He was begotten through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus is the only way to the Father, salvation, and eternal life. He died on a cross, as full sacrifice and payment for our sins; rose from the dead on the third day, spiritually and physically immortal. For 40 days, he was seen by more than 500 eye-witnesses. Jesus will come again visibly and physically at the end of the world to establish God’s kingdom and judge the world.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Jesus is not God. He was Michael the archangel before he lived on earth. Jehovah made the universe through him. A perfect life was lived through him. He was resurrected as a spirit, after dying on a stake (not a cross), and his body was destroyed. He returned invisibly in 1914 in spirit, therefore, Jesus is not coming again. He and the angels will destroy all non-Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Mormonism: Jesus is a separate god from the Father (Elohim). He is the “elder brother” of all men and spirit beings and was created as a spirit child by the Father and Mother in Heaven. His body was created through sexual union between Elohim and Mary. Jesus was married. His death on the cross provides everyone with resurrection but not full atonement for all sin

Hinduism: Jesus Christ is a teacher, a guru, or an avatar (an incarnation of Vishnu). He is a son of God as are others. His death does not atone for sins nor did he rise from the dead.

Transcendental Meditation:  Jesus is not uniquely God. Jesus had a divine essence like all people. He discovered it. Christ didn’t suffer and couldn’t suffer for people’s sins.

Buddhism: The historic Buddhist worldview, does not include Jesus Christ. Buddhists in the West see Jesus as an enlightened teacher, while Buddhists in Asia believe Jesus is not God but an avatar or a Bodhisattva. 

Christian Science: Jesus was a man who displayed the Christ idea. (Christ means perfection, not a person.) Jesus was not God because God can never become flesh or man. He could not suffer nor did He suffer for sins. He did not die on the cross nor was He resurrected physically and He will not literally come back.

Unity School of Christianity: Jesus was a man with Christ Consciousness. “Christ” is a state of perfection in every person. Jesus was in search of his own salvation having lived many times before. Jesus did not die as a sacrifice for anyone’s sins; did not rise physically, and will never return to earth in physical form.

Scientology: Jesus is rarely mentioned in Scientology. Jesus was not the creator, nor was he an “operating thetan” (in control of supernatural powers, cleared from mental defects). Jesus did not die for sins.

New Age: Jesus is not the one true God. He is a spiritual model and guru and is an “ascended master” but not a savior. He was a New Ager who tapped into divine power like anyone can. He “rose” into a higher spiritual realm but did not rise physically.

Islam: Jesus (Isa in Arabic) was not God or the Son of God.  Adam’s creation is likened to Jesus’ virgin birth. He was one of Allah’s respected prophets, lived a sinless life, and worker of miracles. He was neither crucified nor resurrected. He will return not Mohammad to play a special role before the future judgment day, perhaps turning Christians to Islam.

Nation of Islam: For the record, Jesus was a sinless prophet of Allah. However, off the record, Jesus was born from adultery between Mary and Joseph, who was already married to another woman. A police officer stabbed Jesus in the heart instead of being crucified. His body is still interred in Jerusalem. Prophecies relating to Jesus’ return are really referring to Master Fard, Elijah Muhammad or Louis Farrakhan.   

Holy Spirit

Christianity: The Holy Spirit is God, the third Person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is not an energy force but a person. He comforts, convicts, grieves, reproves, guides, teaches, and fills Christians. He is not the Father, nor is he the Son, Jesus Christ.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: “holy spirit” is not God but an impersonal, invisible, active force from Jehovah.

Mormonism: The “holy spirit” is different from the “Holy Ghost.” The “holy spirit” is not God, but is an influence or electricity like emanation from God (or “light of Christ”).

Hinduism, Transcendental Meditation, and Scientology: The Holy Spirit is not part of these religions.

Buddhism: The Holy Spirit is not part of this religion. Buddhists believe in spirits, invite spirit possession and practice deity yoga.

Christian Science: Holy spirit is defined as the teaching of Christian Science. Impersonal power.

Unity School of Christianity: The Holy Spirit is “the executive power of both Father and Son,” the law of God in action. A “definite” thought in the mind of man.

New Age: Sometimes a psychic force. Man is divine, such as contacting unearthly beings and can experience psychic phenomena.

Islam: “Holy spirit” can refer to the angel Gabriel, Allah, or to a spirit used by Allah to give life to man and inspire the prophets.

Nation of Islam: The Holy Spirit is not significant to their belief but is thought to be the power of God or as the angel Gabriel who spoke to the prophet Muhammad.

Salvation

Christianity: Salvation is by God’s grace, not by an individual’s good works. Salvation must be received by faith and people must believe in their hearts that Jesus died for their sins and physically rose again, which is the assurance of forgiveness and resurrection of the body.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Be baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Must earn everlasting life on earth by “door-to-door work.” Salvation in heaven is limited to 144,000 “anointed ones.” This number is already reached.

Mormonism: Resurrected by grace, but saved (exalted to godhood) by works, including Mormon baptism, tithing, ordination, faithfulness to church leaders, marriage, and secret temple rituals. No eternal life without Mormon membership.

Hinduism: Salvation can take many lifetimes. It is release from the cycle of reincarnation that is achieved through yoga and meditation. Final salvation is absorption or union with Brahman.

Transcendental Meditation: Salvation consists of doing good in excess of evil to evolve to the highest state (final union of the self with Brahman) through reincarnation. 

Buddhism: The goal of life is nirvana, to eliminate all desires or cravings. The Eightfold Path is a system to free Buddhists from desiring anything and eventually achieve nonexistence.

Christian Science: Humanity is already saved eternally. Sin, evil, sickness, and death are not real.

Unity School of Christianity: By comprehending that each person is as much a Son of God as Jesus is. There is no evil, no devil, no sin, no poverty, and no old age. A person is reincarnated until he learns these truths and becomes “perfect.”

Scientology: No sin or need to repent. Freedom from reincarnation is salvation. One works on his “engrams” (negative experience units) to a state of clear and then progresses up the “bridge to total freedom” achieving “Operating Thetan” with eventual control over matter, energy, space, and time.

New Age: Need to offset bad karma with good karma. Can tap into supernatural power through meditation, self-awareness, and “spirit guides.”

Islam: The balance between good and bad deeds determines one’s destiny in paradise or hell.

Nation of Islam: Salvation is through submission to Allah and good works. Fard is the savior, salvation comes from knowledge of self and realizing that the white race are devils who displaced the black race.

Last category, but not least, Death:

Christianity: After death, Believers go to be with Jesus and await the final judgment. Both saved and lost people will be resurrected; those who are saved will live with Jesus in heaven and those who are lost will suffer the torment of eternal separation from God (hell). Jesus’ bodily resurrection guarantees believers that they too, will be resurrected and receive new immortal bodies.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The 144,000 live as spirits in heaven. The rest of the righteous “the great crowd.” Live on earth, and must obey God perfectly for 1,000 years or be annihilated.

Mormonism: Nearly everyone goes to one of three separate heavenly “kingdoms,” with some achieving godhood. Apostates and murderers go to “outer darkness.”

Hinduism: Reincarnation into a better status if a person has behaved well. If one has been bad, he can be reborn and pay for past sins (bad karma) by suffering.

Transcendental Meditation: Reincarnation based on karma (reaping the consequences of one’s actions) until loss of self into union with Brahman. No heaven or hell.

Buddhism: Reincarnation. People do not have their own individual souls or spirits, but one’s desires and feelings may be reincarnated into another person.

Christian Science: Death is not real. Heaven and hell are states of mind. The way to reach heaven is by attaining harmony (oneness with God).

Unity School of Christianity: Death is a result of wrong thinking. One moves to a different body (reincarnation) until enlightenment. No literal heaven or hell.

Scientology: Hell is a myth, and heaven is a “false dream.”

New Age: Human reincarnations occur until a person reaches oneness with God. No eternal life as a resurrected person. No literal heaven or hell.

Islam: Belief in bodily resurrection. One may pray for and seek favor for the dead before judgment day. Paradise includes a garden with maidens designed by Allah to provide sexual pleasure to righteous men.

Nation of Islam: There is no consciousness or any spiritual existence after death. Heaven and hell are symbols. Statements about the resurrection refer to awakening “mentally dead” people by bringing them true teachings.

This concludes the review of everything that we have covered thus far and now we are ready to begin this week’s comparison.

Of all the world religions we have covered, historic Judaism of the Old Testament is the religion that Christianity traces its roots. Christianity doesn’t remove Judaism; it is its fruit. There is a saying that: “The Old Testament conceals while the New Testament reveals.” For example, things that are hidden in the Old Testament are made very clear in the New Testament. Prophecies that were made hundreds or thousands of years prior in the Old Testament; have come to pass or are still in the process of being fulfilled in the New Testament. The Old Testament covered a person’s sins with the blood of animals while the New Testament abolished a person’s, past, present, and future sins with the blood of Jesus!! As the song says: “What can wash away our sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again, Nothing but the blood of Jesus…”

Throughout Judaism’s long history, it has undergone many changes. Sometimes, it has been very close to serving and obeying the true God in spirit and in deed. Then, at other times, Judaism has ranged far from the will of God and His promises to them. During its faithful or unfaithful time, God remained faithful to Israel.

Let’s examine Judaism using the same criteria used on the other religions and cults.

JUDAISM

Founder:

Abraham of the Bible, about 2000 BC, and Moses in the Middle East. There are three branches of Judaism—Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform—each having their own beliefs.

Orthodox:

Observes most of the traditional dietary and ceremonial laws of Judaism. It follows the inspiration of the Old Testament, though greater authority is given to the Torah (Law), the first five books of the Bible, than to the rest.

Conservative Judaism:

Strikes a happy medium between Orthodox and Reform. It was founded in the 19th century, the movement gained momentum in Germany and the United States. In 1918, after the Balfour Declaration (which announced Palestine as a home-state for the Jews), they denounced this need and stated that “the mission of the Jew is to witness to God all over the world. They maintained that the Jewish people should be at home in all lands.”

Reform Judaism:

Is the liberal wing of Judaism. The spiritual and religious side of Jewish life are neglected because they focus on the culture and race-oriented side. They assumed that the culture and race-oriented heritage of the Jews produced and molded the religious life, instead of the correct, which is the spiritual and religious side molded the religious life.

Writings:

The Tanakh (Old Testament), and especially the Torah (first five books of the Bible). The sacred Scriptures of Judaism consists of three groups known as the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings.  Writings of sages such as Maimonides. Maimonides was a Spanish Jew who lived in the 12th century and wrote a creed containing basic Jewish beliefs. Some criticized him for it, however, the Traditionalists are following it today.

Here are the thirteen basic beliefs:

 

  1. I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, blessed be His Name, is the Creator and Guide of everything that has been created; and He alone has made, does make, and will make all things.

 

  1. I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, blessed be His Name, is One, and that there is no unity in any manner like unto His, and that He alone is our God, who was, and is, and will be.

 

  1. O believe with perfect faith that the Creator, blessed be His Name, is not a body, and that He is free from all the properties of matter, and that He has not any form whatever.

 

  1. I believe with perfect faith that the Creator blessed be His Name, is the first and the last.

 

  1. I believe with perfect faith that to the Creator, blessed be His Name, and to Him alone, it is right to pray, and that it is not right to pray to any being besides Him.

 

  1. I believe with perfect faith that all the words of the prophets are true.

 

  1. I believe with perfect faith that the prophecy of Moses, our teacher, peace be unto him, was true, and that he was the chief of the prophets, both of those who preceded and of those who followed him.

 

  1. I believe with perfect faith that the whole Torah, now in our possession, is the same that was given to Moses, our teacher, peace be unto him.

 

  1. I believe with perfect faith that this Torah will not be changed, and that there will never be any other Law from the Creator, blessed be His Name.

 

  1. I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, blessed be His Name, knows every deed of children and men, and all their thoughts, as it is said. It is He that fashioned the hearts of them all, that gives heed to all their works.

 

  1. I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, blessed be His Name, rewards those that keep His commandments and punishes those that transgress them.

 

  1. I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah; and, though He tarry, I will wait daily for his coming.

 

  1. I believe with perfect faith that there will be a revival of the dead at the time when it shall please the Creator, blessed be His Name, and exalted be His Fame forever and ever. For Thy salvation I hope, O Lord.

God:

The Orthodox Jewish concept of God is based on the Old Testament. “God was not a physical being: He was intangible and invisible. He was the Creator and Ruler, the Judge of the World. He and He alone was truly God; the deities worshipped by peoples other than Israel were not God. To worship anything other than Him was very disrespectful to Him.” To other Jews, God is impersonal, unknowable, and defined in a number of ways. No belief in the Trinity.

Jesus:

Jesus is viewed as either a martyred Jewish rabbi (teacher) or an extremist false messiah. Many Jews do not consider Jesus at all. Except for the Messianic Jews and Hebrew Christians, Jesus is not believed to be the Messiah, Son of God, or that he rose from the dead. The Orthodox Jews believe the Messiah will restore the Jewish kingdom and eventually rule the earth.

Holy Spirit:

Some believe that the Holy Spirit is God’s activity on earth. Others, say that it is God’s power of love.

Salvation:

Judaism has not developed a system of salvation teaching as found in Christianity, even though, it admits the existence of sin; its abhorrence by God and the necessity for atonement. Some Jews believe that prayer, repentance, sacrifices, good deeds, obeying the Law and a little of God’s grace are necessary for salvation. Others believe that salvation is the improvement of society. Judaism holds no concept of original sin. Its emphasis is not on original sin but original virtue and righteousness.

Death:

They believe in a physical resurrection. The obedient will live forever with God, and the unrighteous will suffer. Some Jews do not believe in a conscious life after death.

Other Beliefs:

Jewish Holy Days:

The sacred round is the name given to the cycle of Jewish holy days. These holy days were a reminder of outstanding historical events where God illustrated His covenant with them and for them to show their commitment to Him.

 

THE SABBATH:

A day of rest, memorializing God’s finished work of creation and later freeing Israelites from the bondage of Egypt. A day of joy, thanksgiving and blessing God for all that He has done.                   

PASSOVER:

Passover (Pessah), the festival of spring is celebrated one month after Purim [a celebration of deliverance from the evil plot of Haman to commit genocide of the Jewish people during Esther’s time.] It’s a time of celebration as this marks the beginning of harvest. Additionally, there is a deeper meaning revealed in scripture, it represents the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage.

SHABUOT:

Shabuot or the Feast of Weeks comes seven weeks after Passover. This Feast commemorates the giving of the Ten Commandments. The farmer during ancient times would bring his first fruits into the Temple on Shabuot and offer them to God. On this day, the Ten Commandments were read and a recitation of the book of Ruth. There is a hidden message here referring to Jesus being the first fruits offering from God.

ROSH HASHANAH:

The meaning of Rosh Hashanah is “head of the year.” Celebrated on the first two days of the month of Tishri (September-October), it is the Jewish New Year. A solemn day when one reflects on the deeds of the past year and the hopes of the coming one.

YOM KIPPUR:

The day of atonement is the holiest day of the year. It is celebrated 10 days after Rosh Hashanah where one tries to reconcile with God by confession of sins. Forgiving and forgetting is the order of the day and problems with enemies must be reconciled before one can be right with God. Fasting is the order of the day because one’s mind is devoted to God on the holiest of days.

SUKKOTH:

Sukkoth is the feast of tabernacles or booths. Started in ancient times, this festival celebrates the gathering of the harvest, and is one of three yearly trips made to the Temple in Jerusalem. It is called tabernacles or booths because people lived in them throughout its duration (Exodus 34:18-26). In modern times, people take their meals in tabernacles rather than living in them for the duration of the feast.

I have been in Israel during the feast of tabernacles or booths and Jews have gathered in Jerusalem from countries all over the world. It is something to see all the nationalities, and colors of Jewish people.

 

HANUKKAH:

Hanukkah is the only major feast that does not have its source in the Bible. This feast is based upon a story that is recorded in the Apocrypha about the Maccabees. In 167 B.C., Antiochus IV Epiphanes made the worship of Greek gods as the state religion. Judas Maccabee led a small group of Jews in revolt.

Additionally, Antiochus desecrated the Temple by slaughtering a pig in the Holy of Holies. He was overthrown and freedom of religion returned to the land. Hanukkah is a celebration in remembrance of the heroic acts of the Maccabees.

The Menorah, an eight branched candlestick, is an important part of Hanukkah because it commemorates a miracle that took place when the Temple was cleansed from the idolatrous acts of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Legend states that there was only enough holy oil to light the candle for one night. The Jews believe that as a sign that God was pleased with them cleansing the Temple and rededicating it; He miraculously kept the candle burning for eight days and eight nights.   

Hanukkah is celebrated close to the Christian Christmas Holiday, they have borrowed some of their ideas, such as giving of gifts (traditionally one gift per child every day for eight nights) and family gatherings. Hanukkah is a very important holiday especially to non-practicing and reform (liberal) Jews.

DOCTRINE:

JUDAISM AND THE MESSIAH:

 

Judaism has long gone back and forth in its concept of Messiahship while Christianity has at the core of biblical revelation, the promise of a personal, spiritual savior. The meaning of the Messiah has undergone changes over time in Jewish history. Initially, they believed that God would send His messenger to deliver Israel from her enemies and restore freedom and peace. Today, the majority of the Jews have given up on the idea of a personal Messiah. A messianic age has been substituted in its place, where truth and justice are its characteristics.  

 

ORIGINAL SIN:

Judaism has no concept of original sin. Judaism’s emphasis is not on original sin but original virtue and righteousness. In Judaism, there isn’t a sense of man being totally depraved or unworthy as in Christianity, even though it does admit that man does commit acts of sin. Whereas, Christianity teaches that all human beings are born into the world with a sinful nature because of the sin of Adam. (Rom. 5:12-21 Amp.).

In conclusion: Even though there are marked differences in many areas of belief and practice between Judaism and Christianity, there is a thread a common heritage that both religions share. Pinchas Lapide, a Jewish writer puts it very succinctly, he says: “We Jews and Christians are joined in brotherhood at the deepest level, so deep in fact that we have overlooked it and missed the forest of brotherhood for the trees of theology. We have an intellectual and spiritual kinship which goes deeper than dogmatics, hermeneutics, and exegesis.” We are brothers in a manifold “elective affinity:”

  • in the belief in one God our Father,
  • in the hope of His salvation,
  • in ignorance of His ways,
  • in humility before His omnipotence,
  • in the knowledge that we belong to Him, and He to us,
  • in love and reverence for God,
  • in doubt about our wavering fidelity,
  • in the paradox that we are dust and yet the image of God,
  • in the consciousness that God wants us as partners in the sanctification of the world,
  • in the condemnation of arrogant religious chauvinism,
  • in the conviction that love of God is crippled without love of neighbor,
  • in the knowledge that all speech about God must remain in a stammering on our way to Him.”

The Old Testament is a gift that was preserved by the Jews for all mankind that points us, Jews and Gentiles, to Jesus Christ. All, regardless of race, must come to God through Jesus Christ.

Chapter 3 of the book of Galatians details God’s view of Jews and Gentiles today. God’s blessing on the Jews were a means of showing His grace to the Jews. This grace was expressed in the sacrificial death of His son Jesus Christ, on the cross for the sins of all, not just Jews but Gentiles as well. The gospel was preached before-hand to the father of the Jews, Abraham, and was given to the Gentiles in Jesus Christ.  (Gal. 3:8; 3:14 Amp.)

In closing, through these sermons I have tried to show you that there is no religion, cult, or other way to true peace with God except through Galatians 3:26-29 which says: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Jesus Christ. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”

Please give the Lord a praise offering for His teaching on the series: “Jesus Christ is the Only Way to God: An Examination of Christianity, and other Religions and Cults!”

 

 

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Sermon:   “An Examination of the Beliefs of Islam, and the Nation of Islam”

Series:   “Jesus Christ Is the Only Way to God: An Examination of Christianity and Other World Religions and Cults.”

Sermon:   “An Examination of the Beliefs of Islam, and the Nation of Islam”

Presenter:  Rev. Dr. JoAnne P. King

Date:   June 26, 2022

 

Praise the Lord Saints and God from whom all blessings flow! Well, we have come to the seventh of eight weeks of comparing Christianity with other religions and cults. And, what a seven-weeks, it has been! I hope you have enjoyed learning about the beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Christian Science, Scientology, New Age, Hinduism, Transcendental Meditation, and Buddhism.

Information for this sermon series was gathered from Biblical scholars such as, Dr. Norman L. Deisler in his study on “Christianity Cults & Religions,” Books and DVD; and Josh McDowell in his book: “The Best of Josh McDowell: A Ready Defense” and other materials related to Christianity, other religions and cults. Today, we will cover an in-depth study of Islam and the Nation of Islam. 

My prayer is that the Lord will send some members of the above religions or cults across your path and you will be able to minister to them and win them for Jesus, our Lord and Savior. How the angels in heaven will rejoice at the winning of these souls for the Kingdom of God.

ISLAM

Founder:

Muhammad (AD 570AD 632) was born in Mecca and founded Islam in AD 622 in Mecca, Arabia, who united the Arab tribes and turned them from idolatry to Islam. He was called the last prophet because more than 124,000 messengers were sent by Allah (God), Adam, Moses, David and Jesus the Messiah were supposed to be some of them.

When Muhammad died, he had not left a will instructing the Islam leadership about determining his successor. A power struggle ensued as different fractions believed their methods of establishing a successor was better than their rivals. The main conflict came between those who felt that the Islamic leadership should elect the predecessor and those who believe that it should be hereditary, through ‘Ali, Muhammad’s son in law, who was married to Muhammad’s only daughter, Fatima. This struggle along with others produced the main body of Islam known as the Sunnis (followers of the prophet’s way), as well as numerous sects.  The three main sects of Islam are:

Sunnis

Conflict raged on another front other than the Caliphate—that of law and theology. This conflict produced four recognized orthodox schools of Islamic thought. All four schools accepted the Qur’an (Koran), the Sunna, or the practice of the Prophet as expressed in the Hadith (traditions) and the four bases of Islamic Law (Shari’a): the Qur’an, the Hadith, the Ij’ma’ (consensus of the Muslim community; and the Q’yas (use of analogical reason.) These four groups came to be called the Sunnis.

The Shi’a

The fourth Caliphate to follow Muhammad was an early convert along with his son-in-law ‘Ali. He was murdered by Mu’awiya, who claimed the Caliphate for himself. Tragedy befell the House of ‘Ali, beginning with the murder of ‘Ali himself and including the death of his two sons, grandsons of Muhammad, and has haunted the lives of the party (Shia) of ’Ali. They have brooded over the deaths down through the years as Christians do upon the death of Jesus. This heretical group has drawn the censure and yet the sympathy of the Sunnis and Sufis. They have been found guilty of resting their claims on false grounds and sinfully dividing Islam. In spite of the other sects being annoyed at them, the Muslim world suppresses their feelings because their movement goes back to the beginnings of Islam.

The Sufis

Worship can become mechanical and be exercised by rote, in any strong, legalistic, religious system and God can become transcendent. People are often motivated to react in an impersonal religion like this. This is what happened with Islam. The Sufis, the most well-known, Islamic mystics, have arisen in response to orthodox Islam and to the loose and secularist view of Islamic leadership during its early days under the Ummayad and Abbasid dynasties. The Sufis exist today and probably are best known through their Dervish Orders (e.g., “the whirling Dervish”).

Writings:

The Qur’an (Koran) is the Word of God in Islam, the holy scriptures. As the authoritative scripture, it is the main guide for all matters of faith and practice. A major issue of the Qur’an like the Bible is the inspiration. Muhammad had his first vision at the age of 40. These revelations are what are recorded in the Qur’an (Koran). The Qur’an is comprised of 114 surahs or chapters, all attributed to Muhammad. The surahs are arranged in the Qur’an by length—the longer in front, the shorter in back. As a whole, Islamic scholars can’t agree on how the Qur’an came to be true or how much is true. On the other hand, conservative Islamic scholars accept all of it as literally true.

Scripture= There are four inspired books in the Islamic faith. They are the Torah of Moses, the Psalms (Zabin) of David, the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Injil) and the Qur’an. Muslims believe that the three scriptures from our Holy Bible have been corrupted by Jews and Christians. Additionally, since the Qur’an was the last or final word to man, it takes precedence over all others.

Sunnah (Hadith, Sira) = Literally, the “trodden path” of Muhammad and his close companions. The Sunnah (Muhammad’s examples) becomes the basis for sharia.  Hadith= A report of a saying or behavior of Muhammad which sets a precedent for Muslim practice and becomes the basis of sharia. Sira (from Arabic Sirah Rasul Allah, “life of the messenger of God”) Biographies of Muhammad that provide interpretive insights about his life and the early history of Islam.

God:

Allah is one. 1) The absolute oneness of Allah is primary to Muslims. The greatest sin is to associate any partner with him. This sin is called shirk. Many Muslims think that Christians believe in three gods and are therefore guilty of shirk. In Mohammad’s day, idolatry or polytheism was practiced in Arabia and he challenged it with monotheism and won. 2) Allah cannot be compared to humans or any other created thing. His character and attributes are revealed through his 90 Arabic names, “The Merciful” and “The Compassionate” are the most common two. In Islam, he is never referred to in human family terms such as: “father” or “son.” The Qur’an reveals his will for mankind to obey, not for mankind to know and relate to his person. 3) Allah’s ultimate attribute is his will. Allah creates and sustains all life, spiritual and material. His creation cannot question his absolute will. He is their final judge without a mediator. The best chance on Judgment Day is for those who live lives of righteousness and submission to Allah’s will Insha Allah (God willing). The existence of the Trinity is denied. 4)  In their doctrine of predestination, both evil and good come from Allah. So, whatever Allah chooses is right which makes it difficult to establish or discern a standard of righteousness or ethics. 

Jesus:

Jesus (Isa in Arabic) was not God nor the Son of God. In the Qur’an (Surah 3:45-47) speaks of the virgin birth of Christ, it is not the same as the biblical virgin birth. Jesus is certainly not the only begotten Son of God, and an angel—rather than the Holy Spirit—was the agency of God’s power in the conception. The idea that Allah had a son is repugnant to them.  In Surah 4:171 it states: “Jesus was only a messenger of Allah … Far is it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son.”

He was sinless, a worker of miracles and one of the most respected prophets sent by Allah. The resurrection of Jesus Christ for the Christian, as the incarnate Son of God, is the vital cornerstone of faith, yet the Muslim does not hold either of these truths—that Christ is the Son of God or that He rose from the dead. He, not Mohammad will return to play a special role before the future judgment day, perhaps turning Christians to Islam.

 

Holy Spirit:

“Holy Spirit” can; refer to Allah, to the angel Gabriel, or to a spirit used by Allah to give life to man and inspire the prophets.

Salvation:

There is no concept of original sin. Humans are basically good but fallible and need guidance. The balance between good and bad deeds determines one’s destiny in paradise or hell. Allah may tip the balances toward heaven. One should always live with the fear of Allah and judgment day. The Muslim operates under a legalistic system and must earn his salvation. He holds to the Articles of Faith and follows the Pillars of Faith. For the Muslim, sin is lack of obedience to Allah. Thus, man is sinful by act only, not by nature. The Bible teaches that man is sinful by nature. Paul writes: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

Death:

They believe in bodily resurrection. One may pray for and seek favor for the dead before judgment day. The Holy Bible says in Hebrews 9:27 Amp.: “And just as it is appointed and destined for all men to die once and after this [comes certain] judgment.” There will be no praying for the dead before judgment day. Paradise includes a garden populated with houris, maidens designed by Allah to provide sexual pleasure to righteous men.

Other Beliefs:

Muslims meet in mosques for prayers, sermons, and counsel. Emphasis is placed on hospitality, developing a sense of community, and maintaining honor (or avoiding shame). Shari’a (Islamic law) governs all aspects of life in places where it is enforced. Jihad (“fight”) may be used to refer either to one’s inner struggle to obey God or to literal warfare. Muslims who convert to Christianity or other religions face persecution and possible death. The five articles of faith are main doctrines of Islam and all Muslims are expected to believe these tenets.  

Five Articles of Faith

  1. God. There is only one true God and his name is Allah. He is all-knowing, all-powerful and the sovereign judge. Allah is not a personal god, for he is so far about men in every way that he is not personally knowable. Emphasis on the god of Islam is placed on judgment, not grace; on power, not mercy. His will is supreme and is the source of good and evil.
  2. Angels. Basic to Islamic teaching are the existence of angels. Gabriel was supposed to have appeared to Muhammad and delivered revelations in the Qur’an. The devil is called Al Shaytan and is considered a fallen angel or jinn. Jinn’s can be considered good or evil and are creatures that are between angels and men. They believe that each person has two angels, one to record your good deeds and the other your bad deeds.
  3. Scripture. We already covered this in writings above.
  4. Prophets. In Islam God has spoken through numerous prophets down through the centuries. The six greatest are: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.
  5. Last Days. The last day will be a time of resurrection and judgment. Those who follow and obey Allah and Muhammad will go to Islamic heaven, called Paradise, a place of pleasure. Those who oppose them will be tormented in hell.

There is a sixth article of faith which many consider part of the five doctrines. It is a central theme of Islam, whether it is one of the articles or not.

  1. The belief in God’s decrees or Kismet, the doctrine of fate. This is predestination presented in a very harsh view that says that all good or evil proceeds from divine will.

Besides the five major beliefs or doctrines in Islam, there are also “five pillars of faith,” these are practices or duties which every Muslim must observe. They are:

Five Pillars of Faith

  1. The Creed (Kalima). “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah,” is the bedrock of Muslim belief. In order to become a Muslim, you must say this out loud publicly. The faithful repeat this over and over again.
  2. Prayer (Salat). Ritual prayer is central to a devout Muslim. Salat or prayer is done 5 times a day (upon rising, at noon, at midafternoon, after sunset, and before retiring). The worshipper must recite prescribed prayers in Arabic while facing the Ka’aba in Mecca. The Hadith (book of traditions) has turned these prayers into mechanical procedures of standing, kneeling, hands and face on the ground, and so forth. The call to prayer is sounded by the muezzin (a Muslim crier) from a tower called a minaret which is a part of the mosque.
  3. 3. Almsgiving (Zakat). Muhammad had a strong desire to help the needy since he was an orphan. All Muslims now are legally required to give 1/40th of their income for the destitute; it used to be voluntary. Additional regulations are in place for cattle, produce, etc., as well as, free will offerings.
  4. Fasting (Ramadan). Faithful Muslims fast from sun-up to sundown during this holy month. The fast is supposed to develop self-control, devotion to God and identity with the destitute. During the daylight hours, no food, or drink can be consumed; nor smoking or sexual pleasures may be enjoyed. Most Muslims eat two meals a day, one before sun-up and the other after sunset.

Ramadan lasts for 29 to 30 days from the sighting of the first crescent moon to the next. They believe that the prophet Muhammad was visited by Jubil who revealed to him the beginnings of what is now known as the Qur’an.     

  1. The Pilgrimage (Hajj). At least once in their lifetimes, all Muslims are expected to make the pilgrimage to the Ka’aba shrine. Since the trip can be difficult for the old and infirmed, they may send someone in their places. A Muslim’s salvation is gained by making this trip. A set of rituals and ceremonies are involved around this trip that involves the Ka’aba shrine.

There is a sixth religious duty associated with the five pillars. This is Jihad, the Holy War.

  1. Jihad (Holy War). This duty requires that when the situation warrants, men are required to go to war to spread or defend Islam from Infidels. Muslims who die in a Jihad are guaranteed eternal life in Paradise (heaven). It is required of every Muslim to pay a certain amount each year toward Jihad. The interpretation of jihad can determine the difference between moderate and radical Muslims.

Here are a few ministering tips, if you are witnessing to a Muslim friend or acquaintance.

Do make it clear, you are a follower of Christ, by your loving words and righteous lifestyle.                                       

Don’t assume your Muslim friend understands what you mean when you say you are a Christian.

Don’t be surprised if you are rejected first. It is best to offer Muslim friends store-bought sweets and to avoid anything with pork or alcohol.

Do approach your encounters as a learner. Ask questions.

Do correct their misunderstandings of your beliefs.

Do talk about Jesus. Use His title, Isa Al Masih.

Don’t insult the prophet Muhammad.

Do use your right hand in giving and receiving gifts.

Don’t use your left hand for eating food (especially when learning to eat with your hands). The left hand is used for toilet cleaning; the right hand for eating.

Do treat your Bible with respect. Store it high on a shelf. Some wrap it in a beautiful cloth.

In conclusion, the Muslim must earn his salvation under a legalistic system. The leaders at the top, the Mullahs and Ayatollahs, tell the masses when they must fast, and when they may eat. What they may wear, and what they cannot wear. Who they can and cannot be seen with. All the dictates as to how you wash your hands and feet before you worship. One must obey and keep the Articles of Faith and follow the Pillars of Faith tenaciously. As you learned, for the Muslim, sin is a lack of obedience to Allah.

 In the Islamist faith, it tells you not to blaspheme against Muhammad or the Qur’an (Koran). You can only blaspheme against God, you don’t blaspheme against each other, we offend each other. In this case, they have very subtly elevated two other sources. In Christianity, we don’t need to elevate them; they are already elevated when given to us in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Even though historical roots tie Islam to Christianity, still this is where similarity ends. Islam rejects the key doctrines of the Christian faith—the Trinity, the deity of Jesus Christ, Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, the sin nature of man and his salvation by grace alone through faith in Christ.  Additionally, they reject the Bible as the only authoritative book on which to base doctrines, faith and practice. When Islam rejects the truth of the written Word of God, and accepts beliefs that are opposite from Christianity on all points, Muhammad’s interpretation of the scriptures has led him to base his teachings on inaccurate and untrue interpretations. Muhammad has no evidence to support his claim that either the Jewish and/or the Christian Scriptures have been corrupted. Muhammad’s teachings are based on revelations that he thought were initially of demonic origin.  

Islam is attractive to those who welcome a religious world view that permeates every facet of life. In Islam, the man or husband is dominate in the family. Under the law of Sharia, he is allowed to beat his wife if she is disobedient and even kill her or his daughter (called a “mercy killing”) if they bring dishonor to the family. The man (husband) is allowed to have 4 wives since marriage and having children is important in Islamic Society and each one is supposed to receive equal treatment.

However, Islam is unfulfilling because Allah is a god of strict judgment and cannot offer mercy, love, or ultimate sacrifice on mankind’s behalf that the Christian God, incarnate in Jesus Christ, offers to each individual even today. Islam’s theology is in direct opposition to Christianity and cannot be reconciled.

NATION OF ISLAM

Founder:

Wallace D. Fard (1891-1933). Founded in Detroit in 1930 and mysteriously disappeared in 1933. Since 1934 led by Elijah Muhammad (1897–1975). Current head is Louis Farrakhan (b. 1933) with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. 

Writings:

Publicly, the Holy Qur’an is authoritative and the Bible is quoted often, but Message to the Blackman in America, Our Saviour Has Arrived, and other books by Elijah Muhammad supply its distinctive views. Current teachings are in The Final Call newspaper and speeches of Minister Farrakhan. In the Nation of Islam, the highest authority in practice is Elijah Muhammad. He argued that “there is some truth in the Bible if understood correctly.” He also believed that the “Bible was a poisoned book that had been tampered with by whites to blind black people.” The Qur’an was regarded “as a perfectly pure book,” although one required Elijah’s interpretation to properly understand its contents.

 

God:

Officially, there is one God, Allah, as described in the Qur’an. However, Elijah Muhammad’s teachings are also true: God is a black man, millions of Allahs have lived and died since creation, collectively the black race is God, and Master Fard is the Supreme Allah and Savior.

This teaching goes against the fundamentals of Islamic Belief which is to be a Muslim means to believe that God is One, unique. He has no partners, no associates, no Son, nor did He ever become incarnate. As chapter 112 of the Qur’an makes clear: “He is God, the only One, God the Everlasting. He did not beget and is not begotten and none is His equal.” Secondly, Muslims believe Mohammed to have been the “Seal” or last of the prophets. To recognize anyone after Mohammed claiming to be a prophet, negates one’s Islam. This negates Master Fard’s claim of being the Supreme Allah and Savior of Islam!

The racist ideology of the black race is God, etc., is again at odds with universal Islam. In the final sermon of Prophet Mohammad: “he made it clear that racism has no place in Islam.” In contrast, the NOI has a pronounced anti-white bias. They refer to “blacks as God’s chosen people and caucasians as white devils.” 

Jesus:

Officially, Jesus is a sinless prophet of Allah. Privately, Jesus was born from adultery between Mary and Joseph, who was already married to another woman. Jesus was not crucified, but stabbed in the heart by a police officer. He is still buried in Jerusalem. Prophecies of Jesus’ return refer to Master Fard, Elijah Muhammad, or to Louis Farrakhan.

Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that Jesus’ birth was due to an adulterous relationship but on the contrary to a virtuous birth of a virgin and the Holy Spirit, that was prophesied thousands of years before. Everything that was to happen to Jesus our Lord and Savior was prophesied years before in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament. Two men (angels) said: “…this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven,” not as Master Fard, Elijah Muhammad or Louis Farrakhan (Acts 1:11).

Holy Spirit:

The Holy Spirit is not significant to their belief, but is generally regarded as the power of God or as the angel Gabriel who spoke to the prophet Muhammad.

Salvation:

People are not born sinful but sin. Salvation is gained through submission to Allah and good works. Older beliefs are still holding namely that: Fard is the savior, salvation comes from knowledge of self and realizing that the white race are devils who displaced the black race.

Elijah Muhammad taught that “African-Americans needed to be saved from mental death.” Since mental death is the condition which one must be saved from, salvation comes through obtaining a particular knowledge; knowledge of the truth of God. He taught that “heaven and hell are not places, but rather they are conditions.”

Death:

There is no consciousness or any spiritual existence after death. Heaven and hell are symbols. Statements about the resurrection refer to awakening “mentally dead” people by bringing them true teachings.

Other Beliefs:

Farrakhan’s public messages coexist with earlier, esoteric doctrines. Elijah Muhammad’s older views (such as polytheism, God as the black race, Master Fard as Allah incarnate, whites as devils bred to cause harm) are still distributed, but public preaching now focuses on Islamic themes (one eternal God, non-racial emphasis) with frequent use of the Bible.      

In Summary, I cannot complete this comparison of the Nation of Islam without mentioning two prominent people who were members of the Nation of Islam. By 1959, there were fifty NOI temples in various parts of the United States. A large factor of this growth was due to Malcom X’s contribution to the movement. Earlier in his life, he lived a criminal lifestyle that landed him in prison. While there, he was exposed to NOI teachings, and subsequently converted. After his release from prison, Malcolm established himself in the movement by his scholarship and rhetorical giftedness. He traveled throughout the States and overseas influencing many including Muhammad Ali, to join the movement. Malcolm eventually began to question the legitimacy of Elijah Muhammad’s message and eventually converted to Sunni Islam. Shortly after his conversion, he was killed. It is thought that his murder was connected to NOI.

Like Malcolm, Muhammad Ali was a great spokesperson for the NOI, as a World Champion Heavyweight Boxer—he represented NOI, all over the world. He mesmerized the world with his rhyming taunts of other boxers, etc. On April 28, 1967, Muhammad Ali refuses Army induction. He was immediately stripped of his heavy weight title. Ali, A Muslim, cited religious reasons for his decision to forgo military service. On June 20, 1967, Ali was convicted of draft evasion, sentenced to 5 years in prison, fined $10,000 and banned from boxing for three years. He stayed out of prison while his case was being appealed and returned to the ring on October 26, 1970, knocking out Jerry Quarry in Atlanta in the third round. On March 8, 1971, Ali fought Joe Frazier in the “Fight of the Century” and lost after 15 rounds. This was the first loss of his professional career. On June 28th of that same year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction for evading the draft. After this, he won and lost his heavyweight title several times. However, Ali is the only fighter to be heavyweight champion three times.

He like Malcolm converted to proper Islam and spoke out on the subject. They recognized that anti-white racism as folly. Malcolm said: “This religion recognizes all men as brothers. It accepts all human beings as equals before God, and as equal members in the Human Family of Mankind. I totally reject Elijah Muhammad’s racist philosophy, which he has labeled ‘Islam’ only to fool and misuse gullible people as he fooled and misused me. But I blame only myself, and no one else for the fool that I was, and the harm that my evangelical foolishness on his behalf has done to others.”   

Well Malcolm, you can say the same thing for the traditional Sunni Islam group that you joined. The Nation of Islam resembles the traditional Sunni Islam with some differences. The NOI adhere to Islam’s Five Articles of Faith and Five Pillars of Faith with some changes in interpretation and implementation. They dispute who the Messiah and Mahdi are, as well as, heaven and hell. Since their beliefs are closely aligned with Islam, they are diametrically in opposition to the Christian Faith. The comments made concerning Islam applies to them as well.  

I want to close this message today with a quote from Dr. Ravi Zacharias, one of my favorite apologists, who was meeting with a famous Syrian cleric. The cleric had been asking questions of Dr. Zacharias and they had been discussing back and forth for three hours, when the Syrian cleric said: “Maybe it is time for me and my people to stop asking, if Jesus died, and start asking why?” This is the perfect question all of the religions and cults we have studied should be asking and finding the answer.

Let’s give the Lord a praise offering for His teaching on Islam and the Nation of Islam.

 

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Sermon: “Examining the Beliefs of Hinduism, Transcendental Meditation, and Buddhism.”

Series: “Jesus Christ Is the Only Way to God: An Examination of Christianity and Other World Religions and Cults.”

Sermon: “Examining the Beliefs of Hinduism, Transcendental Meditation, and Buddhism.”

Presenter: Rev. Dr. JoAnne P. King

Date: June 19, 2022

Praise the Lord Saints and God from whom all blessings flow. Information for this sermon series was gathered from Biblical scholars such as, Dr. Norman L. Deisler in his study on “Christianity Cults & Religions,” Books and DVD; and Josh McDowell in his book: “The Best of Josh McDowell: A Ready Defense” and other materials related to Christianity, other religions and cults.

Last week, we examined the beliefs of Christian Science, Unity School of Christianity, Scientology and New Age. This week we will cover three of the Eastern religions, Hinduism, Transcendental Meditation and Buddhism using our same methodology.

HINDUISM
Founder:

Hinduism is one of the oldest of all religious systems. It is also one of the most complex. Its’ scriptures have been written over a long period of time from (1400 B.C. – A.D. 500) are voluminous and the founders are unknown. The main types are: Vaishnavism, Shaivism, and Shaktism. However, many sects have been spawned holding diverse beliefs but there are certain things that all of the sects believe in. As I follow our usual format, I will use an asterisk * to indicate those beliefs held by all sects and will note them orally.

Writings:

The Vedas is the oldest of the Hindu scriptures around 1000 B.C. and means wisdom and knowledge. It contains prayers, hymns and ritual texts. The Upanishads are a collection of speculative treatises composed 800-600 B.C. and 108 of them are still in existence. The word Upanishad conveys the idea of secret teaching. Its treatises made a definite change in emphasis from the sacrificial hymns and magic formulas in the Vedas to the mystical ideas about man and the universe, specifically the eternal Brahman, which is the source of all reality to them. It is reported that the Gautama Buddha was influenced by the Upanishads and similarities can be seen between the Upanishads and the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism. The Bhagavad Gita is the most sacred book of the Hindus and is the most read of all Indian works in the entire world, even though it was added late to the Mahabharata, during the first century.
The Mahabharata is an ancient Indian epic where the main story revolves around two branches of a family, the Pandavas and Kauravas who battle for the throne of Hastinapura. This story revolves around man’s duty, which if carried out will bring him sorrow. It is based on the Hindu belief that devotion to a particular god (Bhaki) will lead to salvation. The main character in the poem is the deity, Krishna.

God:

God is “The Absolute,” a universal spirit. **Brahman, the eternal Trimutri, or three in one God: Brahma, the Creator; Visnu, the Preserver; and Shiva, the Destroyer. Everyone is part of God (Brahman) like drops in the sea, but most people are not aware of this. People worship manifestations of Brahman (gods and goddesses).

Jesus:

Hinduism views Jesus as a teacher, a guru or an avatar (an incarnation of Vishnu). He is a son of God as are others. His death does not atone for sins and he did not rise from the dead. Doesn’t this last sentence sound familiar? We heard part or all of it from the Mormons, Christian Science, Unity School of Christianity, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Scientology.

Holy Spirit:

The Holy Spirit is not part of this religion. Scientology said the same thing.

Salvation:

In Hinduism, salvation can be attained in one of three general ways: 1) the way of knowledge, knowing one is actually a part of the ultimate Brahman and not a separate entity that is achieved through yoga and meditation until one is absorbed or in union with Brahman; 2) the way of devotion, which is love and obedience to a particular deity; 3) or the way of works, or following ceremonial ritual. This salvation is from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. This can take many lifetimes.

Death:

Reincarnation into a better status (good karma), if a person has behaved well. If one has been bad, he can be reborn and pay for past sins (bad karma) by suffering.

Other Beliefs:

**Submission to Fate, since man is not outside, but part of Brahman; The Caste System, determined by the laws of Manu; The Law of Karma, that from good must come good, and from evil must come evil; Reincarnation, as a chain of rebirths in which each soul, through virtuous living, can rise to a higher state; Nirvana, the final stage reached upon the emancipation of the soul from the chain of rebirths; Yogas, the disciplines which enable the individual to control the body and the emotions; and Dharma, the Law of Moral Order, which each individual must find and follow to reach nirvana. Many Hindus worship stone and wooden idols in temples, and homes. Disciples meditate on a word, phrase, or picture. They may wear orange robes and have shaved heads. Many use a mark, called a tilak, on the forehead to represent a spiritual “third eye.” Yoga involves meditation, chanting, and breathing exercises. Some gurus demand complete obedience. Hinduism is the foundation of New Age, and Transcendental Meditation (™). Hinduism is tolerant of other religions, because they see a sameness in all of them.

The following are some Hindu Teachings: 1) Moksha, also known as mukti, is the Hindu term for freedom from the wheel of karma. They believe that the real reason for existence is to be free from Samsara (the binding life cycles) and the wheel of karma with its endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirths. One enters into a state of fullness or completion, when one achieves liberation from these life cycles.

2) Karma literally means actions and refers to a person’s actions and the consequences for them. His performance in previous lifetimes, determines one’s present state of existence, in Hinduism. The effect of any action upon the performer in a past, present or even future existence is known as the law of moral consequence or the law of karma. To move toward liberation from the cycle of successive births and deaths, one must perform righteous acts. On the other hand, if one’s deeds are evil, he moves further away from liberation. One’s karma is the determining factor and could make the cycle of births, deaths, and rebirths endless.

3) Samsara means transmigration or rebirth. Passing through a succession of lives is based upon the reward or penalty of one’s karma. Suffering from the results or acts of ignorance or sin in past lives makes this chain continuous. The Hindus consider the soul eternal, therefore, it moves from one body to another and carries with it the karma from its previous existence. The wheel of karma applies to both man and animal, therefore, the rebirth may be to a higher form, i.e., a member of a higher caste or god or down the social ladder to a lower caste or animal. How can an animal commit acts of ignorance or sin? And, then the acts of ignorance or sin be connected to a human being?

4) The Caste System is a unique feature of the Hindu religion. They believe that Brahma created Manu, the first man. From Manu came four different types of people as Brahma determined. Taking Manu’s body= the head represented the best and most holy people called the Brahmins; Manu’s hands= came the Kshatriyas, the rulers and warriors; thighs= came the craftsmen and are called Vaisyas; Manu’s feet= are the remainder of the people and are known as Sudras. Even though the caste system has been outlawed by the Indian government, it is still an integral part of the social order. They said under the wheel of Karma above that it applies to both man and animal. We just read in this section that Brahma created Manu, the first man and from Manu’s body came four different types of people and then lists the people created from his head, hands, thighs and feet but he doesn’t say anything about people being in animals!! There is a contradiction here.

5) The Hindus revere the cow and consider it a possessor of great power, from early times. Here are a few verses from the Atharva Veda praising the cow: “… Worship, O Cow, to thy tail-hair, and to thy hooves, and to thy form! The Cow is Heaven, the Cow is Earth, the Cow is Visnu, Lord of Life … Both Gods and mortal men depend for life and being on the Cow…” Since they worship the cow, perhaps this is why they identify with being reborn as an animal.

In conclusion, comparing Christianity with Hinduism, we find that: 1) the god of Hinduism is an impersonal and undefinable Brahman. While the God of Christianity is loving and interested in the affairs of mankind.

2) In Hinduism, man is a manifestation of the impersonal Brahman devoid of self or self-worth. In this case, one wonders why would a man be created with no self or self-worth? On the other hand, Christianity teaches that man is made in the image of God with the ability to give and receive love and possesses a personality. Man is still of great value to God even though, God’s image was marred by the fall. God loves and values man so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die to redeem sinful man, even while man, was in open rebellion against Him
(2 Corinthians 5:19-21).

3) In Hinduism, there is no sin against a Holy God. Acts of wrongdoing are not against any God but considered an act of ignorance. To overcome these acts of evil, one just follows the way of salvation and the guidelines set for one’s caste. This leaves one wondering what are “acts of wrongdoing and who determines wrong doing?” On the other hand, Christianity views sin as an act of rebellion against a perfect and holy God. All acts of transgression/rebellion are considered acts of rebellion against the laws of God.

4) Hinduism places reaching the realization of Brahman above the material world which it sees as transitory and of secondary importance. Christianity sees the world and its source, as in the creative will of God, and having objective reality.

5) Hindus see the world, as a part of the absolute and as an extension of Brahman, part of the absolute. In contrast, Christianity sees the world as an entity eternally different in nature from God, not a monistic or part of some universal one. The Holy Bible says that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). Since the earth, therefore, was created by God, it is not to be identified with Him or His eternal nature.

These contradictions show major diversities between the two religions. There are many other differences that cannot be discussed in this small space. However, even with this limited list of differences, one can see that the two faiths of Hinduism and Christianity can never be reconciled because their foundations make them mutually exclusive.

UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY
Founder:

Charles (1854-1948) and Myrtle (1845-1931) Filmore started the Unity School of Christianity in 1889 in Kansas City, MO.

Writings:

Unity magazine, Lessons in Truth, Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, and the Bible (not as reliable, interpreted with “hidden” meanings).

God:

God is an invisible impersonal power. “God” is interchangeable with “Principle,” “Law,” “Being,” “Mind,” “Spirit.” God is in everything, as the soul is in the body. They do not believe in the Trinity. The spirit is reality; matter is not.

Jesus:

Jesus was a man and not the Christ. He was a man who had “God Consciousness.” “Christ” is a state of perfection in every person. They claim that Jesus had lived many times and was in search of his own salvation. Jesus did not die as a sacrifice for anybody’s sins. Jesus did not rise physically and will never return to earth in physical form.

Holy Spirit:

The Holy Spirit is the law of God in action, “the executive power of both Father and Son.” A “definite” thought in the mind of man.

Salvation:

They believe that everybody is as much a Son of God as Jesus. There is no evil, no devil, no sin, no poverty and no old age. A person is reincarnated until he learns these truths and becomes “perfect.”

Death:

Death is a result of wrong thinking. One moves to a different body (reincarnation) until enlightenment. There is no literal heaven or hell.

Other Beliefs:

Worship services are held in Unity churches. Counseling and prayer ministry (“Silent Unity”) by phone and mail. It is reported that Unity receives millions of prayer requests annually. Unity devotionals, such as “Daily Word,” are used by members of other religious groups and churches. Millions of pieces of literature are printed each year.

In conclusion, I selected the Unity School of Christianity for their Unity devotionals such as the “Daily Word,” that is read daily by Christians that don’t have a clue about this heretical ministry, and are even supporting them with their hard-earned money by buying their publications. Maybe some of you have read their “Daily Word.” I pray that no one will be lured into joining their ministry.

As you listened to their beliefs, in many cases it seemed that the Unity School of Christianity took pages out of the Christian Science book with some of their beliefs. Most of the same answers I gave for the Christian Science cult applies to them as well.

I will address a few of their statements: their statement on: They do not believe in the Trinity, (we know that the Trinity speaks of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit). Under Holy Spirit, they claim that the Holy Spirit is the law of God in action, “the executive power of both Father and Son.) They have capitalized Holy Spirit, Father and Son as well as, the Holy Spirit’s using the executive power of both, making this the Trinity in action. They have contradicted the very belief they claimed not to believe-the Trinity.

Their statement that: Jesus was a man and not the Christ. The biblical answer for this is Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (which means God with us).”

As well as their statement, Jesus did not die for the sins of anybody; Jesus did not rise physically and will never return to earth in physical form. Starting as early as Genesis 3:15 and continuing throughout the Old Testament prophets of old, prophesied thousands of years before, about the birth of Jesus the Christ coming to die for the sins of the people of the world. How He would be crucified, raised from the dead in physical form that was witnessed by 500 people at one time. As well as, ascended bodily into heaven in the view of witnesses and promised that He would return in like manner. All of these things were revealed in the New Testament. There is a saying: “that the Old Testament conceals, while the New Testament reveals.” And, this saying is very true.

Next week, we will study some Eastern religions and when we do, it will be apparent that they picked up the idea of reincarnation from Hinduism. Nowhere in the Bible does it mention anything about reincarnation.

I hope you noticed under writings where it said that the Bible wasn’t reliable because it was translated with hidden meanings. Those hidden meanings probably mean, everybody considers the word as meaning one thing, but they mean something entirely different.

What is more incomprehensible than their beliefs—such as there isn’t any evil, poverty, old age, sickness, death, etc., when these things are visible and apparent to anyone with eyes and brains. This group is going against the tenets of the Bible and the Christian Faith.

In ministering to a heretic of this faith or any of the others that will be examined, we should follow the advice found in Titus 3:10-11: “A man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition (warning) reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.”

TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION
Founder:

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1910-2008) founded Transcendental Meditation in India (1955-1958), based on Hinduism and karma yoga. It is also called the World Plan Executive Council. Mahesh became a disciple of the Indian religious leader Guru Dev after graduating from Allahabad University in 1942 with a degree in physics. He was taught a meditation technique from Guru Dev that was developed from the Vedas (part of the Hindu scripture.) Maharishi was devoted to bringing to the world Guru Dev’s teachings. After founding the Spiritual Regeneration Movement in India, he came to America in 1959 and set up his organization spreading the gospel of Guru Dev.

Writing:

Hindu scriptures, including the Bhagavad-Gita, Meditations of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Science of Being and the Art of Living, and other writings by the founder.

God:

Each part of creation makes up “God” (Brahman). Supreme Being is not personal. All creation is divine; “all is one.” This belief is taken from Hinduism.

Jesus:

Jesus is not uniquely God. Jesus had a divine essence, like all persons. Unlike most, he discovered it. Christ didn’t suffer and couldn’t suffer for people’s sins. The last statement sounds like it was taken from the Christian Science cult.

Holy Spirit:

The Holy Spirit is not part of this belief. Belief taken from Hinduism.

Salvation:

They believe that humans have forgotten their inner divinity. In order to achieve salvation, one’s good actions or deeds must exceed one’s bad actions or deeds in order to evolve to the highest state (final union of self with Brahman) through reincarnation. Belief taken from Hinduism.

Death:

Reincarnation based on karma (reaping the consequences of one’s actions) until loss of self into union with Brahman. In Transcendental Meditation, there is no heaven or hell. Belief taken from Hinduism.

Other Beliefs:

Mentally recite a mantra (word associated with a Hindu god). Meditate twice a day to relax and achieve union with Brahman. Maharishi University of Management in Iowa offers advanced TM programs in “levitation” and “invisibility.” Practices include yoga, Hindu astrology, use of crystals, and idol worship (offerings of flowers, fruit, and cloth for Mararishi’s dead teacher Guru Dev).

In conclusion, Transcendental Meditation has advertisements such as: “How would you like to have your health improved, your self-image and productivity increased, and your intelligence and creativity heightened without stress or tension?” These are some of the ways that TM will benefit individuals. Supposedly, this can be done within any religious or non-religious system since TM has no religious basis. This is not true.

Under his World Plan, 350 teaching centers of the Science of Creative Intelligence have been founded in the largest cities in the United States and around the world. Legislatures throughout the country have adopted resolutions drawn up by Marharishi promoting TM.

TM can appeal to all segments of society, including the famous (such as the Beatles in the mid-60’s), the counter-culture, the business community and the intelligentsia. John Kaplan a Stanford law professor testifies: “…that he uses the product as I’d use a product to overcome nervous tension. It’s a non-chemical tranquilizer with no unpleasant side effects.”

TM, however, is not a neutral discipline that can be practiced without harm to the individual. TM is a Hindu meditation technique that attempts to unite the meditator with Brahman, the God of the Hindus. Speaking to Prof. Kaplan, TM may be a non-chemical tranquilizer with no unpleasant side effects but it does have unpleasant spiritual side effects!

All trainees in the TM technique have an initiation ceremony which is called the Puja which is an invocation where prayers are offered to Hindu gods, yogis, their disciples and an assortment of leaders of every kind; where they bow down in submission to them. In fact, the New Jersey Federal Court barred the teaching of TM in the schools of that state in 1977 saying that it violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

I will just use the Mararishi’s teaching about Jesus saying that it is a misunderstanding of people that Jesus couldn’t die for the sins of people and that He couldn’t suffer. No, it was the Mararishi who didn’t understand that Jesus came into the world to suffer on the cross for our sins so, we might receive forgiveness from God for our sins. His suffering was real (John 1:29).

The members of Hinduism and Transcendental Meditation believe that Brahman made them like himself, impersonal and without self or self-worth. After many reincarnations and based on karma, they are finally able to evolve to the union of self with Brahman. If they were made without self, how did they manage to achieve self, so they could be united with Brahman? They have just done the impossible, created something out of nothing!

Is TM harmless? Well, many of the statements made by Maharishi about the Age of Enlightenment and the Science of Creative Intelligence are alarming: “There has not been and there will not be a place for the unfit. The fit will lead, and if the unfit are not coming along, there is no place for them. …In the Age of Enlightenment there is no place for ignorant people. The ignorant will be made enlightened by a few orderly, enlightened people moving around. Nature will not allow ignorance to prevail. It just can’t. Nonexistence of the unfit has been the law of nature. … Thinking can never be a profound basis of living. Being is the natural basis… thinking, on the other hand is only imaginary.”

To think that Maharishi would eliminate opposers and that thinking is useless, is as I said before alarming! The Holy Bible says that one should examine and test all things by the Word of God (1 John 4:1) and that judgment belongs only to the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:22, 27).

Since TM is religious in nature, based as we learned on Hinduism, their theology like Hinduism is in direct opposition to Christianity.

BUDDHISM
Founder:

Gautama Siddhartha, (563-483 B.C.) also known as the Buddha (“Enlightened One”) founded Buddhism in modern day Nepal and India as a reformation of Hinduism. The people had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, the endless cycle of deaths, births, and rebirths which left a vacuum. In order to fill that vacuum, the people turned to a variety of beliefs, including the worship of animals. Many different sects of Hinduism arose, the most successful was Buddhism which denies the authority of the Vedas.

Writings:

The Mahavastu (“Great Story,” a collection that covered the Buddha’s life story), the Jaraka Tales (550 stories of the former lives of the Buddha), the Tantras (as recorded in Tibetan Buddhism and the Tripitaka (“Three baskets”). The Vinaya Pitaka is the (discipline basket) that contains rules for the higher class of Buddhists; the Sutta Pitaka (teaching basket) contains the discourses of the Buddha; and the Abidhamma Pitaka (metaphysical basket) contains Buddhist theology. The total volume of these three groups of writings is about 11 times larger than the Holy Bible.

God:

The Buddha himself did not believe in the existence of God. Others believed that the Buddha was a universal enlightened consciousness or as a god.

Jesus:

Jesus Christ is not a part of the worldview of historic Buddhism. Buddhists in Asia view Jesus as an Avatar or a Bodhisattva but not God. Buddhists in the West view Jesus as an enlightened teacher.

Holy Spirit:

While Buddhist do believe in spirits, the Holy Spirit is not part of this belief. Some practice deity yoga and invite spirit possession. They are inviting their idol gods’ or false god’s spirits to possess them which are unclean spirits. How do you know they are unclean spirits —
1 John 2:22: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”

Salvation:

To them salvation is reaching nirvana, a state of eliminating all desires or cravings and thereby escape suffering. The Eightfold Path is a system to free Buddhists from desiring anything and eventually achieve non-existence. The only way to achieve non-existence in this world is to die.

Death:

Reincarnation means to them that people do not have their own individual souls or spirits, but one’s desires and feelings may be reincarnated into another person.

Other Beliefs:

Eightfold Path recommends right knowledge, intentions, speech, conduct, livelihood, right effort, mindfulness and meditation. Some Buddhist groups talk about an “eternal Buddha” (life-force). The belief systems of other religions are blended into their religion through their “Doctrine of Assimilation.” All Buddhists should follow these five precepts, they are: 1) kill no living thing (including insects). 2) Do not steal. 3) Do not commit adultery. 4) Tell no lies. 5) Do not drink intoxicants or take drugs. These apply only to monks and nuns: 6) Eat moderately and only at the appointed time. 7) Avoid that which excites the senses. 8) Do not wear adornments (including perfume). 9) Do not sleep in luxurious beds. 10) Accept no silver or gold. We are not told what happens if you do the above things.

There are two other sects of Buddhism. They are Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism and Zen Buddhism. Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism is a Japanese mystical sect. It was introduced in the United States in 1960 and by 1973, it had grown three-hundred-fold. Japanese growth was even faster starting in 1951 at three thousand to more than seven million in 1971. Responsibility for this growth was due to the efforts of Nichiren who went about teaching that all other religions were false religions. The “gohonzon” is Nichiren’s central belief. It is a black wooden box that contains the names of important people in the Lotus Sutra and used as a private altar. The gohonzon supposedly contains universal forces that control the devotee’s life. They believe that there is a direct connection between events in a person’s life and the treatment of the gohonzon. The worship is called “gongyo.” The worship consists of kneeling before the gohonzon, the recitation of passages from the Lotus Sutra, then rubbing the rosary-type beads while chanting Daimoku – which are certain words. The chief object of worship is a shrine known as the Dai-gohonzon that is located at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. Individual gohonzons are representations of the gohonzon. This is another form of praying for possession by one or more of the gods.

On the other hand, Zen Buddhism is a branch of Mahayana Buddhism that has become widely known in the West. Zen developed about a thousand years after the death of the Buddha but emphasizes meditation which is supposed to have led to the Buddha’s enlightenment. Zen teaches a statement attributed to the Buddha, which was: “Look within, you are the Buddha.” Satori is a central theme of Zen which is the method of sitting in Zen meditation, which is done daily at a certain time of the day with periods of intense meditation lasting one week. Sudden illumination or enlightenment is known as Satori. This experience to them is beyond analyzation and communication that brings them into a state of maturity. Even though this state of Satori comes abruptly and momentarily, it can be repeated, according to the devotees. One reason Zen may be attractive to some people is because they are not responsible for being required to evaluate their own thoughts or anything in the world. In this way, the ability to think logically or critically is lost. Zen mocks critical analysis while the Holy Bible commands Christians to test all things (1 Thess. 5:21-22 Amp.).

In conclusion, there are so many opposing points of view between Christianity and Buddhism that it is impossible to reconcile the two faiths. For instance: Buddhism has a monistic world-view in that they deny a Lord or personal creator and the existence of a personal God. In India, the birthplace of Buddhism, had so many Hindu gods that it was impossible to number them. Their gods took the form of men in many cases but Buddhism was created with concepts about life and how life should be lived. Buddhism really doesn’t have a Hindu god or Christian God or a savior in that sense. There are some who defy the Buddha but they worship other gods along with him.

The Scriptures make it clear that there is a personal God and it is He that is to be worshipped only! (Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 44:6; Exodus 20:2-3; Matt. 4:10; and John 10:7-9). “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan, for it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” On one note, I must give them credit for their emphasis on missionary endeavors, they have been able to increase their membership in the millions over the span of 20 years.

In Buddhism, one cannot sin against a supreme being. In Christianity when one sins, it is ultimately against God even though sinful actions also affect man and his world. This is stated clearly in Psalm 51:4: “Against thee and thee only, have I sinned and done what is evil in thy sight.” In Buddhist belief, man is worthless, having only a temporary existence. The Bible tells us that man is of infinite worth and made in the image and likeness of God. As well as, man will live eternally. The body is a hindrance to the Buddhist, while in Christianity man uses his body to glorify God.

Another problem with Buddhism is the many different sects that they have, each with a variety of beliefs that result in contradictions in the fundamentals of the faith. As a result, Buddhism is really like Hinduism, a family of religions rather than a single religion. This should be expected when a man-made religion gleans and adds aspects of other religions with its own.

Notice all three listed religions have listed the: 1) Holy Spirit as having no part in their religions; (2) Meditation, chanting = (The words being prayed are for the person’s god(s) to possess his/her and control his/her life.) (3) Jesus as an avatar (an incarnation of Vishnu); in Hinduism and Transcendental Meditation — 4) Jesus’ death didn’t atone for sins, nor did he suffer.

With the above cited differences and others, it should be readily seen that harmony can never be achieved between Christianity and Buddhism.

In witnessing to a friend of one of these religions, you should become acquainted with the basic teachings of the type of Hinduism or Buddhism your friend follows.

1) Ask your friend questions about what his/her personal beliefs are, because they may vary from what is commonly taught by their religious group.

2) Don’t criticize your friend’s religion (or native culture) or engage in debates. You want to encourage their trust and respect through your focus on Christ and your personal kindness.

3) “Be prepared to give an answer” and explain “the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). Know what you believe and why, and be prepared to back it up with Scriptures.

4) Be mindful of sensitive cultural factors such as modest dress or a vegetarian diet that are important to your friend.

5) Be sure to share your testimony of trusting Christ for salvation. Where possible point your friend to testimonies of Hindus/Buddhists/TMs/New Agers who have become Christians.

6) Encourage your Hindu/Buddhist friend to read the Gospel of John and be prepared to go over it with him or her.

7) Last, but certainly not least, pray faithfully that God will draw your friend to Christ by the Holy Spirit.

I pray God will inspire you and embolden you to go forth and minister to people who are in these false religions that the Holy Spirit will use each of you to win many people to salvation and our Lord Jesus Christ. Give the Lord a praise offering for His teaching through this series!

Please send your tithes and offerings in support of Exousia Ministries, Inc. to the PayPal link below. May God exponentially multiply your cheerful and hilarious giving to our Ministry and ever take you deeper into the knowledge of Himself.

In conclusion, this is the third group that we learn refers to God as a Principle. Webster’s dictionary defines principle as: “a basic truth, law or assumption, moral or ethical standards or judgments as a whole.” What a way to describe the Creator of the Universe and all that is within!!

They believe that they must be reincarnated over and over again until they reach oneness with God. To achieve cosmic consciousness or oneness with God, plenty of occult (=secret or hidden) beliefs and practices are found. These practices include things like astrology, tarot cards, spiritism, consulting the dead, spirit mediumship, creative visualization, fortune telling, astral projection, rebirthing, yoga, etc., most of which is forbidden in the Bible. How can oneness with God be reached when they believe that everyone and everything is God including themselves. See how confusing man-made religion is?

Many of the beliefs listed for them, I have already answered. Let’s look at this belief of theirs: “Man is divine and can experience psychic phenomena such as contacting unearthly beings.” Webster’s Dictionary defines divine as: “to reveal or foretell through the art of divination.” Divination is defined as: “The art or act of foretelling future events or revealing occult knowledge by means of augury or alleged supernatural agency.” Occult is defined as: “relating to or dealing with supernatural influences or phenomena.” There are only two sources of knowledge, God’s and Satan’s. Anyone and/or cult that deals with the above practices isn’t worshiping God but Satan. And, they certainly are not divine.

From the practices listed above, as we study Eastern religions, you will see that they have chosen to embrace Hinduism, Eastern mysticism and paganism. Next week, when we cover Eastern religions, you will learn that Hinduism is reported as its foundation.

The New Age Movement has the belief of a coming spiritual and political utopia—the Age of Aquarius. Instead of the Gentile Age ending, they have the old Christian Age ending and a New Age beginning—an age of peace and harmony. They even speak of uniting planets —a vision for a unified global community. Politically this includes globalism, global socialism and “One-World Government.” Pay attention and listen for those words “One World Government,” you will hear it said almost everyday. This is a sure sign that we are in the last days.

The New Age Movement focuses on the mystical, subjective and the personal (on spiritual experiences and subjective religious encounters) rather than on the logical creeds, and doctrinal teaching and beliefs.

If you have a New Ager friend encourage her/him to read what the Bible says about Jesus and clarify the meanings of scriptural terms (such as “Christ”) that New Age writers commonly redefine.

The Bible again warns us in Hebrews 13:9 Amp.: “Do not be carried away by diverse and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established and strengthened by grace and not by foods [rules of diet and ritualistic meals], which bring no benefit or spiritual growth to those who observe them.”

All of the aforementioned cults or religions require each member to do something or some works in order to attain salvation and/or oneness with God. The Bible clearly tells us in Gal. 2:16: “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” The works of the law spoken of in this verse as it relates to other cults or religions, means the requirements of those cults or religions will not justify their members.

Moreover, these cults and religions have all failed to recognize Jesus as a member of the Trinity and God the Son, have negated any chance for salvation because in Acts 4:12 Amp.: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation]”

I would like to close this message with a quote from one of my favorite apologists, Dr. Ravi Zacharias taken from his 2012 book, Why Jesus?

“Everything that the New Spiritualist say they are seeking is actually found in Jesus. No, not the Jesus of popular television marketing. Not the Jesus of the New Ager’s imagination. And not the Jesus of all talk and no walk, who is heard but never seen. The Jesus I am talking about is the Ultimate Reality who became flesh to bring us grace and truth that we might become the children of God.”

“Our destiny is in a relationship to a person, not in a pilgrimage to a place. Our purpose is in communion with the living God, not in union with an impersonal idea or nameless Higher Power …”

“In promising sublimity and divinity to each of us, its proponents have actually made us less than we were meant to be. God alone knows how to humble us without humiliating us and how to exalt us without flattering us. And how he affects this is the grand truth of the Christian message.”

Next week, we will examine the beliefs of Hinduism, Transcendental Meditation, and Buddhism.

Praise the Lord! Saints, let’s give the Lord a praise offering for His teaching on the Beliefs of Christian Science, Unity School of Christianity, Scientology and New Age.

Please send your tithes and offerings in support of Exousia Ministries, Inc. to the PayPal link below. May God exponentially multiply your cheerful and hilarious giving to our Ministry and ever take you deeper into the knowledge of Himself.

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