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by Art Sadlier   
April 1st, 2012

Syncretism is the combination of different beliefs and practices. Modern usage refers to attempts to harmonize Christianity with non-Christian thought. In the scripture syncretism is always the gateway to apostasy.

We have a classic illustration of syncretism in Exodus 32. When Moses went up into the mountain to meet with God he delayed his return off the mountain for 40 days. Perhaps the people thought he would return the same day. They were restless to move on and because God had led them in their journey, we read in verse 1, “And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.”

The people said to Aaron, we need gods to lead us, “make us gods.” Aaron gathered up all their golden earrings and made a molten calf. The people said, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (verse 4).

It seems that Aaron could not restrain the people and so he came up with a plan. His plan was to worship before the golden calf, but to do it in the name of Jehovah. “And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD” (verse 5).

Aaron said in effect, we will worship Jehovah by worshipping this golden calf.

This is syncretism, the combining of the worship of an idol with the worship of Jehovah. It is not acceptable to God. The Lord threatened to totally consume Israel in His anger for this sin.

Later in Israel’s history, Jeroboam, the king of the northern tribes of Israel repeated the same sin. In order to keep the people from going down to Jerusalem to worship (he feared their loyalty would shift to king Rehoboam) he set up an altar and made two golden calves. He set up one at Bethel and one at Dan in the north. They worshipped the golden calves in the name of Jehovah.

This is syncretism, and as a result, the curse of God came upon Jeroboam and Israel, a curse which was never removed from Jeroboam. This curse ultimately resulted in Israel being carried away captive into all the nations around them.

God hates syncretism, it is apostasy.

Today we see Rick Warren plunging into syncretism by proclaiming that Allah and Jehovah are one and the same god. Hundreds of pastors are following Warren’s lead and are leading their people to worship a hybrid god that does not exist. The fearful thing is that Warren has trained 600,000 pastors in his purpose driven philosophy. What a wide and powerful influence he is exercising!

We are reminded of what Jeremiah said of the pastors of his day. “My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place” (Jeremiah 50:6).

You cannot worship Jehovah and Allah at the same time, it is syncretism and the Lord will not tolerate it, His curse is upon it. The truth is that you cannot worship Allah and call yourself a Christian.

Another area where syncretism is found is in the area of the worship in many evangelical churches. The epistles reveal that worship is to focus on exalting Christ and glorifying God. Worship is to be God centred (Theo-centric) not man centred. New Evangelical churches today use the world’s music styles and the world’s entertainment oriented approach in their worship services. The average New Evangelical church has an atmosphere more like night club than a place where God is worshipped. They use the world’s pragmatic approach to attract crowds. Their goal is membership and not genuine conversion. If sin were to be emphasised, as it should be, the world would avoid the church like the plague. The truth is that the world does not belong in the church. The unbeliever has no place in the worship of God. The church is made up of the called-out- ones, those called out of the world, those called to be separate from the world, separated unto Christ.

When the church at Jerusalem was being blessed of God we read in Acts 5:13, “And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.” There was an awesome atmosphere about those believers, their holy, separated lives and a sense of God’s power and presence caused the unsaved to stand back from the church.

Syncretism marries the world and the church to create an atmosphere where the world is comfortable in the church. When the world is in the church the Spirit of God is not.              

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