World Religions, including Secular humanism, Communism, and Animism
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World Religions, including Secular humanism, Communism, and Animism

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An overview of common world religions, as well as animism, secular humanism and communism. Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormonism are mentioned

An overview of common world religions, as well as animism, secular humanism and communism. Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormonism are mentioned

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World Religions, including Secular humanism, Communism, and Animism World Religions, including Secular humanism, Communism, and Animism Presentation Transcript

  • World Religions and Missions Robert D. Patton Missionary to Suriname, South America
  • To effectively present the gospel…  We must understand the beliefs of the individual – His world view  This world view is the filter through which he interprets all of life, and especially religious meanings
  • A number of world views  Monotheism – only one God  Christianity  Judaism  Islam  Polytheism – many gods  Hinduism  Older religions – Romans, Greeks, etc.
  • World views  Monism or pantheism  Buddhism  Hinduism  Animism or folk religion  Probably 40% of all people in the world believe in folk religion though they may list their belief as Christian, Hindu, Islam, etc.
  • World Views  Atheism  Communism  Humanism – actually making man his own god…
  • Toward a Biblical Worldview  Worldview = the assumptions we hold as to the basic makeup of the universe  Some believe that demons never do anything to a “good Christian” so it is better to ignore them.  This is not from the Bible - we must resist, stand against, etc.
  • ―Western‖ world-view  Although some are atheists and deny any supernatural, the majority have this worldview:  The supernatural - God, angels & demons, - Religion and mysticism  separated from  The natural - science –  Faulty conclusion: No contact above. Therefore the supernatural can be basically ignored.  This is a faulty worldview
  • Modernism is built on  Rationalism  Empiricism  Market-driven economy  Science & technology
  • Modernism came from the ―enlightenment‖  The enlightenment separated  Science and materialism - public truth  Religion and faith - private faith & personal choice  There was no place for spirits, etc – superstition
  • Results of modernism  There was colonialism which assumed the superiority of Western culture, and also cultural evolution advancing from primitive to polytheistic to monotheistic to science  Assumed - magic was the thought of pre-logical thinking that will die out with science. No need to study it
  • Missions leaders worked with the same assumptions  They debated the religious leaders of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, etc comparing it to Christianity  Missionaries also assumed and taught the split world view  Science answers questions on earth  .Religion answers those of heaven
  • Missions leaders worked with the same assumptions  The middle region was ignored  Converts were reluctant to discuss them with missionaries  The old ways were continued in secret  Thus there was a great deal of syncretism – combining outward Christianity with an underlying animistic world view
  • We realize that we must rethink our attitudes  We must not assume that Western ways are necessarily Christian  New beliefs must replace the old ones - but we must be careful that it is not the foreignness that keeps people from getting saved  We must neither reject old ways automatically, or accept them uncritically when there is sin & leads to cultural relativism
  • Critical contextualization:  Study the local culture phenomenologically.  Understand clearly the old ways  We must also study our own culture. Our own world-view is difficult for us to comprehend. Like others sin, we see their problems more clearly than our own
  • We must study…  What the scripture says.  Note - the church’s purpose is missions - to call others to Christ  We must be theologians & cross- cultural evangelists  Reality testing - what really is.  We must avoid ethnocentric judgment
  • We must study…  Critical evaluation in terms of culture and the Bible  .Some may need to be rejected, or given a Christian meaning  Our goal must be transformation of lives to what Christ wants  Remember God loves variety – and made the world so…
  • Remember…  Worldviews are implicit assumptions of reality - rarely examined or questioned  Satan also uses social structures to inhibit persons from salvation – structure of society, persecution, etc  Bush-Negro family structure is very anti- Biblical in its matriarchal structure  Their folk religion is strongly opposed to Biblical Christianity
  • Dimensions of religion  Beliefs: For most people, this is reality - we need to know these clearly  Feelings - powerful, pervasive walls protecting beliefs. They are important too  Values - these are basic  Dimensions of religion: All the above are important
  • There is often a scale of transcendence  Things on this earth  Seen  Unseen - spirits, gods, restricted to earth  Other worlds unseen: There may be a high god - often all-powerful but distant and not interested. Rarely placated or offerings made to him (like deism)
  • Often there is a pantheon of lesser gods without eternal existence  There may be multiple other lesser beings as well - like angels and demons. They may come to earth, go back into “heaven”  Often felt to have other beings on earth, and limited to certain areas.  They may ask pardon of trees they chop down, or animals they kill
  • Half-Gods, etc  Some emperors were considered divine  Some were supposed to be the marriage of a god and a human  Some are human with some relationship to spirits or live spiritual lives  Some believe that people have spirits or souls apart from the bodies; others that they have multiple souls
  • Ancestor ―worship‖  Ancestors are believed to have a part in the society, and must be treated as such - food, telling them when you leave, etc. They can bless or curse the entire family  Witches - usually those with antisocial behavior may be accused - sending their spirits on trips  There may be belief in subhumans (trolls,etc)
  • Other world views…  Many believe that animals and plants have spirits that interact in the world. Nature is seen as alive  .Mana - the power in everything that can be given, removed, strengthened, etc
  • Other world views…  Life-force surrounding things - this is more local  .You can attack the individual with curses  There is a reason for everything - spiritual or influence of other
  • Other world views…  Mechanical other-worldly forces  Fate or fortune - numbers, horoscopes, etc  Cosmic moral order - with results depending on your good deeds or evil deeds - karma
  • Human Substitutes to True Salvation False Teaching Instead of the Truth
  • Substitutes for True Salvation  Hinduism  Buddhism  Islam  Secular humanism & evolution  Cults  Animism
  • Hinduism  Origin 1500-2500 B.C. No specific founder  Adherents: 825-850,000,000  India 780,000,000  Bangladesh – 20,000,000  Nepal – 20,000,000  USA – 1.5-2,000,000
  • Distribution of Hinduism
  • Hinduism by country
  • Hinduism  Books – Upanishads, Puranas, Bhagavad Gita, and many other scriptures  Diverse belief system – no single creed and no final truth  Pagan background with forces of nature personified as gods and goddesses- give offerings
  • Hinduism divided into  Popular Hinduism – worship of gods through offerings, rituals and prayers  Philosophic Hinduism – these few understand ancient texts, meditate and practice yoga
  • Hinduism – Non-reality  The physical material world is an illusion – called Maya  Personality & thinking and feeling cause suffering  Karma holds you bound  Comment – no wonder science never developed!
  • Hindu Monism – Reality  Brahman-Atman  Impersonal spiritual cosmos  Absorption into the One  Loss of personal identity  Peace, fulfillment, bliss  The goal is to transcend maya to reality
  • Thus…  God and the cosmos are one  We are God  In saving the world, we are saving ourselves, so to speak  The state of enlightenment is called, moksa, samadhi, kayvala  In Buddhism – Nirvana  Zen – satori
  • In the west, different names for the same thing  Cosmic consciousness  Unified field of Creative consciousness  Absolute Bliss  One with Self
  • Yoga – yoke with God  Astanga yoga – 8 steps to God  Hatha yoga – first 5 steps – isometrics and breathing exercises to make you unaware of the physical world  Raja yoga – last 3 steps
  • Yoga postures
  • Raja yoga  1. Concentration – on a mantra, often a name for a Hindu god  2. Dhyana – continuous meditation on the mantra  3. Samhadi – Absorption into the universe – like a drop of water in the ocean
  • What is God?  Tozer stated that no people rise greater than their religion  Here there is no difference between a person and dirt, or animals. Then what is God?  Humans become the same level as nature, and impersonal as well
  • Loss of personality  No love or compassion, because these are personal. Thus no hospitals, etc.  The monk is really a parasite who does nothing, and lives off begging  There is no basis for morality  There is no basis for human will and freedom of choice = Karma, which is fatalism…
  • Science and technology  No basis in Hinduism  They come from western schools and training
  • Reincarnation  Part of karma – you can come back as a lower form  Therefore you do not kill cows or rats  All who believe in reincarnation deny a personal intelligent creator
  • Christianity vs. Hinduism  Christians believe in a personal creator  Christians believe in the atonement of Jesus Christ, freeing us from sin  Christians believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the resurrection of the body – as a real person
  • Hinduism  In India, there are distinct castes which you may not come out of. A high caste Brahman will not associate with a Dalit, or untouchable, and in fact may wash the road behind one. One who had a Dalit eat a meal was totally ostracized by the entire community.  Christianity appeals especially to the Dalits
  • Worldview – India & USA American worldview  Empiricism – the world is real, and can meet our needs and give us position, worth  Real world is absolute, true categories. Those who cannot distinguish dreams and reality are mentally ill Indian worldview  Maya – the world is subjective, not objective. Real meaning is within  Meaning is relative. Morals are relative. Dreams are a part of reality of the person
  • Worldview – India & USA American worldview  Naturalism – the real world is natural and can be investigated by the senses. Spiritual experiences are subjective and personal – This is the world of science  Linear time: We live & die. Religious prepare for heaven; secular enjoy life today Indian worldview  No sharp distinction between natural and supernatural. All are blurred together  Cyclical time – The universe repeats itself countless times. People are reborn many times
  • Worldview – India & USA American worldview  Order and immutability – the universe is orderly with set rules  Knowledge: the human mind can understand and control the universe around. Often judged by knowledge rather than life Indian worldview  Unpredictability – a beggar can be a king; a lion can be a god.  Wisdom – intuitive true understanding of reality. Wisdom comes with sudden insight radically changing the person, so that he has peace and can be released from cyclical rebirths
  • Worldview – India & USA American worldview  Particularized and categorized world. They can be ordered and placed in order  Basic equality of things in a same category Indian worldview  Unity of all things with gods, saints, people, etc.  OK to worship saints as they are higher on the scale than humans  Hierarchy: all persons and things are ranked – and this is good (caste, etc) Spiritual insight best, then metaphysical wisdom, then offerings, then wealth
  • Worldview – India & USA American worldview  Individualism. Freedom of choice rather than restriction. Free enterprise and capitalism rather than communism or socialism. Democracy & choose your own leaders Indian worldview  Specialization and inter- dependency. Each person has his own role in society. Diversity and cooperation
  • Hinduism & avatars  These are godlike personalities who come to help mankind to escape from karma and the wheel of life and eventually find release, samsara…  One of the most popular is Krisna
  • Image of Krishna
  • Idol of Shiva in meditation
  • Hinduism in Suriname  We see the multiple temples, and the multiple gods which they worship  They are actually worshipping demons  They will sometimes devote their children to demons to gain power, money, etc  The demons will drink milk, etc from their Hindu Pandits…
  • What does the average Hindu understand?  I once went to a Hindu wedding. The two individuals heard the Pandit saying things in what I assume may have been a sacred language, and occasionally throwing objects into a fire. The others were sitting talking to each other, oblivious of the ceremony.
  • Many Hindus have idols at home  We have seen “god-houses” in front of some Hindu homes. They apparently have idols which they worship with flowers, food, etc.  They often have a number of flags (often red) on bamboo poles planted there by the Pandits
  • Hinduism in practice  I have seen a snake and Kali painted on the entrance gate of a home. Sometimes idols will be on the wall – such as frogs  I have seen idols of the monkey god Hanuman on the top of Hindu temples
  • Hanuman, the monkey god
  • Hindu ―trimurti‖ of Gods – Brahman, Vishnu, Shiva
  • Hindu festival - Divali
  • Transcendental meditation
  • Transcendental Meditation  This is basically a form of Hinduism adapted to US or western culture  Initially you must bring 6 flowers, 3 fruit and a white handkerchief  You come in a darkened room with incense and candles  Before a picture of Guru Dev, a priest will give a Puja – a Hindu Sanskrit song
  • Transcendental Meditation  You are given a mantra, which is the name of a Hindu god. When you meditate, you try to come one with him.  Doing so, you are really opening yourself to demons
  • Initiation puja includes  Whosoever remembers the lotus-eyed Lord gains inner and outer purity. To Lord Naryan, to Lotus-born Brahman the creator, to Vaishistha, to Shakti, to Shankaracharya the emancipator, hailed as Krishna, to the Lord I bow down and down again. At whose door the whole galaxy of gods pray for perfection day and night.[46]
  • It is expensive  n 2009, fees in the US were reduced for a one-hour-a-day, four-day course to $1,500 for the general public and $750 for college students.[62][63] Fees in the UK were also reduced, and a tiered fee structure introduced, ranging from £290 to £590 for adults, and £190 to £290 for students, depending on income.[64]
  • Save money Around 1995, Dr. Deepak Chopra created the primordial sound meditation, that is very similar to Maharishi's TM. Unfortunately Maharishi's and Chopra's techniques are very expensive ($2500.00 and $325.00).
  • Save money via internet  In 2003 a former TM teacher, R.Harrison, created the Natural Stress Relief technique, that can be learned in this website for $25.00 only. The Natural Stress Relief© technique (NSR) is based on a single basic syllable or "mantra", that is suitable for anybody.
  • Save money…  By the way, the original TM, that was taught by Maharishi in 1958, was also based on a single mantra (around 1968 the TM organization started to prescribe different "mantras").
  • Transcendental Meditation  I Tim. 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.
  • Transcendental Meditation is demonic worship  I Cor. 10:19-20 What say I then? That the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils (demons) and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils…
  • TM is dangerous  Any time you allow your mind to go blank, you can open yourself to demonic deception. Meditating on the name of a false god (demon) is even more dangerous!
  • Hinduism in practice  There is a great deal of the demonic in Hinduism  It is no wonder that there is great opposition to true Christianity
  • Worship Shiva – god of destruction
  • Popular Hinduism  Caste system  Worship of 33,000,000 gods  .Revere the cow & monkey, etc  .The main gods are:  .Brahma - creator  .Vishnu - sustainer  .Shiva - destroyer
  • Hindu god
  • Kali – god of destruction
  • Hindu - Vishnu
  • Pakistani Hindu God
  • Popular Hinduism  The temple is the place the gods stay - not primarily worship. The priests carry the offerings of the people  They often worship one of the 10 incarnations of Vishnu – especially Krishna or Rama
  • Hindu temple
  • World’s largest Hindu temple
  • Richest & most visited Hindu temple
  • Popular Hinduism  Women’s situation is a little better now that suttee and the selling of young girls as temple prostitutes is basically gone.  William Carey worked against suttee  Amy Carmichael rescued many girls from being temple prostitutes
  • Hindu suttee – burning widow
  • Hindu worship  Most worship privately rather than corporately  Worship daily the chosen deity with chants, flowers and incense
  • Housewarming ceremony
  • Puja – Hindu worship
  • Puja worship
  • Puja – worship Woman sewing clothes for idol
  • Puja ceremony Mt. Everest!
  • Folk Hinduism makes even human offerings  Children were thrown into the Ganges River as an offering  Other locations, babies were killed previously in Suriname  Sometimes children have been dedicated to the gods
  • Many Hindus have been oppressed by evil spirits  Being freed from demonic oppression is one of the ways that many are coming to Christ
  • There is persecution of Christians  There are radical fundamentalist movements in Hinduism to totally eradicate Christianity and Christians  Recently a burial was interrupted and the body thrown into a tractor – they said that the body would contaminate Hindu soil
  • Persecution  Persecution is especially heavy now in Orissa state, but also in other areas  A number of pastors have been killed  A missionary doctor and two sons were burned to death while sleeping in their car – the doctor worked with lepers
  • Gandhi against conversions  Mohandes Gandhi stated that conversion to Christianity is changing their nationality.  The accusation is ―forced conversions‖ by which they mean anyone that finds a benefit to convert (especially seen with the untouchables)
  • Christian girl burned:Orissa
  • Attack on church in Orissa
  • Christian response to Hinduism  God – if God is God, and impersonal, then impersonal is greater than the personal – but we always give more attention to the personal  God of the Bible is personal – He thinks, does, has emotions, etc. No idol can represent God, and Christians are forbidden to worship idols
  • Christian response to Hinduism  The material world is real. God is present in creation but apart from it.  Don’t confuse God and his creation (Romans 1 – worship the creature instead of the creator)  Time is not cyclical – God created the world at a specific time and will consumate it also
  • Christian response to Hinduism  The incarnation of Jesus Christ occurred within historical time, as well as His crucifixion and resurrection
  • Christian response to Hinduism  People are created in God’s image  The human body will be resurrected physically and has eternal worth  There is no rebirth – Heb. 9: [27] And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
  • Christian response to Hinduism  All men are resurrected: Jn. 5: [28] Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,[29] And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
  • Christian response to Hinduism  Sin is not ignorance of the union with Brahman, but is rebellion against a holy personal God.  Romans 3:23 All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
  • Christian response to Hinduism  Salvation for the Hindu:  Yoga & meditation under a guru  Good works (karma marga)  The way of knowledge (jnana marga)  The way of love and devotion (bhakti marga)
  • Christian response to Hinduism  Salvation is through a personal relationship by faith with Jesus Christ throughout eternity. Salvation is NOT by good works. Religious deeds cannot save: Eph 2: [8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:[9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • Witnessing to Hindus  Short personal testimony of faith in Jesus Christ  Pray for the Holy Spirit to work  Share that Jesus Christ is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind  Follow Jesus – no other deities  Emphasize salvation by faith without works
  • Hare Krishna – Krishna Consciousness: A Hindu Sect  They believe that anyone can chant the magic words and block the power of Kali, the God of destruction  Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare  Hare Rama Hare Rama  Rama Rama Hare Hare
  • Hare Krishna tree New York
  • Hare Krishna devotees
  • Buddhism
  • History of Buddhism  In contrast to Hinduism, there is a founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha  Although precise dates are not clear, and the history is mixed with much tradition, there is a basic history which can be used
  • Buddhism  Sidhartha Gautama, 564-483 B.C.) was a wealthy Hindu saw the suffering of the world, left his wife and son, and became an ascetic. After 6 years, he became enlightened and was “the enlightened one”  Gautama was born into a wealthy family. His mother died after his birth
  • Traditions of Gautama  His mother’s conception was considered miraculous – saw a 6 tusk elephant come into her side  Many miracles are traditionally attributed to Gautama, though they are probably not historical
  • The Buddha
  • Sidhartha Gautama  His father wanted him to be a great king, but hid suffering from him  When he finally started seeing his people at age 29, he met old age, suffering and death  He tried asceticism, and nearly died – almost drown washing himself
  • Buddha – the ascetic and then the enlightened one
  • Siddhartha Gautama  During his wanderings, he was recognized, and offered a kingdom. Others wanted him to become a general  He found that neither wealth or asceticism was proper, but sought out a middle way  He had many followers. One tried to assassinate him 3 times
  • Siddhartha Gautama  Eventually he went to nirvana at age 80  During his last years, he developed his philosophy of life
  • Buddhism  613,000,000 worldwide  1,000,000 in USA  Buddhists are trying to convert those in the USA  It is a major force in the New Age Movement
  • Distribution of Buddhists
  • Buddhism: Four noble truths:  1. Life is suffering (dukkha)  2. Suffering is caused by desire (samudaja)  3. The cessation of desire causes the cessation of suffering (nirodha)  4. The cessation of desire comes from the “middle way” between sensuality and asceticism
  • Buddhism – the 8 fold path to achieve the middle way…  Right view – understanding the 4 noble truths  Right resolve – determining to follow them  Right speech – action to avoid desire  Right action – action to avoid desire
  • Buddhism: the 8 fold path to achieve the middle way  Right livelihood  Right effort – emptying the mind  Right concentration – mind & body control  Right ecstacy – cessation of all sense experiences and obtaining universal knowledge
  • Buddhism  Become free from Karma – the law of good and bad deeds which is an impersonal law of monal causation  Obtain Nirvana – like blowing out a candle – nothing…
  • Buddhism  Nothing in life is permanent (annica)  Individual souls do not really exist (anatta)
  • Buddhist monks
  • Buddhist monks in China
  • Buddhist monk actually taken in Scotland
  • Buddhism  Theravada – “salvation” limited to monks alone – Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Laos, Cambodia 38%  Mahayana – “salvation” open to all true seekers – Nepal, China, Tibet, Japan, Vietnam, Kor ea – and the west 56%  Tantrismor Lamism, 6% Tibet, Nepal, Mongolia
  • Timeline of development of various schools
  • Theravada Buddhism in Thailand
  • Angor Wat Cambodia
  • Theravada Buddhism
  • Mahayana Buddhism
  • Vajrayana traditions in Tibet, Mongolia, China
  • Lamaism – monastery
  • Tibetan monastery & monks
  • Traditional wheel of life - Tibet
  • Hinduism vs. Buddhism  Wheel of life  Karma  Maya (illusion)  Atman (individual soul)  Rebirth by reincarnation  Wheel of life  Karma  Maya  No atman  Rebirth without reincarnation
  • Hinduism vs. Buddhism  Moksha (realization)  Pantheistic  Caste system  Asceticism  Nirvana (oblivion)  Atheistic- pantheistic  Caste system  The middle way
  • Buddhism  Sidhartha Gautama wanted to reform Hinduism which had thousands of gods. He was an atheist in fact.  But now Buddhism has many idols. The golden pagoda has 3500 idols of Buddha
  • Buddhist idols
  • More Buddhist idols
  • Buddhism  Each man is an island to himself. To help him is to interfere with his karma  Christianity gives the true worth of a soul made in the image of God, and worth saving…  Religion is man reaching toward God, but Christianity is God reaching down to man
  • Buddhism vs. Christianity  God shows that this will happen in Romans 1:18 ff. Man who rejects God will make idols  God shows the foolishness of idolatry in Jeremiah 10:3-15
  • Idol worship
  • Romans 1  18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;  19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them.
  • Romans 1  20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
  • Romans 1  22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
  • Romans 1  . 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the atural use into that which is against nature:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
  • Romans 1  28 And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
  • Romans 1  30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. 
  • Jeremiah 10:3-15  3 For the customs of the people [are] vain: for [one] cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.5 They [are] upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go.
  • Jeremiah 10:3-15  5b Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also [is it] in them to do good.  6 Forasmuch as [there is] none like unto thee, O LORD; thou [art] great, and thy name [is] great in might.7 Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise [men] of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, [there is] none like unto thee.
  • Jeremiah 10:3-15  8 But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock [is] a doctrine of vanities.9 Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple [is] their clothing: they [are] all the work of cunning [men].
  • Jeremiah 10:3-15  10 But the LORD [is] the true God, he [is] the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.11 Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, [even] they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.
  • Jeremiah 10:3-15  12 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.13 When he uttereth his voice, [there is] a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.
  • Jeremiah 10:3-15  14 Every man is brutish in [his] knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image [is] falsehood, and [there is] no breath in them.15 They [are] vanity, [and] the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.
  • Buddhism in Cambodia
  • Buddhism in Cambodia
  • Practical Buddhism in Cambodia  Cambodians are definitely weaker in their adherence to Buddhism than their Asian neighbors.  Thailand is firmly fixed on Buddhism’s path as well as animism. Cambodians are also very Buddhist.  At present, Cambodians are more open to the gospel than other Buddhist nations in the area. Several generations of war and conflict and the resulting poverty have brought greater openness to the gospel. Many are willing to listen to the gospel.
  • Cambodia – Angkor Wat
  • Angkor Wat in the jungle
  • Practical Buddhism in Cambodia  Though persecution is alive and well for those that believe, it is less severe than in some Buddhist countries, especially those influenced by Communism (China, Laos, and Vietnam) or military dictatorships (Myanmar/Burma).  Thailand has open religious freedom, but Thais are more hardened against the gospel—even with centuries of Christian mission influence.
  • Practical Buddhism  Most Buddhists here do not believe anything like what the books say they do! One might get the impression that Buddhists here are deeply committed to Buddhism from the many Buddhist temples dotting the countryside and seemingly on every block in the cities. Monks are everywhere. It is true that belief in reincarnation, karma, and nirvana are firmly held. But where does their true devotion lie? How is most of their religious energy spent? What types of beliefs influence every day living?
  • Cambodia farmers
  • Cambodian monks
  • Karma…  Certainly the belief in karma is a strong motivator to follow the Buddhist path. Karma teaches that one’s circumstances in this life are the direct result of good and bad deeds committed in one’s previous life. Of course, no one wants to return in their next life as an animal, slave, poor person, etc. when they could return as a prince or wealthy merchant.
  • Nirvana – basically unobtainable  Almost no one considers the possibility of ever achieving nirvana, that state of non-existence so coveted by truly committed Buddhists. Nirvana is a state that no Buddhist seems to understand or be able to describe. Life is to be understood simply as endless suffering. To end this endless cycle of suffering, one must follow the Four Noble Truths and the Eight-Fold Path of Buddhism. If one is successful, he will cease to exist and become one with the universe. Most people desire merely to return in the next life to better circumstances.
  • Folk religion in Buddhism  I believe that most religions have folk religion as well. We have seen this in the Muslims and Hindus in Suriname.  The next section will show this vividly in terms of Cambodia
  • Practical Buddhism  It is widely believed that our spirits will go to hell after death and suffer torment. Once a certain amount of the sin debt is paid, the person will then be reincarnated. Some believe that good people will go to heaven for a while before returning to the earth in another form. Forms of reincarnation might include animals, ghosts, gods, and humans. Human life is most coveted, for only a human can achieve non-existence (nirvana).
  • Monks, the king, and a water ceremony to carry away sins
  • Ancestor Worship in Buddhism  Ancestor worship, which is not central to Buddhist doctrine, has become a central part of Folk Buddhism. Every year Pachum Bun is celebrated. During this festival, Buddhists must go to the temples and give money and rice to the monks in exchange for blessings and prayers to help their ancestors be released from hell. If money and rice is given and prayers are offered, it is believed that the spirits of the ancestors are set free until the end of the festival, only to return once again to hell until their debt is paid.
  • Ancestor worship in Buddhism  People are fearful that if they do not worship their ancestors, these spirits will one day curse their lives and cause great suffering.  Parents also have power over their children after their death before they are reincarnated. The same is true for grandparents, etc.
  • Ancestor worship
  • Ancestor worship in Buddhism  Parents are perceived as ―gods‖ and actually referred to as such (in teaching, anyway). The parent gave the child life and sustained them and raised them. Thus, they earned much merit that must be acknowledged by the children.
  • Inconsistency in belief  . Buddhism is not the focus of most Cambodians. Even though all of the festivals, including weddings and funerals have Buddhist trappings, most Cambodians believe much more strongly in the spirit world. Belief in the spirits should be contradictory to Buddhist thought, but to the average Buddhist, these two very different forms of religion just work together in ways not to be understood.
  • Inconsistency in belief  . As a matter of fact, even many monks are heavily involved in spiritism. What is most important to ask of those that you are trying to reach in a Buddhist country is not “What does Buddhism teach?” but rather “What do people really believe?”
  • Syncretic religion except…  Buddhism accommodates all other religions except, of course, true Christianity.  Buddhists can add any god or spirit to their belief system, as long as Buddhism is not denounced.  It becomes very important, then, to press upon them the exclusivity of Christ.
  • Buddhism – monks in action
  • Tattoos  Throughout Cambodian history, the primary reason for getting tattoos etched in the skin was to bring the owner of the tattoo protection in battle. For those with tattoos, bullets would miss their mark; swords will not cut, etc.  All soldiers in Cambodia, no matter their station, had these tattoos and many do today. Tattoos are not merely pictures. Tattoos are filled with spiritual significance, and, when received, supposedly communicate spiritual power to the owner.
  • Tattoos  Another popular reason for getting tattoos is their ability to cause attraction and admiration. They increase the likeability of an individual, especially in reference to the opposite gender.  For some seeking spiritual power or influence over others, tattoos are attractive. They cause others to respect or fear them. Others just get tattoos because others have them. It seems that all sorcerers are tattooed heavily as well
  • Cambodian tatoos
  • Tattoos  The tatooist must be a spiritually powerful individual. His work is extremely difficult to accomplish and it is done is an entirely spiritual manner. Those who come to him worship the spirits upon entry. The tattooist’s shrine is full of idols: Buddhas, Vishnus, hermit spirits, symbols, incense, bones, etc. There are spiritual laws that govern the diet and manner of practice that the man must maintain.
  • Tattoos  For instance, they cannot put a curse on the individual. They do not sacrifice animals. Drums are played throughout the process. Those who receive a tattoo receive spells and instructions to maintain the power of the tattoo. These tattooists are honored in their practice but not in every day life as authorities in other matters. However, monks may do this also.
  • Tatoos  Tattoos are usually symbols, ancient Pali writing (the language of the Buddhist writings and that used by monks in rituals), drawings of the Buddha, Vishnu (a Hindu deity), a mythological bird or snake, or sometimes human beings.
  • Tatoos and Amulets
  • Amulets & Charms  One object highly regarded for its influence is a kind of belt charmed by a sorcerer or holy man. Nearly all Cambodians wear these. The chief reason for this item is protection—protection from the spirits--from harm, sickness, poor business, etc. These are worn about the waist and are made from nylon. Attached to the nylon are flattened metal pieces with Pali writing and other symbols which are rolled up and then put on the belt. Of course, all such items are paid for.
  • Amulets & Charms  Elaborate rules are given for how to maintain the power of the belt. For example, when entering the rest room, the belt must be taken off a certain way and hung in a certain fashion. To forget to do this would negate the power of the belt.
  • Amulets…  Amulets, or objects of spiritual significance, hung from a necklace, are also revered. These too are obtained for protection from evil workings of the spirits. Some hang Buddha figurines or Vishnu on these. Buddha figurines are to influence the wearer to do good works. Others put animal horns, though these are considered less powerful.
  • Spiritual amulets
  • Amulets…  Some may have a bone from an ancestor. In Thailand, amulets are extremely popular and large amounts of money spent of ancient or artistic amulets or amulets blessed by well- respected monks.
  • Thai amulets
  • Amulets…  At least in Cambodia, the amulet known to have the most power is a human baby fetus. The method of obtaining this is varied. Some insist that this is done through murdering a pregnant woman. Others insist that the woman be asked permission to have it taken from her by knife, not telling the woman that it meant death for her and the child.
  • This amulet contains the powder of a chosen baby who died (amulet enlarged greatly)
  • These monks bless amulets – advertised on the internet
  • Amulets…  Yet others claim that it is done ―above board‖ by the woman’s consent and that she does not die in the process. It appears that if the woman does not give consent than the fetus has no power. It is then grilled and dried then hung from the necklace. This amulet gives the power to know whom and when a person plans to harm you, even premonition of evil that will happen to you.
  • Building rituals  Before a house can be built, a monk or sorcerer must first come to the property and give counsel as to the place to build the house—the exact place. Why? Every house built has its own spirit. Also, the land has a spirit. If the house were built in the wrong spot, a spirit would be angry and cause evil to the house owner. Somehow too, the rituals are meant to trick the spirits into thinking different ways.
  • Variety of Cambodian houses
  • Building rituals  The night before building begins a monk or sorcerer must be invited to a party held in the home to perform certain rites. While the poles are being put in the next day, a tattooed cloth must be placed in order to hang from the ceiling. ALL Khmai homes have one (until Jesus came here!)
  • Altar to banana spirits
  • Spirit houses  Within the house is found either a Buddha statue or the bones of the grandparents. Buddhism encourages the bones to be brought to the Wat, so many have a Buddha within instead.  The purpose of the house is to worship the spirit of the ancestors. Buddhism teaches that ancestral spirits need to be placated. There is an annual festival devoted to this. The more money given to the temple in honor of the ancestors and other deeds greatly raise the chances that spirits will do good deeds towards the doer.
  • Spirit houses  Four times each month, Khmais are to leave a flower and fruit offering at the spirit house. Every day prayers are offered to the spirits of the ancestors and/or Buddha. These prayers are accompanied by incense burning. Buddhism no where teaches the worship of Buddha’s image. As a matter of fact, the Buddha does not exist because he achieved nirvana!
  • Territorial spirits  Just as every house has a spirit, so does every area. The village has a spirit, the forest nearby has one, the river does, etc. It is most important to be in favor with the spirit of your area. If you travel outside the territory of your spirit it is wise to offer worship at its altar there or at least have an amulet or belt for protection.
  • Territorial spirits  This spirit can be represented by idols such as a stone, skull, amulet, animal figure, etc. Every Buddhist pagoda/wat has an altar to the territorial spirit. Altars are often found underneath great trees or on small hills.
  • House with occult blessing object
  • Holy men  The Monks are sought for in all Buddhist ceremonies and generally hold the respect of the people. There is an ever growing number of monks in the monkhood for natural reasons—saving up money, learning English or computer skills (especially in Phnom Penh), showing respect for one’s parents, earning merit for one’s parents, and others. Most of these are ―short-term‖ monks. The older and more seasoned men command great respect. These monks are the ones most appealed to in matters dealing with spirits. They can tattoo, bless charms, cast out demons, give holy water, etc.
  • Sorcerers  Sorcerers are those whose main occupation is knowing how to placate and manipulate, even trick, the spirits. These are most often appealed to for blessings and receiving of powers in amulets, giving herbal medicines, and directing those suffering how to placate the offended spirits. Sometimes these are involved in animal sacrifices. Sorcerers also are involved in exorcisms. Many go to them for cures even after given treatment or prescriptions from a doctor!
  • Sorcerers  Monks who throw rice at possessed individuals in a certain manner can perform exorcisms. Sorcerers or monks may splash individuals with holy water also. The Sorcerer may just go to the house and discover the reason why a spirit is angered and give a remedy.
  • Sorcerers  Sorcerers are also paid to curse people. Those angry or seeking revenge will appeal to them for assistance. I am told that many Khmais do this for revenge. These men are said to be able at times to cause foreign object to appear in the stomachs of the cursed. Other sorcerers who are aiding the cursed then draw out the foreign object which is usually a piece of buffalo skin, nail, or a needle.
  • Importance of cultural understanding…  Understanding our audience is of utmost importance. Though we cannot assume that every person believes the same way, we can assume that many, if not most, of our hearers in Cambodia will be listening to the gospel through this theological grid. It reveals the necessity to spending time with people introducing to them the nature of the One True God.
  • Importance of cultural understanding…  There is no Creator in Buddhism. Buddhism leaves room for an unlimited number of gods. If a person does not understand Divine revelation about who God is, there is no possibility of them grasping the gospel. The cross and the resurrection, heaven and hell, etc. have no real meaning apart from the person of God the Creator and the promise of a Savior.
  • The power of the gospel  The Biblical teachings of the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan take on much more significance in this context. The realities of spiritual powers become a daily reality rather than theory. Missionaries must be aware of this and be intimate with passages of Scripture on these issues.
  • The power of the Gospel  . New believers will need much help understanding the importance of the Holy Spirit indwelling them and how it relates to these matters. As we grow in these ways, we begin to realize that the Bible was written in such a context and addresses these issues often
  • We need a proper background  In both Hinduism and Buddhism, understanding God as the creator is vital. They need to understand that He is a person – and not an impersonal force. He is a God of love, who interacts with His creation.  Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
  • Other important concepts  We automatically assume the reality of the created world, but this needs to be communicated to the Hindu and Buddhist
  • Bridge to suffering  Our suffering as Christians is only temporary – the seen. But the future is without suffering, because Jesus Christ has won the victory over the cause of suffering, which is really sin  Sin is rebellion against a personal creator, and Jesus has restored the relationship
  • Victory over sin and suffering  [17] For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;[18] While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
  • Jesus gives worth to life  Romans 5: [6] For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.[7] For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
  • Jesus gives worth to life  Romans 5: [8] But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. [9] Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
  • The moral law and karma  Karma is impersonal – they try to earn merit with good deeds  Jesus gives us His merit: Romans 8: [1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.[2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
  • Suggestions for witnessing  Avoid terms like new birth, regeneration  Talk about endless freedom from suffering, guilt and sin  Talk about new power to live a holy life  Talk about Jesus’ gift of unlimited and unearned merit
  • Buddhism  Be careful to avoid syncretism  Share your testimony  Freedom from guilt  Assurance of heaven without pain  Personal relationship with Christ  Pray – do not witness in your own strength
  • Radical Buddhism is persecuting Christians  Where the Buddhists predominate, there are places where they try to eliminate Christians and Christianity
  • China – some have Buddhism, Confucianism & Taoism
  • Many Chines have all three religions  Confucianism  Taoism  Buddhism  They view them as complementary, and not as conflicting
  • Confucianism  Not confined to China  Also in Japan, Korea and Vietnam  It is an ethical and moral system as much as a religion
  • Confucius and Confucianism
  • Confucius  Chinese sage 551 BC – 479 BC  Initially many of his ideas were not accepted  He was expelled from various states  His ideas were best outlined in Analects
  • Summary of Confucianism  In Confucianism, human beings are teachable, improvable and perfectible through personal and communal endeavour especially including self- cultivation and self-creation.  A main idea of Confucianism is the cultivation of virtue and the development of moral perfection.
  • Hall of Confucianism
  • Analects of Confucius  Often very condensed sayings, conversations,  His disciples later codified and organized his thoughts  Rites were very important  People need to know their place and role in society -
  • Rites and rituals  Gives balance between extremes  Politeness, harmony  One must learn to control himself  They developed a civil service system where one could rise to importance and honor the entire family
  • Confucianism and society  Confucianism has been used as a kind of "state religion", with authoritarianism, legitimism, paternalism and submission to authority used as political tools to rule China.
  • Confucianism and the roles of people  Relationships, and the differing duties arising from the different status one held in relation to others. Individuals are held to simultaneous stand in different degrees of relationship with different people, namely, as a junior in relation to their parents and elders, and as a senior in relation to their children, younger siblings, students, and others.
  • Confucianism and the roles of people  While juniors are considered in Confucianism to owe strong duties of reverence and service to their seniors, seniors also have duties of benevolence and concern toward juniors. This theme consistently manifests itself in many aspects of East Asian culture even to this day, with extensive filial duties on the part of children toward parents and elders, and great concern of parents toward their children.
  • Loyalty  Loyal is the equivalent of filial piety on a different plane, between ruler and minister. Like filial piety, however, loyalty was often subverted by the autocratic regimes of China  We can see how this can support a totalitarian regime
  • Ruler and those ruled  If the ruler lacks rén, Confucianism holds, it will be difficult if not impossible for his subjects to behave humanely. Rén is the basis of Confucian political theory: it presupposes an autocratic ruler, exhorted to refrain from acting inhumanely towards his subjects. An inhumane ruler runs the risk of losing the "Mandate of Heaven", the right to rule.
  • Ruler and those ruled  A ruler lacking such a mandate need not be obeyed. But a ruler who reigns humanely and takes care of the people is to be obeyed strictly, for the benevolence of his dominion shows that he has been mandated by heaven. Confucius himself had little to say on the will of the people, but his leading follower Mencius did state that the people's opinion on certain weighty matters should be considered
  • Five fundamental relationships  The Five Bonds  Ruler to Ruled  Father to Son  Husband to Wife  Elder Brother to Younger Brother  Friend to Friend
  • Relationships are important  Specific duties were prescribed to each of the participants in these sets of relationships. Such duties were also extended to the dead, where the living stood as sons to their deceased family. This led to the veneration of ancestors. The only relationship where respect for elders wasn't stressed was the Friend to Friend relationship. In all other relationships, high reverence was held for elders.
  • Filial piety  The idea of Filial piety influenced the Chinese legal system: a criminal would be punished more harshly if the culprit had committed the crime against a parent, while fathers often exercised enormous power over their children. Now filial piety is also built into law. People have responsibility to provide for their elder parents according to law.
  • The ideal man  They were to:  cultivate themselves morally;  show filial piety and loyalty where these are due;  cultivate humanity, or benevolence.  The ―small man‖ is petty, interested in only materialism, greedy
  • Confucian temple in Taiwan
  • Taoism – Chinese religion Often combined with Confucianism
  • Difficult to know how many participate  Often Chinese will have 3 religions, or mix with Chinese folk religion  Estimates from 20,000,000 to 400,000,000!  The number has declined since communism
  • Symbol for Taoism
  • The essence of Taoism  Taoism refers to a variety of related philosophical and religious traditions with the word Tao meaning– path or way.  Three Jewels of the Tao:  compassion,  moderation,  humility,
  • The essence of Taoism  Taoist thought focuses on nature,  the relationship between humanity and the cosmos (天人相应),  health and longevity,  wu wei (action through inaction),  These produce harmony with the Universe.[
  • Taoist temple in Hong Kong
  • Tao is almost indefinable  In reading descriptions, it is like a flow of basic energy  A basic concept is that of effortless effort – that the master aligns himself with this flow ―qi‖ accomplishes things without effort
  • Pu – the state when you follow wu wei (effortless effort)  It is believed to be the true nature of the mind, unburdened by knowledge or experiences.  In the state of pu, there is no right or wrong, beautiful or ugly. There is only pure experience, or awareness, free from learned labels and definitions. It is this state of being that is the goal of following wu wei.
  • Lau viewed as a god; Taoist priest
  • White Cloud Monastery Beijing, China
  • Islam  Rapidly growing religion  Dominates in 52 countries  Total population of Islam – about 1,000,000,000 – 1/6 world population  Although we think of the middle East, only 20% are there. The largest Muslim country is Indonesia
  • Muslim Population Worldwide
  • Muslims at Prayer
  • Islam  Rapidly growing in Europe – now the second largest religion in Europe  However, only a small percentage of missionaries have been working with Muslims
  • Islam  It is tied with 7th century Arabian culture, and is a deification of that culture.  You cannot separate the culture and the religion – they are tied together in politics, family structure, food, clothing, religious rites, etc.
  • Islam – submit  Islam = submission of body and soul to Allah  Muslim = those who submit
  • Worship in a Mosque
  • Place of ablutions
  • Islam  Culture – the authority was in the Sheik, who had absolute authority  Therefore, democracy is basically incompatible with Islam. You can expect a ―strong man‖  There is no concept of personal rights or civil rights per se
  • Contact with the West  Some western ideas have been implemented in some places  Veil not always worn  Law of apostacy not always enforced  Western goods bought  Some places polygamy is reduced or even against the law
  • Conflict with western civilization  Western racial problems  Colonialism  ―peace-keeping‖ wars  Moral degeneracy  N.B. – Conflict is mostly where the west has abandoned Jesus’ teachings
  • Islam  Very difficult to win  More difficult to remain faithful and grow  Opposition from family  Ridicule from friends  Social and economic pressures
  • Main areas of theologic problems  The innate sinfulness of man  The Sonship of Jesus Christ  The doctrine of the trinity  Jesus’ death and resurrection
  • Further inconsistencies  They believe that there were 124,000 prophets, all sinless  This actually contradicts the Qur’an, where God tells one or another prophet to confess and repent of his sins  To them, a prophet is an authentic messenger of God to bring God’s true revelation
  • Signs of respect to a Muslim  Take off shoes when entering a home  Shake hands both coming and going  Never sit cross-legged in a chair (don’t show bottom of feet)  Be careful of petting dog (unclean)  No alcohol, pork, certain seafood  Be careful how you handle the Bible; not on the floor
  • Signs of respect  Avoid  Being free with the opposite sex  Joking about sacred things  Religious jewelry  Pictures of Jesus
  • How to witness  A devout life with deeds of love and service – especially schools and medicine  Sharing common interests  Disaster relief  Teaching English  Selling literature, especially Bible correspondence courses
  • Witness to Muslims  Where permitted, public evangelistic meetings with much prayer and printed invitations  Radio & TV may penetrate as well  Be sure to relate the convert to Jesus, and not just to yourself
  • Islam  Background information:  Just before Mohammed, Arabia was animistic with worship of stones. The tribe of Mohammed had the black stone put in the Ka’ba  Sabianism was dominant, worshipping the heavenly bodies, with a lunar calendar and the moon as the male deity. They fasted with the appearance of the crescent moon
  • Allah  Allah was originally the name of the moon god for Mohammed’s tribe, represented by the black stone which was believed came from heaven.  The sun was female, married the moon, and produced three daughters of Allah, which were the top of 360 idols. Mohammed later destroyed all idols but the black stone
  • Muslims and the Ka’ba  Believe it was first built by Adam, but destroyed by the flood  Rebuilt by Abraham and Ishmael
  • The Ka’aba at night
  • Mohammed – 570-632 AD  His father died before he was born, and his mother died when he was six  He was reared by uncle, became a camel driver at age 25 met a wealthy 40 year old woman, Khadijah, and lived happily. He lived only with her, but had at least 9 wives after her death.  He apparently heard about Jesus both from the Bible and extra-Biblical sources
  • Muhammed’s call  Age 40, while meditating, the angel Gabriel came and gave a revelation from God.  First messages – one God there; repent from idolatry before the day of judgment  About 40 people initially accepted his teaching
  • Opposition grew  He started sending groups of leaders to Yathrib (Medina), and finally fled with Abu Bakr on June 20, 622  This is the Hijra – the beginning of Islam  In Medina, he plundered rich caravans and had military success.
  • Successful re-entry in Mecca  With 10,000 soldiers, he entered Mecca without a fight, cleared the Ka’ba of idols, and made decree for an annual pilgrimage there – the Hajj
  • Muhammad’s tomb is here
  • Five pillars of Islam  The creed – there is no God but Allah and Muhammed is his prophet‖  Prayers in Arabic 5 times per day  Alms to the poor  Fasting, esp. Ramadan, with no food, drink or sex from sunrise to sunset for one month  Hajj once in a lifetime
  • Some benefits of Islam  No idolatry  No burying live baby girls  Uniting Arabian tribes  Civil brotherhood among Muslims  Some rights of women were improved
  • Qur’an  Believed to be the very words of God  Muhammed did not write them, but followers memorized them  Caliph Uthman ordered their assembly – 114 suras (chapters) a little more than the New Testament  Some memorized the entire book
  • Qur’an  Used in Arabic in the services  Private believers may have bilingual editions  Some read the entire Qur’an during Ramadan  It reads as poetry in Arabic
  • The spread of Islam  Abu Bakr consolidated the Arabian tribes and won a number of victories  There was rapid spread over 100 years – taking over the Persian empire, much of the Byzantine, north Africa, Spain, and were finally stopped at Tours in France by Charles Martel – 732  90% became Muslim. Countries slowly lost their advanced civilization
  • Spread of Islam to 750 AD
  • Spread of Islam
  • Initially Islam brought advances  Golden era – great advances in medicine, science & art  1300-1600 Ottoman empire expanded, as did the Moghul empire in India with expansion to East Indies and Philippines
  • Mosque in Cordoba, Spain
  • Taj Mahal - India
  • Mosque – Istanbul, Turkey
  • The mosque of the Prophet – second most holy place
  • 20-21st century advances  Initially the Arabian slave traders were hated. However, colonialism stopped the slave trade, and colonialism replaced the hatred for the slavers  Much expansion in Africa, and also in Europe and to a lesser degree in America
  • Muslim sects
  • Ahamdiyya movement  Very anti-Christian, using anti-Christian western critics to argue their point  Black Muslims initially were political, but later more orthodox Muslims
  • Sunni & Shi’a groups  Shi’a say that Muhammed’s son-in-law, Ali was supposed to be his follower, but Uthman suppressed 3 sections of the Qur’an which showed that Uthman was not legitimate.  Ali was assassinated, and there was a struggle between two successors leading to the split
  • Shi’as have Imam  Imam is a successor to Muhammed and an infallible guide – at least 12 so far. The last, the Madhi, disappeared in 878, but they believe that he is still alive, will return at the end of the age, and convert the world to Islam  Sunnis have a caliph  90% are Sunni; 10% Shi’a
  • Sufi’s  Muslim mystics  Sought actual contact with God through emotional experience
  • Sufis seeking ecstacy
  • The Hadith  These traditions of what Muhammed said were brought together and cover virtually every action of life, including the most intimate  To the Shi’a, the authorized interpreters of the law are called Mudtahids
  • Qur’an and the Bible  Muslims accept 4 books as inspired: Taurat (Law) given to Moses  Zabur (Psalms) given to David  Injil (Gospel) given to Jesus  Qur’an given to Muhammed
  • Qur’an and the Bible  In Surah 5:44 it implies that the Jewish scriptures are still valid and unaltered  [5.44] because they were required to guard (part) of the Book of Allah, and they were witnesses thereof; therefore fear not the people and fear Me, and do not take a small price for My communications; and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the unbelievers.
  • Qur’an and the Bible  Surah 5:68 – Christians must obey the book: [5.68] Say: O followers of the Book! you follow no good till you keep up the Taurat and the Injeel and that which is revealed to you from your Lord; and surely that which has been revealed to you from your Lord shall make many of them increase in inordinacy and unbelief; grieve not therefore for the unbelieving people.
  • Qur’an and the Bible  The Qur’an is sent to guard the scriptures  [5.48] And We have revealed to you the Book with the truth, verifying what is before it of the Book and a guardian over it, therefore judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their low desires (to turn away) from the truth that has come to you; you differed;
  • Qur’an and the Bible  [5.48] for every one of you did We appoint a law and a way, and if Allah had pleased He would have made you (all) a single people, but that He might try you in what He gave you, therefore strive with one another to hasten to virtuous deeds; to Allah is your return, of all (of you), so He will let you know that in which you differed;
  • Qur’an and the Bible  On the other hand:….  Surah [5.51] O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.
  • Qur’an and the Bible  Surah 3:78 the Muslim must believe the scriptures  [3.78] Most surely there is a party amongst those who distort the Book with their tongue that you may consider it to be (a part) of the Book, and they say, It is from Allah, while it is not from Allah, and they tell a lie against Allah whilst they know.
  • Qur’an conflicts with the Bible  Jesus spoke to men from his cradle (Surah [19.23] And the throes (of childbirth) compelled her to betake herself to the trunk of a palm tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died before this, and had been a thing quite forgotten![19.24] Then (the child) called out to her from beneath her: Grieve not, surely your Lord has made a stream to flow beneath you;
  • Qur’an and the Bible  Jesus was not crucified, but one who resembled him: Surah 4:157. But Jesus himself predicted his death, all the disciples saw it; he had marks on his hands and feet, Jesus prayed for his persecutors, and this was the purpose of his coming and his death
  • Qur’an and the Bible  [4.157] And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the apostle of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure.
  • Jesus did not die according to the Qur’an  [4.158] Nay! Allah took him up to Himself; and Allah is Mighty, Wise.
  • Qur’an conflicts with the Bible  Qur’an states one of Noah’s sons drowned (Surah [11.42] And it moved on with them amid waves like mountains; and Nuh called out to his son, and he was aloof: O my son! embark with us and be not with the unbelievers.[11.43] He said: I will betake myself for refuge to a mountain that shall protect me from the water. Nuh said: There is no protector today from Allah's punishment but He Who has mercy; and a wave intervened between them, so he was of the drowned.
  • Qur’an conflicts with the Bible  Because they called Isaac his only son, the Arabs believe that it was Ishmael who was offered but God sent a substitute, although the Qur’an mentions Isaac a few verses later, and does not say which son. (when discussing, focus on the main point, a substitute)
  • Conflict with supposed Christian teaching  Christ is the son of God – they think that Christians believe that God had intercourse with Mary:  The trinity – that Christians believe in three Gods, one of which is Mary: Surah 5:116, 79  Answer with Jesus words in Mark 12:29: Here, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord
  • Qur’an suggests Christians believe in three gods  [5.116] And when Allah will say: O Isa son of Marium! did you say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah he will say: Glory be to Thee, it did not befit me that I should say what I had no right to (say); if I had said it, Thou wouldst indeed have known it; Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I do not know what is in Thy mind, surely Thou art the great Knower of the unseen things.
  • Assertion that the Bible predicts Muhammed  Surah 61.6] And when Isa son of Marium said: O children of Israel! surely I am the apostle of Allah to you, verifying that which is before me of the Taurat and giving the good news of an Apostle who will come after me, his name being Ahmad, but when he came to them with clear arguments they said: This is clear magic.
  • Assertion that the Bible predicts Muhammed  They claim this for John 14-16 concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit (name resembles a name given to Muhammed), as well as Deut. 18:15-18
  • They believe that the Bible has been corrupted  In fact, the Qur’an does not state that the scriptures were corrupted, but that some Jews and Christians denied and perverted that truth, and that the Jews had changed some scriptures. Surah [2.75] Do you then hope that they would believe in you, and a party from among them indeed used to hear the Word of Allah, then altered it after they had understood it, and they know (this).
  • They believe that the Bible has been corrupted  They believe that the 4 gospels were not from the mouth of Jesus directly as speech from God like the Qur’an
  • The Jews alter the Bible according to the Qur’an  [4.46] We have heard and we obey, and hearken, and unzurna it would have been better for them and more upright; but Allah has cursed them on account of their unbelief, so they do not believe but a little.
  • The Jews alter the Bible according to the Qur’an  [4.46] Of those who are Jews (there are those who) alter words from their places and say: We have heard and we disobey and: Hear, may you not be made to hear! and: Raina, distorting (the word) with their tongues and taunting about religion; and if they had said (instead): a little.
  • Answers to Muslims re Bible  No true believer would dare tamper with the Bible. Gal. 1: [8] But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.[9] As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
  • Revelation 22:18-19 Don’t tamper with the Bible  [18] For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:[19] And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
  • Answers to Muslims re Bible  The Bible had spread to many different lands in different translations long before Muhammed was born and these are the same as the texts we have now
  • Answers to Bible tampering charge by Muslims  There are many manuscripts before the birth of Muhammed today, and they are essentially the same as ones after his birth  Translations are not different Bibles  The Qur’an basically believes in the truth of the scriptures
  • The truth of scriptures  Its own testimony that it is God’s word  The wonder of its unity in diversity  The power to reveal God and change the lives of the readers  Its scientific and literary accuracy
  • Muslim concept of God  All powerful and the only truly active force in the universe. However, the God of the Bible  Cannot do anything to violate His own nature = He cannot lie  Has given us free will, but acts upon our will to accomplish His own purposes
  • Muslim concept of God  Omnipresent – same as Christianity, but not the concept that God can live in a person. He is more distant  Omniscient – God knows everything. However the God of the Bible knows our inner thoughts, and He promises to forget the sins of those He forgives
  • God is Holy  Quite a difference – for the Muslim, holy is used only once, and means really wholeness, completeness  No concept of moral righteousness and purity. He is said to create from Adam one group for heaven, and one for hell
  • God’s Justice  Christian – we face a righteous God who will be faithful to His own Word  Muslim – no such thing as an absolute principle to which God must adhere. Right or wrong is what Allah commands at a particular time, and it can change.  There are 225 commands in the Qur’an which have been cancelled. They feel that binding God to any principle makes Him less than God
  • God Forgives Sins  But God of the Bible forgives sins and gives the GIFT of salvation – not earned  Forgiveness extends to changing the heart of the believer and restoring a proper relationship with God  Only an outside power can save us from the power of sin
  • The love of God  Muslim concept – God is too far away to have a feeling for man. They feel that love comes from a sense of need – and God needs nothing  Also – the existence of pain and suffering  Also – man is insignificant in the vast universe  Christian – God loves because it is His nature to love, and His love extends to sinners
  • Muslim belief of sin  Adam & Eve forgot God’s command. It was satan’s fault  Their sin did nothing to others, and they can reform as Adam did  The muslim looks at man as good but imperfect. The prophets are to remind us not to sin, and man can avoid sin. Muslims do not see sin as a major problem… know what to do, and do it…
  • Muslim concept of Jesus  The Qur’an accepts the virgin birth & sinlessness – a direct creation of God like Adam.  He is given special titles showing his unique relationship to Allah  He is considered a man, a prophet and an intercessor.  Allah gave him a book as a boy
  • Muslim concept of Jesus  His teaching confirmed previous revelation  He told of an apostle who comes after him  His ministry was to the people of Israel  His message was a word of truth  He healed and raised the dead
  • Muslim teaching re Muhammed  Nothing about a miraculous birth  Although they believe he did miracles, this is denied in the Qur’an  Muhammed’s teachings came from visions – later compiled in the Qur’an and also the Hadith – traditions  Muhammed’s ministry was enforced by the sword – Jihad
  • Their deaths  Muslims believe that God changed Jesus and they only thought they killed him, but God raised him to heaven, where he lives today.  The Qur’an talks about Jesus’ death, but they say this is in the future. He will return 40 years on the earth, marry and have children, die, and be raised in the general resurrection
  • The death of Muhammed  Muhammed was sick several days, and then died. He left no instructions for a replacement. Abu Bakr took over the prayers, and was chosen as the first khalifah
  • The prophets and sinlessness  The Qur’an agrees that prophets sinned.  The Qur’an also supports that Jesus was sinless.
  • Conversion  Muslim – simply a heart-felt repetition of the creed is enough  Christian – you must receive Christ in you as your new life – later shown by baptism
  • The value of the individual  Jesus is unique – He placed the highest value on all mankind  The value of something is what you are willing to pay for it. Jesus paid for our salvation with His own life.  Muslims & children  Don’t kill children  Care for orphans (Muhammed was one)  Jesus placed great value on children
  • Woman and the Qur’an  Men are superior to women. You can beat them, but rod no thicker than your thumb  Legalized polygamy – but you must treat your women the same – in material things  Some places are opposing polygamy now  They allow ―temporary wives‖ also  Wives veiled – sometimes a burka  Only men could divorce – after saying it three times…
  • Women and the Qur’an  Women get ½ inheritance of men  Woman’s testimony = ½ a man  Majority of women were illiterate  Jesus made basically no difference in treating men and women
  • Qur’an and brotherhood  Brotherhood of all believers – but don’t make friends of Jews or Christians  Still many consider non-Muslims unclean  Jesus standard was higher than that of the Pharisees – love even your enemies
  • Jesus & Qur’an & apostates  Surah 4:89 – kill apostates [4.89] They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah's way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.
  • Jesus & Qur’an & apostates  Jesus prayed for Peter knowing he would deny him. He showed love even to Judas, who betrayed Him.  God loves all; Jesus died for all; each individual is priceless
  • Jesus death  Surah 4:157 states that the Jews did not kill Jesus, but God protected him. However, it says ―we have slain the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the apostle of God‖  Problems – They claim Jesus did not claim to be God. Then why would the Jews kill him? Further, if they called him the messiah, they would have followed him, not killed him. So the teaching is inconsistent…
  • Jesus atonement  Denied by Islam – first, he didn’t die, and second, no need for atonement  God has decreed the fate of all men from the beginning, and they cannot change it.  God does not truly love man.  However, each man’s deeds are weighed in the balance…
  • Christian predictions about Muhammed  Surah 61:6 says that Jesus predicted Muhammed. ―Ahmed‖  Deut. 18:15-19, which refer to Jesus  Jn. 14-16, where they believe that parakletos (the comforter) was originally periklutos – which means praise, as does Ahmed  Hundreds of copies written long before Muhammed all had parakletos (comforter)
  • Answers  Muslims claim brothers = Muslims  But brother is used in Deut. 17 referring to kings, who were Jews, and Samuel anointed Saul, a Jew  Peter in Acts 3:22-23 shows that the reference is to Christ
  • Answers  The comforter was to comfort the disciples on Jesus’ death. How would someone born 500+years later comfort them?  Jesus called the comforter a ―spirit whom the world shall not see.‖  The spirit was to be in the disciples  The spirit would come ―not many days hence‖
  • The gospel of Barnabas  Two are there – one rejected in 496 of which no copies have been found  One written in Italian found in 1709  Many faults  Calls Barnabas one of the disciples  Accuses Paul of being deceived & refuted him  Quotes Jesus as saying he is not worthy to untie the sandals of the messiah – instead of John the Baptist
  • Gospel of Barnabas  Historical & geographic blunders  Year of Jubilee every 100 years  Wine stored in barrels, which had not yet been invented  Wearing stockings – done by Italians, never by Jews in Palestine  Had Jesus arrive in Nazareth by sea  Pilatus governor at Jesus birth rather than at his death…
  • Epistle of Barnabas  The Muslims were interested because it claims that Jesus did not die, and that he predicted Muhammed  But it is clearly a fraud and not related to the earlier book
  • Jesus predictions vs. Qur’an  Many of Jesus predictions have already been fulfilled  Jesus predicted many times that He would return personally on earth in glory  Muslims claim he will return to live as a man 40 years, become a muslim, make children, and die to arise on the judgment day to be judged as all men
  • Jesus and Qur’an – the future  Both predict a judgment time unknown, with good in heaven and evil in hell  Qur’an looks at paradise strictly in materialistic terms – food, drink, sex
  • Folk religion dominates also in Islam  What magic must he use  What demons must he placate?  What fetishes must he use  We have seen obvious demonic involvement  His world is dominated by the evil eye, sorcery & curses, sickness and death
  • Jihad  Used to talk about physical war against apostates  Used to talk about control of desires  The most severe persecutions against Christians now occur in communist and Muslim lands
  • Roman Catholicism  About 620,000,000 people worldwide; 50,000,000 in the USA  Dominant figure in the middle ages in politics, art, literature, education  Many of the central beliefs of the faith – virgin birth, trinity, sinlessness of Christ, atonement, deity of Christ
  • Problem is what is added  Church built on Peter, who was the first pope  Purgatory after death to clean from sin  Prayer to Mary and dead saints  Images to kneel to  Confession to a priest, who absolves  Mass as a saving sacrament
  • Added…  Veneration of Mary  Holy Water  Canonization of dead saints  Rosary  Celibacy in the priesthood  Tradition of the church = the Bible
  • The Pope  Based on Mt. 16:18 [18] And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  The wrong Rock – not Peter but Christ  We are commissioned to preach the gospel – those who receive it are forgiven of their sins
  • The Catholic pope
  • Traditions of Mary  Mother of God & Queen of heaven  Immaculate conception – born without sin – contradicted in Luke 1: 46] And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, [47] And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.  Assumption (raised directly to heaven)
  • The virgin Mary
  • Traditions of Mary  Perpetual virginity – no: Mt. 1:19-20, 24- 25; [24] Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:[25] And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
  • Traditions of Mary  Perpetual virginity – Mt. 13:[55] Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?[56] And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?
  • Mary going to heaven
  • Traditions of Mary  Co-redeemer & co-mediator with Christ –  I Tim. 2:5 [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;  Jn. 14:6 [6] Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
  • Doctrine of Purgatory  Sale of indulgences to shorten the time in Purgatory  Saying masses & prayers for the dead  Further the Catholic church believes that you must be subject to the Pope and come through the church for salvation.
  • False ―Christian‖ and Non- Christian cults  Christian cults:  Jehovah’s Witnesses – Jesus is Michael, the archangel  Mormons – Jesus is the son of Elohim, a man who had sex with Mary, and the brother of Lucifer  Christian science – Jesus is a divine idea  Etc…
  • Oriental Cults  Some type of Hinduism or Buddhism  Hare Krisna  Divine Light  Transcendental meditation  Hindu pantheism, we are part of an impersonal universe, the world is an illusion, we must get rid of the illusion and be part of the impersonal universe
  • New Age combines  Western secular Humanism  No personal God or creator  Evolution  Man is supreme  Man is basically good  Humans have potential to become god
  • New Age…  Eastern Hindu Mysticism  Pantheism  We are one with nature  We are part of the impersonal cosmos  Yoga, TM  Reincarnation
  • New Age…  Occult  Spiritism  Channeling  Spirit guides  Astrology  Crystals  Tapping into cosmic forces
  • Spiritist cults  Astrology  Tarot cards  Palmistry  Numerology  Witchcraft  Satanism  Seances
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses  Largest publisher in the free world –  44 million books & 550 million magazines in a single year!  Plan to have every home visited 1-2 times per year in the USA  Started by Charles Taze Russell, taken over in 1917 by Joseph Rutherford
  • Watchtower – 1907 – publication over 100 years
  • Public and study editions
  • Watchtower is available in  407 different languages!  PDF and audio files  ACC files – more up to date than mp3
  • Watchtower Internet Ad
  • Charles Taze Russell – founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • Judge Rutherford – second man for Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses  God’s theocratic government – all other governments are satanic  No Christmas because they deny the incarnation, and no Easter because they deny the bodily resurrection  Under Knorr, they developed a strong missionary outreach  They continue to grow under Franz & Henschel
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses  The organization is the prophet of God  The organization is God’s sole channel of the truth  To reject the organization is to reject God  Only the organization can properly interpret the Bible  The Watchtower has God’s truth directed through the organization
  • Kingdom Hall – worship center
  • Kingdom Halls are overall in the world
  • Worship in Spanish
  • Jehovah’s Witness teaching denies:  The trinity  The bodily resurrection of Christ  The deity of Christ  The visible return of Christ  The person of God the Holy Spirit  The promise of heaven to all believers  The necessity of the new birth for all believers
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses deny:  The Lord’s supper for all believers (not 144,000)  Eternal security of believers  Eternal conscious punishment of the lost
  • False teachings of the JW  Jesus is a created being, actually Michael the Archangel  Jesus is just a spirit being  Jesus was not resurrected bodily, but as a spirit being  Jesus returned invisibly in 1914  Jesus was only a man on earth
  • False teachings of JW  Hell is simply the grave  The Holy Spirit is simply an active force  Heaven is only for 144,000  The majority of JW’s will remain on earth  Salvation is found only through the organization  Salvation is maintained through working hard for the organization  Satan is the author of the trinity  Do not worship Jesus, just honor him
  • Ways to witness to Jehovah’s Witnesses  One method is to attack the power of the Watchtower by demonstrating that it is a false prophet. There are some books which duplicate the prophecies of the witnesses, which are patently false
  • Ways to Witness  Another method is to ask if Jesus is really an angel  The 5 references in the Bible do NOT show that Jesus is Michael the arkangel  Then go to Hebrews 1, which contrasts the Son with angels in a very clear way.  Then – who is Jesus? Is the Watchtower truly God’s organization?
  • Witness to Jehovah’s Witness  Couple the various verses concerning Jesus and Jehovah  Isaiah 44:6 [6] Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
  • Witness to Jehovah’s Witness  Revelation 2:8 [8] And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
  • Witness to Jehovah’s Witness  Revelation Revelation 1:[17] And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:[18] I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
  • Mormonism
  • Mormon church  One of the wealthiest churches around – profits $3,000,000 per day! Value is in the billions  They claim to be the fastest growing church, although not true in the USA – most growth is overseas
  • Mormon temple Salt Lake City
  • Mormonism  The law of eternal progression:  ―As man is, God once was; and as God is, man may become‖  They believe that there are a vast number of planets scattered through the universe ruled by men-gods who were once like us. And so we work to become a god and have our own planet
  • Mormon teaching…  One god & goddess made a spirit child called Elohim, who was later born to human parents and given a human body. In obedience to Mormon teaching, he proved himself worthy and was elevated to godhead like his father. He lived with his wives on a planet near the star Kolob, making billions of spirit children.
  • Then  The head of the mormon Gods decided to build planet earth where the spirit children would be sent to take mortal bodies and learn good and evil. Lucifer, one of Elohim’s sons, wanted to be the savior of the new world, but planned to force everyone to become gods. The Mormon Jesus wanted to give man the choice like on other planets. They voted and chose Jesus. However, Lucifer rebelled with 1/3 of the spirit children, who became demons, and were denied the possibility of having bodies of flesh & bone.
  • Then –  Those neutral in this battle were cursed with black skin. The light skinned were blessed, who battled with Lucifer.  Then Elohim and a wife came as Adam and Eve to start the human race. A few thousand years later Elohim returned to have relations with Mary to make Jesus have a physical body. Jesus himself took three wives, Mary, Mary & Martha. Joseph Smith is one of his descendants.
  • Then…  After his resurrection, Jesus came to preach to the Indians in America, who were really Israeliets. Later the dark- skinned ones, the Lamanites, destroyed all the light skinned Nephites in battle. Moroni, the last living Nephite, buried the records on golden plates on the Hill Cumorah.
  • Then…  1400 years later a treasure seeker, Joseph Smith uncovered the plates. He was told that all Christian doctrines are an abomination, and started the Mormon church.  By rigid financial and moral requirements, by the Mormon church performing secret temple rituals, Mormons will become worthy, as they stand before Joseph Smith, Jesus and Elohim.  Joseph Smith has done more than all other men, including Jesus, when he died as a martyr for them!
  • The Mormon Jesus  He was god in the Old Testament, but when he became man, he had to earn his salvation just like us. When he died, he opened the door for salvation to those holding the doctrine and works of the LDS church.
  • The Mormon God  God the Father has a body of flesh and bone like ours  God evolved from mortal man, and is now an exalted man over this planet  They believe in millions of gods  Every male mormon strives to become a god himself
  • How did this all begin?  Joseph Smith was involved in the occult, using ―seer stones‖ to find treasure and was arrested for the same  He was overwhelmed by darkness, called to God, and two angels visited him and told him that all churches were an abomination 1820  He apparently made 65-70 prophecies, of which only 5-6 came to pass – thus he is a false prophet  Mormon missionaries now cannot produce a list of his prophecies
  • Joseph Smith’s home
  • Joseph Smith
  • Mormon depiction of Moroni and Joseph Smith
  • Hill Cumorah, Palmyra, N.Y. Presumed site of golden plates
  • Nauvoo temple – where Joseph Smith died in riot
  • The book of Mormon  Supposedly seen only by a few witnesses, written in ―Reformed Egyptian‖. The three witnesses nameed were later excommunicated from the church  There are 25,000 words taken verbatim from the KJV Bible.  Where there are inconsistencies (and there are many), they claim that the Bible is at fault  The books of the Mormon church have undergone many changes and corrections
  • Joseph Smith  Clearly shown to be incapable of translating Egyptian in a court of law  He claims to have translated the Book of Abraham, but the Egyptian writings spoke of burial of the dead, not Abraham  No archeological evidence is found corroborating the Book of Mormon, and animal references are incorrect – listing animals that came imported far after the dates listed.
  • Mormon salvation  1. Spiritual life before birth  2. Born on earth to receive a human body and prove ourselves  3. At death we go to spirit paradise, or we go to spirit hell, with a second chance to receive the gospel and go to paradise  4. Judgment into kingdom of 3 levels
  • Top level – celestial  Three levels there  Lowest – faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Spirit (or under 8 years)  Middle – all above plus  Initiatory – washings and anointing  Endowments – special blessings, instruction and a holy garment – can be done for the dead  Exaltation and eternal life – making spirit children – married in Mormon church, obedience, good works, righteousness, devotion, faithfulness till end
  • Terrestial glory  Unmarried and without exaltation eternally  Upright and honorable life, but  Die without the law and don’t accept the gospel  Reject the gospel in this world, but accept it in the spirit world  They were blinded by the craftiness of men  Mormons not valiant and faithful
  • Telestial glory  Most persons who have not lived well  They pass there after suffering in hell  Jesus gives salvation only from physical death
  • Mormon hell  All that do wickedly, do not repent, believers in the modern doctrine of Christianity  Only Joseph Smith provides salvation  After the resurrection, the majority will move to the telestial, the rest will burn forever with satan and his demons
  • Temple marriages  Important for ―complete salvation‖  There are contradictions in the books of Mormon on this issue, and in the life of Joseph Smith, who may have had 50 wives  Of course, the Bible states clearly that we are not given in marriage in heaven
  • Mormon temples
  • Celestial room in temple
  • Another celesitial room
  • Elaborate rooms in the temple
  • Baptism is important to Mormons  They actually believe that you can have proxy baptisms for your deceased relatives based on I Cor. 15:29
  • Baptism – for the dead
  • Baptistry
  • Mormon doctrine  There are three gods, not the trinity  There is a mother god  They baptize for the dead to help them, although this practice is of no value according to their own book of Mormon  Actually many of the things Mormons do contradict their own book of Mormon
  • Witnessing to Mormons  A great challenge  Know as much as you can about what their beliefs are  Do not expect the Mormon to know all his own doctrine  They work on feelings – the truth of the Book of Mormon is a warm burning feeling in yourself
  • Witnessing to Mormons  Like other cults, they often use Christian terms but with different meanings, so that they sound Christian. Define what they mean  Keep the conversation on track – and do not them jump around, or they will  Prayer, persistence, patience, love
  • Mormon missionaries are lost without Christ!
  • Humanism  Atheism – actual belief that no god exists  Deism – he is there but distant and irrelevant  Humanism – man is god  Evolution  Communism  Some religions claim to be humanistic
  • Atheism  In fact, it is impossible philosophically, because you would need all knowledge to be sure that God was nowhere to be found  The Bible says that the fool says – No God… Psalm 14:1. And Romans 1:25 ff speaks further
  • The Bible and Atheism  Ps. 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.  Ps. 53:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity; there is none that doeth good.
  • The Bible and Atheism  Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. 26. For this cause, God gave them up unto vile affections; for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature…
  • The Bible vs. Atheism  God is revealed through creation  Evolution is a religion attempting to explain not only creation, but also the development of religion, etc.  It is a world view – which is why when questioned, the scientist reacts not with facts, but with ridicule
  • Atheism  All people worship something  Some worship the God who created the universe  Some worship all sorts of gods of their own minds  Some worship the creation instead of the creator
  • Evolution  Is not scientific – because it attempts to explain origins, which are not approachable by scientific methods, which require both observation and controlled repeatable experimentation  It is totally against all the laws of probability
  • The laws of probability  This is the premise of ―intelligent design‖ – which is not really a religion, and some who believe in it are not necessarily Christian, but it is scientific  The chance of life arising spontaneously is like throwing a six on dice 5 million times in a row, or like a wind going through a junkyard and a 747 coming together on the other side
  • More science shows us more complexity  The single cell is incredibly complex  Without a metabolic motor, it cannot work, but how does it develop the metabolic motor in the first place?  DNA is necessary for life, but comes only from life  Pasteur – only life begets life…
  • What about the bones?  The so-called evolutionary groups such as horses do not exist in real life  The evidence of prehistoric man in evolution is not proven – either false or imagined.  Where are all the missing links? None found like they should be….
  • How old are the bones  The bones are old because of the rocks which they are found in…  The rocks are old because of the bones found in them  This is classic circular reasoning…
  • What about the age of the earth?  Evolution now postulates 5,000,000,000 years  There is a great deal of scientific evidence that the earth is no more than 10,000 or so years old!  Cosmic dust  Magnetic field  Composition of the seas, etc
  • What about the flood  The flood can explain a great many details of the earth  The size of river beds  Fossils – special requirements  Oil deposits  Coal deposits  The canopy theory can explain long life, change in climate, etc
  • Evolution is not ―just science‖ or truly scientific  It was used as an excuse for the abuses of Nazi ―superman‖ complex of Germany  It was used to claim that man is getting better and better – philosophical basis for post-millenialism  It underlies communism
  • No true value to ―human animals‖  Some go back to pagan nature worship – hug that tree and love the whales…  Underlies the sense of worthlessness of many youth – we are simply a chance assembly of molecules and another animal… we have no eternal worth or eternal destiny – just to dissemble and go back to the earth
  • Christian basis of self-esteem  God has created you in His own image  He desires you to live with Him for eternity  Although you have rebelled, He loved you enough that Christ died for you  You have been created unique and specially by Your creator
  • Christian values of the individual  You are adopted into God’s family  You have Christ’s righteousness  Your Father has all power and will guide you to fulfillment and eternal life with Him through Christ  You have His word and His Spirit to guide and empower you
  • What about theistic evolution?  Why do it?  Try to compromise evolution and theology, usually to maintain academic acceptability  First, there is no evolution  Second, a perfect God would make an imperfect world – a direct contradiction of the end of Genesis 1
  • Theistic evolution  Evolution requires  Total chance  Massive death and destruction – also note that this contraindicates the wages of sin is death  Theistic evolution rejects the flood, and accepts geologic uniformitarianism, as well as the ―geological column‖
  • Humanism  Most humanists are secular, but some are also religious  Christian  Buddhist  Judaism  Marxist  Others….
  • Humanism  Manifesto I (1933) spoke of a new religion to transcend and replace previous religions based on allegations of supernatural revelation  Had a secular outlook  Opposed acquisitive and profit- motivated society
  • Humanistic Manifesto I  Outlines a worldwide egalitarian society based on voluntary mutual cooperation  The creed was felt to be ongoing…
  • Humanist Manifesto II  Written in 1973 – Paul Kurtz & Edwin Wilson  Nazism made them less optimistic, but still quite optimistic  Hoped to see war eliminated as well as poverty
  • Humanist Manifesto II  Opposed racism  Opposed weapons of mass destruction  Strong human rights  Legal divorce and abortion  ―No deity will save us; we must save ourselves‖  ―We are responsible for what we are and what we will be‖
  • Humanist Manifesto III – 2003  Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis (empiricism)  Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change  Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience
  • Humanist Manifesto III – 2003  Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals  Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships  Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness
  • A secular humanist declaration  Free inquiry  Separation of church and state  Ethics based on critical intelligence  The ideal of freedom  Moral education
  • A secular humanist declaration  Religious skepticism  Reason  Science and technology  Evolution  Education
  • What about the USA?  We see that this is the dominant philosophy in the educational system of the USA  However, there is a great deal of intolerance to religious belief despite protest of ―free inquiry‖ – see religious skepticism
  • This is complicated by post- modernism  Modernism = truth is found in science and rational thought rather than in supernatural revelation – leads to humanistic philosophy  Post-modernism – there is no objective reality – only subjective – what you make true to you is true to you, but not necessarily to me – Irrational
  • Post-modernism  Following disillusion with modernism, there developed existentialism, which is essentially post-modern thinking  Logic is basically thrown out the window
  • Results of humanism  Abortion on demand  Easy sex with no commitment  Homosexuality & lesbianism recognized as ―marriage‖  Concern for all life – ―greenpeace‖, save the whales, etc.
  • Because humans lack worth…  Suicides are frequent  Murders, mass shootings, etc.  Experiments on embryos, even when technically there is no good reason  It is possible to get stem cells from skin  More mature cells have fewer complications and more success
  • Communism
  • Marx & Engel  1848 – A communist manifesto written  Looked at original man as ideal and living in a communal environment  Private property led to the rise of capitalism and exploitation of the masses of workers  Need a revolution to go back to common ownership
  • Lenin – Communist party 1917  The communist party seized power in Russia and established a one party rule.  There was no real capitalism before the communist take-over  There was some democracy at first, but stopped completely under Stalin
  • After World War II  Soviet Union was victorious, and set up armies in Eastern Europe and Asia  Communism spread to nearly 1/3 of the entire world  Communists have dropped somewhat  Collapse of Soviet Union  More liberal marketing in China  Still some places as well in India, Vietnam, Laos,
  • Communists have 3 Indian states – tableau worker/farmer
  • Communism – split between Russia and China 1980
  • Communism  The basis thrust of Marx and Engel was an attempt to correct what they saw as great economic inequities and oppression of the working class by the ―bosses‖  Their basic philosophy was to change economics, and then eventually a ―classless‖ society would emerge
  • Communism – 10 planks  Abolition of Private Property  Heavy Progressive Income Tax  Abolition of rights of Inheritance  Confiscation of Property Rights  Central Bank  Government ownership of communication and transportation
  • Communism – 10 planks  Government Ownership of Factories and agriculture  Government control of Labor  Corporate Farms and Regional Planning  Government Control of Education
  • Communism  One of the basic problems I see is that they look at humans as basically good. When production is up, they think that all persons will happily work hard for the good of all.  They deny the sin-nature of man, as well as the need of a savior
  • Communism  Marx had a background of Judaism which then went to a nominal Lutheranism when his parents joined the Lutheran church for expediency  He believed that religion was the ―opium of the people‖ – making them accept the pain of their economic oppression
  • Communism  In reality, communism became basically atheistic, and especially anti-Christian  Persecution is the norm in Communist lands  At one point, 1/3 of the world population was communist.  Now most of eastern Europe is no longer communist, as well as some countries in Africa
  • Communism  Basically it is man saving himself  The state becomes all powerful  In reality, the state officials have replaced the ―wealthy class‖ and also abuse their positions (because they have a sin nature like all of us)
  • Communism  Great persecution of Christians exists in  China  Laos  Vietnam  Cuba  However, in many of these areas, the church is rapidly growing
  • Animism – Indian shaman
  • Animism – the prevailing worldview of folk religion  God is creator, but far away and usually not helpful  Spirits have control of virtually everything  There is mana - undifferentiated spiritual power in things.  It can be ―god‖ or impersonal power, like electricity  it can be controlled  the shaman, witchdoctor, can control this power  Spirits themselves  they also can be good or evil  They can be controlled - but only partially
  • Magic  Basically amoral, belief that certain rituals, etc result in what you want  it is not supplicating a being  Often homeopathy - like begets like  .Often contiguity - using someone’s hair, etc.  .Evil eye - a look may cause damage - thought out of envy  .Astrology - sun, moon & stars radiate force that has influence here  Medicines - usually no distinction between physical and spiritual effects
  • Voodoo practice
  • Ceremonial dance
  • Folk vs. Formal Religion  Formal religion:  There is usually a group of highly trained specialists in ―universal religion‖ and the sacred books at the centers of teaching.  .Formal religion - ultimate truth, ultimate reality & logical questions at the top level cosmic reality, destiny of persons, etc  .This also has to do with groups of people and with the individual
  • Folk vs. Formal Religion  Folk religion - a group of persons who have more direct contact with the local people, who may not have such a clear understanding of the theories involved...
  • Folk religion - small kin-based  Egalitarianism and holism  The leader works like everyone else  The main questions are practical and local in nature, and focus on the middle level  In more complex societies, there is often a mixture of things - formal and folk religion with a lot of animism.  The vast majority of people believe in folk religion  The issues are power and success
  • Four main issues of folk religion  Death  Why and why now?  How will this affect my family?  The good life  .The west will call things an accident, or bad luck - but most folk want more definitive answers  Guidance in the unknown  The presence of evil
  • Characteristics of Folk Religion  Humans are seen as the center of existence - and often only that clan is truly human.  You can abuse others outside the group, because they are ―sub-human‖  All things and activities are interconnected  No sharp boundaries between the mental and physical world  Mind can influence impersonal objects or power
  • Characteristics of Folk Religion  People deal with what they can control with science, and what they cannot with folk religion  Big offerings for big deities who may require blood sacrifices.  The group works often as a unit  Holistic view of life
  • Characteristics of Folk Religion  Time is different for different things - planting, mythical, historical, ritual, etc.  Land and space are local too  Conversion is not attempted - can’t change blood lines and locations  They are pragmatic - cover the bases, hoping one will work  They are not worried about ultimate truth  You can have conflicting beliefs together
  • Characteristics of Folk Religion  They are focused on power  They are oral - relational, personal, immediate.  Sounds are often important to make things happen  No absolute distinction between human and animal; animate and inanimate.
  • Tribal shaman in Russia 1908
  • Characteristics of Folk Religion  Evil spirits can transform into animals or humans. Mana is transferred to those who eat him. This may be well part of cannibalism  Spirits may be transported great distances  Constant fear and need for security
  • South American shaman
  • Folk Religion vs. Christianity  Catholic - mostly split level,  Catholicism for church and life rites  Folk religion for everyday life
  • Folk Religion vs. Christianity  Protestant - there was a shift in belief of angels during the enlightenment so that they were lumped with God in the supernatural and separated from the natural world  There was a secularization of science and mystification of religion  By rejecting the middle, Christianity became a secularizing force
  • Life cycles in folk religion  Life cycles give persons worth as they pass from one stage to another  Birth, initiation, marriage,death  Birth is considered important – the person is given a spirit  One becomes human when given a name  May come from ancestral spirit,  Gift from the spirits, etc.
  • Life cycles…  All have some sort of initiation rites when the person becomes fully a member of the society - often puberty, not always so  Give information to become responsible  Become active members  Change in status may be a change in name  Marriage rites are important - often involving two families  Readjustment of roles  Often involves ancestors
  • Funeral rites  How to respond to the challenge of death  Ritualize the separation of the living from the dead  Realign social order  Assign the departed as ancestors  Some are considered evil spirits which can wreck havoc on the living
  • Meaning in belonging  Most people see themselves as linked in larger kinship groups as their true identity  Life can be seen as a linkage from one generation to another - tie is not only biological but social and spiritual as well.
  • Meaning in belonging  Sins or righteousness of parents can effect the children.  This is the primary link, and family can be called upon at any time to help each other  All aunts and uncles are mothers and fathers; all cousins are brothers and sisters are linked together
  • Further characteristics  Totemism - the family is linked to some animals - or also some plants.  Usually they will not eat the totem but work to see that other families have food  Some land is linked with the gods and sacred places and the cosmos  Individuals in the clan don’t own the land, but have the right to use it
  • Characteristics of Folk Religion  The center of their location is often viewed as the center of the universe  The periphery is also defined and protected against the onslaught of evil men or spirits by various rites  Homes may be important as well and are more than simply places to dwell  People are honored as they contribute to the community by what they do - for example, shaman, doctor, etc.  Often people find meaning also in what they buy
  • Religion gives meaning to death -  Formal religion - where is the person gone  Forgiveness is important  Meaning in life is important  Formal religion - what happens to people after death?  .Folk religion - how can we keep contact with the dead?  Chinese believe that they must continue to provide for dead ancestors, or bad things will happen
  • Religion gives meaning to death -  Folk religion - what impacts the living  Why did this happen? There must be a reason – not just chance  Why did this happen to us?  How can we be protected against these things?
  • Witchdoctors in Africa
  • Shona Africa traditional healer
  • Ancestors in folk religion  Many believe that ancestors are part of the living and have influence depending on whether or not you care for them properly  They founded the family  They live in an area where they can see spirits, witches, etc and help protect the family
  • Ancester Worship Paper to burn with paper money, etc
  • Chinese Folk Religion An animistic type of belief
  • Chinese folk beliefs are added  Chinese religion is often eclectic. The folk religion is often related to Taoism  There are many gods and goddesses which are patron saints for many different groups.  For example:  Guan Yu – patron saint of war, policemen, etc.  Fu Shen – god of happiness  Cai Shen – god of wealth  Shao xing – god of longevity
  • Popular chinese Gods
  • Chinese gods  They may have idols of their gods, or also puppets of them as they walk on parades  They have mios, or temples where they worship and use incense.  Most have nature gods or the type of gods listed above. They are small, colorful, and roofs decorated with dragons & gods  Some are ci = places to worship ancestors
  • Shinto priest & priestess
  • Shinto shrine
  • Mios in Hong Kong
  • Ancestor worship  Veneration of ancestors is the top filial duty to show gratitude to parents and others for giving you life. But it is more than that – they can help and protect you now.  Offerings include ―joss incense‖ instead of prayers as well as food, paper money, and clothing and other offerings  Sometimes there are sumptuous feasts
  • Burniong money for the dead
  • Food for the dead – Hungry Ghost festival
  • Sending off to the dead by burning…
  • Wood carvings of ancestors
  • Ancestor worship  Idol of ancestor
  • Altar with priests
  • The concept of Ch’i  Ch’i is some form of power that flows – apparently rather like mana  This concept has to do with acupuncture, but also with feng shui – the placement of objects or buildings in the right order
  • Hindu folk religion  There are many types of Hindu religion which are primarily dealing with their stories and gods, rather than with true monism
  • Hindu gods to bless stones
  • van Rheenan  People are immensely religious. Some follow orthodox Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Many more mix folk religion with their high religion. Some Christians reverently worship God yet venerate saints and believe that certain relics have the power to heal.
  • van Rheenan  Many Muslims say their confession of faith (the shahadah), "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet," several times daily but use it as a power phrase to counter the forces of the evil eye and to ward off jinn. While a Buddhist believes that human desire must be subdued in order to enter nirvana, he also fears numerous spirits, which he strives to manipulate.
  • van Rheenan  The Hindu accepts the high religious concepts of karma, reincarnation, and samsara yet believes that rakasas (evil spirits) and ancestors imminently affect life and, therefore, must be manipulated and controlled. Traditional Chinese, who view the world as an interplay between yin and yang, also use divination to determine why a family member has become gravely ill.
  • Folk religion  In tribal contexts (where people understand themselves to live in terms of an extended family, a clan, and a tribe having a distinct cultural heritage) folk religion frequently exists outside the fold of a major world religious tradition.
  • Juju - witchdoctor
  • Examples of folk religion in the USA =Linda  Folk religions are thus highly syncretistic. Popular beliefs and practices are intertwined with those of high religion. Linda, a member of the First Christian Church, practices Reiki therapy (the Japanese art of therapeutic touch) in my hometown. I met Linda on the day that she decided to go public concerning her involvement with folk religion.
  • Examples of folk religion in the USA – Linda, continued  Her speech, given at an occult fair, was entitled ―Can you be a Christian and a Psychic? Yes!‖ During her presentation, she led participants through a personality profile to enable them to ascertain whether they had the spiritual propensities to be clairvoyants, clairaudients, intuitives, or prophets.
  • Examples of folk religion in the USA – Linda, continued  She then equated these psychic abilities to the gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12. While believing in God and salvation in Jesus Christ on a cosmic level, Linda uses therapeutic touch and meditation on the everyday level to heal, relax, and rejuvenate both herself and her patients.  This is syncretic religion
  • Syncretic folk religion - Julie  Folk religions may also stand apart from any major religious tradition (like in African Traditional Religions or other traditional tribal perspectives of the divine) but yet incorporate numerous items from many religions. For example, I met Julie recently on an airplane and was intrigued by the books she was reading about power points and flows of energy.
  • Syncretic folk religion - Julie  In our conversation she described the altar in her house. Around the circumference numerous crystals had been placed. Within the circle three pyramids formed a triangle. Statues of Buddha, Krishna, and Jesus, representing Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity, stood between the pyramids. In the background was a large cross.
  • Syncretic folk religion - Julie  A Bible, Koran, and Sutras were all placed among the images. Julie considered that each of these elements radiated life energy which gave her both peace and power. She had devised her own popular religion integrating forms of different world religions and interpreting them as power objects having what she called life energy.
  • Folk Religion and Animism  Folk religions tend to be high animistic. Participants believe that personal spiritual beings and impersonal spiritual forces have power over human affairs. During times of disease, death, and drought, they must use divination to discover what beings and forces are impacting them in order to ward them off or employ their power.
  • Folk religion  Folk religions synthesize popular beliefs and practices, frequently animistic in nature, that are developed within cultures to handle every day problems. In many contexts they co-exist within high religious traditions and sometimes even with secular humanism
  • Demonism and folk religion  In what we have observed in Suriname, it appears that there is a demonic component to all the folk religions there, which include creole syncretic Christianity, folk Islam, folk Hinduism, and animism. (We have no Buddhism per se). The spirits contacted are, in my opinion, demonic in nature.
  • Winti prei Suriname
  • Dance ritual Suriname
  • Fire dance – Suriname
  • Prayer – Winti ritual
  • Winti offerings
  • Christian response  Remember that ALL men are created in the image of God and have great worth  Our common humanity is a link together  Genesis 1:26 And God said: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of he sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping ting that creepeth upon the earth
  • Christian response  Gen. 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created He them. 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
  • Christian response  We are IN CHRIST because of our union with God: I Cor. 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and righteousness.  We are in Him, and He is in us  We are all children of God with all the privileges this entails  We need Christian rites of passage
  • Christian response  Remember that ALL men are created in the image of God and have great worth  Our common humanity is a link together  We are IN CHRIST because of our union with God  We have a part of the divine nature  Christ is more than the great teacher - He is the Lord and Savior IN us as well as with us  We are all children of God with all the privileges this entails  We need Christian rites of passage
  • Christian response  We have a part of the divine nature.  II Peter 1:3 According as his divione power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us to glory and virtue: 4: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
  • The church  We are in koinonia - community of believers = the church  It is not a place of mutual entertainment  It is not a formally organized club with commitments  It is the new life and blood of the believers  It is membership in the Spirit brought about by the New Birth.  We must devote ourselves to each other’s well- being, live in harmony, and sacrifice for the common good
  • The church  New gifting in Christ - each member has gifts to contribute to the church  No people are marginal  We need all to minister to a broken world  Humility in serving each other  We must use all members and not create hierarchies  We must have the joy of sharing our possessions
  • Christian response to death  Meaning in death - transformation from an imperfect world to a perfect one  Funerals are important  .Express pain  .Give closure  God is no stranger to suffering, but has removed the sting from death  These are great opportunities for evangelism
  • Dealing with ancestors - difference between respect (OK) and worship (forbidden)  Christians need to affirm family ties  Children should honor elders and parents  Avoid sacrifices, burning paper money, etc - but flowers, gifts to Christian organization, etc.
  • Dealing with ancestors  Ancestors in Africa are viewed as participating in ceremonies, libations given to them, calling them to come, etc - these are idolatrous.  Christians have the Holy Spirit, and need not consult the dead  .Tell those who ask about dead to commit judgment to God  Spiritual ancestors - the great heroes of the faith that are the cloud of witnesses
  • To ensure good fortune…  Blessings & oaths - usually by an authority - especially by parents and husbands  .Also blessing or curse from a holy man are powerful  .Menstruating woman’s curse is dangerous - stay clear of her  Oaths - generated toward yourself - usually to show innocence. Usually looked at as words which have power themselves  .Oaths in the OT - coming with blessing from God on all things
  • Other things to ensure good fortune….  Magic - spells, amulets, etc to enhance good and ward off evil  Mantras - things said  Yantras - powerful symbols  Other powers - geomancy - feng shui - how structures are built  Luck - often associated with certain objects or rituals
  • Other signs of ―bad luck‖  Unusual births and deaths must be dealt with  Those occurring with hunting, fishing and battles are especially bad  .Special ceremonies for natural disasters, diseases, wars & raids, failures
  • Other signs of ―bad luck‖ .Sins are often seen as against ancestors and spirits  .They must be mollified with gifts & ceremonies  .The persons must resume showing the ancestors or spirits proper respect  .They fear attack of spirits and use amulets and various means of protection  .Usually go to a shaman for cure
  • Witchcraft  Witchcraft & sorcery - usually they do what is against the norm for the society  They have great power - unconscious psychic power  .Some cultures blame everything on witchcraft  .Witchcraft which is satanic is evil  Witchcraft can be used to reinforce cultural standards & group solidarity  However they generate more evil problems than they solve
  • Folk religion and misfortune  There is belief in the evil eye - that can harm from a distance. There is also an evil mouth and touch that require a shaman to cure them  Soul loss - that the soul leaves the body during sleep and may have problems returning  Mental illnesses - manifestations are sometimes culturally defined
  • Bad luck  Fate - unchangeable – esp. Islam  Astrology - position of stars, sun & moon determine  Bad luck  Bad magic - counteracted by magic  Pollution  Violation of taboo -  Object intrusion
  • Christian response to misfortune  God is in control of everything  God’s providence provides for everyone  God answers prayer  He may permit trials to bring others closer to Him  He is the God of suffering and trials too
  • Christian response to suffering  Christ lives in us - saving us from the power of past and present sin  Christ prays for us and strengthens us  .Christians can experience the power of the Holy Spirit in them to salvation and victorious life.  He may show signs to immature Christians, but expects us to depend on His word more as we grow
  • Health - shalom -  Begins when we are reconciled to God and our enemies  Mutual submission and sacrifice in the church  Physical, mental, social and spiritual health  The final release only comes with the new body after death
  • The church in suffering  The church is a healing community  .Share the love of Christ  Share the burdens  .We need healing of relationships in the community
  • The church in suffering  Holistic ministries - distinguish  .Disease - biophysical and psychological  .Illness - social and spiritual dimensions too  Do not subdivide and treat physical and spiritual problems apart  This is a wonderful opportunity to present Christ
  • Healing  Sickness  Ultimately caused by sin  Can be permitted by God for discipline, or to draw people closer to Himself  Sometimes caused by demons  Christ has taken on Himself the sin of all mankind
  • Witchcraft - take it seriously  Show that God is more powerful, and can deliver  Bring those oppressed into the church for support  Speak out about the evil that witchcraft can create  Be prepared to defend those who are falsely accused
  • Witchcraft - take it seriously  .The church must be a body of love and community.  Forgive and reincorporate those who fall  .Correct hatred, jealously, an witchcraft and magic
  • Mechanical methods of obtaining guidance  Divination - using bones, entrails, flight of birds, leaves, etc. etc.  Casting lots in different types  Omens - sometimes taking random texts from the Bible, Qur’an, etc.  Astrology - looking at the cycles of life from position of stars, etc
  • Mechanical methods of obtaining guidance  Ordeals - painful or life-threatening tests used to …  .Determine causes of misfortune, disease, death  .Determine course of action  .Avoid danger
  • Mechanical methods of obtaining guidance  .Determine guilt or innocence  .Select someone for an office  .Find lost persons or objects  .Gain supernatural knowledge
  • Christian finding God’s will  We must model concrete ways for knowing God’s will  God speaks to humans in understandable ways  He may use dreams, miracles, etc if necessary
  • Christian finding God’s will  God leads His people to change as they grow – eventually:  .Scripture  .Prayer  .Counsel with God’s saints
  • Be careful  Have discernment - some things are forbidden - necromancy, astrology, divination, idolatry  Remember that some dreams, etc are not true  Warning against false prophets, diviners and sorcerers
  • Finding God’s will  God wants us to know His will, and is ready to make it known if we are willing to listen and obey  When we place our faith in God, we join His army and give up the right to make decisions on our own.  We must obey orders when given  God’s responsibility then is to reveal His will
  • Finding God’s will  We can be certain that we are living in God’s will now.  We do not have to fear that God had one will and now we must settle for second best.
  • Finding God’s will  Scriptures give broad principles  The church is a group of believers to help  .Special time of prayer
  • Finding God’s will  .Listen to leaders gifted with understanding the time & check with scriptures  .Ask God to close doors not according to his will - trust the Lord to guide
  • Finding God’s will  There is a problem with personal revelation, prophecies, words of knowledge, dreams, visions - because satan can imitate all of these - including healing the sick and raising the dead  What satan does not imitate: worship of God, and righteous living
  • Finding God’s will  Christian faith requires a direct relationship with God  .Also in the west - we need to depend on God more, and less on science, budgets, surveys, etc.
  • Right and Wrong  Relationships are often defined as what is important  What strengthens relationships is good  What weakens relationships is evil
  • Right and Wrong  .Many believe that the entire universe consists of relationships between humans, gods, spirits, ancestors, etc  .All life shares in life and is sacred  .Humans are central but must live in harmony with the universe
  • Right and Wrong  .Then sin is to violate life - like killing more game than necessary, cutting trees without their permission asked first, etc  All societies have their sins, and different ones have different criteria as to what is ―worse‖  West - sexual sins  India - lose temper  Particular sins are associated with particular ages, sexes, etc.
  • Right and Wrong  The 10 commandments outline the areas which must be regulated for survival  Sex - no one allows unregulated sex  Murder - no one allows this unregulated  Steal - there is ownership of property  Coveteousness - some regulation of sharing
  • Guilt vs. Shame  Those who stress individual rights have a justice system to protect rights.  There is a sense of guilt for infractions, and punishment so that the individual can have freedom in the society  Others stress group rights. Good shares life and community. Greed is the opposite of hospitality and community. Wholeness may include ancestors. Sin may easily spread in the clan. Evil can be restrained by appropriate rituals
  • Sin defined in folk religion  Sin is socially defined - breaking physical, spiritual, social relationships. In addition to individual sins, there is lack of respect, lack of generosity, neglect of ancestors and indifference to the earth. Incest is particularly bad, as is murder  Major responsibility is with the elders and the ancestors  Shame is the major reaction - failed the community  When the community sins, confession, forgiveness & restitution involves the whole community
  • Sin…  Sin also breaks the cosmic relationships which exist between the gods (or God), ancestors, etc.  Fear for divine retribution for sins  Often social & theological sins are intertwined  It is useful to distinguish between individual and corporate sins
  • Sin  Commands are issued by gods, chiefs, etc - and disobedience is to be punished as sin  Restoration may require a blood sacrifice or a gift  Homage - allegience, praise and submission to a superior through a gift  Sin = rebellion, insolence, arrogance
  • Social relationships  Many societies - patron-client relationships are considered ideal  Patron - care for all things for the client  Client - must be totally supportive of the patron  Gift-giving restores and cements relationships - especially powerful with food and drink, which give life.  There are mutual responsibilities
  • Communion with the other world of ancestors  Restitution - repayment of grief caused  Communion - especially to eat together shows relationships  Regeneration - or rebirth. Some ritually killed their chief or leader
  • Ancestor worship  Obligation - some gifts were to put those in authority, especially the ancestors or gods, under obligation to give more back like they were given  Communication - things destroyed or killed to go to the spirit world - slaves, or now even cars & computers...
  • Purity and pollution  Pollution - in the west, has to do with sanitation, but is really far deeper than that  Dirt is something that disturbs the natural order  You should avoid pollution, and there are rituals to cleanse from pollution
  • Purity and pollution  There are rituals for handling or for cleaning - they use symbols for cleaning like water, beer & milk, symbols like washing, dusting and immersing, refining in fire, or blood sacrifices  Purity - maintaining highest order  Virtually no one can live in purity all the time. There are rules for spiritual purity and rites
  • In the west, we secularize pollution  We replace morality with sense of universal public absolutes with values, which are personal, inner, and relative.  Dirt is not associated with evil, or purity with beauty and holiness.  Without reinforcement of a sense of divine sanction or purity and pollution, morality withers, and laws must be enforced by force. They cannot transform human hearts.
  • Problems with western culture  Sin is personal violations of God’s laws  Pollution is violation of sanitation and health  We need to see the awesomeness of holiness and the awefulness of sin  Symbols of purity and beauty express worship in meaningful ways  God wants His people free of sin, and holy
  • Christian solution to sin = sacrifice.  Note the following order in Leviticus (reversed)  .Trespass offering - atone for specific sinful deeds  .Sin offering - expiate sinful nature  .Peace offering - restore fellowship with God  .Meal offering - service  .Burnt offering - total consecration to God  Christ was the worthy sacrifice for all - in the opposite order listed above
  • Christianity begins with God  God’ law of holiness was given to sinful men  When we have a true relationship of allegiance and fellowship, we do what is right  Sin is not ultimately a violation of law, but a break in the relationship with God  .Sin existed before the law  .The law could not bring us to righteousness
  • Christianity begins with God  God is a God of love, who wants to save those under judgment of sin and impurity  Christ in His human condition demonstrates righteousness, justice and holiness.  Biblical sins are absolute, though their manifestations may change  Culturally defined sins are not absolute. Laws may be frozen, but principles abide and can be applied
  • Salvation as a Christian  Salvation is restoration  .First - relationship with God  .Salvation involves - physical, social, spiritual, mental...  .Salvation also involves community and the individual in the community  .Eventually with the whole creation
  • Salvation from the power of evil - from hardships and problems of this world  God is loving and just, and protects against enemies. But we must not be utilitarian and see God as the way to prosperity and human-centered. God gives wholeness  We must guard against a split-level Christianity where God gives salvation from sin, but ancestors, etc are necessary for the daily living. We can go to God with our big and also our small problems
  • Salvation from shame  Shame cultures with strong community ties, where failure is unworthiness, shame, embarrassment, remorse from breaking the community ties.  Sin is defilement and uncleanness  .Salvation = restoration of relationships & reconciliation
  • Salvation from the guilt of sin  Individualistic cultures have a strong sense of law and guilt. Sin is breaking the rules, and fear of judgment. People are forgiven and restored to right relationship with God  We must be careful not to put God under the law! This is legalism  Remember that sin breaks our relationship with God
  • Injustice and suffering  Local churches must be caring, healing communities  Greater than pain and suffering is facing them alone  Injustice is the result of sin and we live in a fallen world  God understands - Christ suffered and died. God does not abandon us
  • Injustice and suffering  God can make even evil work out for good  Christians must bear together suffering - and it is part of being a Christian  But the end is joy and peace with God and fellow believers gathered around the throne  The church must speak out against sins and injustice, and help the poor, the displaced, the afflicted
  • Sacred myths  Myths - a cultural repository of truth that seeks to validate their belief systems.  Misunderstandings of myths  .Fiction  .Prelogical ways of explaining the world  .Literary devices to convey moral truth  .Contemporary rejection of any supernatural
  • Myths are important  Myths are master narratives bringing cosmic order, coherence, and sense to light  They make sense out of the universe  They give a rationale for faith, suffering, & oppression  .A source of identity & community
  • Types of myths  Origins  Separation - of earth from heaven - what happened  Cultural heroes who brought culture to the people  Catastrophies - destruction and recreation are necessary to restore cosmic order
  • Western secular myths  Unending progress as the fittest survive  Rugged individualism, self- fulfillment, self-indulgence  Love = fulfilling your needs, not commitment to and relationship with others
  • Myths of spiritual warfare  There is a battle on earth seen primarily in evolution and the survival of the fittest  There is a battle in heaven between God and satan having little to do with earth  Some see the evils of earth as due to social systems which the church must battle
  • Myths of spiritual warfare  Traditional - there is a constant warfare between all sorts of beings, both visible and invisible - mostly territorial and ethnic.  Gods are territorial.  If defeated, they don’t switch gods, but serve the stronger ones
  • Christian truth  God is eternal, righteous, good, powerful  Evil is neither eternal nor ultimate  Creation is dependent upon God for sustenance  .Even evil, satan, and evil spirits depend on God for existence  .The fact that they survive is evidence of God’s love and mercy
  • Christian truth  God is all powerful, and the question is never that of outcome  Israel’s victories and defeats are both from God - her defeats are simply God’s judgment against Israel, not the defeat of God by other gods  The encounter between God and satan is moral - good vs. evil, love vs. hate, justice vs. injustice. God cares for the weak and the poor
  • Christian truth  The ultimate victory is from the cross  God did not destroy all humanity in rebellion against him and following satan, but He is wooing them back to Himself so that there will be a great community around the throne of God  .Love and commitment to others is important despite their response
  • Christian truth  Community building is more important than self  Be a servant, not play boss  Relationships are more important than tasks  The cross removed the obstacles for God making a people for himself
  • The battle is for the allegiance of humans  They were idolators of self-worship, and co- conspirators with satan  God in mercy calls to repentance and restoration  Satan tries to stop with half-truths, intimidation, fear, accusations  In Christ we are free from satan, share Christ’s uniqueness, and need not fear satan or evil spirits
  • The battle is for the allegiance of humans  Satan tries to win back those who have come to God, and prevent those who have not to come to salvation  On the corporate level, institutions have much good, but some evil too.  Family ties, religion, and social structure may keep persons from salvation through persecution, and death  Most misfortunes are not from evil spirits, but from humans living with sin in a fallen world
  • The battle is for the allegiance of humans  Demon possession is a real hindrance, but more dangerous are social and cultural systems leading to the worship of self  We must be careful not to focus on territorial spirits - even if driven out, sinful humans will call them back in individual and corporate rebellion against God  Focus on God’s power and being in Christ protects against the enemy
  • Certain rituals are important  There are three types of rituals  .Transformation - change status, like birth, marriage, death, etc  .Intensification - intensifying what you believe  .Crisis - to survive the crisis
  • Transformational rites  Rites of passage - life cycle - birth, becoming adult, marriage, funerals  Initiation rites into secret societies  Pilgrimages - usually those traveling are in difficult circumstances - sometimes walk on knees, prostrate themselves, share food, wear poor clothes, etc. When they return, they may have special honor
  • Rites of intensification  Provide a strong sense of renewal in a short period of time.  Remembrance and renewal on a regular basis  There is usually high order  .Normative communitas - reinforcement of the usual social order
  • Rites of intensification  Festivals, fiestas, parades - show power and loyalty to gods, etc.  Memorials  Social satires
  • Rites of crisis  Famine, natural disaster, etc.  .Recreate order out of chaos  Some have re-creation rites
  • Christian rites  Remember that God gave the Israelites many rites initially with the tabernacle, offerings, etc.  Public confession of conversion and baptism are important but may lead to persecution as well...  .Revival meetings, camps, etc are helpful  .Renewal must be both individual and corporate  .One possibility is the dedication of buildings
  • Rites of life-cycle are important  Birth  Initiation - often this is important in a society, and we must seek out a Christian substitute other than baptism, which recognizes them as adults  Strong funeral rites are very important!
  • Rites of intensification are also important  Weekly services  Prayer times, Bible studies, etc.  Baptism and the Lord’s supper are important!  Infant dedication, marriage & funerals are very important  Mass meetings are also important for reinforcing the beliefs of others
  • Religious leaders and institutions  .Some are concerned with this-worldly affairs  .Healers, doctors, shamans, sorcerers, magicians, etc  .Some are concerned with other-worldly affairs  .Dervishes, prophets, evangelists, etc.
  • Religious leaders folk religion  Shamans:  .They have contact with the other-world used for good  .They find the causes of disease, etc. They often go into a trance  .They deal with the souls of people, sending the souls of the dead away, etc.  .Some go through choice, others via inheritance
  • Religious leaders folk religion  .Healers  .They may work on both body and spirit of the sick  .They may use a variety of medications  .Diviners - they may heal, but also look at the moral state of the community  .Some predict the future as well
  • Leaders of formal religion:  Prophets - spokesman foe God, asking repentance and transformation  .Authority from God, or ancestors  .Often live on the edge of society = simple clothing and food, etc.  Priests - leaders of the religious establishment  .Authority and power comes from their office  Teachers also may help others to know about the supernatural  .Sometimes conflicts exist between the groups
  • Cult vs. Church  Withdrawal from the world  Voluntary members  Limited community  Rigid ethics  More in the world  Birth or voluntary  More open community  Use of state to enforce ethics
  • Cult vs. Church  Lower classes  Little new thinking  Moral rather than social community  Subjective holiness Word & rules  Higher classes  Encourages new thinking  Social rather than moral community  Objective grace, sacraments
  • Summary A Christian Response to Folk Religion
  • General theologic principles:  We need to see that the invisible world is a reality in the lives of Christians  .The trinitarian God is involved in the world with His presence, power and providence  .We must take angels and demons seriously  Most folk religions are human attempts to control life
  • Danger of folk religion  Selfcenteredness and self-possession is the great temptation of folk religions  Sacrifices to gods and spirits to bargain for healing and prosperity  .Magical procedures to control the world, gods, ancestors, etc.  Christians tend to do the same with secret formulas when prayers do not bring the desired results (Prayer of Jabez?)
  • The gospel…  The gospel rejects ego-centered religion and magical mentality  God is at the center and we must submit and live by faith  We must not try to manipulate God
  • The Kingdom of God  God rules in the world  The kingdom has signs now, but will only come in fullness at the return of Jesus Christ  Christians now live in two kingdoms - a fallen one and a Christian one
  • Power and the cross  Power is important and God has all power  But God does not use power like the world does - to demonstrate and overcome the resistance of the world  Power demonstrations lead some to believe, but others to oppose and persecute  Satan and his hosts  humans resisting God’s righteousness  institutions against Christ’s rule
  • God’s power  God’s power is supremely demonstrated on the cross.  Satan wanted to  overcome Christ  provoke Him to use His power inappropriately
  • God’s power  Godly power is rooted in  love, not pride;  redemption, not revenge,  concern for others; not self  It is humble, not proud  inviting, not rejection
  • God’s power  The symbol is the cross, not the sword  The world sees God’s power as weakness – but Paul declares that it is the power for salvation to all who believe
  • God’s power  The church must use God’s power to transform lives  .Confront satanic evil  .Systemic evil  .Personal evil  We must not use God’s power for our own glory - and be faithful
  • We need a theology of discernment  People want signs of God’ presence, but the only definite sign is the fruit of the Spirit!  Miraculous healing, tongues, exorcisms, prophecies, re surrections, etc are reported in all religions!  Satan can counterfeit God’s work and we must not be led astray
  • Tests of God’ work  Does it bring glory to God, and not individuals?  Does it recognize the lordship of Christ, in submission and humility and obedience?  Is the manifestation through the Holy Spirit, or the flesh?
  • Tests of God’s Work  Does it conform to scriptural teaching? Are those involved willing to submit to scripture?  Are the leaders accountable to others in the church?  Do those involved manifest the fruit of the Spirit? - love or self-centeredness, humility or arrogance, patience or short temper?
  • Tests of God’s Work  Does the teaching and practice lead to spiritual maturity?  Does it lead to unity of the body of Christ, or division?
  • We need an effective theology of suffering and death  We live in a sinful world with sickness and death  It may be God’s will to have sickness, suffering, and undergo trials and difficulties to make us more mature and build in patience - Job 42:5-6; James 1:2 ff.
  • We need an effective theology of suffering and death  Sometimes illnesses are the body’s message to stop unhealthy lifestyles  Remember - Our ultimate health is after death
  • We need a theology of the church as a caring community  Care for the fallen, sick, oppressed  Forgiveness without hostilities and jealousy  We gather to pray for God’s blessings, read scripture, and hear from God
  • Theological pitfalls  Syncretism - combining folk beliefs and Christianity so that the gospel loses its integrity.  The gospel must transform worldviews – we will look at this in the second part of this material.
  • Theological pitfalls  Magical worldviews must be challenged - like Simon the sorcerer.  In magic, humans are in control; in Christianity, they must submit to God  .Magic is formulistic and mechanical; Christianity is relational
  • Theological pitfalls  We westerners must be careful not to equate the gospel with  Western civilization,  material prosperity  individualism,  human rights  Freedom
  • Human centeredness - both folk religion and modern worldview  New believers must be weaned away from self-centeredness and grow away from their own interests to spiritual growth –  Love of God and others
  • Human centeredness - both folk religion and modern worldview  Self-possession is more dangerous than demon possession for us - feeling that we must be in control of our own lives rather than submitting to God’s mercy and His will  Otherwise - we come to authoritarian leadership, competition, divisions, and spiritual pride
  • Experience-based theology:  Folk religions are existential and experience-oriented  Pragmatic concern for power rather than truth  Then: the test of truth is success, and the sign of spiritual life is feeling of excitement, health, and prosperity
  • The church can reinforce secularism  By overemphasizing miracles, Christians can make the world more secular, with God confined to the supernatural events rather than also in the natural processes.  The church must avoid making miracles the signs of God’s presence and the center of its attention and ministry
  • The church can reinforce secularism  We must break down this dichotomy, and see the naturalness of God’s extraordinary healings and the miracles of nature.  God is God. He not only creates but sustains His creation. It is natural for Him to be involved in creation to accomplish His purposes
  • Dangers of focus on the miraculous  Generating false guilt in those who are not delivered. They need extra care.  Imbalance - Christ must be the center of our lives, and not what He does for us
  • Dangers of focus on the miraculous  Exalting the leader - often attributing healing, prophecy, etc to the leader.  Leadership, healing, guidance, exorcisms, and accountability belong to the congregation.
  • Mission response to folk religion  Our goal is not to destroy folk religion or have strictly formal religion, but a vibrant true Christianity  There is no single formula to be used
  • How to develop a Biblical theology  Accept that the Bible is divine truth  It defines not only the answers, but the right worldview  We must be guided by the Holy Spirit to open our understanding  Our understanding is partial and may be biased and wrong  Give other believers the privilege of making mistakes too
  • A biblical church  The church itself must be a hermeneutic community to guard against individual biases  Globally, others have different worldviews and can help correct blind spots  Evaluate the context. Remember the local leaders are experts in their own culture
  • A biblical church  Lead the people to make the changes in culture necessary so that it is not simply the leaders that are police to enforce their rules  You need both ties to the universal church, but also you may need new rites and art forms corresponding to the culture
  • Ministries of transformation  Both evangelism and discipleship  Patience is necessary  Social and cultural systems may need transformation  Care for the marginalized, the sick and weak
  • A ministry of transformation  Teaching is important, especially by the older  Prophetic ministry is important concerning changes that are required  Take a stand against unbiblical activities, sin, injustice
  • Healing  God does not heal everyone  .For His glory  .Testing the believer’s faith  .Preparation for ministry  .Guidance  There are counterfeit healings  God often uses healing to draw people to Himself