About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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Practicing Paganism


Just before Joshua died he admonished Israel concerning the pagan practices of the Canaanite community they were now living among.  He said,  " be careful to obey everything that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not evoke the names of their gods and swear by them.  You must not serve them or bow down to them Be careful to love the Lord your God.  But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations if you intermarry with them and associate with them, then you may be sure that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you.  Instead, they will become snares and traps for you until you perish from this good land". (Joshua 23:6 13)       


Canaanites were historic enemies of Israel.  Therefore, Israel was not to ally themselves with them, serve, worship, or evoke the names of their pagan gods.  If Israel did any of these, God would no longer protect them from the Canaanites.  The Canaanites would rise from within their midst, become a snare to them, and defeat Israel from within.  Israel would then perish from the good land God gave them.  All this eventually came true because Israel ignored Joshua's admonition.  


The apostle Paul gave the elders of Ephesus a similar admonition.  He said, " I know that after I leave savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.  Even from your own number men will rise and distort the truth". (Acts 20:29 and 30)  This came true when men rose from within the Ephesian Christian community teaching false doctrine and leading people astray.  About 3 decades or so after Paul's warning, Jesus Himself, in Revelation 2:6, warned these Ephesians to repent or else they would lose their candlestick.  History tells us that in subsequent generations, the Ephesian Christians ignored these warnings by Paul and Jesus.  The community of believers eventually perished.  An Islamic community rose from the ashes of a defeated Ephesian church. 


Both Israel and the Ephesian Christians ignored the Word of the Lord.  They gave themselves to false teaching and pagan practices.  I suggest that parts of the Evangelical movement are doing the same today.  For the sake of unity and tolerance, which is a non-Biblical worldly philosophy, many Evangelicals are allying themselves with other religions and participating in their pagan practices.  This is evident in the Emergent Church movement, and more recently in the Chrislam movement that seeks to find common ground between Christianity and Islam.  If Joshua and Paul were here today, I think they'd be screaming their heads off in holy anger, commanding such people to repent.


Men like Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, and Rick Warren, are teaching people to do what Joshua told Israel not to do.  In the name of unity, these men both teach and practice an unbiblical alliance with other religions.  They "evoke the names of other gods" in so-called joint worship services.  Like Israel and the Ephesian Christians, the end result of this union is death.  They and their following will perish from the good land God once gave them.  As Jesus put it in Revelation 2:6, "they will lose their candlestick".  The witness from the light of the Holy Spirit will depart from them and they will join the apostate church of these last days.     


Paul called these false teachers of the last days, teachers of demonic doctrine. (1 Timothy 4:1)  The time has come for those who take the Word of the Lord seriously to call these teachers to repentance and warn the Christian community about them.  If they don't repent, we do as Paul teaches.  "Have nothing to do with them".  (2 Timothy 3:4-5)


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