The pagan beliefs which oppose God’s plan of redemption now permeate Western society, undermining the strong influence which the Bible once had. And it is that biblical influence to which much of the credit for the West’s scientific, technological, and economic advancement must be given. The resultant prosperity stands in marked contrast to the abject poverty of the Third World, where paganism has reigned, and Communist countries, where materialistic atheism has been the religion.
Technological benefits, however, affect only this life. The question of what lies beyond this brief sojourn on earth has haunted mankind since the dawn of history. This is where religion enters in: to offer something beyond death—the happy hunting ground of the American Indian, the celestial harem of the Moslem filled with beautiful maidens…a land to which spirits go, but a land of shadow and fear. Hope of life after death is vain, however, without a resurrection.
Not Buddha, not Confucius, not Mohammed, nor any other religious leader rose from the dead. Christ alone, after giving His life to save sinners, came back from the grave. The apostles gave their lives to bring this good news of redemption, “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts:20:24), to the lost. Martyrs by the millions have died to keep that message pure. Today that truth is mocked—and in the name of Christ! In a fine display of mea culpa, the United Church of Canada confessed to the native American Indians, “Our Christian image of God is twisted and blurred. We were closed to the beauty of your spirituality. Please forgive us.”
Representatives of the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, American Baptist, United Church of Christ, United Methodist, and Presbyterian churches have apologized to American Indians for giving them the gospel:
“Dear Brothers and Sisters: This is a formal apology…for the destruction of traditional Native American spiritual practices. We ask for your forgiveness and blessings. The spiritual power of your religion could have been a great gift to us.”
In the same spirit, the World Christian Gathering on Indigenous Peoples met in Rotorua, New Zealand, in mid-November, 1996. Richard Twiss, representing the Lakota nation from the United States, said that his people’s way of life and culture (religion) “were gifts of God.” Twiss is “a consultant on racial reconciliation for Promise Keepers,” the fast-growing Christian men’s movement. The Gathering embraced indigenous religions and called for incorporation of some of their rituals into the worship in Christian churches. Elijah Harper, a Canadian MP representing the Cree nation, declared that “the spiritual awakening of the world would come from indigenous peoples all over the globe.”
Try to imagine Christ apologizing for dying for the sins of the world and being the only Savior, or the apostle Paul apologizing to Jewish, Greek, and Roman converts for winning them to Christ! The stakes are too high—the eternal destiny of souls—to compromise truth. Unfortunately, compromise, as we shall see, is coming from the highest levels of Christian leadership.
Everyone is free to accept or to reject Christ. But it is dishonest to call oneself a Christian while misrepresenting what Christ taught and accomplished. By the same token, native and nature religions must be honestly evaluated for what they truly are, including the beliefs behind them and the results they produce.