December 21: The Gospel and Syncretism
Roman Catholicism adds to the Bible and expands the rule of faith. Catholics look to both “written books and unwritten traditions,” thereby adding to the Bible the declarations of popes and bishops, papal bulls, and various councils. Catholics believe the Bible is God’s Word, but it is incomplete without the addition of these writings of men. Mormonism’s rule of faith adds the book of Mormon, doctrine and covenants, and the pearl of great price to the Bible as equally inspired writings. This puts the opinions, views, and interpretations of men on a par with the Word of God; a blatant falsehood and pollution of the holy Word of God.
Among Wesleyans, what is known as the “Quadrilateral” is the rule of faith: The Bible, tradition, reason, and experience, this too, denies the sufficiency of Scripture. While Wesley himself may have not intended that the four rules of the Quadrilateral be seen as equal, by adding three sources of authority to the Scriptures, he opened the door for misinterpretation and misunderstanding. One can justify a belief in just about anything if that belief is based on tradition, reason, and/or experience. Jesus expressly forbade equating tradition with Scripture as part of the rule of faith, accusing the Pharisees of nullifying the Word of God for the sake of their traditions (Mark 7:6–13).
Once the Word of God is rejected as the only rule of faith and practice, the door to heresy is opened and it’s like the saying,“The tooth paste is out of the tube and cannot be easily put back into the tube.”
While it may be argued that the writers of the Gospels and the epistles were offering their views and interpretations as they wrote, this is not the same as the declarations of the popes and bishops of Catholicism or of men like Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism and the Latter-Day Saints movement. The New Testament writers were moved supernaturally by the Holy Spirit, who is the ultimate Author of the Scripture. The biblical writers “spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). The Bible itself asserts that believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), who teaches, interprets, brings truths to mind (John 14:26), and guides us into all truth (John 16:13).
For evangelical Christians, the Word of God and its Author are the true rule of faith. This is not to say that preachers and teachers are unnecessary. But the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture is a cornerstone of the evangelical rule of faith. Note: This is what the Lord says about syncretizing into His holy Word: I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. (Revelation 22: 18-19 NIV).
Let’s pray: O Lord, hallowed be Your Name. Let Your will be done in Your Church as You ordained in heaven. Lord help us to be committed to our faith in You and deliver us from temptations. Your word is the only truth we have. It is powerful and eternal. Help us Lord, to live with it and grow our faith in You all the days of our lives, in Jesus’ name. amen.
Today’s reading: Micah 4-5; Revelation 17
Syncretism Pollutes the Truth of God's Holy Word.