Are you guilty of Religious Syncretism?

Are You a Syncretist?

This article introduces two related terms you may be unfamiliar with, “Syncretism” and “Syncretist.” We will explains these terms and discuss the importance of doing what is ‘right in God’s eyes’ rather than what is ‘right in our own eyes.’ Various Scriptures and Biblical examples will be used to highlight the importance of doing what is right in God’s sight, by obeying God’s Word.

What is a Syncretist?

Syncretism is the merging of different beliefs or practices into something new (see: Vocabulary.com, Dictionary.com, and/or merriam-webster.com)

Religious Syncretism combines differing religious beliefs, philosophies, or practices into a new tradition (see: Wikipedia and/or Britannica.com)

A Syncretist is someone who attempts or practices syncretism (Wiktionary or yourdictionary.com). A Syncretist is someone who blends different religious beliefs, worldviews, and/or philosophies in how they think and behave. People then pick and choose what they will think and do, rationalizing their behavior based on their personal Syncretistic blend of beliefs.

Syncretism was widespread in Israel during the days of the Judges, with everyone doing what was “right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6; 21:25).

Right in His Eyes’ Scriptures

The Bible describes people doing what was right in their own eyes, but we are supposed to do what is right in God’s eyes. This section will examine Scriptures about doing right in one’s own eyes vs doing right in God’s eyes.

Right in God’s Eyes

Moses commanded the children of Israel, saying:

You shall not at all do as we are doing here today—every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes

Deuteronomy 12:8 / NKJV

In Deuteronomy 13, Moses told the people not to listen to false prophets or those who would turn them away from obeying God’s commands. And God promised to bless their obedience, saying:

if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, keeping all His commandments that I am commanding you today, and doing what is right in the sight of the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 13:18 / ESV

David, a man after God’s own heart, was praised “because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite” (1 Kings 15:5 / KJV). And other kings of Judah were praised or condemned based on whether or not they did what was right in God’s eyes, as David did (1Kings 11:33, 14:8, 22:43; 2 Kings 10:30; 1 Chronicles 13:4; 2 Chronicles 14:2). For example, “Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father” (1 Kings 15:11 / KJV).

Right in “His Own” Eyes

As noted above, Syncretism involves everyone deciding for themselves what is right and wrong. People want to feel good about themselves so they rationalize their decisions, finding ways to justify their choices. This often means blending different beliefs and philosophies together into what is ‘right in their own eyes.’ This Syncretistic behavior was not limited to Old Testament times, people still do it today.

In the book of Proverbs, Solomon said, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise” (Prov. 12:15 / KJV). Solomon also cautioned us, saying “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts” (Prov. 21:2 / KJV). And Solomon ended the book of Ecclesiastes, saying;

Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” 

Eccl. 12:13b-14 / KJV

Old Testament Examples of Syncretism

Throughout the Old Testament, the children of Israel blended idolatry in with their worship of the LORD their God. But the first two of the 10-Commandments are to worship only the LORD God, and not idols (Ex. 20:2-5 and Deut. 5:6-9).

When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert, Jesus answered the devil by quoting scripture. After His 3rd temptation, Jesus summarized the first two commandments by saying, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve” (Matt. 4:10 and Luke 4:8).

Israel repeatedly violated the command to worship only God. Jeroboam instituted the worship of golden calves when Israel broke away from Judah. Ahab added the worship of Baal and Asherah. God sent many prophets to turn Israel back to Him, but they continued their idolatrous practices, so God used Assyria to destroy Israel and carry them into captivity.

Judah continued worshipping God in Solomon’s temple as prescribed in the law, but many people also worshipped in high places. Some of their kings were good and worshipped the LORD alone, but many others turned the nation to idolatry.  God eventually punished Judah for their idolatry, using Babylon to destroy Judah and the temple, and to carry a remnant of survivors into captivity.

Old Testament history is filled with examples of the children of Israel violating God’s command to worship only Him by blending their worship of Him with the idolatrous practices of the nations around them. God repeatedly condemned and judged their syncretism. We need to learn their lesson. God does not tolerate syncretism. He considers it to be spiritual adultery and He will punish it.

Are You a Syncretist?

Many people who call themselves “Christians” practice syncretism to be more accepted by our culture. Are you one of them?

In the names of “tolerance” and “inclusion,” some “Christians” reject Biblical teaching and adopt the world’s philosophies regarding sex, marriage, and gender to seem more loving and gain acceptance. They fear the censure of society more than they fear God. But “the fear of man brings a snare.” Only those who place their trust in God and His Word shall be kept safe (Proverbs 29:25).

Many “Christians” deny the authority of Scripture by rejecting the clear teaching in Genesis of a recent 6-day creation by God. They attempt to blend long-age evolutionary theories with the gospel to appear less foolish in the eyes of our corrupt culture, because they love the praise of’ men more than the praise of God (John 12:43). By so doing, they demonstrate a distrust of the Bible, and undermine the need of salvation by placing millions of years of death and evolution before the first humans (and their sin).

Beware of Syncretism

Jesus warned: “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).

Jesus said it was those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake who would be blessed (Matt. 5:10). He also proclaimed:

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake” (Matt. 5:11).

Beware my friend, because whoever wants to be a friend of the world will be God’s enemy (James 4:4). Turn away from the ungodly babblings and oppositions of what is falsely called knowledge (1Tim. 6:20), “which some professing have erred concerning the faith” (1Tim. 6:21a).

Dare to believe the Bible and keep your Christian faith pure!


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