I want to state emphatically that I am not against anybody’s religion. Nigeria is a secular state. People have the right to worship whatever they like. This article is strictly for genuine Christians—those who are waiting for the coming of our Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Syncretism is the amalgamation or attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought.
According to Wikipedia, “Syncretism involves the merging or assimilation of several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths.”
Religious syncretism is the blending of two or more religious belief systems into a new system, or the incorporation into a religious tradition of beliefs from unrelated traditions.
After preaching in a program sometime ago, a woman met me and shared her challenges and also wanted me to pray for her. But on the process of sharing her challenges, she said that she usually pray with onions while casting out demons.
Another one said that whenever he wants to engage in spiritual warfare, he will bring out three seeds of alligator pepper, mention the name of the person he wants to kill and command him or her to die. Is there any verse of the Bible that teaches that? None at all.
There are people that usually go naked at the middle of the night when they want to command people to die. They remove their clothes, take that person’s picture, look at the moon and command the person to die in his or her sleep. Is that scriptural? Not at all.
I have heard genuine Christians who innocently say that there is nothing wrong with idolatry. They call it culture. But that is a huge mistake. Idolatry is different from culture and customs of the people.
Traditional marriage is our custom. But taking the couple to a shrine for fortification is idolatry. Telling the couple that they must offer sacrifice to a family idol before the wife can conceive is not tradition, it is idolatry.
Poverty and the quest for wealth is blurring the line between idolatry and culture. People are now encouraging others, including ministers of God to visit all kinds of places for wealth and fortification. Why? Because the people in charge of the place ends their incantation with “in the name of the father, son and the holy spirit.”But the question is, which father, son and the spirit are they ending the incantations with?
There is a revival of idol worship in different towns and villages in the South Eastern part of Nigeria as you read this. The people who are reviving these idols used to be Christians. They are using the little scriptural knowledge they have to convince young people to join them. The challenge is that some young people are now confused because nobody is teaching them the whole counsel of God. So, they are now Christians on Sundays and idol worshippers during the week.
Some church leaders also contributed to this. Because when you call some unscriptural acts revelation or prophetic demonstration, you are introducing people into idolatry.
If a man of God cannot pray until he uses an object, then he is introducing idolatry. Today he prays with water. Next day he prays with black stone. Another day he tells the people to come with mustard seeds. In another occasion he tells them to bring the pictures of their enemies. People like that are doing the same thing that a wicked native doctor is doing in his shrine.
Syncretism is a major obstacle to revival in Africa. Syncretism is diverting the attention of Christians from Christ to objects. From the Word of God to abracadabra. From God to strange acts that have no Biblical background.
To Avoid Being Pulled into Idolatry, Pay Attention to the Following:
(1). Have a Personal Knowledge of God.
Brother Paul said, “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him..” Ephesians 1:15-17.
Epignosis is a compound Greek word from EPI (meaning, Upon) and GNOSIS (meaning, knowledge). So, it means “upon knowledge or detailed knowledge.” Epignosis is to have exact and precise knowledge and to become fully acquainted with God. To have an in-depth knowledge of God so that no one will confuse you. Epignosis refers to ethical and divine knowledge of God, which is precise and correct.
To avoid syncretism and idolatry, you must have personal exact knowledge of God, not just what your priest or pastor taught you. You must have an in-depth knowledge of God. Don’t allow spiritual laziness to make you believe everything you hear about God. Know Him by yourself.
Do you know about salvation, redemption, righteousness, holiness, Holy Spirit baptism, Bible doctrine, repentance, heaven and hell, Christian marriage, Christian living, godly home etc.? Are you just following God randomly and accept every junk that is thrown at you in the name of revelation? You must be deeply rooted in God, and that can only be achieved if you become a Bible student from today. Get study Bible, concordance and other materials and sit down with God to be taught. Feast on the Word and be thoroughly furnished by the Holy Spirit.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV).
If you don’t want to become an instrument for drama for ministers on their television programs you better become a workman in God’s Word from today. Embark on a one-year adventure to personally know God and His Kingdom. That is the only way to be (“thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
You can join our Spiritual Growth Conference at Onitsha. Send your name and phone number to me via WhatsApp or [email protected]
(2). Examine the Scriptural Foundation of Every Prayer, or “Prophetic” Demonstrations etc.
Many years ago, my friends and I went to pray for a family. When we got there, they showed us a pigeon in a cage. When we enquired what it was there for, they said that some “ministers of God” who came for family deliverance gave them the bird. That it represents their liberation. We were shocked and surprised at the same time when we heard that. But we dealt with the bird before we left.
If you ask those ministers why they did that, they will show you one isolated verse of the Bible probably in Leviticus to buttress their point. That is usually what lead to syncretism in the first place. If you understand the true meaning of exegesis you won’t build your faith in one verse of the Old Testament. You must have a wholistic view of the Bible especially from the New Testament perspective before you apply any verse of the Bible.
(For more on exegesis, eisegesis and inference, endeavor to attend our Spiritual Growth Conference at Onitsha on the 3rdand 4thof June 2021. If you wish to attend, send an email to me via [email protected] Don’t forget to add your name and phone number or simply chat with me on WhatsApp or Telegram).
On another occasion, some prayer warriors went for a family liberation or deliverance. Before going, they gave the family a list of things to purchase (just like native doctors do). Some of the items on the list are cartons of beer, milk, kerosene, incense, two goats etc.
The painful thing is that the family contributed money to purchase these items. That means, most members of the family are church goers who knows nothing about the Word of God. Because the first question should have been, what are you going to do with all these and what part of the Bible supports it?
Guess what? The “deliverance ministers” took one goat, confessed the sins of the ancestors on it. Took the second goat and made powerful declarations on it for the family. When they were leaving, they carried the two goats. One member of the family summoned up courage and asked them, “Why are you people leaving with the goats?” They said, “We have carried away the sins of the ancestors.” They will definitely sell the goats or kill them to enjoy themselves. They are making merchandise of people’s spiritual and scriptural ignorance.
That practice is found in the laws of Moses. They are not meant to be practiced by Christians because Jesus died once on the Cross and liberated man from sin forever. But agents of darkness will use some practices in the laws of Moses to make money from ignorant Christians.
See, if you are ignorant of the Bible you will walk into a trap one day. You will soon enslave yourself and unborn generations out of ignorance. You will become a prey for fake prophets and seers who go about seeking whom they may defraud. Anything that is not exegetically supported by scriptures should be discarded immediately no matter who says it. The person can be a bishop, archbishop, firebrand prophet or seer, it doesn’t matter. Did Jesus Christ say or do it? Did the Apostles say or support it? If not, jettison it at once and run for your dear life. Searching for solutions to your problem should not lead you to hell fire.
(3). One Time Prophetic Act Should Not Be Turned into a Doctrine—Your Attention Should Be on Jesus Christ, Not on a Man of God.
I am not a novice when it comes to spiritual demonstrations and prophetic acts. There are some instructions the Holy Spirit may give to a minister in a program because of what He wants to do. But the problem is that ministers of God will now turn that one-time instruction into a doctrine that must be adhered to by every Christian. In fact, some go to the extent of writing books on those one-time prophetic instruction.
Something happened at Ephesus when Paul the Great went there. Brother Luke recorded it thus;
“Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” Acts 19:11-12 (NKJV).
If you study Paul’s missionary journeys and soul winning adventures like I do, you will discover that he did not repeat this act ever again. It was a Holy Spirit inspired act to reach people at Ephesus that very day, and Paul did not go about selling miracle handkerchiefs and holding handkerchief crusades. It is called prophetic demonstrations but must not be turned into a doctrine.
In fact, Paul said to the elders of the Church in Ephesus, “Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.” Acts 20:31 (NKJV).
Within those three years, there was no other account in the Bible where Paul used handkerchief and apron to heal or cast out demons from people. It was a one-time prophetic action supernaturally inspired by God to reach His people. It was not as doctrine.
I know about Elijah’s mantle. I know about Peter’s shadow. I know about Paul’s handkerchiefs and apron. I know about other prophetic actions that were taken in the Bible. But we must be careful so that we will not divert people’s attention from Jesus Christ to things. Our focus must always be on Christ and His Word not on abracadabra.
The writer of Hebrews opined, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV).
After washing His disciple’s feet, Jesus Christ said, “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” John 13:15 (NKJV).
Brother John later penned these beautiful words, “But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” 1 John 2:5-6 (NKJV).
The “Him” in those scriptures is Jesus Christ. Focus all your attention on Christ, not on miracle, signs and wonders. Not on the methodology that someone used to healed people. Not on apple, black stone, crude oil, mustard seeds, incense, waist beads, hand beads, charms that attracts wealthy husbands or beautiful wives etc.
Behave like the Berean Christians. Brother Luke reported;
“Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” Acts 17:10-11 (NKJV).
They listened to the wonderful sermon Paul and his team preached in their city. They were ready to be tutored. They were teachable. But then, when the preachers left, they opened the Bible by themselves to ascertain what they heard to be sure it was true. We must imbibe that same attitude.
After watching a man of God, you must pick up your Bible and crosscheck his claims, prophetic demonstrations and the way he prayed for people. If he stepped on people while praying for them, check if it is scriptural. If he spat on everyone while praying for them, crosscheck if there are three or more scriptures that agrees with that action. If he tells people to bring money before he can pray for them, crosscheck if it is scriptural. If he insists that you must buy his t-shirts, head tie, wrappers and other materials before you can see him, crosscheck from scriptures. Don’t just agree to what someone says just because he is popular. Is it scriptural?
(4). Examine the Prophet, Not Just the Prophecy Because Even Native Doctors Can See Vision.
In case you don’t know, people that are possessed by ogbanje spirits and other spirits can give you accurate revelations. There are herbs they can drop in their eyes and give you the full details of your life. They can tell you the day you were born and even the food you ate this morning. But that doesn’t make him a minister of God. Don’t be carried away by prophecies and revelations. What power is the person using?
Talking about the end time, Jesus said;
“Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 24:4, 11-13 (NKJV).
It is possible that someone who is reading this article right now has been deceived by necromancers and native doctors because he or she is desperate to have children, become wealthy or travel abroad. It is possible that these people have laid hands on you because you are tired of waiting for God. You are already deceived. Go back to God at once and be reconnected to Him.
While Paul and Silas were in (Philippi) Macedonia, this happened;
“Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days…” Acts 16:16-18 (NKJV).
Did the girl lie? Not at all. But was the revelation from God? Not at all. She was possessed by demons. The devil used her to enslave the whole city. Her prophecies and revelations were one hundred percent accurate. She could see the color of your undergarments and what you ate this morning. But she was using satanic powers.
I believe she followed Paul and Silas and also prophesied about them so that the people in that city will believe that she and Paul and Silas are one. That their spiritual source is the same; so that when Paul and Silas leave the city, the people will keep trooping into her shrine since Paul and Silas validated her “ministry.”
But thank God for the gift of word of knowledge and discernment. Paul saw that she was fake. He saw that the devil wanted to use her to enslave the city dwellers. And this happened;
“…But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.” Acts 16:18 (NKJV).
Gifts does not define a minister of God. Pay attention to the message he preaches. Does he spend more time in prayer, prophecy and deliverance than he spends in the Word of God? Is he one of those who belittle the efficacy of the Word of God? Does he say it doesn’t matter whether his actions are in the Bible or not?
When it comes to Christianity, the end does not justify the means. If the act that produced the result is not scriptural, please run for your dear life. We have one God, one Savior—Jesus Christ, and one Kingdom constitution—the Bible. Everything we do must be in line with the mind of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and most importantly, the Word of God. Otherwise, someone will take you to the river for special success bath at the middle of the night. And your only justification is that it worked. No, the justification for every act is not the result, but does it agree with the Word of God? Not just an isolated verse, scripture must be interpreted with scriptures.
Paul penned one of my favorite verses in the Bible while admonishing his spiritual son, Bishop Timothy;
“And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:15 (NKJV).
If you don’t want to be deceived in this end time, please be a student of the Bible. If you don’t want to be subtly led into idolatry and syncretism, please be a Bible student. Do what the Berean Christians did. Crosscheck everything you hear. If it does not agree with what Jesus Christ or His Apostles said, please jettison it. Otherwise, you may soon be used for sacrifice.
I know that some people are now preaching idolatry (African traditional religion) to you. In order to convince you, they will tell you that Christianity is a white man’s religion. Meanwhile, they are using the white man’s car, smartphone, internet etc. I want to end this Bible study with the story of two men who were contemporaries and what happened in their lineage many years later.
“Jonathan Edwards was a Puritan Preacher in the 1700s. He was one of the most respected preachers in his day. He attended Yale at the age of thirteen and later went on to become the president of Princeton college. He married his wife Sara in 1727 and they were blessed with eleven children. Every night when Mr. Edwards was home, he would spend an hour conversing with his family and then praying a blessing over each child. Jonathan and his wife Sarah passed on a great, godly legacy to their eleven children.
An American educator, A.E. Winship decided to trace the descendants of Jonathan Edwards almost 150 years after his death. His findings are remarkable, especially when compared to another man from the same time period known as Max Jukes.
Jonathan Edwards’ legacy includes: 1 U.S. Vice-President, 1 Dean of a law school, 1 dean of a medical school, 3 U.S. Senators, 3 governors, 3 mayors, 13 college presidents, 30 judges, 60 doctors, 65 professors, 75 Military officers, 80 public office holders, 100 lawyers, 100 clergymen, and 285 college graduates.
How may this be explained? Edwards was a godly man, but he was also hard working, intelligent and moral. Furthermore, Winship states, “Much of the capacity and talent, intensity and character of the more than 1,400 of Edwards’ family is due to Mrs. Edwards.”
Max Jukes’ legacy came to people’s attention when the family trees of 42 different men in the New York prison system were traced back to him. He lived in New York at about the same period as Edwards. The Jukes family originally was studied by sociologist Richard L. Dugdale in 1877.
Jukes’ descendants included: 7 murderers, 60 thieves, 190 prostitutes, 150 other convicts, 310 paupers, and 440 who were physically wrecked by addiction to alcohol. Of the 1,200 descendants that were studied, 300 died prematurely.
These contrasting legacies provide an example of what some call the five-generation rule. “How a parent raises their child — the love they give, the values they teach, the emotional environment they offer, the education they provide — influences not only their children but the four generations to follow, either for good or evil.” What a challenging thought! If someone studied your descendants four generations later, what would you want them to discover? Do you want an Edwards’ legacy or a Jukes’ legacy? The life you live will determine the legacy you leave!”
Wisdom is justified by her children!
I believe this article blessed you. Kindly share your thought with us at the comment section below.
If you want to recieve Jesus into your heart, say this short prayer and believe it from your heart:
Lord Jesus, I belive that you died to rescue me from damnation. Come into my heart and save me. I declare today that You are my Lord and personal Saviour. I am saved. I am born again. Thank you Jesus. Amen.
What did you learn from today’s Bible Study? Share with others at the comment section below.