Roger Patterson: World Religions and Cults — Part 2

Roger Patterson is a former High School Chemistry and Biology teacher from Wyoming, and now a curriculum writer, editor, and member of the editorial review board for Answers in Genesis. He and Bodie Hodge put together a three-volume resource entitled “World Religions and Cults.” He first joined Echo Zoe Radio in February, 2017 to discuss a few of the religions covered in the books, and returns this month to discuss a few more of them.

Outline of the Discussion

    Engaging other Religions
  • We don’t have to know everything about every religion to effectively evangelize people of other faiths.
  • Don’t divorce evangelism, discipleship, or apologetics from each other.
  • Know your own beliefs (the Biblical worldview) better than the counterfeits.
  • Ask good questions. They can help spot areas where you can bridge the divide between your worldviews.
  • Investigate another worldview’s beliefs on six key issues:
    1. God
    2. Man
    3. Authority
    4. Sin
    5. Salvation
    6. Creation
  • Eastern Orthodoxy
  • The split from Roman Catholicism happened in 1054 over a difference in a clause in the Nicene Creed. Rome confesses that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, the Orthodox limit the procession to being from the Father only.
  • They have a sacrament separate from baptism, whereby they believe the Holy Spirit is imparted on a person.
  • They hold to a higher view of man than protestants. Their view would be closer to Pelagianism.
  • Their view of authority relies heavily on the writings of church fathers. Tradition and scripture are blended more-so than Roman Catholicism.
  • Their view of salvation is that it is a life-long, synergistic process.
  • In engaging people who are Eastern Orthodox, point to the Bible and emphasise that the Bible is clear and understandable, and can be read by anyone.
  • Emphasise that we have rest in Christ.
  • Baha’i
  • Baha’i is an offshoot of Shia Islam. Their founder, Bahá’u’lláh, claimed to be the 12th (final) imam of Shia Islam. He presented himself as “the divine glory of Allah.”
  • Baha’i is headquartered in Haifa, Israel, in a facility they call the Universal House of Justice.
  • They claim new revelation.
  • Roger likens Baha’i to the Islamic parallel to Mormonism.
  • It can be seen as a “fulfillment” of Islam, much like Christians see our faith as a fulfillment of Judaism. But they also see it as cyclical, and they are the end of one cycle & beginning of another.
  • Engaging Baha’i…. They are monotheistic, and have a similar view of man. Man is seen as inherently good, but can be influenced towards good or evil.
  • Baha’i says there are truths in all religions. Their ultimate authority is found in the writings of Bahá’u’lláh.
  • Sikhism
  • Sikhism is a blend of Islam and Hinduism, finding it’s root in the Punjab region of India, where Islam and Hinduism intersect.
  • Sikhs have six characteristics that they keep, reflected in the way they dress. They wear a turban, don’t cut their hair or beards, wear a comb (representing good grooming habits,) also wear a short sword (representing their desire to defend the helpless.)
  • They’re closer to Hinduism. They have a monistic view (the universe is “one.”) They seek to unite the “light” within them with the “light” of the universe.
  • In its purest sense, Sikhism is monotheistic, but not as we understand monotheism.
  • They have writings from their gurus that are their authority.
  • Engaging Sikhs… They have a view of sin whereby there are five vices that we must rid ourselves of:
    1. ego
    2. anger
    3. greed
    4. worldly attachment
    5. lust
  • These vices have rough parallels in the Ten Commandments.
  • We can start with the vices and then lead them to the rest we have in Christ.
  • Shinto
  • Shinto is a Japanese animistic religion. It ascribes spiritual forces to rocks, trees, rivers, and various things in nature. Many of these spiritual forces are the dead souls of our ancestors. Thus it’s an ancestor-worship culture.
  • Most Japanese now would believe in a blend of Shinto with other eastern religions such as Buddhism.
  • Shinto is burdened with hopelessness.
  • Engaging Shinto… start with creation and show that the Biblical worldview makes sense of the world around us.
  • Many of them don’t really believe that spirits are responsible for the things going on around them, it’s more of a cultural thing.
  • Just present the Biblical worldview and trust the Holy Spirit to break through to them.
  • Empiricism
  • Rooted in the reality that there are really only two religious views, one being rooted in God’s Word, and the other rooted in man’s word. Empiricism is firmly in the latter.
  • Epiricism says that man is the measure of all things. “I think, therefore I am.
  • Rooted in the Enlightenment. David Hume and John Locke being two major philosophers. Sir Francis Bacon is also listed in the book.
  • Empiricism posits that we can only learn about the world around us by engaging our five senses.
  • Tied closely to Modernism.
  • Post-Modernism was a reaction against the clear failings of Modernism (Empiricism.)
  • Engaging Empiricism… Demostrate that it’s built on a weak foundation.

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