Monday, August 06, 2007

Changing God's Name

The Doctrines of Dominionism: Part 8

"It is time that Christians reclaimed the many beautiful names of the One Creator God in native languages instead of falling into Satan's trap and destroying them. We should reclaim those names and wash the dung of corruption off of them instead of giving them up to Satan. We must cast off the corruption that Satan has thrown on the many beautiful names of God in native languages. . . .

"Instead of destroying and ridiculing the native names of the Creator God, we should help preserve them as a legacy for these people. It is their legacy of God's enduring interest, involvement and care for their culture and people!

"Christians should cease representing Jesus as the Son of the foreign God of a foreign people, especially if these foreigners had never shown concern for nor had any involvement in the lives or culture of the natives. God lovingly created them in the beginning never left them without a witness and, in his great love for them, even sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die for them!"
[Daniel Kikawa, Perpetuated in Righteousness, 4th edition, p. 27,
cited in Idolatry In Their Hearts by Sandy Simpson and Mike Oppenheimer]

The above quotation is an example of the most horrifying new heresy to come out of the "redeeming cultures" movement. This particular heresy is a major theme of the new book Idolatry In Their Hearts by missionaries Sandy Simpson and Mike Oppenheimer. It illustrates the extent to which Scripture and history are being re-written to accommodate a new body of doctrine for a new global church age. In this particular case there is a multi-pronged attack going on against the biblical names for God which not only substantially erodes the Scriptural foundation, but actually replaces brick and mortar with pagan idols!

The authors describe the rise of this heresy from their unique observation point as missionaries to the Pacific Islanders where this has come in like a flood:

"If you have not read Daniel Kikawa's Perpetuated in Righteouness it may be hard to grasp the whole concept or the various names used or cited. . . .

"Kikawa presents to us in his book the concept that the Hawaiians held an accurate belief in God, like the Jews and/or Christians, without it being revealed to them by New Testament revelation! His premise is that when the natives traveled from Polynesia and landed in Hawaii they actually worshipped the true God accurately until foreign gods were introduced from Tahiti that corrupted their pure worship. Certain priests are said to have continued to worship the true God and yet they also led and allowed the people to practice idolatry." (p. 87)

Simpson and Oppenheimer then explain Kikawa's basic premise -- that the Hawaiians knew God from the gospel in the stars. And that somehow the Hawaiian people worshipped the same God as the biblical God on account of some weirdly revised history and fabricated ancestry; and that therefore the name of God can be substituted with the name of a god "'Io" who supposedly was a supreme creator god in the Islands' pantheon. And that therefore the biblical God can be worshipped using this other god's name. And it gets worse. . . .

Kikawa's book might have remained obscure but for the promotional help of John Dawson from YWAM and Don Richardson (author of Eternity In Their Hearts which started this whole movement), who, although he was contacted by these authors about the fabricated history, endorsed Kikawa's next edition. Commenting on Kikawa's quote at the top of this post, Simpson and Oppenhemer wrote:

Is this what the apostle Paul did? Did he say the Greek's Zeus had a son, or Odin had a son or any of the gods of the nations he brought the gospel to, had a son, who is their Savior? What Kikawa is teaching is cross-cultural syncretism with other gods as a way to evangelize them--the very thing God warned us not to do. . . .

Deut. 6:14:
'You shall not go after other gods of the peoples who are all around you.'

These are other elohim (gods), not Yahweh Elohim. It is not love or truth to tell them their god had a son, but deception, because it is a lie. It is calling the God of the Bible another god. Should Christians accept all the cultures as equal in their religious practices? The Bible repeats over and over, from the beginning, there is no God like YHWH. He alone is God, which is in direct contradistinction to the gods of the nations (Deut. 12:2). The true God said they were not Himself:

Joshua 23:7: 'You shall not make mention of the names of their gods'

Why Because they were false gods. The draw of worshipping other gods was too great at times. The gods of the nations, in ancient times, were not the same as the God of the Bible. God,
Yahweh Elohim of the Bible, specifically took a single person (Abram) and made a nation from him among all nations. . . .

It should be apparent that Zeus, Ra, Krishna or any other ancient supreme being is not YHWH, the God of the Bible. This is primarily because of their different nature and actions, and most importantly because God Himself says so. . . . Only by reducing the God of the Bible to the lowest common denominator--calling Him the supreme God over creation and ignoring other contradictory details--can they find similarity to these ancient stories. (pp. 130-131)

Simpson and Oppenheimer devote an entire chapter ("Golden Calf Evangelism," 10) to what is called "inclusive evangelism," i.e., "referring to national gods as the true God with different names" (p. 168). Oppenheimer wrote:

I recently heard a series of programs with Daniel Kikawa being interviewed by Danny Lehmann director of YWAM in Hawaii (who is on YWAM's governing board) on the local Christian radio station. What I heard was extremely disturbing, problematic and some of it was rank heresy. The message was clear -- tell people they can keep their supreme god's name, in their culture, and add Jesus into the equation" (p. 168). . . .

This is the basis for [Kikawa's] evangelism--telling people their god[s] (of their nation, culture or tribe) had a son and that their god's son (of their nation) is Jesus Christ. (p. 169)

There are many so-called evangelists advancing a synthesis gospel, which consists of an inclusive message. Kikawa has now expanded his concept of 'Io of the Hawaiian people being the true God (the same as the God of Israel). Now he applies it to the cultures/nations of the world. This shows me how far removed he is from a Biblical worldview. This gospel formula of inclusivism has no limits and can be made to fit anyone or anything. It turns into a customized universalist view of nations." (p. 173)

What Kikawa has done is try to have the Church accept foreign gods as the true one, constructing a hybrid form of Christianity." (p. 192)

By adding Jesus to these religions' god[s] you have stepped into acceptance of a universalist view of God." (p. 193)

One of the niftiest features of Simpson and Oppenheimer's book Idolatry In Their Hearts is that it proves to be an apologetic work that refutes these emergent heresies. As the authors write extensively about the perversion of the simplicity of the Gospel of salvation within the Island culture, they also painstakingly record the true Biblical record, which very effectually refutes these heresies. The age-old problem that ancient Israel had with the co-mingling of pagan deities and worship systems is being revived in our era. And Scripture speaks to it. Here is a brief sample of the excellent apologetics in this book:

The name (YHWH) Yahweh was used over 6,000 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. It is unthinkable that God would allow His people to call upon Him by another culture's god's name (as He knows that it is not Him) and make believe it is Him. The Gentile nations named their own gods. God did not reveal Himself to them. The name is not correct if the name is not revealed by God to man, for God's Name reveals Who He is in His nature and character.

Exod. 20:3-5:
'You shall have no other gods before Me.'

God recognized the nations had other gods. If what Kikawa is saying is true, then we can throw out the whole Old Testament, forget it ever happened.

Deut. 4:39:
'that the LORD Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other,'

Deut 5:7:
'You shall have no other gods before Me.'

Exod. 18:11:
'Now I know that the LORD is greater than all the gods'

Jer. 22:9:
'Then they will answer, 'Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD their God, and worshiped other gods and served them.'

Josh. 23:3:
'You have seen all that the LORD your God has done to all these nations because of you, for the LORD your God is He who has fought for you.'

Obviously, God did not think these supreme gods were just different names for Himself. God even destroyed a number of these nations that Kikawa would find had supreme beings. Not just any god that is called supreme or the most high can be acceptable, but only the One that actually is. . . . God revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush.

God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites; "I am has sent me to you."' (Exod. 3:14). 'I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD, I was not known to them' (Exod. 6:3)

This is critical. What He is saying is that there was an intimacy in relationship that they did not have before that is now being made known to Moses and to Israel by His Name. The Name 'I AM' expresses the fact that He is the infinite and personal God that is the Alpha and Omega. The use of the name Yahweh would be in reference to the national covenant into which He was about to enter with Israel (Exodus 6:7)

Exod. 6:1-9)
'I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be your God.'

He is going to fulfill His promises given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He would be known as the God of Israel that delivered them with power, who provides for them and has a relationship with them like no other nation or culture enjoyed. When Moses wrote down the record given to him, he did not write God Almighty but Yahweh-Elohim, the self-existing One that will do whatever is needed. The first time Moses uses this name in Scripture is in Gen. 2:4:

"This is the history of the heaven and earth when they were created in the day when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.'

This makes the point that it is this God who made the heavens and the earth, Israel's God, not the other gods of the nations. There is no other God in history that was ever considered to be the same God that chose Israel and sent the Messiah. (p. 215-216)

The Truth:

"For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever." (Micah 4:5)