Glenn Ahrens: (302) 761-3286
Since the beginning of time gods of been worshiped by every tribe and nation on earth. Most of the time there was a very distinct hierarchy to the importance and power of the gods. The same was true in the Roman Empire. The Romans believed in many different gods and goddesses. For everything imaginable they had a god or goddess in charge. The Romans indeed had hundreds of different gods. As Rome grew into a city and began to become more powerful it came into contact with the Greeks and others each of whom had a complex Pantheon of their own. As the Roman Empire grew it adopted the gods of each of the nations is conquered sometimes combining them with their own if they were similar.
The land of Canaan (Israel) has been called the “sacred bridge,” a strip of land that connects two and later three worlds. In ancient times it was the only way to travel between Egypt, Mesopotamia, and to Rome from Egypt, since a more direct route through the Arabian Desert or the Mediterranean Sea was impractical if not impossible. The pagan gods were an integral part of every community. There were the gods that ruled over the entire empire, each province, and each town had their own gods that were an integral part of the culture. It was impossible to live in these towns without the strong influence of the gods that dominated the culture.
Sadly, the whole of biblical history is punctuated by the numerous times the people of God turned away from him to engage in the worship of a strange god or goddess. People in the lands surrounding Israel had deities that continually tempted the Israelites to turn from their own God. God clearly commanded the descendants of Abraham not to have any other gods besides him ( Exodus 20:3 ). This strict, undivided loyalty was the basis of the covenant relationship God established between himself and the people of Israel.
In 2 Corinthians 10:12 (NASB). Paul writes “For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding”. Here Paul is warning us not to judge ourselves by those in the world or our teachers, but only by the standards set forward by God. Way too often we take the doctrine of our particular faith and/or what we learned in seminary as the absolute truth. In 1 John 4:1 he writes “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world”. These are just two quotes about testing the spirits. The apostle Paul was always warning the churches that he wrote to about making sure the accuracy of everything they are told. Today, as pastors, we are obligated to check everything we teach with the Bible, even if he learned it in seminary or other scholastic training, making sure that it is accurate. We also must make sure that we are using an accurate version of the Bible and not one that’s highly interpretive. Do not forget what it says in Matthew 18:6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea”.
This is a very stern warning that we should take very seriously.
This should be the same with traditions. So many times I have heard people say, “this is the way we’ve always done it in our family”, “it is what they taught us in church”, or another expression that indicates that it is always been done that way in the church for centuries therefore has to be right. At this point I need to reiterate and to make it clear that I am not targeting any one faith or set of traditions. In my life I have seen so many traditions being practiced by Christians that are totally pagan in nature which is made me very aware of how easily we can fall into non-Christian habits.
America has now become the “Promised Land” of the world. No other country in the world has a reputation that we do as “the Land of Opportunity”. People will literally go to any extent, even risk their own life, to get to the United States of America. This has made us a very diverse country with people from every nation and background living here. We have become very much like “the sacred bridge” of Israel and that we have every faith and religion including the occult living in our nation. I have no problem with this except that those of us that call ourselves Christians must remember that although we live in the world we are not to be of the world. Christianity has allowed itself to be influenced by the world therefore compromising our beliefs. What started out as “One Nation under God” is now just one nation. Since the 1960s government has gradually been removing God from the nation. We need to work to return our great country back to the principles on which it was founded that has made it the greatest nation in the world. If you do not believe that, then why does everyone else want to come here.
Remember, there are two places in this world, if we take away God as taught in Scripture, we risk going to hell.
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