KNOW THE PLAYERS – Christianity vs Paganism

It may seem strange to use the word, “Pagan”, to describe someone or an entire group of people. It is such a misunderstood and archaic term. But it is exactly the right word to use here.

Pagans are diverse and varied people. The term Pagan comes from the Latin word paganus, which means “country dweller”; paganism can refer to polytheism, (the belief in many gods), or the worship of more than one god, such as in ancient Rome. A pagan is also considered to be one who, for the most part, has no religion and indulges in worldly delights and material possessions; someone who revels in sensual pleasures; a hedonistic or self-indulgent individual.

Another, more modern term is neo-paganism, which refers to some of the contemporary forms of paganism such as Wicca, Druidry, and Gwyddon.

Modern “pagan” practices are actually similar to their ancient counterparts in that they rely heavily on hedonism—sensual gratification and self-indulgence and the pursuit of happiness and pleasure to the exclusion of everything else. In ancient times, sexual ceremonies were a major part of pagan religions. The Old Testament references these perverted religions in such passages as Deuteronomy 23:17, Amos 2:7–8, and Isaiah 57:7–8.

Though they are numerous and varied in their practices and beliefs, pagans do hold to some similar beliefs. For example:

  • The physical world is a good place, one to be taken pleasure in by everyone.
    • Everyone is considered to be part of this Mother Earth.
    • Divinity reveals itself in every facet of the world.
    • Every being, man and animal, is a derivative of the Divine. As such, all are gods and goddess.
    • Most pagan religions do not have gurus or messiahs.
    • Doctrine is superseded by one’s own responsibility.
    • Solar and lunar cycles are significant in pagan worship.

From a Christian viewpoint, pagans are generally characterized as those who are caught up in any religious ceremony, act, or practice that is not distinctly Christian. Correspondingly, Jews and Muslims also use the term pagans to describe those outside their religion. Others define the term paganism as any religion outside of Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Christianity; whereas some argue that a pagan is anyone with no religion at all.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Furthermore, since they, (pagans), did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:28).

In spite of common assumptions, most pagan worshipers claim they don’t believe in Satan. However, there’s no question that Satan is their chief source of influence and control. Though they will deny it, they deify him in their worldly and sensual practices. Paul tells us plainly how Satan works in the lives of people without God, through his power, his signs, his deceit, and his lies:

Finally, Pagans can seem to be good guys, too, (although a lot of ‘good guys and gals’ won’t escape the coming wrath). Let’s remember, as Christians, our quarrel is not with the flesh and blood person. Our quarrel is with “the rulers, the powers, the world forces of darkness, the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” that directs their thoughts and actions.

This can be a tough distinction to make when you are face-to-face with a quarrelsome and antagonistic person or when interacting with a ‘free spirit’ type who lives only for fun and pleasure and finds any discipline too restrictive. It helps to relax and remember, “IT IS GOD’S JOB TO SAVE THEM”. You and I are just the messenger.

Now, how about CHRISTIANITY?

Biblically speaking, Christians are those who are forgiven of their sins and who have entered a personal relationship with Almighty God through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9; Romans 10:9–10). In order to become a Christian, a person must fully accept as part of his or her own personal worldview the following core beliefs:

Let’s simplify this. A Christian is a disciple, a student and a follower of Jesus. A Christian “get’s up-close and personal” with Jesus. They follow Him around in order to learn to think like Him in order to be like Him. They are recognized as having been with Jesus and the longer you are with Him, something amazing happens. The Spirit of God takes up residence within your mind, heart, soul and spirit and you are no longer your own. You are His.

So, when encountering a Pagan, you will find they are a lot like you in many ways. On the other hand, they are nothing like you. To avoid confusion, just stay focused on Jesus. Show interest in the person you encounter, but always remember, you are ON MISSION with JesusA.

CAN YOU BE BOTH CHRISTIAN AND PAGAN? 

Finally, can you profess Christianity and still hold on to some of the traits and practices of Paganism?  (Be honest with yourself here.) Many confessing Christians do that very thing. They actually say one thing and then do both! So, what does that mean for you?

First, you may find it helpful to compare the two.

PAGANISM as contrasted to CHRISTIANITY

  • The physical world is a good place, one to be taken pleasure in by everyone.
  • The physical world is fallen and, for now, is ruled by Satan. (1 John 5:19)
  • There is pleasure to be found in the world, but as Christians we are strangers to this world, scattered about, being distressed by various trials for the proving of our faith until Jesus returns. (1 Peter 1:1-9, Matthew 24:29-31)
  • Divinity reveals itself in every facet of the world.
  • The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun. (Psalms 19:1-4), but the Bible says we are to worship only God, and not to worship His creation (Romans 1:25).
  • Every being, man and animal, is a derivative of the Divine. As such, all are gods and goddess.
  • We are made in the image of God but with a flaw and afflicted by the curse of sin and condemned to eternal damnation. It is only by being born again by the Spirit of God by His grace and great mercy and through our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, are we to be saved from destruction.
  • Some false religions and cults teach that we are ‘made in his image’ and that we become like gods. This is a twisting, a misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the Bible which says ‘we will become like Him’.
  • Doctrine is superseded by one’s own responsibility.
  • There is a way that seems right to a person, but ends in death. (Proverbs 14:12)
  • Our good deeds are no better than filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6)
  • God will judge us by our deeds. (Romans 2:6)

God says, “I Am a jealouse God”, and that Christians shall have no other god. This is an absolute. Still, many indulge themselves in forms of hedonism and spiritual duality. Playing on God’s Grace at this point is a dangerous game. Beware.

Again, scriptures say, “There is a way that seems right to a person, but ends in death.” Proverbs 14:12).

The Apostle Paul emphasizes “the whole counsel of God” as a way to affirm the completion of his duties toward the Ephesians and to remind them of the Truth, WHICH IS ALSO OURS TO AFFIRM TO THE WORLD AROUND US.

Paul warns, “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!” (Acts 20:29–31).

The whole counsel of God includes some things that are difficult to hear—the fact that we are dead in sin and deserving of God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:1–3) and the fact that we cannot save ourselves through works (Ephesians 2:8–9). The gospel is a call to repentance and faith. Believers will face persecution (John 16:33) and likely be considered foolish. But none of these things can dissuade us.

We should follow Paul’s example and also preach and live the whole counsel of God. All Scripture is inspired, and all of it is profitable (2 Timothy 3:16). We must preach it and live it in its entirety and allow the Holy Spirit to use His sword as He sees fit (Ephesians 6:17). Paul did not share half-truths or only parts of the gospel; rather, he shared all of what God has revealed. We must do the same. (see GotQuestions.Org)

The Bible warns us of this ‘Deluding Influence’, “the mystery of lawlessness which is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He, (The Holy Spirit), is removed. Then that lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will eliminate with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not accept the love of the truth so as to be saved.  For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,  in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.” (2 Thesslonians 2:7-12)

In these Last Days, as the Bible says, the spirit of antichrist is present. False christs and false prophets will arise and will provide great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.

We must hold fast to the example of sound words which we have heard and in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

Jesus says, I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 

Let’s not forget to pray for one another as the Day of our Lord draws near.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

 

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