The DaVinci Inquest part 6
Sex and the Goddess
by Greg Hanson
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
June 18, 2006

 

Main Passage: Hebrews 13:1-9 (NLT)

 

Last week we started to talk about what Dan Brown in The DaVinci Code calls “the Sacred Feminine.” And we looked at how he used that term in reference to women. He claims that women have been oppressed and destroyed by the Church whereas Pagan religions and Gnosticism elevate them. And what we discovered by looking at Scripture and history is that the complete opposite is true. Paganism and Gnosticism actually demean women, treating them only as inferior property and as objects for sexual fulfillment. Jesus, the Bible and the Church, on the other hand, elevate women and acknowledge that men and women, though we are different, are created equal and we all have intrinsic value because of that. Jesus Himself set the example by esteeming women and including them as His followers… something unheard of in the first century. And there are several examples of honoured women both in Scripture and throughout Church history.

Oh, there are exceptions to that. We talked about that, too. We saw how there have been some embarrassing episodes and eras in Church History when women were not treated with dignity and respect. But we also saw that while those exceptions exist and are inexcusable, they are not even close to the levels that Dan Brown claims in The DaVinci Code. And we even saw, despite these exceptions, that Christian influence is the primary reason that women experience their right to vote today. Whenever Christianity has been introduced into a society, women have been uplifted.

All of that was last week as we talked about the Sacred Feminine as it relates to women. If you missed that message, you can read or listen to it on our website, just like you can with all the messages from this series. But there’s another way in which Dan Brown uses that term, too. In addition to using “Sacred Feminine” to define women, he uses it in reference to goddess worship… worship of female gods. Both in the book and in interviews, Dan Brown has talked about ancient pagan religions which included goddess worship, and he has expressed a desire to return to those days. He also claims that goddess worship was part of ancient Judaism and early Christianity, and sex rituals were part of their worship. And then he accuses the Church of wiping out goddess worship and suppressing the Sacred Feminine because the male leaders in the early church felt threatened by it. He believes the men forced a power play so that they could have control.

So that’s what we’re going to talk about this week… Sex and the Goddess. In Dan Brown’s eyes, these are tied together, and so we’re going to address both of them this morning. And let’s begin by looking at one of the claims of the book. In the book, Robert Langdon is a Harvard professor and he explains…

Goddess Worship:

 

“Early Jews believed that the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s Temple housed not only God but also His powerful female equal, Shekinah. Men seeking spiritual wholeness came to the Temple to visit priestesses— or hierodules— with whom they made love and experienced the divine through physical union. The Jewish tetragrammaton YHWH— the sacred name of God— in fact derived from Jehovah, an androgynous physical union between the masculine Jah and the pre-Hebraic name for Eve, Havah.”
~ The DaVinci Code, p. 309

 

Okay, well, let’s just start with a fact check… just to get a couple things out of the way. The word Shekinah… what is it? What does it mean? Well, Shekinah was not a word found in any Jewish Scripture. That means it’s not in our Old Testament, either. And remember, we have manuscripts dating back to well before Dan Brown claims the Christian Church edited the Scriptures. The word Shekinah was never used in any Jewish or Christian Scripture.

Where it was used, was in some later Jewish textbooks or commentaries explaining the Scriptures. But even then, it’s never used as a name. The word itself means “glory” or “radiance” or “presence”, and it was used to refer to the visible examples of the presence of God. For example, when the Israelites were led through the wilderness by a cloud or by a pillar of fire, that was the Shekinah or the visible presence of the glory of God. When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, that was the Shekinah or the visible presence of God.

Now, the word Shekinah is a feminine word. But that doesn’t mean anything. If you remember studying French is school, you’ll remember that in many languages there are words that are masculine or feminine, and it doesn’t matter what the context is. For example, a book in French is masculine… “un livre”. It could be a Harlequin romance novel, and it’s still “un livre”. So the word Shekinah was never even used as a name, let alone as a name for a goddess.

But there’s another word that Dan Brown refers to that we do use as a name. It’s the name Jehovah. Would it surprise you to learn that Jehovah is not actually the name of God, though? Let me back up. In the Old Testament, God gave us His Personal Name, which is really unpronounceable so we call it the tetragrammaton, or “the word with four letters”. Here it is… YHWH. We don’t really know the pronunciation, but a common rendering is Yahweh. And it’s used more than 6800 times in the Hebrew Bible. Remember the commandment about not misusing the name of God or taking it in vain? Well, the Jews were so scared of doing that that they refused to even attempt it. Instead, they would substitute the word “Adonai” which means “My Lord”.

Well, sometime in the first century, a group called the Masoretes started to take the markings for the vowels from Adonai and added them to YHWH to remind themselves to say “Adonai” when reading the Scriptures in public. Then, when it was being translated into English, the translators were not aware of this and thus mixed the consonants and vowels together to come up with something like Yahovah, which with transliteration became Jehovah. But it wasn’t even a word until at least the 13th century, and wasn’t common until the 16th century.

[The Jewish tetragrammaton YHWH— the sacred name of God— in fact derived from Jehovah, an androgynous physical union between the masculine Jah and the pre-Hebraic name for Eve, Havah.”

So let’s go back to Dan Brown’s claim. And again, this is just to be factual. He says that the tetragrammaton came from the name Jehovah. Actually, the opposite is true.

And I don’t even know where he’s getting the idea that Jehovah is a combination of Jah and Havah. Besides, Eve’s name was actually Hawâ, (yes, pronounced Havah), and it’s in Hebrew. I don’t know what he’s referring to when he says it’s pre-Hebraic.

All right, now we can talk about Dan Brown’s claims about goddess worship among the ancient Jews and early Christians. In the quote we looked at earlier, he claimed that early Jews believed that the Holy of Holies, or the innermost and most sacred place in Solomon’s Temple, was the dwelling place for two deities… God and His female counterpart, Shekinah. We’ve already established that Shekinah wasn’t the name of any goddess. But still, did the Jews worship a female goddess?

Well, the simple answer is, “no.” It was never part of Jewish belief that there was a female goddess.

But that’s a little too simple of an answer. Because the truth is, there were times when the Jews did worship goddesses in the Jewish temple. But what you need to understand is that it was never part of Judaism. It only took place when the Jews turned their backs on Judaism and decided to indulge in the Pagan religions of the surrounding peoples. Hold on to that… we’ll come back to it.

The fact is, Judaism is and always has been monotheistic. That means, they believe in only one God. And that goes back to the earliest Jewish Scriptures…

Exodus 20:1-3 (NLT)
Then God instructed the people as follows: “I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in Egypt. Do not worship any other gods besides me.”

And as for the early Christians, Jesus Himself said…

Mark 12:29-30 (NLT)
“The most important commandment is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God…”

He’s the one and only Lord… there’s only one God. But Dan Brown would argue that a male God needs a female counterpart. But the Bible doesn’t teach that. Instead, it teaches something much more radical. Not that God is a boy, and that in order to balance it out, He needs a wife, but that God Himself is the fullness of maleness and femaleness together. Now, we call him “He” because we don’t have a personal pronoun for “it”. An “it” would be a non-person, and so that won’t work. And so we refer to God as “He” and “Him.” And we even call Him “Father.” But that does not mean that He is male. In Him is wrapped up everything it means to be male and female. And that’s not a new teaching. That’s traditional Church and basic Bible teaching.

Genesis 1:27 (NLT)
So God created people in his own image; God patterned them after himself; male and female he created them.

So both men and women are made in His image. God is the fullness of what it means to be male and female. God is not a male God who needs a wife to be complete. God is complete in and of Himself.


But even so, Dan Brown’s not completely wrong about the early Christians. I’m sure some of them did worship other gods and goddesses, too. Remember, many of the people who were becoming Christians had been active in worshipping in Pagan religions. For example, in the city of Corinth, there were temples to the gods Poseidon, Apollo, and Hermes as well as the goddesses of Isis and Aphrodite, plus several others. In Ephesus, Paul incited a riot among the worshippers of the goddess Artemis, because they were afraid of losing their influence and the idol-makers were afraid of losing their jobs.

So, many people coming to Christianity were coming out of pagan belief systems. And I’m sure it was difficult for some of them. I’m sure some of them went back and forth for a bit. But understand, it was never part of Christian teaching to worship two gods.

Of course, the Gnostics also worshipped multiple gods. But their theology emerged later and was never accepted by the Christian church.

 

The Bible On Sex:

So what about this whole thing of sacred sex rituals? We’ve already read the claim that men would come to the temple and have sex with priestesses in order to encounter God. Here’s what else The DaVinci Code says…
 

The once hallowed act of Hieros Gamos— the natural sexual union between man and woman through which each became spiritually whole— had been recast as a shameful act. Holy men who had once required sexual union with their female counterparts to commune with God now feared their natural sexual urges as the work of the devil, collaborating with his favorite accomplice... woman.
~ The DaVinci Code, p. 125-126
 

“…Hieros Gamos had nothing to do with eroticism. It was a spiritual act. Historically, intercourse was the act through which male and female experienced God… By communing with woman… man could achieve a climactic instant when his mind went totally blank and he could see God… For obvious reasons, [the Church] worked hard to demonize sex and recast it as a disgusting and sinful act.”
~ The DaVinci Code, p. 309

 

Well here’s a talk I never thought I’d have to give. But here we go. According to The DaVinci Code, sex was a form of worship called Hieros Gamos practiced by ancient Jews in the Temple and even by early Christians, and it was a way for them to encounter God. If you’ve read the book, then you know that according to Dan Brown, a couple would have sex while others stood around and watched. And according to Brown, the male-dominated early Church was threatened by this and set out to suppress it.

Well, first of all, if this really was a valid form of communing with God, then just being a guy, I don’t think it would have been oppressed. That just doesn’t make sense to me. I mean, it could be quite a drawing card. And it was a common practice in most pagan religions.

But the truth is, it was not a Jewish practice. In fact, the Old Testament clearly forbade the Jews from participating in any such practices.

Deuteronomy 23:17 (NLT)
“No Israelite man or woman may ever become a temple prostitute.”

But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try it. Remember, there were other people in the area who had their own religions. And periodically, the Jews abandoned their beliefs in order to try out some of those pagan belief systems. One example would be when they turned away from worshipping God and began to worship Baal and Asherah. But then, King Josiah came along and brought the people back to God again…

2 Kings 23:4,7 (NLT)
Then the king instructed Hilkiah the high priest and the leading priests and the Temple gatekeepers to remove from the LORD’s Temple all the utensils that were used to worship Baal, Asherah, and all the forces of heaven. The king had all these things burned…
He also tore down the houses of the shrine prostitutes that were inside the Temple of the LORD…

So yes, the Israelites did participate in a form of Hieros Gamos, but certainly not as any form of Judaism. It was only when they turned to Pagan worship themselves.

And let’s consider the New Testament setting. At that time, sex was still a common form of worship in the existing pagan religions… especially in cases like the worship of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. According to some ancient texts, a temple of Aphrodite stood on top of this hill in Corinth (the Acrocorinth) and at one time employed 1000 prostitutes. And perhaps there were people who went back and forth for a while… intrigued by the emerging Christianity but not wanting to give up their old gods and goddesses. And so it’s to the Corinthian Church that Paul wrote… as early as the mid 50s…

1 Corinthians 6:15-20 (NLT)
Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which belongs to Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! And don’t you know that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.” But the person who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Or don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

Does that sound like an endorsement of sex rituals and temple prostitution to you? In fact, nowhere in the Bible is there any secret sex ritual or manipulative technique that we’re told to use in order to achieve an altered state of consciousness and experience God.

Yet Dan Brown sees validity in certain sexual rituals that play out more like orgies than anything else. And he accuses the Church of demonizing sexuality and suppressing it and treating it as shameful. Is that really what we believe? Is that how the Bible presents sex? What does the Bible say about sex?

 

The Bible’s View on Sex:

  • Adam and Eve were naked, came together as “one flesh” and felt no shame. (Genesis 2:24-25)

    This means physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological, and mental oneness. And God ordains this. It’s a holy, righteous, and sacred act between a husband and a wife. Yes, this was before sin entered the world. But this is the ideal. God designated sex as a beautiful union between a husband and a wife. It was pure, and it was good.
     

  • Song of Solomon is a love manual for married couples.

    Every married couple should read this Old Testament book together. It talks openly about the intimacy and beauty of sex within the marriage relationship.
     

  • Hebrews 13:4 talks about keeping the marriage bed pure.

    Again, sex is a pure and righteous act within the context of marriage.

 

So those are just a few examples of how the Bible portrays sexuality as an incredibly beautiful gift from God. It’s not something to be ashamed of; it’s something to be celebrated. It is a wonderful, sacred gift. And it should be treated with respect.

Now, you wouldn’t expect to go to the Charlottetown Mall, walk in, and find a bunch of people having sex, would you? Why not? Because even in our sex-obsessed culture there are boundaries. Well, sexual expression is a wonderful thing, and God has set up boundaries so that it can be experienced safely and respectfully and to the greatest enjoyment. The most obvious boundary, of course, is marriage.

I was sitting in Tim Horton’s the other day preparing for this morning. And while I was there, a friend of mine came over to me… I haven’t seen her in months… and we chatted for a couple of minutes before she headed out again. She’s not married, but now has two children. And after she was gone, I looked down and realized what I was reading when she came over… I was reading this article entitled, “Sex is Better in Marriage”. Good timing, eh? Well, I want to read some of it to you this morning…
 

Although sexual expression outside of marriage has all the promises of great pleasure, it also has even greater amounts of pain due to the consequences… While it may seem that sexual purity is an antiquated concept to many in contemporary society, it is a brilliant idea designed to protect us all from wounding. Those who violate the sanctity of sexual expression before marriage might be more likely to violate the sanctity of sex after marriage… History is replete with examples of people who violated the bonds of marriage and regretted it profusely. It is not by accident that surveys indicate that the most fulfilled sexual partners are those within the context of marriage…
Surveys confirm that a biblical view of sexuality, that is, within the marriage covenant, enhances fulfillment. A Family Research Council survey revealed that 72 percent of all married “traditionalists” (those who “strongly” believe out-of-wedlock sex is wrong) report high sexual satisfaction. This is roughly 31 percentage points higher than the level registered by unmarried “non-traditionalists” (those who have no or only some objection to sex outside of marriage)…
This survey confirms an earlier and larger survey conducted by Redbook magazine during the mid-1970s that include responses from 100,000 women. The survey indicated that women who were sexually active at age fifteen were more likely to express dissatisfaction with their current sex lives than those who refrained from early sexual involvement. It also found that strictly monogamous women experienced orgasm during sex more than twice as often as promiscuous women. And it found that highly religious women were less likely to engage in sex prior to marriage and more likely to describe their sex lives as “good” or “very good” than moderately- or non-religious women.
~ from Sex is Better in Marriage, by James Garlow
www.jimgarlow.com/cdvcode/App-C_sexinmarriage.pdf
 

So if you’re married, go at it. If you’re not, then cherish and protect the purity of this wonderful gift until such a time as you can enjoy it fully in a marriage relationship.

The Church… the Bible… is distinctively pro-sex and sexual expression. Oh, there have been specific people in Church history who spoke very negatively about sex. But that has not been the message of the larger Church, and it certainly isn’t the message of the Bible. The Bible is pro-sex.

The world, on the other hand, is decimating to it. The world encourages sex to be abused and misused so that it loses it’s value, it’s tarnished, it leads to heart-ache and devastation, there are distortions of sexuality that are addictive, and the end result is that it’s just not enjoyable anymore. And there are religious groups that abuse sexuality… you see a list of examples in your notes…
 

• Followers of Adi Da (aka Franklin Jones)
• Inner circle in Sai Baba movement
(Indian religion)
• Core members of the Family International
(Flirty fishing – evangelism through sex)
• Various pagan and witchcraft groups
• Buddhist and Hindu tantric groups
• Harley “SwiftDeer” Reagan
(Native American New Age Cult)
• Abusive priests, pastors, gurus, etc.
 

And so there are real threats to sexuality… abuses from other people and even in the context of religious cults. While sexuality is a beautiful gift, it needs to be protected. So in your notes, you can write this in the margin…
 

We should celebrate sex while remaining cautious about relational and religious abuse.

 

Paganism Today:

Now, let’s shift gears a bit. We’ve spent a lot of this morning talking about Paganism and comparing it to Christianity. Why does all this matter? I mean, isn’t Paganism just an ancient problem? What is Paganism, anyway? Well, there are several definitions of Paganism. But basically, for our purposes…

Paganism is a term for polytheistic (many gods and/or goddesses) or nature-worshipping religions with ancient roots, and includes such branches as the occult, New Age, and Gnosticism.

And I’ve got to tell you, Paganism is not just a problem for 2000 years ago; it’s a problem today. Particularly in the past 20-25 years, there’s been an upsurge of paganism, and its influence can be seen throughout our culture. Our society is much more spiritual today than it was 25 years ago, but it’s a whole lot less Christian. And for the most part, the spirituality that people are turning to is a revival of ancient religions. If you doubt this, then tomorrow morning go to the closest bookstore and go the religion & spirituality section. How many books do you think you’ll find that uphold the Bible as the Word of God? Very few. Mostly, you’ll find rows or tables filled with books that are distinctly opposed to the God of the Bible.

Or consider the media… Sabrina the Teenaged Witch, Charmed, Ghost Whisperer, The Craft, Practical Magic, Underworld… they all deal with spiritual themes which aren’t exactly Christian. Even The Lion King portrays God as an impersonal force tying everything together. Pocahontas teaches that God is the spirit of nature which inhabits all things. Even Star Wars, which I enjoy, pushes the Buddhist notion of spiritual energy. It’s in our literature, it’s in our movies, it’s in our music… our world is a much more spiritual world, but a whole lot less Christian.

You even see this among environmentalists. Now, God did instruct us to care for nature. We should protect the environment. That’s a good thing. So keep on separating your waste from your compost… as if you have any choice. We are to care for nature, but we are not to worship nature. But many have crossed that line.

Now, in case you think I’m just imagining it all…

  • This coming Wednesday will be the Summer Solstice. And you know Stonehenge? Every year for the solstice it’s closed down for Pagan festivals to take place there. 30,000 people will gather at Stonehenge this Tuesday and Wednesday to participate.
     

  • During my lifetime, Iceland, Norway and Denmark have all officially recognized neopagan religions worshipping Viking gods such as Odin and Thor.
     

  • In the US, there’s a brand new Center for the Sacred Feminine in San Diego, and another one in Arizona. And every year about the time of the Autumn Equinox, there are Pagan Pride Parades happening in various locations throughout North America.

But in case you think we’re unaffected here in Canada, I did a simple search online this week for paganism in Canada, and it didn’t take me long to compile a whole list of official Pagan organizations and conferences in Canada… most of them formed just in the past 15-20 years.
 

  • Wic-Can Fest will be held this week to coincide with the Solstice in Mansfield, Ontario.
     

  • And then the next week, the Awakening Isis Festival gets underway in Danford Lake in Quebec. This is from their website… “We welcome you to join us in our reverent search to re-connect with Nature. The Divine origin of all life. Nature is beautiful, magical and also Life. In Nature, there are no lies.” So you see what they’re doing, right? They are taking all the qualities of God and attributing them to nature, which they worship. There’s another quote on their website… “There in the beginning was Isis. Oldest of the old, she was the goddess from whom all Becoming arose. She was the Great Lady- Mistress of the Two Lands of Egypt, Mistress of Shelter, Mistress of Heaven, Mistress of the House of Life, mistress of the Word of God. She was the Unique. In all her great and wonderful works she was a wiser magician and more excellent than any other god.”
     

  • The Gathering for Life on Earth Pagan Festival runs from August 4-7. According to their website, “The Gathering for Life on Earth is a Pagan religious retreat which aims to foster religious discussion amongst the Pagan community. There will be interesting workshops and rituals, a Kids’ Area with lots of fun activities, and, of course, a fabulous menu… Besides traditional (and not so traditional) rituals, much more will be happening.” That’s about an hour north of Vancouver.
     

  • And running at the same time in Alberta will be PanFest VII. From their website: “This year the theme is “Spirit in me”. Paganism is a way for many folks to connect directly with the Divine, as well as a way to explore avenues of personal growth… There will be a PanFest Kids Area with lots of fun kid-style activities, several interesting workshops, and of course a fabulous menu provided by our elves, under the command of Logan Stardust.”
     

  • The Kaleidoscope Gathering is another Pagan conference that will be held this August in Whispering Pines near the Quebec / Ontario border.
     

  • Harvestfest is a Pagan Festival coming up this Fall about an hour and a half drive to the north of Toronto.
     

  • Also in Ontario, you can find the Dancing Lights Protogrove. They are a druid organization in the Eastern Toronto area. And they’ve now started a children’s program called Faery Lights Circle where children can learn druid lessons and rituals.
     

  • Then there’s the Wiccan Church of Canada. Here’s their description of themselves from their website… “Wicca is an initiatory, oathbound mystery religion which is polytheistic, honouring a variety of gods and goddesses but also dualistic, seeing individual deities, at least to some extent, as aspects of one God and one Goddess and pantheistic, viewing divinity as immanent within the natural world. It centres around the mysteries contained within the Charge of the Goddess and the Legend of the Descent of the Goddess and encompasses the practice of magic as well as religious devotion.
     

  • And then there’s Spirit Haven in Winnipeg, Manitoba. According to their website, “We are a Contemporary Formal Initiatory Wiccan Tradition, whose focus is self-knowledge, personal growth, and putting theory into action… Spirit-Haven currently holds the following Open events each month:
    Chant Magick - intensely focused Chant from a variety of spiritual traditions. 1st Monday of the month.
    Full Circle Community Singing and Drumming. 3rd Monday of each Month.
     

  • Plus there’s the Toronto Pagan Conference is an annual event happening in March.
     

  • And there’s a national Pagan Federation of Canada.
     

  • I even saw on the Internet that there’s a “Sacred Feminine” award which is given to selected websites.

Oh, and in case you think all of this is a Western Canada problem, about a month ago there was the Gaia Gathering in Halifax at St. Mary’s University. That was a national conference...

  • And this August, while some of us are at the Leadership Summit in Moncton, the Avalon East Pagan Gathering will be taking place in Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia. According to their website, this “is an annual outdoor event held by and for pagans and other followers of Earth-centered spiritualities, and those interested in learning more about them. Something between a campout, small open air festival and three-day church picnic for heathens and astrologers, each year the Gathering welcomes people from all over the Maritimes, Central Canada and beyond… The 2006 Gathering will be held on August 11, 12, and 13, a little before the full moon and once again during the Perseid meteor showers!
    The people who have attended the Gathering since its inception in 1995 have so far numbered between a hundred and a two hundred each year, and come from all corners of the diverse Pagan community. Witches and shamans; Druids and Asatru; diviners and craftsfolk; natural philosophers and organic gardeners; lifelong practitioners and curious seekers; all these and many more are present…"
     

  • Of course, this festival is hosted by The Maritime Pagan Gathering Festival Association, which claims “It’s main purpose is to establish and organize pagan festivals and gatherings in the Maritimes… Another goal… is to help educate the general public about paganism…” They continue, “we often use the term “Pagan” to describe who we are. Yet many paths run beneath. We include: Pagans and Heathens, Shamanics and Gnostics and Wiccans and Druids. We have those that follow the Traditions of the Celts, Greco-Romans, Egyptians and others. Witches pass among us and wanderers who have yet to see their way with clarity, have found a home with us.

 

And there are several more. And those are just the official Pagan events and organizations. Paganism is emerging everywhere. Russ Wise of Christian Information Ministries wrote about the ancient Gnostic goddess of wisdom, Sophia, and concluded…

“The Goddess Sophia has gained notice in recent years through the Re-Imaging Movement. This movement has made inroads into many Christian denominations: United Methodist, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, United Church of Christ, Baptist, Episcopalian, Mennonite, United Church of Canada, the church of the Brethren and the Church Women United. This movement to establish the Goddess Sophia as a co-equal to God has its origin in ancient Gnosticism and is now being reintroduced to a new audience…”
~ Russ Wise
http://www.christianinformation.org/article.asp?artID=105

In November 1993, the World Council of Churches sponsored a Re-imaging conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Some 2,000 women “seeking to change Christianity” attended, and the most radical women in apostate Christendom pontificated on every sort of weird and unscriptural subject imaginable. Speakers included Chung Hyung Kyung, Korean “theologian” who equates the Holy Spirit with ancient Asian deities; Virginia Mollenkott, an avowed pro-abortion lesbian; Elizabeth Bettenhausen, professor at Harvard Divinity School; Lois Wilson, a United Church of Canada “minister” and Sister Jose Hobday, a Roman Catholic nun who works with Starhawk and Matthew Fox and his Creation Spirituality Institute at Holy Names College. The Nov. 3, 1993, Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that “throughout the conference worship experiences will celebrate Sophia, the biblical goddess of creation.” Sue Seid-Martin of the University of St. Thomas School of Divinity in St. Paul, Minn., claimed that this Sophia is “the suppressed part of the biblical tradition, and clearly the female face of the human psyche.” David W. Cloud, www.Wayoflife.org

And there are several other expressions of Pagan and Gnostic beliefs which are ravaging our culture…

• Tarot Cards
• Fortune Telling
• Horoscopes
• Divination
• Feng Shui (ancient Chinese - Auras and Energies)
• Astrology
• Some forms of Aromatherapy and Homeopathy
• Mystic Oils
• Tantric Yoga
• Mantra Meditation
• Amulets and Talismans
• Satanism
• Witchcraft
• Occult
• Kabbalah
• Green Peace worship of Mother Earth

This is a virtual explosion of Paganism over the past couple of decades. And not in some far-off land… right here in Canada. And it greatly concerns me. But not for the church… the Church has survived and even thrived in the face of false religions before and can do it again. And I’m not really concerned for myself. I’ll survive. And even if I don’t, that’s okay, too. But what concerns me is the number of people who are going to buy into all of this and will be lost for eternity. That would be a tragedy, and so we need to be prepared to respond with the Truth.

And something else that concerns me is the potential for Christians who are not grounded in their faith to begin to mix together Christianity with these Pagan beliefs, just like the Gnostics did. And that can happen in very subtle ways. And so you and I need to be able to discern what is truth and what is a lie. And we need to protect ourselves by putting on what the Bible describes as the whole armour of God.

And that’s what we’re going to talk about in two weeks as we wrap up this series. (Next week - Guest speaker from Arab World Ministries)

 

 

 

Copyright © Greg Hanson, 2006 SunriseOnline.ca