An Introduction to World Religions

September 8, 2001

INTRODUCTION
A. Purpose/Goals of this Series:
1.  Purpose:
>  Our purpose is to instruct our church family on the teachings and beliefs of various world religions, in contrast to Biblical Christianity.
2.  Goals:
1.  To accurately present in a culturally sensitive manner the specific world life views of various world religions.
2.  To demonstrate how each world religion differs from Biblical Christianity.
3.  To equip our church to respond Biblically to the claims of these world religions
4.  To promote a better understanding of, a deeper appreciation for, and a more faithful commitment to biblical Christianity and its role in our multi-cultural society.
5.  Provide reliable, practical resources.
-  It is not our desire in any sense to make fun of those who believe something different than we do – I’m certain that many who hold other beliefs are very sincere in those beliefs
- However, sincerity it not the standard of truthfulness
- Proverbs even warns us about our sincerity:
• Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
-  A study of the non-Christian world religions is a serious business.
-  Non-Christian world religions are exploding in unprecedented proportions in America.
-  For example, worldwide there are now:
• over 5 million Jehovah's Witnesses (who spend over one billion man-hours per year proselytizing)
• Almost 9 million Mormons (presently growing at a rate of 1,500 new members per day) and
• Nearly one billion Muslims.
-  They religious group represent a growing trend in America—a trend away from the historic teachings of the Bible with an emphasis upon the desire to save one’s self apart from biblical revelation.
-  When Christianity denies the biblical faith or fails to confront other religions it ceases to be Christianity at all.
B. Overview of Series
1.  This series will evaluate monotheistic religions, that is religions that believe in or claim to believe one God who is above and beyond the universe such as Islam.
2.  We will also review religions that claim to be Christian:  such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism and Word of Faith movement.
3.  We’ll also look at what makes Protestantism different from Catholicism.
Note:  We are considering another series that will review religions that are pantheistic such as Buddhism, Hinduism and New Age beliefs; atheistic beliefs such as secular humanism; and the occult such as witchcraft and Satanism.
Point:  Many believe that all religions are fundamentally the same and only superficially different.  We hope to show you that in reality, world religions are fundamentally different and only superficially the same.
Ground Rules
- We are not speaking in a spirit of ill will (but we will not ignore obvious error)
- There WILL be disagreements and differences.
- We will see what we can learn.
- We will better understand our own beliefs.
Dr. Martin:


I.  How do we know truth?


A. Truth for the Christian is found in the Bible
This series is about discovering which religion is the true religion. While all religions may be wrong, they can’t all be right.
For the Christian, John 17:17 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. The Christian believes the Bible is the infallible and inerrant word of God and that everything written in it is true. Although our minds are cursed by sin, God calls upon us to use our reason to think . . .:
(Isa. 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”, Matt. 22:36-37 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’)
. . . and to discern truth from error (1 John 4:6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this, we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.) and right from wrong (Heb. 5:14)..
Truth for the Christian, is defined as what corresponds with the mind of God. Jesus said, “In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37).
We live in a world where many no longer believe that the Bible is the sole source of truth. You may be one of those persons, and I want to thank you for being here and being willing to listen. You may not even believe in truth. That is ok; we like meeting people where they are.
B. General Revelation reveals truth to all
>  General revelation reveals enough to convince us that God exists, and it reveals some things about Him
• Psalm 19:1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
For this series:
>  We are also going to assume that you accept that God exists. There are a number of reasons that non-Christians should believe in God from the general revelation in science and philosophy.
>  But general revelation does not give us enough truth to show us the way of salvation – for that, we need special revelation – the Word of God.
• Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
> Only Christianity has the truth (ALL RELIGIONS MAY BE WRONG, BUT NOT ALL ARE RIGHT!)
• John 8:31, “Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.” 32“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
-  People outside of Christ are souls for whom Jesus Christ died:
• John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
>  Christians must judge all world religions by the Word of God.
• Romans 16:17  Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.


II.  Why Are There Non-Christian World Religions?


A. Man suppresses the truth that is known.
-  Romans 1:18-23 explains that God’s truth is known by all men to some extent, but man rebels not wanting to admit our sinfulness.
B. Non-Christian world religions are an evidence of man’s flight from God not man’s search for God.
-  This is seen in Romans 3:10-12. People turn to more comfortable religions when their chosen lifestyle is contrary to God's principles & commands.
C. The growth of the non-Christian world religions has contributed to the growth of relativism, selfishness, emphasis on emotions/feelings, and the breakdown of families.
1.  Relativism is the belief that truth is made not discovered. "That may be true for you but not for me," "Everything is relative to the situation," and "Do your own thing" mentality has resulted in the "Have your own religion" syndrome.
We assume that you understand that:
• Truth exists
• Truth is absolute
• Truth is exclusive
• Truth is knowable.
Not believing those simple first principles are contradictory and illogical. We also hope you realize that the opposite of true is false.  Again, while all world religions may be wrong, they cannot all be right because they contain contradictory statements.
2.  Selfishness has contributed to the proliferation of the non-Christian world religions. The "Do your own thing" and "Every man for himself" philosophy permits new religions that cater to the felt needs, rather than the real needs, of the individual.
3.  Stress on Feelings and Emotions:  The "If it feels good, do it" syndrome leads naturally to seeking out religions that feel good.  While it is true that everybody believes something, as we said earlier, it doesn’t mean that belief is the correct one.
4. Social Breakdown of Families. Many non-Christian world religions have capitalized on the breakdown of families in our society and have become surrogate families for the "lost generation."
[Note:  One thing about Christianity, you can find answers for everyday life problems – personal, family, marriage, parenting, finances, anger, worry fear, . . . ]
• 2 Peter 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
Pastor Dutton:


III. Why Is It So Important to Be Discerning? [Why Jude 3, Romans 1:16; Matt. 28:19-20]


A.  Spiritual Dangers
1.  Presence of false teachers
• 2 Peter 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you. . .
2.  Deception by false teachers
• 2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
3.  Eternal consequences
• 1 John 5:12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
B.  Marks of Non-Christian world religions.
*  Characteristics of many (not all) non-Christian world religions
-  In addition to the doctrinal characteristics many (not all) non-Christian world religions share certain traits. Let us take a brief look at these.
1. Isolationism:  Deserters are considered traitors. The barriers, whether physical or psychological, creates an environment of isolation, which in turn often leads to antagonism.
2. Antagonism:   In a context of isolation, fear and antagonism toward all other groups occurs. They are considered apostate, "the enemy" and "tools of Satan."
-  While Christianity may use similar terms, we still have the command to ‘love your enemies’ and ‘return good for evil’
3. Legalism:   Rigid extra biblical rules such as the Mormon prohibition of coffee, tea, or caffeinated drink or the Watchtower Society requiring Jehovah's Witnesses to distribute literature door to door.
4. Intolerance toward Others:  The Watchtower forbids Jehovah’s Witnesses from examining truth claims from other groups especially orthodox Christianity.
- Christianity encourages and expects us to know the truth and be discerning
• Acts 17:11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.
- We are expected/commanded to study to show ourselves approved unto God a workman that doesn’t need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. – 2 Tim. 2:15
5.  Moral Deception:  Some religions use Christian terms, but they carry a different meaning.  This tends to deceive untrained Christians into believing their religion is actually a Christian religion – when it’s not!
-  It comes back to the issue of making people think that all religions are fundamentally the same and only superficially different – when in reality, it’s the opposite.
6. Aggressive Proselytizing:  Often their excessive proselytizing is an attempt to gain God's approval. They work for grace rather than from grace as the Bible teaches.
Not that the process itself is sinful – we are trying to ‘make disciples’ as well, but many in the other world religions are ‘proselytizing’ to earn their salvation – because of the nature of the wrong teaching, we need to be ready to ‘give an answers of the reason for the hope that is in us’ (1 Peter 3:15)
Dr. Martin


IV.  Why Do Some Christians Not Evangelize Effectively?


1. The fear of man rather than God. When evangelizing people of other religions some Christians fear that they are well enough versed in the Bible and don’t want to be confused, frustrated, or embarrassed.
• Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare . . .
2. The Church has failed to teach and equip the saints (Ephesians 4:11-16).  As uncomfortable as it is for us to say it and for you to hear this, the non-Christian world religions are "the unpaid bills of the church."  It’s not that if we all did our jobs everyone would be a Christian – the depravity of man and his free will would prevent that – but our job would be ‘easier’ if everyone who named the name of Christ and every church did what God commanded us to do.  However, in many cases, the church has failed to doctrinally train its members; make a real moral difference in the lives of its members; meet people's genuine needs on a practical and daily basis and provide people with a sense of belonging – therefore, people have looked elsewhere or listened to other voices claiming truth.
3. The unfounded fear that those of other religions should not be permitted to enter the Christian’s home.  This is a result of a misunderstanding of 2 John 10: “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him.”  But in its correct context John is referring to false teachers being given a voice in the church, not to sitting in your living room!
4. The assumption that it is wrong to criticize any religious belief because all religious beliefs are as “good” or “true” as any other belief. 
The word “Tolerance” should mean an open-mindedness and respect for LISTENING TO-- BUT NOT BELIEVING IN differing beliefs and ideas.
The view that “all roads that lead to God are good” contradicts the words of our Lord, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).  It is not unloving to disagree. While there are unloving ways to disagree, the problem is not disagreement. We want people to see they are wrong by being humble speaking the truth in love not arrogance.
• Ephesians 4:15 but speaking the truth in love . . .
5. The average Christian’s understanding of biblical terminology. 
Many Christian know WHAT they believes, but are unable to articulate WHY they believe it – insofar as being able to document the why of his belief from the Scriptures.  We need to learn, understand, and use biblical terminology and be committed to sharing our faith simply, clearly, and persuasively—with other non-Christians.
“The gospel … is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16 emphasis added).  If the church fails to teach sound doctrine people will accept false doctrine. One cannot recognize error unless one first understands the truth. Counterfeits are known only by comparison with the genuine.
The American Banking Association each year it sends bank tellers to Washington to teach them how to detect counterfeit money. During the entire two-week training program, no teller touches counterfeit money. They only see the original. The American Banking Association knows that if a person is thoroughly familiar with the original, the counterfeit bill, no matter how much like the original it appears, will not deceive him. Close familiarity with the genuine is the best protection against the counterfeit. In the same way, Christians who know their faith intimately and use it daily, learn to recognize the truth and reject the counterfeit faiths of the non-Christian world religions.
Pastor Dutton
-  An emphasis on new revelation from God, a denial of the sole authority of the Bible, a denial of the Trinity, a distorted view of God and Jesus, or a denial of salvation by grace are most common positions of non-Christian religions.


V.  The Place of the Word of God.


>  All non-Christian world religions deny the authority of the Bible.
-  The Bible alone is God’s Word.
• 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
A. New Revelation. Many world religious leaders claim to receive special revelation from God. Their teachings often change and therefore they need new "revelations" to justify such changes. Mormons, for example, once excluded African Americans from the priesthood. When social pressure was exerted against the Mormon church for this racism, the Mormon president received a new "revelation" reversing the previous decree. Jehovah's Witnesses reversed their position on earlier Watchtower teaching regarding vaccinations and organ transplants.
B. Denial of the Sole Authority of the Bible. Many non-Christian world religions deny the sole authority of the Bible. The Mormons, for example, believe the Book of Mormon is higher Scripture than the Bible. Islam has the Koran.
• John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.
C.  Unique interpretations Some non-Christian world religions deny the authority the Bible by claiming unique interpretations. The Jehovah’s Witnesses use the New World Translation.
D. Lack of accuracy in Bible transmission. Many non-Christian religions such as Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Islam claim the Bible has not be accurately transmitted. However, using three standard tests used by experts in the field of ancient writings the historicity, accuracy and reliability of the New Testaments is demonstrated to be superior to any other ancient manuscript.
1)  The Bibliographic Test (What textual support does the text have?).  We have more that 5,686 hand-written NT manuscripts, some of them within a generation of the time they were originally written, copied with 99.9% accuracy and the .1% does not affect any major or minor teaching. We are not missing anything.  We have more text not less.
2)  The Bible is internally consistent.  When we think we have found an error in the Bible, we have made any one of a number of interpretation mistakes. The mistakes are not in the revelation of God, but are in the misinterpretations of man.
3)  There is plenty of  external evidence from contemporary Jewish and Roman writers who are even non-Christian that validates the historical accuracy of the New Testament.
Point:  The Bible is accurate! A person can choose to reject its message – possibly because that person does not like what the Bible says about his/her lifestyle/goals/purposes -- but NOT for the reason that it is poorly transmitted, inaccurate, non-historical, or filled with contradictions.
Dr. Martin


VI.  The Person and Work of Jesus Christ


A.  All Deny the person of Jesus Christ
1.  Some religions deny His person by raising man to the level of Deity as is seen in 2.  Mormonism.
2.  Some religions deny Jesus by lowering Him toward our level as mere humans. Jehovah's Witnesses deny both the Trinity and the absolute deity of Christ, saying that Christ is a lesser god than the Father (who is God Almighty). Islam says Jesus was just one of many prophets of God. They also deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, say that Jesus was raised from the dead as an invisible spirit creature.
B.  Christian Response:
1. Definition of the Trinity
The Trinity is the most important doctrine that separates Christianity from all non-Christian World Religions. Christians must be able to accurately and clearly present it to unbelievers.
Trinity simply means "triunity."  While the word Trinity does not occur in the Bible, the concept is clearly taught.
IMPORTANT:  The doctrine of the Trinity CANNOT be proven by human reason; it is only known because it is revealed by special revelation in the Bible!!!
God is infinite and can never be fully understood by any finite person. Many critics, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews and Muslims contend that the Trinity is incoherent and contradictory.  However, just because it is BEYOND reason does not mean that it goes AGAINST reason. It is not irrational or contradictory, as many critics believe.
*  Six points that help us to properly understand of the doctrine of the Trinity:
- A person has to understand the following points are first and foremost truths laid out for us in the Bible – that’s why a person’s source of truth is such an important decision and is the reason why we mentioned the authority of the Bible first (your epistemology [source of truth] is where it all begins – a person exercises faith in the Word of God as given by the apostles/prophets and preserved for us, or in the Qur’an of the Muslims, the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witness, or the Book of Mormon!
- Those sources of truth differ greatly, and a person has to decide in which is he/she going to put his/her faith!
- These following truths are taught in the Word of God – while they may not be fully comprehensible, they describe a God who cannot be fully understood by man, but Who can be understood enough to be able to exercise faith in Him and His Son Who loved us and gave Himself for us!
1.  There is only one God. God is one in his substance. When Jesus when asked, the greatest commandment he prefaced His the answer with “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one,” by quoting the Shema (Deut. 6:4)
2.  Each person in the Godhead is equally God. Each member has his own work and inter-relationship with the other two. But the three share the same essence, so that they unify as one Being.
a. The Father is God. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, "Our Father in heaven" (Matt. 6:9).
• “I do always those things that please the Father.” (John 8:29)
b. The Son is God.
1)  Jesus claimed to be God. God revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14 "I who I AM."
• John 8:58, Jesus declares: "Before Abraham was, I AM." This statement claims existence before Abraham and equality with the "I AM" of Exodus 3:14. The Jews understood His meaning and picked up stones to kill him for blaspheming by claiming to be God.
2)  Jesus claimed the glory of God. Isaiah wrote, "My Glory I will not give to another " (42:8). Yet, Jesus prayed, "Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began" (John 17:5).
3)  Jesus accepted worship.  Thomas declared: "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28).
c. The Holy Spirit is God.
1)  The Holy Spirit is a person with:
• Intellect (1 Cor. 2:10, 11)
• Will (1 Cor. 12:11)
• Feeling (Eph. 4:30).
• He teaches (John 14:26; 1 John 2:27), convicts of sin (John 16:7-7) and
• Is referred to with personal pronouns (John 14:26; 16:13).
2)  The Holy Spirit possesses God’s attributes:
• Omnipresence (cf. Ps. 139:7-12)
• Omniscience (1 Cor. 2:10, 11)
• Involved in creation (Gen. 1:2) redeems (John 3:5-6; Rom. 8:9-17, 27-27; Titus 3:5-7) and
• Is associated other members of the Trinity under the "name" of God (Matt. 28:18-20) and in New Testament benedictions (for example, 2 Cor. 13:14).
3.  The three-ness and oneness of God do not exist in the same respect.
The unity is in God’s essence (what God is), and the plurality is in God's persons (how He relates within Himself). God has one essence and three persons.
Said another way, God is one "What" and three "Who’s."  The three Who’s (persons) each share the same What (essence). The fancy “theological” way of saying it is  “God is a unity of essence with a plurality of persons.”
4.  The three members of the Trinity are distinct persons.
a. The Father is not the Son (Mt 3:13-17)
b. The Father is not the Spirit (Mt 3:13-17; Mt 12:32)
c. The Son is not Spirit (Mt 3:13-17; Mt 12;32; Jn 15:26; Jn 16:7)
IMPORTANT:  This may be a mystery, but it is not a contradiction.  So, the issue is NOT do you completely understand that the three members of the Trinity are distinct person, but rather do you ACCEPT what the Scriptures clearly teach regarding the Trinity – some do not.
5. The Trinity is eternal -- there have always been three persons, each of whom is eternally divine.
6.  The function of one member in the Trinity may subordinate to one or both of the other members for a time, although this does not mean He is in anyway inferior in essence.
When incarnated, Jesus Christ did not become less than the Father, although He did become subordinate to the Father functionally. The Holy Spirit is now subordinated to the ministry of the Son (John 14—16), as well as to the will of the Father, but He is not less than they are.
Orthodox Christians insist that the teaching that God is one in essence but three in personhood is complex, but not contradictory. Critics forget, however, that truth is not always simple.
As C. S. Lewis aptly puts it:
"If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts about which to bother."
2. Illustrations of the Trinity.
No analogy of the Trinity is perfect, because we are using finite examples to try to understand an infinite God but some are better than others.
First, we need correct bad illustrations!  The Trinity is not like water: God is not like the three states of water: solid, liquid, and gaseous.  Normally, water is not in all three of these states at the same time, but God is always three persons at the same time.
The more helpful analogies retain the unity of God while they show a simultaneous plurality. There are several that fit this description.
1. A Mathematical Illustration. Critics make a point of computing the mathematical impossibility of believing there is a Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the Godhead, by asking “Does not 1 + 1 + 1 = 3?” We respond, it certainly does if you add them, but Christians insist that the triunity of God is more like 1 x 1 x 1 = 1. God is triune, not triplex. His one essence has multiple centers of personhood. Thus, there is no more mathematical problem in conceiving the Trinity than there is in understanding 1 cubed (13).
2. A Geometric Illustration. Perhaps the most widely used illustration of the Trinity is the triangle. One triangle has three corners, which are inseparable from, and simultaneous to, one another. In this sense it is a good illustration of the Trinity. Of course, the triangle is finite and God is infinite, so it is an imperfect illustration.

Perhaps a model of the Trinity will help to understand it better.

IMPORTANT: We are simply trying to illustrate the Trinity and show the reasonableness of it – but at best, we are simply trying to stretch your thinking and assist in your understanding while admitting our inability to fully explain this wonderful doctrine!

When we say God has one essence and three persons, we mean He has one What and three Whos. Consider the following diagram:

[See Diagrams]
 

 

Notice that the three Whos (persons) each share the same What (essence). So God is a unity of essence with a plurality of persons. Each person is different, yet they share a common nature.

Another aspect of the Godhead is that Christ is one person (shown as one corner of the triangle), yet he has two natures, a divine nature and a human nature. Some show this aspect graphically by symbolizing Christ's divinity by the corner of the triangle and using another geometric figure, a circle for instance, to illustrate the human nature. At the point of the person of Jesus Christ, the circle is welded onto the triangle, human nature touching, but not mixed with, divine. Human and divine natures exist side-by-side without confusion in the Son.
Point:  The Bible teaches that Jesus was 100% God while also 100% man – He was the God-Man.
• John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
• Colossians 2:9 For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form.

For example:  Did Christ die on the cross? In His human nature, YES – He did die. But in His divine nature, NO – He did not die! The person who died was the God-man, but His ‘Godness’ did not die.
[Note:  A person needs to be extremely careful about separating the two natures of Christ – this is another aspect of the Christian faith that must be accepted by faith (i.e. that Jesus was both God and man at the same time), though not fully understood by a finite mind.  Our theological position regarding the question of whether or not Jesus could sin is that He could not sin, He did not sin;  yet the Scriptures teach He was “tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrew 4:15) because He was the God-man.]  
Pastor Dutton


VII. How Should We Respond to the Non-Christian World Religions?


1. We should always by ready to teach and defend the truth.
• 1 Peter  3:15-16 But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
• Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
Dr. Martin
2. All successful evangelism is personal.
-  As ambassadors for our Savior (2 Corinthians 5:20)
• 2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
-  The most powerful evangelistic tool is a changed life motivated by the love God and guided by the Word of God!
Pastor Dutton
3. The apostle Paul declared that the primary responsibility of the Christian was to preach the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). 
-  The gospel is God’s power unto salvation (Romans 1:16). The content of the gospel is simple:  the DEATH, BURIAL and RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ, the Son of God – He was, as John stated, ‘the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).
Dr. Martin
4. The non-Christian world religions have capitalized on the failure of the Christian church to understand their teachings and to develop a workable methodology both to evangelize and to refute other religions.
-   For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormon’s redefine standard theological terms using the terminology of the Bible and historical theology in an entirely different sense from that intended by the writers of Scripture.
- This allows them to capitalizing on the inability of many Christian to understand the subtle art of redefinition in the realm of biblical theology.
-  We must avoid being swayed by the doctrines of the non-Christian world religions [in reference to the pastor equipping the saints]: 
• Ephesians 4:14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
>  Through  study (2 Timothy 2:15)
• 2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.
>  Instruction from pastors and teachers (1 Timothy 4:1-6)
>  Be willing to grow and mature
• Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
Pastor Dutton
5.  Give careful attention to the other world religions to avoid confusion to make an honest endeavor to understand it and represent it responsibly.
Acts 17 – Paul at Mars Hill
6. Find common ground of understanding (preferably the inspiration and authority of the Scriptures or the nature and attributes of God), and work from that point onward.
7.  Patience & compassion: Often non-believers deliberately “bait” Christians into losing patience, thus justifying their own teachings.
-  But our warfare as Christians is not against flesh and blood (the cultist), but against the spiritual forces of darkness that rule this world (Satan and his emissaries).
-  It is possible to love the unbeliever at the same time faithfully bearing witness for Christ.
-  Non-Christian world religions thrive upon ignorance and confusion where the doctrines of the -  Scriptures are concerned.

Concluding comments and Invitation for series and Salvation.

Song:  No Other Name

Acts 4:12 "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved."