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December 10, 2009

Dabbling in Religions

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

With all my PayPal issues today, I pushed off writing about a rather important topic: religion.

It appears as though Americans are generally dabblers when it comes to God and faith. According to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Americans are generally syncretists. In a nutshell, syncretists are those who mash all different religions and faiths together. As Lutherans, we shake our heads at syncretists since they don’t stand for anything. With syncretism, all faiths are equal, all beliefs have some truth, and all ways of worship are legitimate.

Or as I like to put it, syncretism is the God-version of a restaurant’s “kitchen sink” menu item.

As a Lutheran pastor, but mostly as a Christian, this poll frightened, but also emboldened, me. We are living in a time when a generic understanding of God is winning the day, and when we have a generic god in the hearts and minds of people, the true God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – is not being believed in. When our trust is in an “all-purpose” deity that is NOT the Triune God, we Christians should be saddened, but also it should make us strong.

This story signals that more and more of God’s people are falling away from Him. They are turning against Him and accepting false gods and false ideas. But this worry should embolden each us to continue to proclaim Christ Jesus as Savior of the world. We should pray for strength to evangelize, to tell the Good News of Jesus Christ.

As Christians, and as Lutherans, the truth is found in the Word of God — it is only through the blood of Christ that we are saved. This truth needs to be sounded in our lives.

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