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Sunday, November 06, 2005


A fishing hook is a tiny piece of metal by which a whole fish may be veered off its course and captured. The Hook is a tactic used by false Christian teachers and various cults. It is a way for a deceiver to Hook the attention of a person, veer them off course and finally capture them.

One examples of The Hook is syncretistic [i] religions, which when in the West will use mostly out of context Biblical quotes to make their point and back up their beliefs. They have a list as long as your arm of the super prophets sent by God through the ages and they are kind enough to include Christ in there somewhere, for the sake of appeal.

Why is it that people who say Christ is a good teacher, or a prophet, don’t do what Christ said to do? When a non-Christian says that Christ is a prophet or good teacher it should send up a big red flag, watch out for The Hook.

Godet wrote, “Either Jesus is in reality a perfect saint, as his consciousness testifies, or else he is the blindest and most hardened of mankind, since his consciousness has not made him aware of the elementary fact of moral life-the fact of which every child is already inwardly aware, even before attention is drawn to it-the presence of sin in him.”[ii]

To a Christian, Jesus Christ is a good teacher, in fact the best. He is a prophet, in fact the greatest prophet ever sent from God and is Himself God in the flesh, He is Immanuel-God with us. Imagine if someone said that there was a great teacher at a certain school and you went to listen to the teacher, you walk in and the teacher is claiming to be God and accepting worship. He is forgiving sins and preaching about hell more than any other prophet. He is rubbing mud and spit in a blind man’s eyes and correcting the top religious leaders of the day.
He is claiming to be the one and only way to God and claims that he will return from the grave. Would you really leave there thinking, “Now there is a good teacher”? No, in fact you would run away as fast as possible. However, if that teacher has fulfilled numerous prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah and has risen from the dead, etc., then he is more than a good teacher or prophet. “If Jesus is the Messiah at all, then He is the Messiah for all.”[iii]

However, we should understand why non-Christians say that Jesus is merely a good teacher or even a prophet. It is because syncretistic religions don’t know where to draw the line, also they don’t want to leave anybody out and they therefore try to include a little piece of every belief in their list of acceptables.
Moreover, they pick and choose the things that Jesus said that agree with them, they accept the sugarcoated things to be the little bit of truth that is left in the Bible. At the same time they will reject everything else He said as corruption of the Scriptures by man.
Jesus said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not put into practice what I teach you?” (Luke 6:46). Likewise, He may say, “Why do you call me ‘God’s prophet’ and not put into practice what I teach you?” or “Why do you call me a ‘good moral teacher’ and not put into practice what I teach you?”

Because Jesus also said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.’” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Former atheist turned Christian, C. S. Lewis, wrote:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about him; ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.
He would either be a lunatic on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg-or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”[iv]

Moreover, the syncretistic religions will use the Bible as a Hook by peeking the interest of those who were raised Christian yet are not living the Christian life, or because it is more usual and comfortable in the West. They will quote the Bible so that your ears perk up (The Hook is in place). Then they will throw in New-Age or some such ideas that somehow seem to relate to Biblical ideas (The Hook is now veering you off course).

Soon you see and accept that all religions teach the same basic things and that all of them are ways to God (you have now been captured). All roads do indeed lead to God, but one leads to the loving embrace of forgiveness and eternal communion with God and all others lead to a just judgment and eternal separation from God (and this by your own choice).

Do all religions teach the same things? Before I actually studied various religions for myself my answer was yes. However, even a surface study of a few religions will make it obvious that the similarities are not enough glue to hold them together, the differences are numerous and irreconcilable.

In the case of the many prophets, of many cultures throughout time theory, a syncretistic approach is nonsensical, it would mean that God is either very confused or a liar. Through one prophet God says that we are reincarnated over and over, next He says you are born once and you die once. Through one prophet God says that all roads lead to heaven and that your goodness is enough to buy you eternal life, next He says that there is only one way to heaven and that our own righteousness is as filthy rags.

Through one prophet God says that the material world the universe and everything in it is an illusion, next He claims to have created the heavens and the earth. Through one prophet God says that we are divine or can attain god-hood, next He says that there is one God and that we are His creation and will always be under His direction. Through one prophet God says that there is one or a few specific representatives of His on earth and they will interpret His will for us, next He says that we all have the ability to communicate with Him personally.

Through one prophet God reveals itself to be polytheistic, pantheistic, or henotheistic next He says that there is only one God, etc. etc. etc. this could go on and on, we are just barely scratching the surface.

What about the similarities? As much as we have a sin nature, God has placed within us basic moral ideals. By our free will we can, and often do, try to ignore or reprogram this internal guidepost yet, it is there nonetheless. We know that satan and his angels can disguise themselves as angels of light, (see 2nd Corinthians 11:13-14) that is The Hook.

If they appeared as hideous creatures not many people would accept them yet, they look beautiful and make people feel warm and fuzzy inside and they use these subjective emotions to capture them. After that kind of experience it is hard to get the person to accept that they have been deceived because it most likely was the most spiritual, holy and wonderful experience of their lives.

Francis Beckwith has written,
“All roads lead to God, I’ve heard so many people say. But when they get to Jonestown. They beg to look the other way.”[v]

English journalist, Steve Turner has sarcastically written,
“We believe that all religions are basically the same-at least the one that we read was. They all believe in love and goodness. They only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.”[vi]

The fact that love, peace and a certain amount of tolerance are a part of most religious teachings is that these things are from God and He does not leave people without guidance, whether they know Him or not. Secondly, these things make sense to the common man for whom getting along is better than fighting.
The religions and cults of the world appeal because their Hook is to expose a morsel of truth that appeals to the morals standard within and then they veer you off into the deception capturing you with a sugarcoated lie. The best lie has some truth to it in order to make it appear reasonable. This is the idea behind the concept of misinformation, a whopper of a lie is wrapped around a little bit of truth and it comes across as reliable while the truth or falsehood within is mixed together and indecipherable.

In order to combine so many beliefs one must either concoct the most convoluted combination of mutually exclusive ideas and practices. Or else, one must subjectively invent their own religion by sifting through all beliefs to come up with an assumed tie that binds. In reality this means gutting all those beliefs by rejecting the majority of their teachings and holding to the little morsels that agree with our preconceived notions. Which in reality renders all those beliefs null and void because they are being ripped from the context that gives them their meaning in the first place.

Religious syncretism attempts to mix religions like oil and water, when oil and water are shaken and stirred hard enough they create the illusion of cohesion. However, when we let the mixture sit for a moment, we take a step back and look again we soon see that the cohesion is indeed an illusion and it begins to unravel immediately.

Consider the encouragement of the Unitarian Church:
“All individuals should be encouraged to develop their own personal theology.”[vii] And this one from Unitarian Universalists, “We believe that personal experience, conscience, and reason should be the final authorities in religion. In the end religious authority lies not in a book, person, or institution, but in ourselves.”
Basing our concept of truth, our worldview, on subjective emotions is sort of like being addicted to placebos. A placebo may be a good short or even long-term fix, but to rely on them solely is foolish and very dangerous. Recently a Mormon missionary encouraged me to pray as to whether Mormonism was or was not of God.
I explained that I have to test the spirit (that would bring the answer) to see whether it is from God. I would have to have some physical evidence by which to test it, i.e. the evidence of the reliability of the Bible. The response was “Don’t rely on the evidence.”
If, God forbid, someone did something terrible to our family would we dare go to court and tell the judge to ignore all the evidence and pass a ruling based solely on his feelings?

Vernon C. Grounds points out:
“To argue that any religion is good enough provided its
followers are sincere is to make sincerity the final test of truth. But the ordinary experience of life continually prove that a man may be sincerely wrong, and if so, all his sincerity does not avert pain and sorrow and disaster….Unless a religion squares with the facts of history and human experience; and unless it agrees with the truth of God which is the underlying reality of all things, that religion, however sincere its followers may be, is not good enough. Truth, after all, is truth.”[ix]

Another big Hook is the results of self-realization when we look deep within ourselves all of us basically see the same things yet, this self-realization produces very different results. When some see what is really deep down inside, the filth, the sin, the wrong, the evil, they tell themselves that this cannot possibly be the real me, they are sure that deep down inside they truly are a good person, though all evidence is to the contrary.

Some consider themselves divine, therefore seeing their true selves they are assured that they have been corrupted by this world from their lofty position as higher beings. In these cases a person seeks further and deeper within to find their true selves, this often involves all kinds of esoteric and occult beliefs and practices.[x]
Moreover, because they believe that deep down they are good, divine beings they place themselves in the position of ultimate authority. They are the ones who decide right from wrong, good from evil, truth from falsehood, even the nature and actions of God, if, they choose to believe in a higher power beyond themselves. They decide between all things by their emotions, by pure subjectivity, they are the judge and jury. This is especially true of the New-Age beliefs of the enlightened.
Yet, the fact is that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The Hook in this case is to see the truth of who we are and yet, to be veered of by accepting the idea that we can ultimately help, fix, or save ourselves.
Others have the very same experience of looking within and find the very same things yet they will see the truth which is that deep down there is nothing more than more filth.
In this case they are honest enough to admit that they do not belong in the place of ultimate authority, that they are not at all divine, and that there is no salvation to come from the Self but is to come from the Lord God Almighty Jesus Christ.

The Hook is a well hidden trap, which we must be careful to avoid. We do this by prayer, by study, by discernment, by being as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.

“…we should no longer be children, tossed to an fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting…”Ephesians 4:14

[i] Syncretism: “the combination or reconciliation of differing beliefs or practices in religion, philosophy, etc., or an attempt to effect such compromise.” New World Dictionary of the American Language, 1980
[ii] Godet, Lectures in Defense of the Christian Faith.[iii] Ruth Rosen, ed., Jesus for Jews, (San Francisco, CA: Jews for Jesus-A Messianic Jewish Perspective 1987-1989), Title Page
[iv] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1960), pp. 40-41
[v] Excerpt from Francis J. Beckwith, Illusion of Technique (unpublished poem, 1982)
[vi] Steve Turner, Creed (a satirical poem on the modern mind) as quoted in Ravi Zacharias, Can Man live Without God?, pp. 42-44
[vii] The Unitarian Church: Westport, Connecticut,
[viii] Unitarian Universalists Association: Boston, Massachusetts,
[ix] Vernon C. Grounds, The Reason For Our Hope (The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, 1945), pp. 93-94
[x] Esoteric: “1. understood by or meant for only a select few. 2. private or secret.” Occult: “1. of magic, astrology, and other alleged sciences claiming knowledge of supernatural agencies. 2. beyond the range of ordinary knowledge. 3. disclosed only to the initiated.” Webster’s, 1983

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