“Syncretism of the Christian gospel occurs when critical or basic elements of the gospel are replaced by religious (or contemporary) elements from the host culture. It often results from a tendency or attempt to undermine the uniqueness of the Gospel as found in the Scriptures or the incarnate Son of God. The communication of the Gospel involves the transmission of a message with supra – cultural elements between a variety of cultures. This includes the disembodiment of the message from one cultural context and the re-embodiment of it in a different cultural context.” – Billy Calderwood
Contextualization of the Gospel in order to make it “relevant” always results in syncretism, whether in a milder form or otherwise. Recently I was pondering on the video posted “Contextualization in action” (posted under ‘Doctrines’ on the blog) where the Hindus have maintained their way of worship and lifestyle but substituted the names of their gods with Jesus’. The same as been recorded to have done with other religions such as Islam, Buddhism etc. There are a couple of reasons for such a strategy:
– to make converts without offending their practices;
protection from persecution;
– and to make the Jesus “attractive” and acceptable to the populace.
I believe there is another reason which many Christians would deny is that such an approach is much easier and safer; beseeching the unbelievers to repent and turn their ways often requires extreme courage and boldness.
Contextualization gives a sense of “good deed” to the missionaries who use such strategies, without serving the purpose of God. Don’t get me wrong, some of these missionaries may be well-intentioned but that does not cancel out the fact that they are deceived and hence deceiving others.
Having given a brief example of syncretism from a religious perspective, I would like to apply the same principles of such a contextualization to the culture of youth today. Pastors and youth pastors are trying to make the Gospel “relevant” to today’s culture by synchronizing the teachings of Christ with the trends of the world. One of these trends is the Rock music. The Rock music is the base of today’s culture. Prior to the 1960s, there was much fear and respect for those in authority. However, the Counter-culture Movement brought about rebellion, feminism etc which have created havoc in the world; and Rock music has played a gigantic role in this. This genre of music has its roots in the occult, and occult is undoubtedly of Satan. The occultists have not used the method of preaching its beliefs but rather used music to reach the masses.
Now, syncretism happens when Christians use Gospel words and add Rock music to it so as to make it “relevant” for those Rock-lovers (because Christians think they will help God out by making His way easy.)
Gospel Rock is an oxymoron; they are antagonists. It is as deceptive as telling a Hindu to have the same form of idolatry but put a sign of a cross instead of the idol and take the name of Jesus instead of his gods. Light and darkness have nothing in common, Christ and Belial have no connection! There is no agreement between God’s temple and temples of idols! The Gospel and Rock are unequally yoked.
“Listen, rock ‘n roll AIN’T CHURCH. It’s nasty business. You gotta be nasty too. If you’re goody, goody, you can’t sing or play it. . .” (Lita Ford, Los Angeles Times, August 7, 1988) Are Christians so foolish that it took an unbeliever to state the obvious??
There’s a lot more to Rock/Christian Rock which I haven’t mentioned, but please look Google and YouTube, and let your eyes be opened! A discerner will repent immediately after having researched this music of the occult.