We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Native American Church

Recent developments among some American Indian tribes have blended ancient traditions with modern “Christianized” forms of worship.  One such movement that is spreading rapidly is that of the Native American Church, which is not a Christian sect.

The Native American Church is a phenomenon of the twentieth century.  The remote origins of this movement lay in pre-Columbian Mexico, where many tribes used a hallucinogenic mushroom to facilitate visions and intense experiences.  Known as peyote, this mushroom, or similar plants, became a sacrament — a way of communing with ultimate reality.  The Native American Church is a pan-tribal organization dedicated to celebrating the powers of peyote to reconnect native Americans with their religious traditions.  Most of the members come from the southern plains, but scatterings liver elsewhere.

“Although the Native American Church seeks to preserve and revitalize native traditions, in fact many Christian notions have entered into its beliefs and rituals.  So, for example, one branch of the Native American Church, the Cross Fire, uses the Bible in ceremonies.  Still, native symbols, such as feathers and drums, adorn the rituals, and prayers ascend to such deities as the Morning Star.  In some branches, worshipers wear blankets of red and blue, red standing for day and blue for night.  Singing and dancing, the participants revere ‘Chief Peyote,’ who brings their spirits to life and quickens their dreams.  Members may also pray to Christ, and their consumption of the peyote buttons is likened to a communion ceremony.” [Native American Religions, by Denise Lardner Carmody & John Tully, p.16]

The influence of the Native American Church is gaining inroads into American Indian Christian communities with an appeal to return to the cultural roots of the people as a means to offset the effects of the white man’s influences.  A form of tribal pride induces many to attempt to blend their faith in Christ with American Indian religious practices, either unaware or unconcerned that there can be no compatibility between the two.

Albert James Dager, “Religious Diversity on the Rise — American Indian Religion: Making a Comeback,” Media Spotlight, Vol. 21, No.1, February 1998.

No comments: