In Israel, the prophets came to people who thought they were serving God. The problem was, they had a bit of Baal worship mixed in. Similarly, the Pharisees–the church leaders of the day, if you will–hated John the Baptist, and hated Jesus Christ. Their works of devotion to God amounted to paganism.
Interestingly, we fall into the same problems in contemporary Christianity. Here are 10 signs you are practicing paganism rather than true religion.
1. You read The Prayer of Jabez and found it AMAZING!
This book hit shelves and transformed lives for all of about a few months. People claimed that saying the exact prayer from the O.T., if done regularly with their morning coffee, opened business deals, gave them new cars … all kinds of things.
That’s called paganism, folks. God’s blessing isn’t to give us more material things of this world to distract us from devotion to Him. Our “territory” that we would have increased is not property or money, but spiritual maturity and a faithful witness, planting the seed of the Gospel.
2. You let everyone know what time you’re going in to surgery to make sure they pray at the right moment.
This is superstitious. It’s like the prophets of Baal who wailed on Mt. Carmel for fire to fall on the sacrifice. To pagans, times, lunar calendars, solar eclipses and so forth are significant! They’re not. God is not bound to time. He’s not asleep or distracted. We don’t have to catch Him at the very moment someone goes into surgery.
Also, this idea is predicated on the notion that our prayers bend God’s actions to our will. Rather, prayer is about conforming our will to God’s sovereign plan.
3. You tithe money to reap a windfall.
We hear a lot of TV evangelists talking about the “law of reaping and sowing” in the Bible. They’re right that there is a Biblical principle of reaping and sowing. Unfortunately for them, they are teaching materialism and paganism and will be held accountable on the day of Judgment.
Sowing the Gospel will reap a harvest of souls to honor God. The more you sow the Gospel, the more you will see a harvest of repentant believers.
God isn’t concerned with your investment portfolio in a world that is passing away.
4. You’ve walked around buildings 7 times to invoke God’s blessing on the business.
This sounds vaguely Biblical. Probably because God instructed the Israelites to march around Jericho 7 times. But nowhere in the Bible does it give a magical incantation to such a practice for us in our lives.
There was a practical reason for God to instruct His people to do this at that time. It’s interesting to note that God doesn’t employ this strategy ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE BIBLE.
Yet, I’ve heard people get up in front of a congregation and talk about this as if it were some sort of blessing on a building. That doesn’t even make sense in comparison to the account of the fall of Jericho.
5. You Prayer Walk.
This one seems closely related the #4 and #2. The idea that walking (as Enoch walked with God) or being close to people you’re praying for will make your petitions more effective.
First, the term “walked with God” does not mean Enoch was taking walks (though he may have done so!). It describes the daily way of his life.
Second, the prayer of a righteous man is effective, not the prayer of someone close to a person … or any other pagan idea.
Lastly, prayer is NOT to bend God’s will to our desires, but to conform our hearts and minds to God’s will.
6. You believe your words can create things.
This one is insane! Yet, hundreds of thousands of Christians buy into it. It is so completely off the ranch from Biblical truth that I’m shocked that it gets such a pass. This heresy goes back to the ancient Druids who believed their words could create reality. It has been formed into the “Christ Consciousness” and other ideas that try to say we “become gods,” etc.
In fact, the same heretics that talk about our words creating things are the ones who will tell people that we are gods.
Oh, and that was what Satan promised Adam and Eve, too.
7. You ask your pastor to pray for someone.
This, on its surface is not a problem. We should ask one another to pray for things and seek God’s face.
*again, not to bend God’s will to our desires, but to be humble in bringing our concerns to Him so that He can work in us to conform us to His will*
The problem here is if you think that the pastor has some fast-track to God that is unavailable to us mere mortals. This is straight up paganism. A pastor is–hopefully–a Christian like those to whom he brings God’s word. There is the passage in James to which many will point, which includes “laying on of hands” and “anointing with oil,” but those things are taken out of context. The concept is that we should seek mature Christians to pray with us.
So, while asking the pastor to pray because he is a mature Christian is right, if you ask him to pray because you think he’ll hold more sway with God, that’s wrong.
8. You would never throw out a Bible.
I was given a Quran by my neighbor who was pleased that I didn’t set it on the floor when I tied my shoes before leaving. To Muslims, that would be disrespecting their sacred book.
While I’m not advocating tossing books around, in general, there is nothing magical about the paper and binding of the Bible. To honor its physical form and yet treat the actual text inside with utter disregard is actually worse (and far too common).
9. Anything you pray for, if another Christian “agrees” will have to happen.
I don’t want to offend folks with this, but it’s a false practice. Again, it gets the purpose of prayer off into pagan territory. We cannot force God’s hand. God is not a genie whom we can compel to 3 wishes if we rub the lamp.
God is sovereign and does not answer to us, even if we all agree He should.
10. You put fish on your car and crosses or Bible verses into your home decor to ensure God’s favor.
Talismans for good luck. The Bible never mentions them, by the way. This probably goes back to the O.T. when God said to keep his law on the doorposts of their homes, and on their foreheads or hands … this is referring to a symbolic idea that we should keep God’s word in our mind, let it direct what we do, and adorn how we behave in our house.
Putting up religious symbols in lieu of a humble, contrite heart is called idolatry.
Coincidentally, pagans often hung things on the wall or buried them in their foundations, etc. to incur blessings from their ancestors. So, this talisman idea is nothing new.