Question: “When a people who have for generations worshiped the spirits become Christians they often adapt their local spirit worship practices into Christian rituals. How does one teach or help them break off these practices?” [Note: This comes from a native missionary in Southeast Asia.]
My Answer: Dear brother, thanks for the question. I understand that this is both a serious and a delicate matter. It is difficult for people to renounce what is basic to their culture. At ANM we have the utmost respect for individual cultural distinctives. We always try to accommodate our attitudes and practices to honor the various cultures we deal with. However, biblical values and Scriptural truth always takes precedence over culture. There is no culture that is more important than a Word-based “Christian culture.” Continue reading →
You may not have heard of Emmanuel Swedenborg, but in his lifetime and for quite some time afterwards he was a man of renown. He was an 18th century genius, likely on par with Leonardo da Vinci. He was born in Sweden in 1688, the son of a Lutheran pastor. Early in life he was noted for great achievements in math, science and engineering. In 1724 he was appointed to a prominent government position on the Swedish Board of Mines.
But then in 1743 things began to change. Swedenborg began to have strange dreams and visions. He believed that ancient sages and religious figures were appearing to him. He supposedly had conversations with Jesus, Moses and other biblical figures. He went on spiritual journeys to heaven and hell. Angels reportedly showed him great spiritual truths. He also developed psychic powers, especially clairvoyance. Out of these visions he developed a unique brand of religious philosophy. This included a prophecy that there was coming a new era of universal spiritual understanding, which he called the New Jerusalem. Continue reading →