Monday, July 07, 2014

Fair dinkum

The Dalai Lama
I spent a portion of the weekend clearing my backlog of sermon podcasts to listen to. Among others, I often listen to Phil Fernandes, who once served in the United States Marine Corps, and is the long serving pastor of Trinity Bible Fellowship in Seattle in the United States.

He often speaks on the classical Christian doctrine of the Messiahship of Jesus Christ. My takeaway from these sermons is that the fact of Jesus being the Messiah is so well attested by scripture that it should be beyond dispute. Anyone who studies these passages should be left with little doubt that these verses describe Jesus and not somebody else. 

To know the real, you have to know the counterfeit. Just as bank tellers are trained to detect counterfeit currency, Christians need to train themselves to detect spiritual counterfeits. The early Christians had to take close heed to Christ's warning about "false Christs" (Matthew 24:24, Mark 13:22).  These warnings were echoed by the apostles in their writings (1 John 2:18, 22, 4:3, 2 John 1:7). The early Christians were not immune to spiritual deception. 

Neither are we, their contemporaries. These days Christians need to be more discerning than ever. Who are some modern false Christs? Fernandes mentioned cult leaders Sai Baba (1926-2011), Bhagwan Shreee Rajneesh (1931-1990), David Koresh (1959-1993) and Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama is addressed as "Your Holiness." It is offensive for any mere human being to carry such a title. Holiness connotes the idea of being pious, pure, and saintly. Jesus is the only sinless man who ever lived (2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15, 1 Peter 2:22, 1 John 3:25). Because of this, only through believing and trusting in Jesus can any sinful, fallen human being have reconciliation with God.

As for the Dalai Lama, his teachings lead people astray and away from Jesus. He denies that Jesus is God in human form, instead asserting that Jesus had lived previous lives, and that his purpose was to preach a message of tolerance and compassion, and to help people become better human beings. Since he offers a distorted version of what Jesus taught and who he was, he meets the biblical definition of an anti-Christ.

Years ago some friends of mine went to hear the Dalai Lama speak at one of his public meetings in Melbourne. They reported that most of what he said consisted of feel good generalities. There was no notion of human sin, the need for repentance, and accountability to God. He might tickle your ear with inspiring sounding words, but I definitely would not entrust him with my eternal destiny. He might be charismatic, charming and affable, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, but he is still an ordinary man in need of salvation.

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