Foreign God’s As God
by Mike Oppenheimer
Premise -The Creator God of the Bible is not a foreign God of these nations– their God sent his son. This is clearly a paralogism.
Throughout the broadcast one of the more disturbing underlying themes was that we should not present God as a foreign God to the nations but as their own God.
“”¦ I talked with someone whose, she grew up in Japan in a Christian family and yet she felt Jesus was a foreign God. And why did she feel that is- Everytime she would read the Bible, it be, the words would be in kanji and when it comes to the name of Jesus it would be in katakana. So its just like y’know if we read in our English Bible and then Jesus the foreign God said, this is what it says to them when they are doing it, and then the foreign God Jesus did this, and the foreign God Jesus did that. Because its in katakana it tells them that everytime they read that, he is not our God ” (Word to the World interview with Daniel Kikawa, Feb.6, 2006, #1).
If you know the God of the word then the name written in a different language should not stumble you. Putting aside peoples own perceptions and short-comings that are used in a weak argument; there is a greater point to be seen in this. To be uncomfortable because God’s name is not in your language is really a flawed argument. But it suits Kikawas purpose of promoting cultural identification.
Yeshua is Hebrew for God is salvation. This can be transliterated into other languages. Iesou (i.e. Jehoshua), is its equivalent in the Greek language. Jesus is the transliteration in English; it is speaking of the same God. God is salvation can be translated into nearly any language. To transliterate means to express corresponding characters (letters or words) in another language, while retaining the original sense. (reference from American Heritage Dictionary). This means one is not referring to another God but the same God in another language, the God of Israel. But this is certainly Not what Kikawa is doing.
You cannot call God whatever you want from any culture to make him not foreign. The fact is-Jesus is a foreign God to everyone individually until they know him. Just because you have a different language should make no difference when the facts of the Bible are presented to you personally and properly. God is a foreign God to every nation except Israel, but even a Jew who is an unbeliever, God (Jesus) would be foreign to them because He does not know the Messiah.
Danny Lehmann ““ “If the God appears to be a foreign God, it would be equivalent to us in America which is a normally Christian based society accepting Buddhism, because it sounds foreign to us.“
No, it would not be equivalent. This is a non sequitur argument, Buddhism is a completely different religion. This is another flawed argument to keep each cultures name of their God[s]. It is not about societies but about God and who He is. Yes, Christianity is a different religion to these people, God is foreign to them. ‚ To claim that one must have in the Bible the name of the God of their culture is to change the Scriptures revelation.
Daniel Kikawa– “Now imagine, put yourself in a position of a native Hawaiian or a Japanese or so on. And the gospel is brought to you and you they say this God loves you so much y’know that he died for you and so on and so on. and I would say, and if you put yourself in their position you would say well if he loved me so much why did he dwell with you all this time and not here? y’know- if he’s my God then why wasn’t he here in the thousands of years of our history caring about us, he dwelt with you! y’know, hes your God he’s not, he really didn’t love or even if I accept him as many native people have come up to me and told me, until I read your book I felt like a second class citizen in the kingdom of God and , he doesn’t love me as much as he loves you because he dwelt with you all that time.”
Interviewer Danny Lehmann”””and he hasn’t dwelt with us.”
Interviewee- Daniel Kikawa- “well that’s not true, the Bible says that he was there, he loving them and, and in Acts 17 again, ” that he was there so close to them, that they lived and moved and dwelt in him and they were his children and he was there so that they would seek him and perhaps find him y’know, and he’s not far from anyone of them, all the thousands of years of the history he even placed them there.”
Interviewer- Danny Lehmann ““ “fantastic” (Word to the World interview with Daniel Kikawa Feb.15, 2006, #8)
God didn’t dwell with them because they willfully rejected Him (Prov.1:22-28). As Romans 1 states, they suppressed the truth in unrighteousness; they loved darkness rather than light. This statement is basing ones acceptance on feelings not the Scripture. Deut.4:6-8 God said to Israel “For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?”And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?”
Even today, there are real missionaries who bring the gospel to these dear people and they reject the message. This certainly does not justify Kikawa’s way of saying to them- your god is God. What nation did God dwell with all the time except for Israel? God has not said of any other nation, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified“ (Isa. 49:3).
Paul in Acts 17 does not mean they personally knew him or that they were children of his without first being born of the Spirit. Living and have their being in him does not mean relationship, it is a statement that God was their provider. He gave them air, water, etc. God provided for them their basic needs even though they did not know him. This is what Paul said previously in Acts 14:11-17: “who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”
Scripture is implicit -Because we are by nature children of wrath Eph. 2:3, we must be born again (Jn.3) to receive the Spirit to become children of God (Rom. 8:14-16). A second birth is diminished. John 1:12: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” We are all creatures of God but not his children, this is a universal sonship that Kikawa is presenting. ‚ God is their creator but not their Father until they have a spiritual birth.
Acts 17 does not teach they were God’s children (their god[s]);Acts 17 only affirms that they knew He exists but they had no true knowledge of him. So Paul says in Acts 17:27 “so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Isa.65:1; Rom.10:20). Paul in no way says here or anywhere else they knew personally him or were children of him without being born of the Spirit first. This becomes another weak and false argument for knowing God as stated in Romans 1.
Addressing the problem of evangelism in these cultures- “Well we found two main problems. And once again is he’s not our God, He’s a foreign God. I even had, known of Japanese people who were, went to a service and got healed and still not accept him because its like wow you got a great daddy but he’s not my daddy”¦ so we find again the native name, if Romans 1:20 is true, they would have a name for the creator God even if it’s a remnant left, y’know, because there at the state after Romans 1.“
Interviewer Danny Lehmann- “Even if It’s twisted or perverted or whatever, they still have a name for God”
Interviewee-Daniel Kikawa- “Right, that we can purify again instead of turning it over to Satan. Saying you dirty name of god we’ll throw it away. y’know it’s a precious legacy for them that says God loves you” (Word to the World interview with Daniel Kikawa Feb.15, 2006, #8)
Can we purify a name of a false God? A god who formerly mislead the people into corruption and bondage? It is a name of another god who has a false belief system attached to him. It is not the same God of the Bible.
Kikawa speaking of the conversion of Hawaiian sovereignty groups tells us, “the rest are open through the name of the creator God in Hawaii which is Io, and through him they see that he’s a Hawaiian god, but he’s the same creator of all things, and y’know sent his son for them“ (Word to the world program ‚ -2/3/06 Danny Lehmann”˜s interview with Daniel Kikawa).
Kikawa presents the ancient Hawaiian God ( who is not considered Io’) as the God of Scripture, a Hawaiian god who sent his son. He has expanded the concept to include other cultures.
Interviewee- Daniel Kikawa – speaking of the Japanese culture “but when the protestant missionaries came in decades later and, and used the name of Hananim, all of a sudden there was great excitement, that our God sent his son for us, Y’know, and so its not a foreign God anymore – our God, and great excitement and this is the beginning of this great revival that has been ongoing in Korea” (Word to the World interview with Daniel Kikawa Feb.13, 2006, #6).
Kikawa’s position is that it becomes necessary to use their god’s name as the true God for the gospel to be accepted. Are all the gods of the nations different but true? I can only hope on his part this is not Sophistry. The Bible presents all the gods of the nations as different and FALSE. God says so. God’s name is Holy. None of these nation’s gods are Holy like the LORD (YHWH). Did the God of these nations tell them about anything accurately recorded in the Bible? Did he tell them about his Son in prophecy? No, they had to have a missionary come to tell them. If we to accept the names of the Gods these nations have, those invented by men, should we not also accept what their god taught them? ‚ How can one separate the god of their culture and its teaching or history, if he is God?
The Bible speaks directly on this matter of the Gentiles knowing God, Ephesians 2:11-12 “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh– who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands– that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”
The gentiles were called the uncircumcison by those who had God’s covenant. The Gentiles are to be grafted into the covenants of Israel. They did not stand on their own (Romans 9). God was NOT personally involved in their culture as He was with Israel. God had not revealed himself to the Gentiles as he did to Israel. They were foreigners, strangers to the commonwealth of Israel and to God, not being associated with what God made with Israel- this is why ALL Gentiles were without hope, they were without God. He ignores the role of Israel in God’s revelation to mankind, finding it suitable for the Gentile cultures to be sufficient on their own knowledge. Kikawa does not see the necessity of being grafted in and acknowledging the God of Israel. This is a type of replacement theology. Using the names of the nations gods to replace the name YHWH, the Lord God of Israel. These people did not know the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. “For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens” (1 Chr 16:26).
The God of Israel is supposed to be the God worshipped by all nations- Kikawa reverses it saying, the gods of the nations is the God of Israel. Psalm 147:19-20 “He declares His word to Jacob, his statutes and His judgments to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any nation; and as for His judgments, they have not known them.”
If you are going to do this for the cultures in our day then you must apply this to the cultures in ancient times that would be closer to the original worship with less corruption. Then when we read of Baal, Ashtaroth, Molech would consider them the true God who had a son. How does Kikawa make the distinction between these gods Hananim, Allah, Shang- Ti, Io, Baal, Asherah, Milcom, and Ra? He is judging which gods are true and which are false without any biblical basis. Why is Allah, Hananim, Shang ti or Io more true than Baal, Ashera or any of the gods of the culture in Israel’s day. Would not time allow for even further corruption?
Kikawa has an intentional disconnect from what the Bible actually says about these gods and what God had spoken all through the Old Testament. He ineptly isolates portions of the Scripture to enforce his point of religious syncretism, which promotes the worship of national foreign gods as the God of the Bible.
Deut 6:14: “You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you.” Throughout the old Testament, Israel who was separated to the Lord is warned about foreign gods, Josh. 20:20,24. Josh 24:20-21 “If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.” And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the LORD!”
Why would the Lord say this if they are him? These are other elohim (gods), not Yahweh Elohim. To tell these people that their God had a son who is Jesus Christ (Yeshua ha Mashiach) is deceptive, because it is a lie. It is calling the God of the Bible, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ another God. Who would want Christians to have us accept all the cultures as equal in their religious practices? Not OUR God. The Bible repeats over and over from the beginning there is no God like YHWH, He alone is God. This is in direct contradistinction to the gods of the nations (Exodus 18:11, 15:11; Deut. 12:2).
Kikawa speaking about worship and the Hula states, “he just dwells within the praises of his people. The anointing of God is there when these dances are used to worship God. And it immediately tells to the Hawaiian people he’s Hawaiian who loves the Hawaiian people”¦” (Word to the World interview with Daniel Kikawa, Feb.9, 2006, #4).
God certainly loves the people, but is God is Hawaiian? I seemed to have missed that page in the Bible. (Kikawa also believes God is also Japanese, Chinese; Korean, Islamic) is He the god of each of these cultures? Was God manifested in the flesh in Hawaii? Korea? Japan? Kikawa seems to neglect that God who became man was Jewish and was sent to his own people, Israel (Jn.1:11; Mt.15:24; Acts 4:10-11; Ps 135:12-13). God is called “The LORD God of the Hebrews“ (Exod 7:16); “the God of Israel“ over 200 times, the God of Jerusalem the capital of Israel, The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The God and Father of Israel (1 Chron. 29:10); the God of the Jews and the Gentiles (Rom 3:29) speaking of those who were given the knowledge to know God and those who did not know God. What other nation on earth is called by name as “Israel My glory“ (Isa 46:13). No other nation is called by God as His own like Israel.
Kikawa– “He was born in the center of civilization of that day and what did Jesus say is tell everybody that I came. y’know, Not that you don’t know God or that you don’t have no relationship with him and he’s a foreign God to you. But that, that the son of your creator came who made himself known to us Romans 1:20 says” (Word to the World interview with Daniel Kikawa Feb.14, 2006, #7)
It seems to me that Kikawa does not want to admit Jesus was born in Israel, (which was not the center of civilization-Rome was). To admit the Jewishness of Jesus would go contrary to his presentation of being a son of their gods. ‚ If Jesus is the son of their creator God then he is no longer Jewish, then you have a different Jesus.
What does the bible teach? Gal.4:4-5 “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.” The law is synonymous with Israel. John 1:11 “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” John 4:9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” “there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem“(John 5:1). The wisemen asked, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? ‚ (Matt 2:2) John 3:2 Jesus is called “Rabbi”, by another rabbi. Matt 27:11 the governor asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” So Jesus said to him, “It is as you say” (also John 18:35).
Romans 1:20 is continually repeated as proof, even though it does not say, the son of your creator! Paul did NOT say their creator God had a son as Kikawa teaches. Romans 1 explains how they left the truth, not kept it. In the very section of verses that Kikawa cites, Rom 1:25 “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, v.28 “did not like to retain God in their knowledge.” They made up their own god.
Kikawa says their message did not contain, “”¦ that you don’t know God or that you don’t have no relationship with him” is patently false. Gal. 4:8: “But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.“ But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God.“ Paul commended the Gentiles, “how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God“ (1 Thess. 1:9). The same Paul who wrote Romans 1 is very specific in 1 Cor. 1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” Again, Kikawa has a different take on things than what is presented in the Bible.
His message and method is explained ‚ in his book Perpetuated in Righteousness, “Instead of destroying and ridiculing the native names of the Creator God, we should help preserve them as a legacy for these peoples. It is their legacy of God’s enduring interest, involvement and care for their culture and people! Christians should cease representing Jesus as the Son of the foreign God of a foreign people, especially if these foreigners had never shown concern for nor had any involvement in the lives or culture of the natives. We should instead introduce Jesus as the Son of their creator God“ (p.27, Perpetuated in Righteousness).
If you were to introduce YAHWEH as another God in Moses’ time it would be blasphemy and the most serious of offenses. Deut. 13:5-7 states, if prophet or one who has dreams ” has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God “¦ to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst. V.6 If anyone, “secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known.” Deut. 18:20 ‘But the prophet “¦who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.“ God calls this evil and was dead serious about the punishment for leading his people astray.
Kikawa writes in his book-“Many Christians and missionaries have a prejudice so deep that they do not realize that it is there. They feel that it is sacrilege to call the great God, Jehovah, by any other name. They believe this even though there isn’t even the letter “J” in the Hebrew. Many do not realize that this name, Jehovah, is a contrived name. It was made by combining the consonants in the name of the Hebrew God, YHWH (Yahweh), with the vowels in the word, Adonay, to become an impossible YaHoWah.6 This author feels that it is more sacrilegious to say to almighty God, “I don’t like the sound of your name so I am giving you a new one,” than it is to use the name of the Ancient Benevolent Creator, in the tongue of native peoples. (p.24, Perpetuated in Righteousness 4th ed.)
But what he is doing is far worse; assigning foreign gods names who have been worshipped for hundreds of years, or millennia and claim this is the true God who is Yahweh (Jehovah whom is representing the name and being, God in the Bible). He is the one giving God a new name, a name of a foreign god.
This clearly is teaching to accept other gods as Yahweh. Deut. 11:16: “Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them.” Joshua 24:14 “Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD!”
You can’t just attach Jesus to any god or religious system and Christianize Him. Kikawa does not want us to destroy and ridicule the native names of the Creator God. However, promoting syncretism destroys the biblical message of the Bibles God. At all costs we should avoid blending religious elements of ancient Native Beliefs and practices with the Christian Faith. Otherwise it becomes another Jesus and another gospel.
Israel was given the commands and statutes of the Lord and told not to add nor take away from them, Deut.4:6-8 “Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. “For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?” And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?
The answer is NONE of them! Our God says No nation can be compared to Israel whom He made and gave instruction to. God says to Israel – Deut 7:6-10: “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth“ (this is repeated in Exodus 19:5; Deut. 14:2; Ps 135:4-5). If Israel obeys “the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. (Deut 28:1). However if they disobeyed “Then the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known” (Deut.28:64).
Like it or not (if you are a believer you should have no problem with this), God made Israel from one man and has set his grace upon them as He did with no other people.
Interviewee-Daniel Kikawa- “And there are people who point to that and uh really, uh y’know again, like China and Japan as one of the main reasons because this is not their God, now he’s a foreign God come here and uh not using that native name, and this is one of the main things that we have found too, with Hawaiian people”¦“ (Word to the World interview with Daniel Kikawa Feb. 16, 2006 #9)
Lehmann stated on the Korean culture, since the missionary cannot find ““ “all the attributes that we have on Jehovah God but the missionary tries to find whatever is closest in their culture to what they understand as the one God and try to build that bridge.”
Kikawa is telling everyone, they are not so bad but close enough. Go ahead and use these gods name you already have, even if he is false is inane. Because of enmity toward Christianity, they dress up their cultural god to be as much like Yahweh to bridge this gap. They know the cultures God is not really like Yahweh but will make their god sound like him because they will accept their own god more easily than a God outside their culture- even the true one. This is more than bending over backwards.
I King 18:25: “Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.”
Calling on the name of a god was to invoke that god, this is nothing to fool with. When you call on the names of these foreign gods you are inviting them into your life.
He is not one name among other gods. 1 Cor. 8:5-7 “For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.”
The gospel of “In the name of others gods”
The spirit of truth is not in this type of evangelism. Kikawa’s reasoning is that these people of other nations do not believe because we do not give them their own God[s], they are offended when we give them a God they do not know (a foreign God). Jesus said something very different, “men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed“ (John 3:19-20).
Jesus speaking of the Holy Spirit being sent, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: “of sin, because they do not believe in Me“ (John 16:8-10). To believe in Him means to believe in the one who sent Him. Kikawa is giving darkness as light as he tells them their god is God.
What Kikawa has done is exactly what was taking place on Mars Hill, except in reverse. He says the names of the gods of these cultures (like the many statues) are the true God, instead of what Paul presented to them the unknown god, he presents to them their own god as the true God. Psalm 81:8-9 “Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you! O Israel, if you will listen to Me! There shall be no foreign god among you; nor shall you worship any foreign god” That’s good advice from God himself. What Kikawa has done is have the church accept foreign gods as the true one.
Preach The Gospel
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor. 4:3-5).
One might ask- the image of which God? The false god[s] of all the nations? What Jesus would they be preaching when they offer Jesus as the son of a foreign God? And what about the god of this age who has blinded them to the gospel- which is the glory of Christ- God becoming man through the Hebrews?
This is wicked to tell people- this is leading them away from the pure devotion the Scripture speaks of and that all of us should be striving to hold.
Can the Mormon Jesus save? He is a spirit brother with other spirits, yet God is called by the name Jehovah, or elohim.
Can the Jehovah’s witnesses Jesus save? He is an angel- Michael. Their creator God is also called Jehovah
Can Islam’s Jesus- who did not die for sin, nor was he pre-existent as God.
Can the New Age Jesus can save? – He is a master who discovered his godhood.
Can the Jesus of these nations gods that Kikawa is presenting through YWAM save? Not anymore than these others. Not if the nature of this god[s] is different than the one in the Bible
If these religions practices do not affect the nature of God then it does not matter what Jesus you have. Then we have stepped into acceptance of a universalist view of God. But again, when we go to the Bible Paul says something very different. 2 Cor 11:3-4: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted– you may well put up with it!”
Another Jesus brings another spirit which points to another gospel- ANOTHER WAY.
The problem- these men do not understand the name that the gospel is focused upon. When you call upon the Lord to save you are calling upon Jesus who is Yahweh, the God of Israel, not the son of another God of another culture. You become an enemy of the gospel when you offer this as the way to know God.
Consider that this is exactly what the Bahais’ believe, “Although we may have different concepts of God’s nature, although we may pray to Him in different languages and call Him by different names–Allah or Yahweh, God or Brahma–nevertheless, we are speaking about the same unique Being“ (The Bah ƒ ¡’ ƒ Concept of God – http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-0-2.html).
This is no different than what the World Council of Churches message is. This fits well into a generic one-world creator, a God with many names ““ that promotes interfaith, that excludes none. They are not preaching the God who is to be worshipped by all the nations but instead all the nation’s gods.