Golden Calf Evangelism
by Mike Oppenheimer
John 17:15-17: “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. V. 19 “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.”
The Bible tells us that Satan rules this worlds system, it is fallen and under his jurisdiction. Yet, as believers, we are to carry the message of truth in a world filled with falsehood. This is especially important to understand when it comes to the different cultures in the world that hold to various religious/ spiritual beliefs. Some of them contain a few similarities on the surface but when more closely examined they are not similar at all. Whatever is not in agreement with the Word of God is not from Jesus Christ, is not truth, and is to be rejected for our spiritual living. This would include “inclusive evangelism.”
In our day there are many new alternatives for evangelism. People are experimenting with “new” ways to get the message of Jesus to those who have never heard. There is nothing wrong with being flexible in how a message can be communicated to a people group that has never heard about Jesus Christ or the gospel. As good intentioned as some may be, we must be careful to stay within biblical parameters. Sincerity and good objectives are not enough to justify some of these new methods. What we are seeing is the same idea Aaron used encapsulated in the new evangelism model of the paradigm shifters. Some will do just about anything to call someone a Christian. Using the least amount of truth from the Bible, they diminish the gospel and present it using their own cultural setting. This has become extremely problematic missiology that is being promoted by the New Apostolic Reformation, YWAM and other missionary organizations, and it is getting much worse.
Here’s the scenario- Moses was up on the mountain now for weeks and no one heard from him or from God. Under pressure from the people Aaron makes an idol in the shape of one of the gods from Egypt, a calf. He then assigns the golden calf the title of being ‚ their deliverer, the God (elohim) that led the Israelites out of Egypt. Exodus 32:4 ““¦This is your god, (elohim) O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” They made feast day the next day, sacrificed to it The celebrated- dancing and rejoicing around this visible representation of their God, attributing to him all that was done thus far. This idol that was not God was accepted as God for the sake of the people. The Lords response- they have corrupted themselves: “They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” (Exodus 32:8).
The application – we can call something God, when he is in fact not. We find this being done today with what is called an inclusive evangelism- referring to national gods as the true God.
I recently heard a series of programs with Daniel Kikawa being interviewed by Danny Lehmann director of YWAM (who is on YWAM’s governing board) on the local Christian radio station. What I heard was extremely disturbing, problematic and some of it was rank heresy. The message was clear- tell people they can keep their gods name, in their culture and add Jesus into the equation.
I cannot let this go without it being addressed. It cannot be ignored because it is of the utmost importance that we have answers for what is being said. What does the Bible actually says on these matters that Daniel Kikawa presents as facts. I see this new way of evangelism as an attack on the very nature of God and opposes His revelation to man by the Bible. Those who are not educated on this subject matter or familiar with history will not be able to easily discern the errors presented. If you are not grounded in the Scripture you can be misled by this type of rhetoric. Before we go the radio interview we need to learn some of the beliefs in Kikawa’s teachings.
Daniel Kikawa runs a ministry called Aloha ke Akua. He has written a book called Perpetuated in Righteousness the Journey of the Hawaiian people from Eden to the present time.
This is a portion of their MISSION STATEMENT:
“To facilitate the reconciliation of indigenous peoples to their Creator:
“The Creator God of the Bible is not a foreign God. He loves indigenous people and has been a part of their history and culture from the beginning.“
While I agree that God does love the people, the Bible says something very different. God was not involved in all the nations culture; especially when they worshipped other gods. All one needs to do is look at what these gods required in worship and how these cultures lived to know how hopeless these people were as they groped to please him by their religion. God was not involved in forming cultures but one, the nation of Israel.
“To facilitate the reconciliation of indigenous peoples with Jesus Christ: ‚ “Jesus Christ is the Son of the Creator of all people and He loves all people equally. To let indigenous people know that any atrocities that have been perpetrated by the church, “Christian” nations, or Christians were wrong and did not come from Jesus.”
The meaning of this could be left up to ones interpretation if it wasn’t for Kikawa’s teaching in his book Perpetuated in Righteousness. He makes it clear what he means by this statement- “Instead of destroying and ridiculing the native names of the Creator God, we should help preserve them as a legacy for these peoples. “¦ 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).
This is the basis for his evangelism- telling people their God[s] (of their nation, culture or tribe) had a son and that their God’s son (of their nation) is Jesus Christ. As we will see, this does far more damage than good, because it misrepresents the God of the Scripture. What they perceived as God in their own culture is not the same God presented in the Bible. Are the names of OTHER gods to be treated as a legacy or be abandoned for the true one.
Kikawa writes– “To facilitate the reconciliation of indigenous peoples with whom they are in Christ: ‚ “To let indigenous people know that God lovingly created them exactly as He wanted them; that He has been with them and loved them throughout their history, that He left many treasures and worthy traditions within their culture, and that He desires they freely worship Him with, and celebrate, the beautiful and unique cultural expressions that flow from them.”
This is just one of many serious errors in his philosophy and it becomes the foundation for his new way to evangelize. To say God is directly responsible for the formation of the people of the worlds culture and customs is complete nonsense. Did God give them these ways to worship other gods?
This is one of the proofs for Kikawa’s teaching that God ‚ was involved in giving customs and traditions to the cultures of the world. (He makes this point in his DVD video, “God’s FingerPrints in Japan“) Paul tells the Greeks in Acts 17:26-27) “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,” 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.“
Paul is referring to Deut .32:8-9: “When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, he set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel. For the LORD’S portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance.”
From the time of Noah and his sons, in the days of Peleg, whose name (that is division Gen. 10:25) ‚ God gave the nations their place (land) and ordained how far each should reach, east, west, north and south. He put boundaries in relation to the Jews whom he brought salvation by. Nowhere does this teach that God gave them their customs, traditions or beliefs as He did to Israel. The Bible is very clear on this matter, 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.” Jacob is a synonym of Israel (the 12 tribes). In other words no other nation was given a revelation of God like Israel. This record becomes our Old Testament.
Here is what the Bible says about the ancient cultures and nations- Gen. 10:5: “From these the coastland peoples of the Gentiles were separated into their lands, everyone according to his language, according to their families, into their nations.” Genesis 10:20, mentions the sons of Ham also Shem- Gen. 10:31-32:”These were the sons of Shem, according to their families, according to their languages, in their lands, according to their nations. V.32 “from these the nations were divided on the earth after the flood.” Do we find anything in the Old Testament like Kikawa asserts? Nowhere does the Bible say or imply that God, “left many treasures and worthy traditions within their culture,“ as if He himself put them in these cultures. Kikawa has no proof that God “has been a part of their history and culture from the beginning,“ NONE whatsoever.
When the flood occurred in Noah’s day there was no one left (no culture or nation) obeying God but ONLY Noah’s family- God said: “I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation“ (Gen. 7:1). One can go as far back as the Tower of Babel, when the people united and built a temple (Ziggurat) for worship not of God, but the host of heaven. God ‚ intentionally scattered people who united over the face of the earth where they themselves created nations (Gen. 11:6-9).
Abraham (2120 -1950 BC.) was removed at God’s request from the pagan land he was in. Why? God found no nation, no people group worshipping him correctly, they were in darkness. So He took Abraham and formed a people, Israel, whom He personally gave His commandments and instructions to. When we come to the time of Moses, God gave Israel the land of Canaan he promised to Abraham, and it says in Exodus 34:24: “For I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your borders.” If God was so involved in forming these nations, putting treasures in them (as Kikawa insinuates) he certainly would not have to destroy them. Numbers 33:51-53: “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you have crossed the Jordan into the land of Canaan, ‘then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their engraved stones, destroy all their molded images, and demolish all their high places; ‘you shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land and dwell in it, for I have given you the land to possess.” In Deut. 7:1-2 the Lord names 7 greater nations that the Isrealites were surrounded by , the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, “and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them“ (also Deut 31:3; Deut 20:16-20).
Why would the Lord tell Israel to do this if they had redeeming traditions the Lord had put in them? Or if they were worshipping him? The reason is “For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods“ (Deut 7:4). OTHER Gods were involved, not the creator God. In fact he made it clear to Israel (who is the ONLY nation He formed) in Lev. 18:24: “Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you.” He warned Israel not to adopt other cultures ways to worship or to live. Deut. 18:9-14: “you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations.” Further on in this series of articles I will show how serious this is and how the nation Israel is our example in being separate as well as dealing with the idolatry in the nations. God did not tell Israel nor did He EVER tell the church to redeem cultures but people.
John Dawson, the current president of YWAM is on the board of Daniel Kikawa’s organization, Aloha Ke Akua, and fully endorses his mythology presented in his book “Perpetuated in Righteousness.” Because of this acceptance Kikawa was able to teach his false history of Hawaii to YWAM bases in Hawaii and elsewhere. John Dawson of YWAM said this approval about Kikawa’s book: “Marvelous!”¦This is what we need for every people group. If only [they} had the clear picture of the Lord’s redemptive destiny that the Hawaiians now possess.” “Daniel Kikawa and the Hawaiian’s are showing us the way.” “Daniel Kikawa’s memorable first book – Perpetuated in Righteousness – enabled us to behold early Hawaiian history as with new eyes.”
At the end of Kikawa’s video, Fingerprint of God Dawson gives a glowing endorsement of what Kiawa is teaching. On the back cover of the DVD Dawson’s endorsement states “After seeking to communicate to Japanese people their beauty for so many years. I know that we have the key to open the correct door.” (I thought the Bible gave us the gospel as the key to evangelize the nations.)
Posted on Aloha ke Akua website John Dawson further comments, “”¦We would like to use this video as a central part of our missionary work in Japan and to use it as an example for our missionaries around the world, of how to present the gospel to indigenous peoples.”
Even Loren Cunningham, Founder of YWAM chimed in- “thank you for your in depth research that that is giving us keys that I believe will help us teach modern day youth in Japan.”
This is outrageous! For YWAM to accept this is negligent and inexcusable, it shows the lack of education in there own organization. It also illustrates that they adopt new trends without ever verifying the veracity of the sources. (see the series of articles on the primary resources to prove he distorted history.)
There are many so called evangelists advancing a synthetic gospel-which consists of a inclusive message. Kikawa has now expanded his concept of Io of the Hawaiian people being the true God (As the same God of Israel) to an extreme. Now he applies it to the cultures/nations of the world. ‚ This shows me how far removed he is from a biblical worldview. This gospel formula of inclusivism has no limits and can be made to fit anyone or anything- it turns into a customized universalist view of nations.
In this series of interviews By Danny Lehmann (who is on the YWAM Global leadership team), Interviewee-Daniel Kikawa says ““”Well I think we can follow what Paul did in Acts 17, which, as we know Paul usually went to the synagogues and you read Hebrews he was the master at relating to them and so on showing through the Scriptures who Jesus was. But now he comes to a culture which doesn’t understand Hebrew culture and is totally different, Y’know, and the Areopagus is, y’know is, was like the head of this other religion. And he goes there to, to talk to them. And here we have the only sermon, a full sermon that Paul preaches to a people that don’t understand. Now Paul was designated the apostle to the gentiles, so we can follow his pattern. What did he do first okay. He didn’t start quoting scripture, okay, he did that in Hebrews but he didn’t because these people couldn’t relate to it, the first thing he did is he related, I’m talking about your God. What he did was, he took the unknown God and he said I’m going to tell you about him. Now the unknown god they had monuments to the unknown god in Athens and by the way that was one monument, and he nicely says monument among hundreds of monuments on mars hill. “¦. And he says I’m going to tell you about this God, now in western Christianity Paul would be rebuked and kicked out of church for doing that.”
Interviewer Danny Lehmann- “And isn’t it interesting that he used the Greek word for God theos and he says I’m going to declare to you about that God.” [emp. Mine]
Interviewee-Daniel Kikawa- “right.”
Acts 17 tells us while Paul was in Athens, he saw that the city was given over to idols. V.17 “Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers…” ‚ V.18. “Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, “What does this babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,” because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.“
This is why they took him to the Areopagus, for him to explain this new doctrine (Acts 17:19-20) of another God. What God was Paul going to tell them about, one they did not know, not one they did! The God of Israel- the true creator.
“I’m talking about your God. What he did was, he took the unknown God and he said I’m going to tell you about him.”
It is apparent by what they said that he was telling them about a foreign god, one they did not know. Paul WAS referring to Scripture in his sermon on Mars Hill. He used Bible based teachings to explain to those who knew nothing about the true God. Did he quote chapter and verse? No, but it was Biblically based.( he also used their own poets words against them).
Lehmann’s comments of Paul using the Greek word for God theos is inconsequential. Because Paul spoke to them in Greek (the Bible was also written in Greek). Of course he used the word for God in their language. What he did NOT use is a Greek gods name. Theos is general word for God, a god they did not know.
Interviewer- Danny Lehmann ““ “So he wasn’t saying I’m going to bring in the Hebrew God, this is something we have a problem with in the Muslim world, a lot of Christians, especially pro- Israel Christians, which many of us are, go to an Arab, and you start saying Allah- you cannot worship Allah you have to worship Jehovah which is the Hebrew name for God. Which is like going to the Hootoos and saying you have got to worship the Tootsie God and it is just and incredible insulting thing and yet we in the west have a hard time grasping it.” [emp. Mine]
Paul wasn’t going to bring in the Hebrew God! What God would he be bringing to them? Why not the God of the Hebrews? Because their position is that the cultures own national gods names are acceptable. Again, this was not the Greeks God; he was an UNKNOWN God to them.
Jehovah is not Allah- they are different in nature no matter what name one uses for them. What is insulting is what Lehmann is proposing for us: to not tell Muslims that Allah is NOT Jehovah. Instead, he has no problem with Muslims continuing to use Allah, the same name they have always used. Muslims believe their God Allah is the creator, the almighty, and there is no other. They borrow concepts from the Bible to prove this and will, when it is to their advantage, claim that Allah is the God of the Bible. When they take this position they are not agreeing with us but saying that we are wrong about God, that we have a corrupted belief. Not everyone has the same definition of the words God, Jesus, revelation, inspiration, or the events and history surrounding these subjects. “The Allah of Islam” is certainly not the God found in the Bible because of the immense differences. We know this God whom Mohammed had a revelation of hates Israel, God is not called Father, does not have a Son because this one God is not triune in nature. Neither is Isa (Jesus) the same Jesus of the Bible but is only a name the Muslims have assigned him as a prophet; their Isa (Jesus) is not God the Son who died on the cross for our sins, therefore Allah cannot be equivalent to or used as the Father. The Arabic word Allah literally it means “The God.” If one asks a Muslim about Allah being equal to the other names of God that Kikawa is proposing, they would get a unanimous no.
How can anyone say the name Allah is the same God? We are not just using names, the name identifies who is behind the name. One has to be without knowledge on this subject or be dishonest to present them as the same God. However, Muslims know their god is different then the Christian’s, how come these men don’t?
Are they (the gods of the nations) all true Gods with different names? To say all of these are no more than the names of God in different languages is to intentionally not look at the God behind the name. There are distinctions in these gods? If you do not make distinctions of whom these names represent you will end up believing that are religions are basically about the same God. This is what Bahai’s and Rosicrucian’s teach; ‚ that is what universalism is about. This is no small issue and it takes time to answer what is being presented.
Interviewee- Daniel Kikawa- “Yes, Allah is another thing, the basis for Allah is according to Don Richardson is Eloah, which is another form of Elohim. And remember Mohammed is way after Christ, there were Arab Christians before that using the name Allah before Mohammed came along and changed that. In fact the Bible in Indonesia”¦still uses Allah as, when they use it in the Bible”¦ the Bible societies all over the world have translated for God so loved the world- for Allah so loved the world”¦”
(Ed. Note I would like to see historical proof of this claim, that Arab Christians used the name Allah before Mohammed. The first Arabic Bible came after Mohammed. An Arabic version of the Hebrew Bible was made in the tenth century by Saadia ha Gaon, the New Testament came after. Usage of the name does mean it is correct and we must accept it.)
Historians tell us that al-ilah was originally a generic title for whatever god was considered the highest god. Even among certain ancient Arabs the moon god was also referred to as “al-ilah.” This is not a proper name of a single specific god, but a generic reference meaning “the god.” The Hebrew word el and elohim is also used for both the true God and false gods. This is why in the Hebrew God is called Yahweh elohim, to distinguish him from other elohim (false gods). In the New Testament it is made clear that God is to be called Father who sent his Son from heaven, again relating to the Hebrew revelation.
Interviewer Danny Lehmann- “You can go to any Encyclopedia and find, well no, Allah is the moon god and therefore it shouldn’t be used, but I would tend to disagree with that but because Theos was not exactly a holy God either and neither is Gott in Germany, Vued in Sweden, or Hananim in Korean“ (Word to the World interview with Daniel Kikawa Feb.7, 2006, #2). [emp. Mine]
Then we have a huge problem. Because if theos (as well as these other names) is not a holy God then how could he be the true God! Lehmann is then contradicting what both he and Kikawa are saying in his whole interview. The whole premise is redeeming these nation’s names of god “by the closest also known as that is in that culture to our Jehovah.” This contradiction will become more apparent as one reads the quotes. Here are a few already cited: Kikawa on Acts 17 to the Greeks- “I’m talking about your God“¦ I’m going to tell you about this God.” Lehmann- Paul using the, “Greek word for God theos and he says I’m going to declare to you about that God,” meaning their own god, not the Hebrew one.
Furthermore, whether its Allah, Gott, Vued, or Hananim (dieu or dios) all of these names mean God but the question is, are they the same God? Take for example the name Allah. It came from al-ilah and although there are those who look at the name as a generic name for God, the fact is, it is not. Historians have proven that Allah was one of 360 gods worshipped at the Kaaba before Mohammed made him monotheistic. Lehmann obviously disagrees with these numerous scholars findings. Lehmann’s view on Allah has been voiced on a previous programs of his. One program when interviewing a girl from Afghanistan, she comments about Muslims, “And then meeting these people and they have a true fear of God and it sort of taught me how to actually fear God in a right way.“ D. Lehmann- “sure, sure.” I would characterize the relationship that Muslims have with God is mostly one out of, it is actually out of fear whereas the Christians relationship with God is supposed to be out of love” (Dec. 27, 2004, Word to the World).
This is a moot point; Muslims do not have a relationship with God without Jesus Christ according to the Bible? The fear they have is not the same fear that the Bible speaks of.
Part 2 – Nations With Or Without Gods