By Nanci des Gerlaise
(author of Muddy Waters: an insider’s view of North American Native Spirituality)
According to some Native Spiritual practitioners that I know personally, including people from other religions, we worship the same God regardless of what name we use to call God. In 2011, an emergent church group held A Symposium on Progressive Christianity. Progressive Christianity is another way of saying non-biblical Christianity. From an interview that was part of the symposium, the following excerpt is quite revealing as to the mindset of the “progressives”:
How should progressive Christians relate to other kinds of Christians? To those of other faiths? And what is their theological basis for so doing? We should always be willing to join hands for the common good and understanding of God. I personally believe that it doesn’t matter the name you use to call God (how many names are attributed to God in our bible alone?)—even if your name for God is “Science,” as long as you’re on the same journey of grace, justice, and inclusion you are our brother/sister and we are honored to walk alongside of you. . . . If they’re following God by practicing love, justice, and inclusion, then we’re truly following the same God—even if we happen to be on different paths.1
Scripture mentions only two paths by which we will choose to walk in the Gospel of Matthew:
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. (Matthew 7:13)
The name of God that we use does matter according to the following Scripture:
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4: 12)
In Native Spirituality, there is the Great Spirit, but no such mention is found in the Bible; the Holy Spirit is mentioned, but He is part of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and is NEVER called or referred to as the Great Spirit. In Native Spiritual teachings, their god, the Great Spirit, has neither a Father nor a Son. They do not preach redemption, salvation, sanctification, justification, repentance, etc. This confirms that the two are two different Spirits; one belongs to a Holy Trinity (Holy Spirit) and the other an unholy spirit (Great Spirit). The Great Spirit is severely lacking and devoid of holiness or of any true biblical doctrine but does have a doctrine of demons.
Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.(Galatians 4:8)
If you take a look at names of God from Scripture, you will not find the Great Spirit listed there; neither will you find ancestors, grandfathers, etc. listed either in Scripture because as Christians, we do not worship the same God as many people would suggest to us.
In the Book of Acts, there is an account of Paul when he preached at Mars Hill to a heathen people. He told them:
Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things. (Acts 17: 22-25)
Paul came to declare to these people who were worshiping an unknown god that God did have a name. He then told them about the Creator of the universe and about the one whom God “hath raised him from the dead [Jesus Christ].”
The greatest test by which we can gauge teaching of any sort is by obeying 1 John 4:1 to “try [test] the spirits.” God’s test for recognizing His Spirit is centered on the deity of Jesus, not tradition. We are admonished in 1 John 4:2-3 not to embrace man-made teaching; and 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 tells us to be separate from unbelievers.
A “false Jesus” is being lifted up in this apostate hour to usher in as many people into various false gospels propitiated by different spirits today such as: the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and the World Christian Gathering of Indigenous Peoples. Not to mention: the Indigenous People’s Movement, Word of Faith, Emergent Church, New Age/New Spirituality, and contemplative prayer (Spiritual Formation). In some way, shape, or form, elements of Native Spirituality are taught in most of the above movements, and its direction is heading toward a unified global religion that the Bible warns will happen in the last days before Christ returns. This is why the apostle Paul urgently cautioned Christians that “another Jesus,” a “different gospel,” and a “different spirit” would be sermonized and acknowledged by the undiscerning in the last days. A false ecumenical “Jesus” will arise and will fool a world that is looking for a Messiah for all faiths and persuasions. Even in all of this, the one true Messiah and Savior remains high and lifted up above all false gods and false Christs:
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. (Philippians 2:9-10)
1.A Symposium on Progressive Christianity; A Patheos Symposium hosted by the Patheos Progressive Christian Portal, in partnership with the Wild Goose Festival (interview at http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/articles/rev-jarrod-cochrans-interview-with-patheos.)