14 January 2017

An Unexplored Mission Field

Tom Cruise. John Travolta. Kirstie Alley. Greta Van Susteren. We know a lot of celebrity Scientologists, but do we know what it is that Scientology teaches, or what it is that enslaves these and potentially millions of other lesser known individuals? Is this "church" merely a business, or is it an actual religion?

According to Walter Martin, the Church of Scientology "has all the marks of a religion. It has its own set of scripture, it holds a worldview, and it seeks spiritual enlightenment."(Martin, Walter. The Kingdom of the Cults. Ed. Ravi Zacharias. Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 2003. 351.)

Based on the work Dianetics (which means, "through thought" or "through the soul"), written by founder L. Ron Hubbard, the cult of Scientology is based on a "science of the mind." Its scriptures include Dianetics and Hubbard's other works, which immediately puts it at odds with Christianity and its unique claim to the exclusivity and authority of the Bible as the only Word of God.

"Scientology describes deity in three ways," says Martin, "Supreme Being, God, and gods. Members are free to choose their concept of God" (Martin, 363). Further, it is taught that man himself can attain a "godlike" nature, a doctrine which is no doubt linked to Scientology's root belief that man is basically a good and moral being (Martin, 364; 365).

By contrast, Christianity teaches the existence of one God, existing in three persons. There is indeed only one God, and He is the God of the Bible (Deuteronomy 4:39, 6:4; Isaiah 43:10; Mark 12:32; Ephesians 4:6). Per the revealed Word of God, Christianity teaches that man is in fact inherently evil (Romans 3:10, 23).

For the Scientologist, "salvation is to be free from the endless cycle of birth and rebirth" (Martin, 367). In other words, Scientology embraces reincarnation. From the Scientology website (note: this writer prefers not to offer a link to this website, but it is readily accessible for the interested reader): "Scientologists believe that people are immortal spiritual beings who have lived before and who will live again, and that their future happiness and immortality as spiritual beings depend on how they conduct themselves in the here and now." Like every other false religion, then, Scientologists believe that their eternal destiny depends upon their own good works. This is indeed why this group is so heavily involved in social improvement.

This is of course in stark contrast to the teachings of Christianity, which proclaim that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). Man's good works are as filthy rags before a holy God, and they cannot save him (Isaiah 64:6); man must be born again from above (John 3:3), brought to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation (Matthew 4:17).

There is much more to learn about the teachings of Scientology, but what has been examined here ought to offer enough evidence to help the reader understand that this is a group that is diametrically opposed to the things of God.

Why the topic of Scientology? Well, it has received some renewed press in recent years and while most Christians understand that it is a false and damning religion, it seems as though it is still far too easy to forget to view such individuals—both those who are currently trapped in such cults and those who have left—as our mission field.

In the initial version of yesterday’s This ’n’ That, an article was linked discussing the A&E documentary series Scientology and the Aftermath, which is hosted by actress Leah Remini. This writer has seen some of the first few episodes and while it does offer a compelling look into the cult known as Scientology, I ultimately decided to remove that link (and any perceived endorsement of the show) for several reasons. First, the language, while mostly "censored," is not removed and thus is not what should be filling the ears, mind, and heart of the Christian (Ephesians 4:29, 5:4; Philippians 4:8) (this is also the reason this writer will not be viewing any additional episodes). Second, while much is discussed about the abuses within the Scientology organization, the series is failing to arrive at the heart of the problem: Satanic deception and a hatred of the true God of the Bible.

Of course, one would expect such a show to miss the gospel mark, but it ought to raise awareness among those of us who have been saved by Christ. Ultimately, those who are deceived and trapped in Scientology or other cults need the gospel. They need to know about Jesus Christ. And, regardless of her valiant efforts to expose this cult, host Leah Remini, as well as those individuals who have left the organization, also need the gospel. One can raise awareness and exude righteous anger about forced abortions and shunning, but none of the victims of Scientology will ever truly heal or find true freedom without repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

This is what is so grievous about this particular series or the story of any individual who escapes from an oppressive cult. They finally run, they finally “break free,” and yet, in reality, they are still enslaved to their sin. They are still in bondage. They may have escaped one fountain of lies, but they are swimming in another. Even those who have escaped from dangerous, deceptive religions are still trapped and damned without the Way, the Truth, and the Life that is Jesus Christ alone (John 14:6).

These individuals still maintain that man is basically good. They still are serving a god of their own creation, only now this god is not the god of Scientology, but the god of "freedom." No doubt many of these victims are still lost and deceived by the thought that their own good works will help them attain spiritual salvation—whatever that looks like now that they've left the only religion they've ever known.

Are we praying for those who are deceived, both inside and outside of these organizations? Regrettably, it is not something that falls onto this writer's prayer list often enough, but it most certainly should be there daily. May God see fit to use us to bring truth to those trapped in such darkness.

Further Reading
The Narrow Gate
Peace with God
Just One Bite

1 comment:

  1. Thank such a Biblical perspective. Great demonstration of using discernment properly!

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