Among evangelical Christians, the word syncretism usually conjures thoughts of third-world missionaries who blend their religion with the indigenous pagan practices they encounter.
A visitor to my home church related a conversation he’d had with a Roman Catholic missionary while touring South America. The priest wore his syncretistic practices as a badge of honor, boasting of how he intentionally incorporated native religious observances into his worship services. He was critical of Protestant missionaries who refused to likewise accommodate the paganism of the people they ministered to.
Syncretism is nothing new for the Catholic church. They have a long history of adopting and assimilating elements of indigenous religions into their missionary efforts—it’s why Catholic faith and practice, while supposedly united under the Pope, looks dramatically different in South America, Africa, and Europe. Put simply, Catholicism is a lie that easily absorbs and accommodates other lies.
God’s truth is far more resistant to mixing with error. And yet today, even among conservative believers, there are many preachers, teachers, and scholars who are working hard to make the church and the Bible more accommodating to contradictory worldviews. While they might outwardly affirm the inerrancy and authority of Scripture, their actions betray a lack of confidence in God’s Word. Intimidated by cultural agendas and eager to find favor with the unsaved world, these men and women capitulate to blending truth with all sorts of error—evolution, feminism, psychology, and ecumenism, just to name a few.