Syncretism: the attempted reconciliation, amalgamation, or union of different or opposing principles, practices, parties, cultures, philosophies, or religions.
“Syncretism is the mixing of Christianity with something else such that they become a different gospel. Syncretism can take place with a positive-thinking gospel, a nationalist emphasis, or emerging culture. Syncretism happens more than we might know.
When anything is added to the message of the gospel, the uniqueness and sufficiency of Christ is compromised and another gospel can be created that is, well, actually not the gospel. …….
Syncretism can be most easily seen when two or more starkly contrasting religions are mixed. Around the world, examples are readily available where Christ has been preached in places with long and various religious traditions. In many cases, pieces and parts of the traditional religion will remain while Christ is added to the mix.
Recently, I was in South Africa and was able to visit several townships. Traditional religion among the indigenous people often included visiting witch doctors and other types of healers for physical healing and spiritual direction. It’s not uncommon for new believers in that context to want to continue visiting the spiritual healers around them.
Obviously, visiting those who actively practice witchcraft for healing or spiritual direction dilutes dependency on Christ, changes the gospel, creates a mix of multiple gods, and thereby denies Christ his rightful place as the one and only Lord in the life of the believer. Those who would mix these practices, if not moving away from them, end up with a false, syncretistic gospel, not the gospel of Jesus.” http://www.christianitytoday.com/…/avoiding-pitfall-of-sync… Ed Stetzeri
I have seen syncretism among people who seem perfectly “normal” in their practice of Christian worship….but when one talks to them in any detail about their faith one discovers sincere beliefs in things like reincarnation, prayer to guardian angels, salvation by works (being a good person), no belief in hell or judgment, universalism, dismissal of the Bible as personally understandable and meaningful, and more. Somewhere along the way so much latitude has been stretched into the gospel, it is hardly recognizable as belonging to Christ.