World Religions: Bahá'íism
Bahá'íism claims to be the youngest world religion. It was founded in 1863 in a predominantly Muslim Persia, now Iran. Its roots are in Islam but it is an independent religion with a reported membership of over 5 million. While Bahá'ís profess compatibility with all world religions, God’s Word teaches otherwise.
Since the first century, orthodox members of the Shi'ah sect of the Islamic religion have held that the 12th and final successor of Muhammad, the Imam, disappeared in the year 878 but would reappear one day to save the world. For a short period of time following the disappearance of the Imam there was a succession of people who claimed the title of “Bab” meaning “the gate”. The Bab was the self-proclaimed spokesman for the Imam in his absence.
In 1844 a Persian man named Mirza 'Ali Mohammad of Shiraz, revived this practice by proclaiming himself the Bab. He said that a messenger would soon arrive from God, who would be the latest in a line of prophets including Moses, Mohammad and Jesus Christ. One of his followers was a young man by the name of Mirza Husayn Ali. In 1850 Islamic authorities executed the Bab and killed more than 20,000 of his converts in the ensuing persecution. Thirteen years later, Mirza Husayn Ali changed his name to Bahá'u'lláh, declared himself to be the Imam, and thus began the Bahá'í religion.
The Basic tenets of Baha’iism are as follows:
- The Bahá'í religion accepts all religions as having true and valid origins.
- Bahá'ís believe that Bahá'u'lláh is the most recent Manifestation of God however Bahá'u'lláh himself stated that he is not God's final messenger.
- Bahá'u'lláh taught that God intervenes throughout human history at different times to reveal more of himself through his messengers (called Divine Messengers, or Manifestations of God).
- The central idea of Baha’iism is that of unity. They believe that people should work together for the common benefit of humanity.
Like with any religion there are elements to Bahá'íism that sound appealing. It is generally a pacifist religion claiming unity with all world religions. Christ prayed for world unity, as recorded in John 17. But He prayed for the type of unity that is seen between Him and His Father (vs. 21). This is being one mind. Christ and the Father do not hold separate views claiming them to be both true and valid. Christ and God the Father are completely united in all things. We can not be at unity with Christ if we do not hold to God’s Word and to His word alone.
Having a “new messenger” from God allows for a religion to teach whatever they desire and claim it to be inspired. But God’s Word is complete and it is final, giving stern warnings against any who would attempt to give additional revelation.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (Gal 1:8-9).
The Bible teaches that there is only one way to Heaven. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). There will be never be another way to enter into God’s eternal rest.