In Atlanta, the summer of 1996 was “Olympic” focused. So were many of the locally represented cults. One in particular was the Baha’i Faith. They had two “Racial Unity Celebration – Mankind is One” events in community parks before the Olympics came to town. They wanted to put their best foot forward by having them open to the public and by inviting local community leaders such as the Mayor of Roswell, a retired Police Chief and an Evangelical Baptist Preacher. And it had lots of cultural music. A good friend of mine – Jeff Miller – found one of their pamphlets and told me about the first event being held in the City of Roswell. We decided to go and talk with them about their redefinition of who Jesus Christ is and was, and what He did for them on the cross. God used that event to start us on several one-on-one discussions and a couple of group meetings with Baha’i believers.
Some of their basic beliefs are clearly stated in one of their tracts: ”God has revealed His Word in each period of history through a chosen Individual Whom Baha’is call ‘the Manifestation of God’. He restates in every age God’s purpose and will. His teachings are a revelation from God. Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad were Manifestations of God. Since there is one God, these Manifestations of God have each taught the same religious faith” (Basic Facts of the Baha’i Faith [Wilmette, Illinois: Baha’i Publishing Trust, n.d.], 3). Thus, the unique, eternal deity of Jesus is denied by the Baha’i Faith. Add to this a denial of the Christian doctrines of the Trinity and the bodily resurrection of Christ.
It all started in 1844 when a young man from Iran, calling himself “the Bab” (the Gate), began teaching God would soon “manifest” Himself in a “World Teacher.” In 1863 Baha’u’llah (the Glory of God) announced to the followers of Bab that he was that “manifestation.” He began writing and teaching the people to unite, have a common faith, and strive for a one world order. This, he stated, would lead to an enduring peace. Before he died he appointed his eldest son – Abdu’l-Baha – the “Exemplar of the Faith.” Under his leadership (and later the leadership of his grandson, Shoghi Effendi) the Baha’i Faith spread to parts of Europe and America. Baha’i followers consider it the ‘Preferred religion of the United Nations’ because of its attitude of unity.
The first event had 50+ Baha’is in a park in Roswell. It broke my heart as I listened to them reveal the writings of their faith, and how they distort the scriptures to fit their world view. It reminded me of listening to Mormons teach about additional revelation. We talked to a couple of the followers and one of the leaders of the event. They were very inclusive with all religions. We told them that Christ was not a religion but a relationship. We handed out several copies of the SDM Booklet on the Baha’i Faith and challenged them to examine their beliefs. My heart was further grieved when I heard the Baptist Preacher speak of unity with the Baha’i Faith. His influence would have given him an opportunity to say, “spiritually we stand apart. My cause is Jesus Christ – not Baha’i – and only through Christ can we have true unity.” The Preacher fell short of making that statement. The cause of Christ was silent on his lips. He and I spoke later and as a brother in Christ I had to tell him that he had been used to promote a cult. He could see it, but did nothing to change the situation.
The story of Bab and Baha’u’llah sounds a lot like John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. That afforded me the opportunity to contrast the teachings of Christ with the Baha’i Faith. They wanted to keep in front of us the ‘unity of mankind’ and that we are all one faith. When we spoke of Christ they were ready to include Him. But when it came to sin and salvation through Christ alone and nothing else, they had problems. They shared with us how the ‘Golden Rule’ shows up in every major religion. We stated that the principle shows up in other religions but the truth only shows up in one – Christianity. John 14:6 is the clear truth of Christ – “I am THE way, THE truth, THE life, no man comes to the Father but through Me.”
At a later event in a large downtown park in Atlanta with 200+ Baha’i followers, five of us went to proclaim the truth of Christ. When we arrived we recognized one of the leaders from the last event and he quickly told us not to hand out any literature. We said that we would only if someone asked. He then pointed us to a table that we could set up and display our literature and booklets! There were many displays from Baha’i followers, and even a lady who was invited there because she sells Christian books and Bibles. She had no idea that the Baha’i Faith was a cult, and that their teachings go against God’s word. She was not willing to tell others about her relationship with Christ, she only wanted to sell books. We didn’t keep our table very long because the leader’s wife remembered us from the last event in Roswell. She didn’t like the literature we gave to people. We had many discussions one-on-one with several people. Their main focus was social issues.
The next time God brought a Baha’i follower in my path was at a local playground at a nearby Church. Ramaro was wearing a T-shirt that read “Baha’i – life’s final assurance.” We talked about who he thought Jesus is and who He was, and the contrast in the Bible and Baha’i writings. We exchanged phone numbers and within a week he called inviting me to his home to a Baha’i “Fireside Meeting.” Another friend (Steve Danforth) and I went to their meeting and with 20+ Baha’i followers present. The leader told of how the Baha’i Faith came to be the foremost religion, then he opened the meeting up to questions. After a couple questions were asked about the history of Baha’i, he turned to me, knowing that I wrote some questions down as he spoke. I asked questions about the historical Jesus and their opposing his spiritual message. We looked into the Bible and went over scripture that stated who Jesus said He was and what His mission was. It was then discussed to have a Bible Study to look at Christ further. Three weeks later 7 of us met with 4 of them and with many saints praying. We went over the differences of who the Bible says Jesus is and who Baha’u’llah says Jesus is, the contradiction between the teaching of the Qur’an and the Bible, the falsehood of teaching about “another Jesus,” and about how we are not to have another revelation other than the one from Christ. The debate went on and their thinking made it hard to nail them down. However, a couple of times the leader had nothing he could respond with to refute what the Bible had to say. He was building on sand and Christ was a stumbling stone to him. We even pointed out that Christ had something to say about Baha’u’llah: he is a false Christ (Matt 24:5). As much as the Holy Spirit talked to them that night, and as far as we know, they still have chosen to stay deceived and spiritually blind. With the love of Christ we requested that they repent of following the false teachings of Baha’u’llah. They remain to this day silent. Whenever you see or talk to Baha’i believers – pray for them – the spiritual deception they have is deep.