This is an answer to the movement Shinji Shumeikai, established by Mokichi Okada.
I will respond to their “Shinji Shumeikai of America” leaflet line by line to those things mentioned that I would like to address:
1) “Shinji Shumeikai of America is a spiritual organization dedicated to elevating the quality of daily life.”
This claim places the adherents of the organization in direct accountability to God – the Father of Spirits Who gave His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who was sent “that we might have life and that we might have it more abundantly,” as He said. The Word of God, the Bible, containing over 4,000 years of history and instruction concerning God’s direct dealings with man, declares repeatedly, in no uncertain terms, that only through the gift of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection, His blood washing away our sins, can we have true life at all. In other words, without the foundational experience of the Lamb of God slain for our sins on our behalf, there is no hope of eternal spiritual life and therefore no hope of elevating oneself or any other.
2) “We refer to our founder as Meishusama, an honorary title meaning Master of Light.”
There is no man that can be a “Master of Light” because God is Light, and He is our Lord (Master). He can have no master by the very fact that there is none greater than He. Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.” John says of Him that He is the Light of men. Therefore any man who claims such a title or allows any to speak of him as such is in error, in darkness, and has no light in him.
3) “‘Shinji’ means divine love, ‘shumei’ means Supreme Light…”
We know by the Word of God, by Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, Who IS the Word of God, and by revelation in and through and from Him, that He was the incarnation of divine love; the Father, the Sole Creator of all things Who is Love, manifested Himself in the Lord Jesus Christ to the world. Now He dwells in those whom He has chosen to know these things and to bear witness unto Him of these facts.
Jesus Christ is the Supreme Light. Those who do not know Him personally, by Name, have never partaken of the Supreme Light.
4) “No conflict exists between Shinji Shumeikai and any religion that seeks universal well being.”
While it is true that there may be no conflict between S.S. and other such religions, there cannot but be a difference between S.S. and GENUINE children of God, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ – a difference of night and day. The difference is that those of Jesus Christ are children of Light, from the least to the greatest, while those of Mokichi Okada erroneously believe they are children of light. No condemnation, no fault-finding, no offence, no undue or negative criticism intended, only an expression of fact, of truth, of light, and of love.
5) “What is Jyorei? Jyorei is the art of focusing and directing spiritual Light to others. It is a healing art.”
I note the capital “L.” The capital belongs to God. And who is he who presumes to focus or direct his own Creator in any way? God is not an impersonal force of some kind, but a Person Who created all things with perfect intelligence and Who alone does all the focusing and directing with His creatures, “working all things according to the counsel of His will.”
6) “Meishusama taught that all of life’s difficulties originate from impurities within the spirit.”
Such is not entirely true, because Jesus Christ Himself experienced enormous difficulty yet had no impurity in Himself, and other believers of the Lord have experienced very harsh difficulties because of their faith and not because of impurity. However, it is true that many of the difficulties of man have been because of “impurities within the spirit,” which the Bible calls sin. Sin is the breaking of the law of God.
7) “Why are Art and Beauty important? Art and beauty have the power to nourish and refine the soul.”
There are countless contradictions to such a belief. First of all, some of the greatest religious organizations in the world have impressive art and beauty, yet they are dead, and the souls within those organizations, especially at the top, are murderous, deceitful, and ungodly in every way. We have greatly “unenlightened” rich people with fabulous wealth who have the most beautiful homes, landscaping, flowers, paintings, art collections, statues, furnishings, clothing, foods, perfumes, and eloquence who are dead, miserable, mean and selfish. On the other hand, there have been the saints of God, in poverty and deprivation, who were spiritual giants without art and beauty such as man defines.
When the disciples of Jesus came to Him commending the greatness and beauty of the Temple, He said there would not be one stone left upon another because of the wickedness of those very people attending it, some daily. Many are the beautiful structures built for pagan deities and idols, and even for God, which have yielded not nourishment and refinement of the soul but rather pride, delusion and deadness of soul. Jesus said that what is beauty to men is ugliness to God and vice versa.
Consider also that during the Old Testament, many thousands of sacrifices of animals were performed at the Temple daily; blood would at times flow as a brook from the altar, and the smell of burning flesh, fat and hide would not be pleasant at all, yet these things were commanded of God and honored by Him if done in keeping with His requirements. Were the performing priests defiled and in dire need of refinement and nourishment of soul? Certainly not because of the sacrifices themselves.
And has there ever been an uglier spectacle than that of the naked, bleeding, beaten body of the Son of God publicly hanging on a tree? Yet by this are men saved and only by this. Talk about soul refinement and nourishing! Indeed, it is the very salvation wrought in the ugly cross that brings us on our way to eventual ideal health, happiness and harmony, which Shinji Shumeikai seeks to have and thinks to dispense to others.
And how many are there that can afford to nourish and refine their souls through art, as rich people can? Are you saying that rich people, therefore, have an advantage? The Bible teaches that the rich are at a disadvantage concerning faith and salvation, and that most believers are chosen by God out of poverty, foolishness, weakness and baseness. Those chosen by God to bring light and to be a light in the Light to others have often suffered great deprivation of art and beauty, among other more important things, even for many years at a time. Their lives were enriched, refined and nourished in the Lord, even as they nourished others by the Truth which is Light, God in them through Jesus Christ, the Light.
The greatest strides in spiritual fulfilment were effected by God through suffering and deprivation, never through art and beauty. Many are the examples of such cases in the Bible…Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Noah, Joseph, John the Baptist, Paul and many, many more. I say all.
All men enjoy beauty and art according to personal taste. Nobody can truly deny the value of art and beauty (though some try), and neither does God; they have their proper place and value, those not being primarily spiritual ones by any means.
8) “If allowed, [art] can make us wise to the ways of the human spirit.”
If we speak of the fallen spirit, there is no value in worldly wisdom in terms of our spiritual state before God, but if we speak of the quickened (made alive) spirit, which only Jesus Christ can effect by faith in Him, then He and He alone makes us wise to its ways for goodness’ sake. He may use art to aid, but He is not limited by art, nor does He use art primarily, as already discussed.
9) “…Shinji Shumeikai has assembled a large collection of antiquities and rare Japanese art objects.”
Must those who seek spiritual fulfilment travel to see these collections? Again, Jesus offers spiritual fulfilment to anybody, anywhere, without cost, without outward necessity. Salvation (spiritual fulfilment) is an internal matter, entirely independent of external influence on our part at any time. Faith is a gift of God given to children, to the ignorant, to the poor, to the deprived, to the depraved… I think of a madman the Lord healed who was demon-possessed, living among tombs. I say, Jesus is all the beauty one needs.
It is good, very good, that Shumeiki promotes natural agriculture. Man has destroyed the environment and himself with unnatural agriculture.
Concerning highlights of Meishusama’s philosophy:
1) “Honesty is a supreme virtue…above all else, falsehoods must be avoided.”
True. However, the Bible teaches that the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and no man can know it. It teaches that every man is in such a state, and that only by faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ for our salvation and in His resurrection from the dead can we be delivered from death and from our own state of deception.
2) “Unless you make others happy, you can never be happy yourself.”
While this sounds very good because everyone wants to be happy, and a desire for happiness or peace and fulfilment is God-given and within every human being, yet happiness is not what it is all about, at least not initially. When Jesus came, He came to do not what He would like to do, not what would make Him happy, but He came to do the will of His Father, which was to lay down His life. In the final trial of that duty, He prayed, “Father, if there is any other way, remove this cup from Me [spare Me this terrible experience]. Nevertheless, Your will be done and not Mine.” In the ensuing hours, He was to die a horrible death on the Roman cross to pay for all sins for all people for all time.
This made His followers very sad, confused and fearful. Some denied Him; some fled for their lives. Earlier, many had turned away from Him because He required of them that which would not make them happy at all. He had said to them that He did not come to bring peace but a sword, to divide friends, families from families and families within. His own mother was informed before His conception that her heart would be pierced in sorrow by the rejection of her Son by her people who would eventually kill Him in hatred.
I tell you, there is great sorrow in submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ Who lives today to direct and guide into life and peace and fulfilment and, yes, happiness. But first, sorrow and suffering. Many prophets the Lord sent in history have been tortured and martyred for His sake in delivering the salvation message for which they were hated. These prophets and messengers had the unpleasant task of telling the people to whom they were sent of their sins, their wrongs, their evil deeds, their wicked ways… not very positive, not very pleasant… but very necessary.
Knowledge of sin against God and repentance of that sin is the first step to coming into the Light and being a true child of the Light. The next step is acknowledging that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Saviour, Whom only He is, that He has total and rightful claim to our lives in their entirety, and that we are not our own but bought with a fearful price by Him and therefore His to do with as He pleases.
Reward does eventually come, in all its fulness and glory, here in this life as well as in the next. As the Scripture says, sorrow and suffering endure for a night, but peace and joy come in the morning.
3) “In the future, people will have to become world citizens.”
God declares that friendship with the world is enmity with God, that if we become sons of God, disciples of Jesus, the world will hate us because it hates/hated Him. This is because the whole world lies in darkness, choosing to have it so, hating the Light, hating the Truth, hating that which is unselfish and right. This is in spite of the fact that true believers (and few they be, though many profess to believe) of the Lord Jesus Christ live in all ways to make the world better in every respect, and that they seek only the good of others and not their harm. The truth is that we will all have to become members not of this world but of the Kingdom of God, which is not of this world at all – quite the contrary.
4) “We are what we think.”
There is truth in this and it does not profit us to be discontented or ungrateful in general. Yet, if I am discontented with this world and its evil ways, is that wrong? If I am ungrateful to those who have done me favors and given me gifts for their own selfish purposes, is it wrong? If God calls me out to follow Him, to forsake my parents who raised me and provided for me, even with the best of intentions and with success, am I ungrateful if I obey God? No. The point is that, again, gratefulness is not the goal. It is a fruit of the Spirit of God, but it is not a work nor is it a cause. It is not by our doing that we enter into the peace and fulfilment of God. It is God Who causes us to will and to do of His good pleasure. It is not our doing. That is the point. We cannot think ourselves into Heaven, whichever way one may wish to define it.
5) “The key to the solution of the world’s problems… sincerity and truth.”
Many are those who think they know the truth and are sincere, but they are sincerely wrong. Many live their lives, spending all that they have and are in their conviction and commitment, only to find out how wrong they were. Many never find out in this life, perishing because they didn’t know the truth. “There is a way that seems right to a man but the end thereof leads to death,” said a wise scribe of the Bible. While sincerity and truth are both in earnest need and commendable, they are unattainable in pure, wholesome form but by the grace of God Who gives us His Son Who is the Truth.
Many great world religious leaders have said, “Come, I’ll show you the truth, I’ll show you the way, I’ll teach you what life is all about.” But Jesus came saying, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man comes unto the Father [God] but by Me.” The Bible also says that, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” but that of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Jesus” means “Saviour.” And there is only One.
6) “…One must first try to deal with problems in the spiritual world in order to bring about a real solution of the troubles in the material world.”
True, but there is a major problem to overcome first that is utterly insurmountable outside of Jesus Christ. The Bible clearly teaches that we are spiritually dead in sins and trespasses against God and therefore as incapable of dealing with problems in the spiritual world, as a man in a physical grave is incapable of dealing with troubles in the material world. But Jesus is, as He said, the Resurrection and the Life. By Him, we are resurrected from the dead within, given new life, and then He proceeds to do with us as He chooses, to deal with all the issues concerning both Him and us. There is no other hope, no other way.
7) “The role of art is surely to heighten people’s emotions…”
Again, it is not about heightening people’s emotions. This is not a matter of focusing on happiness or sincerity or emotions or any other thing. These become gods, idols in God’s definition, and competitors to the rightful worship of the one true and jealous God. Art has been an idol for very many. Therefore, with right sounding and apparently noble words, men lead men astray, deceiving them, whether intentionally or not.
Worship God, the One Who lived, died and lives again forevermore and Who possesses all things; the One Who gives life and Who alone can give it. Turn from independence of Him and live. Why should you walk in your own righteousness and die? Believe! These things of which I speak are known by many through experience and direct contact with God Himself and they testify of these things even unto death if necessary. God reigns over all and this is the day of the establishing of His Kingdom once and for all.