One of the ‘gaps’ to date on the ‘Take Heed’ ministry web site has been any meaningful reference to the subject of ‘BAHA’ISM’ so with this article I hope to rectify that situation. The format of the article will be firstly to give a link to an informative documentary dating back to 1985.
There are two aspects of the documentary that I have specifically identified. There is ‘Persecution’ and that highlights the terrible persecution that Baha’is had to endure in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran that deposed the Shah and saw the return to the country and to power of Ayatollah Khomeini. There are helpful details concerning these events on this link –
and under a section headed ‘Politics and government’ – we read this –
‘The members of the Bahá’í Faith have been declared heretical and subversive. While persecution occurred before the Revolution since then more than 200 Bahá’ís have been executed or presumed killed, and many more have been imprisoned, deprived of jobs, pensions, businesses, and educational opportunities. Bahá’í holy places have been confiscated, vandalized, or destroyed. More recently, Bahá’ís in Iran have been deprived of education and work. Several thousand young Bahá’ís between the ages of 17 and 24 have been expelled from universities’.
Then there is an aspect that I have identified as ‘Pipe-Dream’ and this is the fanciful notion that according to Bahá’í teaching, the world is on the brink of ‘universal peace’. In fact, bearing in mind this documentary dates back to 1985, I believe (if my understanding of comments made in the documentary) that the expected arrival of this ‘universal peace’ is long past and sadly we know that really quite the opposite prevails in the world today.
This then is the link to this informative documentary
Secondly, in this article, I want to reproduce the text of a very concise and helpful little tract called ‘THE ECUMENICAL CULT – BAHAISM’ written by Dr. Ernest Pickering. I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Pickering speak at a conference I attended in London back in 1990. He was a gracious but resolute defender of the truth of The Gospel and another helpful book I have, that was written by him, is ‘The Tragedy of Compromise: The Origin and impact of the New Evangelicalism’.
In it there is a particularly interesting chapter on Billy Graham, which can be read online on
noting his early ‘allegiance’ to the principal and precepts of the Bob Jones University (which he attended) but as Dr. Pickering writes on page 52 of my ‘hard-copy’ of the book –
‘He (Billy Graham) spoke in fundamentalist gatherings and aided fundamentalist enterprises. But something happened; something changed. What was it that propelled the young evangelist from being a fundamentalist to becoming the acknowledged leader of New Evangelicalism?’
For the answer to that question you should find the video of my talk on Billy Graham helpful and you can view it on this link –
Now, after that slight digression, let me now set out the text of Dr. Pickering’s tract –
‘THE ECUMENICAL CULT – BAHAISM’
There is a general fascination everywhere today with things ecumenical. The swift rise and large influence of advocates of one church and one world have served to advance the idea that denominations are sinful and that religiously, the only hope for the world, lies in the creation of a unified church. Since this feeling is very popular at the present hour, it is not surprising that a cult would seize upon it as one of the main thrusts of their teaching. Such a cult is the Baha’i Faith.
In 1844, a young Persian announced that he was the forerunner of an important religious figure and assumed for himself the title of ‘Bab’, meaning ‘gate’. His teachings were opposed by leaders in Islam and he was killed in 1850. In 1863 a follower of the Babi Faith, in its early unfoldings, Mirza Hisayn ‘Ali proclaimed himself as the great Prophet of whom the Bab had spoken and took the title ‘Baha’u’llah’ meaning ‘The Glory of God’. His followers became known as the ‘Bahais’ or ‘Followers of the Glory’. The writings of Baha’u’llah are revered as the scriptures in the Bahai Faith. They are looked upon as the Word of God.
Upon the death of Baha’u’llah in 1892, his successor became ‘Abdul’l-Baha’, his eldest son. Under his direction, the Bahai Faith was introduced to Europe and America and the Bahais became quite missionary-minded. ‘Abdul’l-Baha’ died in 1921 and left a will naming his eldest grandson, the late Shoghi Effendi, as the leader of the cult. Since Shoghi Effendi’s death in 1957, the cult has been governed by a group of twenty-seven leaders called the ‘Hands of the Cause’.
GENERAL FACTS CONCERNING THE BAHAI FAITH
As has been noted, the roots of this cult lie in Persian Mohammedanism. However, the cult does not emphasize this fact since their major appeal id as a gathering place for all who wish to worship God. Certain basic principles are enunciated by this cult as being the very foundation of their beliefs. They are as follows:
- 1. The oneness of mankind
- 2. The common foundation of all religions.
- 3. The independent investigation of truth.
- 4. Religion and science as integral parts of one truth.
- 5. Equality of men and women.
- 6. Elimination of prejudice of all kinds.
- 7. Universal compulsory education.
- 8. Spiritual solution of the economic problems.
- 9. A universal language.
- 10. Universal peace guaranteed by a world government.
The student will immediately be struck with the emphasis upon ‘oneness’ in religious, social, economic and political realms. Someone has rightly said that ‘no cult bears a gospel better suited to the temper of our times than the Bahai’.
What is the main purpose of the Bahai Faith? One of their writers declares it is a ‘new spiritual approach which will at once reconcile the basic contradictions in major religious beliefs, be consistent with modern scientific and rational principles, and offer to all peoples a set of values and a meaning to life that they can accept and apply’. (‘BAHAI: World Faith for Modern Man’: Arthur Dahl). This is certainly quite an ambitious undertaking! To reconcile all the major religions of the world is a monumental task. The assumption of such a responsibility will certainly guarantee the Bahai Faith plenty of work in the future!
As an outward expression of the principles of their faith the Bahais have erected a magnificent temple in Wilmette, Illinois, near Chicago. At a cost of more than two and a half million dollars and over a period of twenty-three years this nine-sided edifice was erected. Each Bahai house of worship is required to have nine sides since they view the number nine, the largest single numeral, as the number of completeness. The Wilmette Temple has attracted international interest due to its size and architectural beauty. The Bahais have capitalized on this interest to spread their faith. The structural lines of the temple are calculated to represent certain principles of the cult, chiefly its emphasis on the unity of all religions. Illustrated brochures and booklets explaining this may be obtained.
The Bahais repudiate any professional ‘clergy’ as such. They feel their teachings are best propagated by the people themselves. They do have administrative and religious leaders who are elected by a democratic process.
THE TEACHINGS OF THE BAHAIS
The Bahais believe in God, but not the supreme, holy, and sovereign God that Christians worship. Their doctrine of God is tinged with Oriental philosophy and presents the composite that any idea of God would possess what is a mixture of men’s ideas concerning him. Doctrinally the Bahai Faith is a big blur, a mixture of theological paints on one canvass. As such it appeals to many moderns who have little time for exact doctrine or dogmatic belief. No doubt, for this reason perhaps more than any other, the Bahais have gone forward in recent years.
Has God revealed Himself? This is an important question. If He has revealed Himself, where, when and how has He done so? According to the Bahai Faith, God is progressively revealing Himself and will continue to do so. They have applied the evolutionary principle to the matter of revelation and find God constantly revealing Himself through the major religions of the world and their accredited spokesmen. Thus Buddha, Zoroaster, Moses, Christ, and Muhammed are true prophets of God. The Bahais refer to them as ‘Manifestations of God’. No orthodox Christian could accept such a view because the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, not only claimed to be God, the only true and living God, but He authenticated His claims by His teachings, His miracles, His authority, and, ultimately, by His resurrection from the dead. To place the Lord Jesus on a par with the founders of ‘other religions’ is utter blasphemy. Of course, Bahais repudiate strongly the claims of anyone to absolute truth. They see truth as a composite of the various teachings of men rather than as a final revelation from God. Such a view would cause them to reject any claim of Christ to superiority over other religious teachers, and certainly any claim to finality and infallibility. But one cannot be a Christian in the New Testament sense without accepting these facts.
All cults, without exception, are in error concerning the Person of Christ. They also err in regard to the purpose of His coming. The Bahais see Christ only as a great teacher. The concepts of His miraculous birth, His perfect life, and especially His atoning death are foreign to them. They see no saving efficacy in His death, and, indeed, their entire system has no place for the New testament doctrine of the blood and the satisfaction that was wrought through the shedding of that blood. Bahais are interested in moralisms not regeneration; enlightenment teaching, not atoning suffering, and moral social uplift rather than justification by faith. No realistic doctrine of sin is set forth by this cult. The tone of their message is moralistic rather than evangelistic. Men come to know God through knowledge, through teaching, and not through repentance and faith. This is, of course, in sharp contrast to the New Testament emphasis upon the necessity of the new birth and a personal faith in Jesus Christ. Men are not saved by accepting Christ as a teacher, but by trusting Him as a Saviour. The Bahais have skillfully stripped their message of the offensive note of original sin, total depravity, and the necessity for repentance in favour of something far more appealing to human nature – the moral renovation by learning.
A high standard of moral conduct is emphasized. Faithfulness to the marriage vows and chaste conduct in all relationships are laws of the Bahais. Alcohol and narcotics are forbidden except when prescribed by a doctor. Virtues such as honesty, generosity, and truthfulness are held in high esteem. Many are impressed with this aspect of the Bahai Faith, being either ignorant, or willfully neglectful of the fact that a moral life apart from a changed heart is mere hypocrisy in the sight of a holy God.
While they claim to believe in the immortality of the soul, Bahais reject the teaching of the Word of God regarding the after-life. There is no literal heaven or hell, but after death the soul is launched into another ‘plane of existence’, progressively learning more and more about God. The cult at this point smacks of Oriental philosophy and pagan thought. One of the mail ‘selling points’ of the cult is its earthiness, its concern with the social problems of mankind and its desire to bring about social progress for the entire human race. This slant came largely as a result of the infection of Baha’u’llah with western ideas, and with the gradual development in his mind of the concept that a universal religion (as opposed to an eastern-orientated religion) might have more appeal in the West.
In its earliest forms, the teaching of the Bahais in and around Baghdad (which was still their center) incorporated the thought that Baha’u’llah (the successor to The Bab) was divine and his teachings were to be accepted as final and authoritative. Being a pragmatic soul, and wishing to succeed as a religious leader and spread influence as widely as possible, Baha’u’llah realized that to present the figure of an absolute religious leader demanding obedience of his followers and winning allegiance of the world by the sword (the original position of the early Bahais), might be far less attractive than to present a religion with a human approach and a broad spirit of love and tolerance. Bahaism, therefore became ‘westernized’ to the disgust of some of the more orthodox.
Upon the death of Baha’u’llah, there was a struggle for the mantle of leadership and Abdul’l-Baha’, mentioned earlier, became the leader. His education had been partly western, and he was besides an efficient organizer. During his regime, Bahaism adapted itself even more to modern social ideas and developed many of its present characteristics.
The practical aspects of the teachings of Bahaism very closely resemble the aims and purposes of many modern politicians, sociologists, and other leaders. At the top of the list is their desire for a federated world government, supported by a world court and a world police force. An international language is also advocated. All war must be abolished and mankind’s problems solved by peaceful means. Extremes of wealth and poverty must be prevented (a goal of socialists of all stripes,) and everyone given equal opportunities. They speak against race prejudice in any forms, promote a scientific approach to religion, and desire a program of universal education. The popularity of these aims in the minds of a world enamored with the ‘international spirit’ today insures a ready-made audience for the Bahai Faith.
Shoghi Effendi, late leader of the cult and one of its prolific writers, detailed the coming ‘utopia’ on earth in one of his works ‘The Unfoldment of World Civilization’. He mentioned world unity as the ultimate goal of mankind. He noted that such unity would include a world commonwealth in which all races and nations would be united.
This commonwealth would be ruled over by a world legislature which would control the resources of the member nations and legislate for the entire world. A world executive would carry out the decisions of this legislature, backed by the authority of a world court and an international police force.
Religious strife, racial and national animosities, and human intrigues would be ended. In their place would come a world federal system, ‘exercising unchallengeable authority’. Economic balance and social justice will prevail.
Such a picture is not unfamiliar to the student of the Bible, but the Bahais and their teachings will never produce it.
Only the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven can bring peace and justice to a sinful world. He will do so when He comes again. The Bahais have substituted human efforts, thoughts, schemes, and plans for the divine plan. “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion” (Psalm 2:6).
Bahaism is an Oriental humanism, a socialistic pipe-dream, and a system contrary to the revealed Word of God.
Thirdly, the earlier video link that I gave on page 1 related to a 1985 documentary. A more recent look (2010) at Bahaism and the situation in Iran can be seen on this link
Fourthly, other helpful articles on the subject of BAHAISM can be found on
Fifthly and finally I want to reproduce the text of another helpful article on BAHAISM that is found in the excellent book ‘TRUTH UNDER ATTACK: Cults and Contemporary Religions’ by Dr Eryl Davies.
The Bahai Faith has its roots in Islam, especially the Shi’ite Islam. After the death of Muhammed in AD 632, Muslims were soon divided concerning a leader. Muhammed himself had no (living) sons and had not chosen a successor, so the majority of his followers (the Sunnites) chose Abu Bakhr as ‘Caliph’ (successor). A minority, however, called the Shi’ites, argued that God, not men, should appoint their leader, and ruled that any successor to Muhammed must be a descendant of his and be called ‘Imam’ (leader). Accordingly, they accepted Muhammed’s cousin and son-in-law Ali as the first Imam. This basic division between the Shi’ites and the Sunnites has been perpetuated ever since. Iran has been strongly influenced by the Shi’ites and today, while about ninety-eight per cent of Iranians are Muslims, the majority belong to the Shi’ite group. Several sects have splintered off from the Shi’ite group and when the leader of one such sect (the Shaykhis) died in 1826, its adherents were confused as to which of two rival claimants should be recognised as the new leader. Bahaism stems from the stronger faction, which followed Sayyid Ali Muhammed who chose the title ‘Bab’ for himself.
The ‘Bab’, a descendant of the original Muhammed, was born in Southern Iran in 1819 or 1820. Brought up from an early age by an uncle because of his father’s death, he eventually left his uncle’s business on the Persian Gulf, visiting the shrines of the Shi’ite imams in Iraq and attending lectures by Kazima, the leader of the Shayki movement. Returning to his birthplace in Shiraz, he married in 1842 and two years later, after a considerable amount of time spent in prayer and meditation, he declared that he had a special divine work to fulfil. The Bab’s claims were propagated by his followers and in 1848 the Babi chiefs severed their links with Islam and declared the Bab to be a new prophet in the place of Muhammed. His message, however, had a mixed reception in Iran and he himself was later imprisoned then executed on 8 July 1850 at the command of the Shah.
Before his execution, the Bab named his successor as Mirza Yahya, who received the title ‘Subh-i-Azal’ (Morning of Eternity) and for two years all went well for the new leader. But in 1852 an unsuccessful plot by some Babis to kill the Shah caused the latter to determine to punish and kill all the movement’s leaders and adherents. However, Subi-i-Azal and his brother Baha managed to escape to Baghdad.
Born in Tehran, Persia in 1817, Husayn Ali (given the title of Baha‘u’llah by the Bahais) claimed in 1863 to be the Greater One whom the Bab predicted. He claimed to be the recipient of divine revelations which fulfilled prophecies and promises made by all the previous leaders of other religions. Expelled from Persia and, later, in 1868 exiled to Palestine by the Ottoman Turkish authorities, Baha‘u’llah died in 1892 in Akka. Between 1880 and 1892 many pilgrims journeyed to his Bahji Palace in Akka to gaze for a few seconds on a man they regarded as the ‘Blessed Perfection’. Baha‘u’llah was a prolific writer, the author of over 100 books and numerous letters. By the time he died, the Bahai faith had grown considerably and had an estimated 500,000 followers in Iran alone.
Baha‘u’llah’s son Abdul‘l-Baha (1841-9-1921), whose name means the ‘Servant of Glory’, was appointed in his will as the only authoritative interpreter and expounder of Bahai teachings. He became known as the Master.
Shoghi Effendi (1897-1957) was a grandson of Abdul‘l-Baha and was appointed in his grandfather’s will as the Guardian of the Faith and Interpreter of Scripture. There were rival factions but eventually on the death of Shoghi Effendi in 1957 a more democratic form of leadership was devised called the Hands of the Cause of God. This group comprised twenty-seven people chosen by Shoghi Effendi to be the Chief Stewards of the faith.
Universal House of Justice
The above group eventually established in 1963 the Universal House of Justice to direct the Bahai community; this is located at the Bahai World Centre in Haifa in Israel. During the past three decades especially, the Bahai community has expanded considerably, particularly in Africa, Eastern Europe, India, South America and the Pacific. There are nearly six million Bahais in over 218 countries and dependent territories.
Unity and its realisation throughout the world is a major, central conviction for the Bahai community. They believe there has only been one religion and one God, who has been given different names and descriptions. Such a God for the Bahais is infinite but unknowable in his being yet he has given progressive revelation to humanity through ‘messengers’ at different periods in history, including Moses, Krishna, Zoroaster, Buddha, Christ and Muhammed.
It is claimed all these messengers promised that a great Messenger would eventually come, bringing peace and unity to the entire world. Bahais claim that Baha‘u’llah is that Messenger and the climax of revelation. They are also working towards a single world order and parliament which will result in world peace and harmony. Most of the Bahai meetings are held in the homes of followers and are called ‘firesides’; they include prayers, information and discussion. Three daily prayers must be recited each day by followers; there are no priests but seven purpose-built ‘houses of worship’ have been built in places as far apart as Sydney, Chicago, Frankfurt, Panama City, New Delhi, Apia in Western Samoa and Kampala.
What the Bahai faith teaches – GOD
Baha‘u’llah is God; he is infallible, possessing knowledge no one else has.
What the Bible teaches – GOD
“Before me there was no God formed, and there will be none after me, I, even I, am the Lord; and there is no saviour besides me… you are my witnesses” declares the Lord, “and I am God” (Isaiah 43:10-12) “I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me there is no God… I am the Lord and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:5-6).
What the Bahai faith teaches – THE BIBLE
Bahais insist that their scriptures are the final, revealed message of God. These scriptures are the writing of three major leaders of the Bahai religion, namely the Bab, Baha‘u’llah and Abdul‘l-Baha.
What the Bible teaches – THE BIBLE
“Thy word is truth” (John 17:17) “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Luke 21:33) “According to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith” (Romans 16:25-26)
What the Bahai faith teaches – PERSON of CHRIST
Jesus is one of the great divine revealers, like Krishna, Zoroaster and Muhammed, who stand out among the prophets of the world. Baha‘u’llah is the great world-teacher who appeared in the ‘fullness of time; he was also the channel of marvellous grace that transcends all previous manifestations of God in all previous forms of religion. Baha‘u’llah alone is the hope and foundation of world unity.
What the Bible teaches – PERSON of CHRIST
“False Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24; cf. Colossians 1:15-18)
What the Bahai faith teaches – DEATH of CHRIST
Jesus did not die for our sins, nor are his sufferings and death unique. He suffered to prove the everlasting life of the Spirit.
What the Bible teaches – DEATH of CHRIST
“It was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in him, and through him to reconcile all things to himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross; through him… whether things on earth or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:19-20)
What the Bahai faith teaches – RESURRECTION of CHRIST
The physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is denied and reinterpreted to describe merely the subjective change in the feelings and attitudes of the disciples after the martyrdom of Jesus.
What the Bible teaches – RESURRECTION of CHRIST
“(Thomas) said to them ‘Unless I shall see in his hands the imprint of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe’. And after eight days again the disciples were inside and Thomas with them… Jesus came… Then he said to Thomas, ‘Reach here your finger, and see my hands, and reach here your hand, and put it into my side, and be not unbelieving but believing’. Thomas answered and said to him, ‘My Lord and my God’. (John 20:25-29).
What the Bahai faith teaches – HOLY SPIRIT
Bahais believe there was a great outpouring of the Spirit through the prophet Baha‘u’llah who was born in Persia in 1817 and died in the Holy Land in 1892, causing a sudden awakening throughout the world.
What the Bible teaches – HOLY SPIRIT
“He shall glorify me; for he shall take of mine and shall disclose it to you” (John 16:14) “God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts” (Galatians 4:6) “Having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the father the promise of the holy Spirit, he has poured forth this which you both see and hear” (Acts 2:33)
What the Bahai faith teaches – MAN and SIN
The universe is without a beginning in time and is a perpetual emanation from the great first cause, consistent with evolution over billions of years.
What the Bible teaches – MAN and SIN
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) “All things came into being by him” (John 1:3) Genesis 1 and 2 provide a crude and false account of the creation. Man’s nature is basically good. “There is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) “The hearts of the sons of men are full of evil” (Ecclesiastes 9:3)
What the Bahai faith teaches – SALVATION
Through education we can free ourselves from imperfections such as injustice, tyranny, hatred and strife.
What the Bible teaches – SALVATION
“By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one keeps away from evil” Proverbs 16:6; Ephesians 2:8-9)
What the Bahai faith teaches – DEATH AND THE FUTURE STATE
At death, the soul is set free from the body and man continues to live in his soul and mind, sustained by the spirit of faith, and enters into one of ‘the many mansions’, that is, into that degree of spiritual awareness which he attained before death. Terms like ‘the last day’, ‘the day of judgment’, ‘the resurrection’, ‘the Second Coming’, ‘heaven and hell’ are all interpreted symbolically and are related to this world and especially the appearance of Baha‘u’llah. His appearance was the resurrection, and the raising of the dead means the spiritual awakening of those who are asleep in the graves of ignorance and lust. The coming of the supreme manifestation of Baha‘u’llah is the great day of judgment. The trumpet blast of which Christ, Muhammed and others speak is the call of the manifestation which is sounded for all, whether dead or alive. Meeting with God through this manifestation is the gateway to paradise of knowing and loving him, but those who prefer their own way thereby consign themselves to the hell of selfishness, error and enmity.
What the Bible teaches – DEATH AND THE FUTURE STATE
“I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets, and the commandment of the Lord and Saviour spoken by your apostles. Know this first of all, that in the last days, mockers will come… saying, ‘Where is the promise of his coming?’… But the present heavens and earth by his word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men… But the day of the Lord will come like a thief” (2 Peter 3:1-10)
What the Bahai faith teaches – PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD
Contact with the dead is legitimate provided the motive is not prompted by curiosity or selfishness. This ‘contact’ can be made in conditions of love and prayer. Bahais are instructed to pray for the dead. They believe progress can be made in the next world, so they pray for forgiveness, enlightenment, happiness and progress for the departed. Creatures, however, cannot become the Creator.
What the Bible teaches – PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD
While it is impossible to contact the dead, it is nevertheless possible to contact evil spirits/demons. These demons are not the spirits of the dead, but sinful angels who along with the devil rebelled against God and continually oppose the Lord and His people. (2 Peter 2:4; Ephesians 6:12) When people try to communicate with the dead they are in danger of contacting demons, thus the significance of warnings such as “Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God”. (Leviticus 19:31; see also Leviticus 20: 6 & 27 and Isaiah 8:19-20;). Man’s spiritual condition and destiny cannot be altered after death (Hebrews 9:27; Luke 16:26) so prayers for the dead are forbidden.
Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – 27 March 2017