If something is “eclectic,” it is comprised of things from various sources. Eclectic music, for example, includes many different musical styles in a unique combination. Eclectic things usually defy labels. In religion and philosophy, eclecticism is the pasting together of various and diverse doctrines and practices. Eclecticism draws from many different belief systems to create a personalized pastiche of religion.
An eclectic (an advocate of eclecticism) might start with Judaism, add a belief in reincarnation, throw in Gaia and a sprinkling of shamanism, and use the novels of Robert Heinlein as sacred texts. Usually, eclecticism strives to be pragmatic; if it “works” on a personal level, the eclectic is satisfied.
Eclecticism is not biblical. The eclectic considers the idea of many different gods as a real possibility. The Bible is clear on this point: “This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6). We cannot combine different ideas of what a god is and still hold to the truth.
Eclecticism sees various sacred texts as being equally valid. The Bible also addresses this issue: Scripture is God-breathed and therefore set apart from other writings (2 Timothy 3:16–17). God warns us not to add to or remove from Scripture: “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you” (Deuteronomy 4:2; cf. Revelation 22:18–19).
Eclecticism takes a utilitarian approach to religion and truth. If it “works”—if it makes me happy, if it brings a sense of serenity, if it helps me get off drugs—then it is “true for me.” Once more, the Bible is clear on the subject. God’s Word is truth (John 17:17), no matter how it makes us feel. Truth is objective, not subjective; truth does not depend on our choosing it to be true. “The faith . . . was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people” (Jude 1:3), and God has issued a stern warning against changing His gospel (Galatians 1:9–11). There is only one gospel, and we don’t get to adapt it to fit what we think works. We are on a narrow path that is determined by God, and we should not stray off of that path simply because we think we’ve found a better way (Matthew 7:13–14).
Eclecticism is a false teaching that relies on subjectivity, relativism, and “itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3). Eclecticism brings confusion and compromise and leads to destruction. We will never find the truth as long as we’re standing at a religious smorgasbord and piling our plates with a bit of whatever looks good to us. We will only find the truth when we come to Jesus: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).