Thursday, November 15, 2007

Inter-faith Relations, One of Many Ways to God or an Abomination to God? (conclusion)

Working beside: It has been a couple of years since hurricanes bought destruction to the Gulf Coast. The rebuilding process will be going on for years to come. It would be wise if the various relief groups coordinated their rebuilding efforts. It would be great if a group of Presbyterians was working on a house and a group of Mormons was working on the house next door, a group of Buddhists working on the house across the street, and a group of Muslims working on the house across the back fence. We can work “beside” people of other world views to assist those in need.

Worship: The Bible is very clear about worshipping other Gods. Woe to the person, pastor, church or denomination who worships other gods!! Are there Presbyterians who disagree with the Bible on this matter? Of course there are. If the Bible is wrong and those people are right—well, good for them, they will be in heaven and all will be well and good. If the Bible is right and they are wrong—what they will be experiencing for all eternity will be worse than horrible. I have heard individuals say that they would never want to be in a heaven with a God who would exclude “good” people from heaven—it is easy to say that when we sit in our comfortable homes, wear our fancy preaching robes and create our own brand of “Christianity.” Remember, God dealt very harshly with his people when they bowed down to other gods!

Conversion: Like it or not, we are called to be involved in making disciples of Jesus! The disciple-making process includes conversion! All have sinned and fallen short of God’s commands. Salvation is only found in Jesus. Through evangelistic efforts we show that we truly have love for that other person. Building relationships are an important step in gaining the “right” to be heard by the other person. We must be ever mindful of the “Great Commission” when we develop inter-faith relationships.

The Redefining of Christianity: We live in a time and place where we do not want anyone to tell us what to believe and how to live. There are many who claim to be “Christians” but their world view has seriously departed from the Christian world view. Many pastors and seminary professors fall into this group of people. Here are the options that such people face:

  • Become a part of the Unitarian Church. This move is unacceptable to some because the Unitarian Church “allows” people to believe anything they want (I suppose there have to be some limits in the Unitarian Church or else they would have people who include sex with children in their worship). To be a part of the Unitarian Church would give these folks “zero” political clout. Thus, they stay in the PCUSA, United Methodist and Episcopal Churches—to mention a few.
  • Become a part of the Baha’i faith. This would probably fit well with their world view. The problem with such a move involves the loss of political clout! The Baha’i church is viewed as a politically irrelevant group and has no political influence.
  • Leave the Christian Church and become a political activist. Most political activists don’t make a living at it! It pays much better to be a pastor in a mainline denomination—with benefits!
  • Stay in the “Christian Church” and redefine what it means to be “Christian.” This is the easiest path to choose. When was the last time that a Presbyterian was removed from the church for heresy? It is almost impossible for us to remove someone for “heresy” when we have no written essential beliefs. Thus, we have the Presbyterian Church of today.

Inter-faith relationships are complex. The politically correct thing to do is to say that all faiths worship the same God. The difficult thing to do is to build relationships of understanding with the goal of sharing Christ.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home