Thursday, July 03, 2008

Has the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) “jumped the shark?” Or, to put it another way, Was this past General Assembly the Assembly of Heresy? (Part 2)

Error #1.

Yesterday, I started looking at the errors made by the recent General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The most significant error was in what the Assembly did regarding our interfaith relationship with those who practice the religion of Islam. Before going any further, I must admit that I am not an expert in this area; however, I am more familiar with this area than probably 90%-95% of Presbyterians. My study of the world’s religions began at Sheldon Jackson College as a student, it continued at Washington State University. At those institutions I studied under professors who were well versed in the world’s religions. One of the professors was a Christian and one had left the Christian faith and believed that all religions lead to God or high consciousness. My assumptions about religion, faith, Christianity, salvation, God, etc, were profoundly challenged. My study of the world’s religions continued throughout my life. As a faculty member at Sheldon Jackson College I taught the class on the World’s Religions every semester for five years. Adherents of many of the religions we covered took the class. I sought to be unbiased in my presentation of each religion and was commended by those who practiced religions other than Christianity for teaching the doctrines of their faith in a fair and unbiased way.

If anything is going to bring the wrath of God upon the PCUSA it will be this past General Assembly’s actions on interfaith relations with Muslims. As a Christian and a Presbyterian pastor I call on all Presbyterians to repent of the sin which our General Assembly is leading us into.

At the end of yesterday’s posting, I asked my readers to look at the following scripture passages:

  • 2 Kings 17:37-38
  • Jeremiah 13:10
  • Jeremiah 44
  • Numbers 25:1-4
  • Judges 2:12
  • 2 Kings 17:38

Scripture is very clear about the worship of God. We ARE NOT to bow down and worship other gods—PERIOD!!

All religions do not worship the same God. If a person believes that all religions worship the same God then he/she is not a Christian—that person may be a “Presbyterian.” The god that the Muslims worship is not the God that Christians worship. Do your homework! Read the Bible! Read the Koran. Read the teachings of Muhammad. The two faiths are mutually exclusive.

“though we hold differing understandings of how God has been revealed to humankind, the PC(USA) affirms that, as children of this loving God, we share the commandments of love for God and neighbor, the requirement to care for the poor." (2008 General Assembly of the PCUSA)

The statement passed by the Assembly is heresy! The statement begins by inferring (if not explicitly stating) that God (Yahweh) has revealed God’s self to Christians and Muslims—we just understand it differently. “This loving God” again implies that we worship the same God. Heresy, once again. Our different faiths may indeed call us to love the god of our faith—but Christians are called to love Yahweh and Muslims are called to love a different God (Allah). Our faiths may call us to care for the poor. However, there are different gods calling us to these actions. There is only one true God—Yahweh!

"Practices might include participation in sacred and holy observances in each other’s traditions." (2008 General Assembly)

The Assembly calls upon us to take part in each other’s “practices.” Taking part in the sacred practices of a god other than Yahweh is totally forbidden in scripture. God is a jealous God and is swift in his punishment of the worshipping of other gods. (Note: a Muslim that takes his/her faith seriously would never worship a god other than Allah, as revealed in the Koran.) The General Assembly is actually encouraging Presbyterians to bow down and worship a different god. The Assembly did not say to “go and observe” Muslims as they practice their sacred events. The Assembly used the word “participation.” To “participate” is to “take part in.” A person that participates in a Muslim sacred (worship) event may say, “I am not really worshipping Allah.” That person is only fooling themselves—they are not fooling God. Look at scripture and see what God did to those who worship other gods.

“encourage congregations of these faiths to celebrate religious holidays together, setting aside days of worship during which there can be congregational suppers, and dialogue groups. (2008 General Assembly)

Does this General Assembly expect me to celebrate the birth of Muhammad—someone who leads people away from Jesus and eternal life? Does this Assembly expect me to celebrate Ramadan? Does this Assembly expect a Muslim to come and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the birth of Christ, Pentecost, etc?

It would be nice to sit down and eat with Muslims but most Christians do not follow the Muslim dietary restrictions. We could do it, though. We should sit down and dialogue—talk. We can work together to fight hunger, gang violence, terrorism, racism, discrimination, etc. It would be good to dialogue, but it should be done with the realization that we are of two distinct, separate faiths.

What will happen to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) if we follow through on what this past General Assembly has called us to do? I don’t pretend to know what God will do. But, I do know this—it won’t be pretty! God’s judgment is harsh. Read your Bible. See for yourself. Fall on your knees and pray for the PCUSA.


At 4:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was having a conversation with a Muslim man a few years ago. It came right off the heels of one of these "all roads lead to heaven" conversations with some of my PCUSA brothers and sisters. Out of curiosity, I asked that Muslim man to imagine a hypothetical.

I am a man seeking after truth. I investigate all the major religions of the world in my quest. I study Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity. At the end of my sincere search for Truth, I decide that Christianity is the Truth. I emphasized that I am sincere in my search. What would happen to me? I asked this nice Muslim man.

"You will go to hell." He answered without a moment's hesitation. And then he proceeded to explain why I should follow the Prophet.

You know what? I was SO glad that he said that to me. I didn't feel put down, I didn't feel he was being disrespectful. I felt like he cared about my eternal destiny.

Ever since that meeting, I have realized that our PCUSA stance on "interfaith dialogue" has become a mile wide and an inch deep. You are right. We do not worship the same God as the Muslims. The majority of Muslims know this to be the case. Why is this so hard for our PC PCUSA leadership to understand?

You can worship the God of Scriptures and share your faith with people of other religions and not be mean-spirited or superior. Actually, I would argue that that is the Christlike response to people who don't follow Christ.

At 5:08 AM , Blogger Christian flyboy said...

Christianity asserts that Jesus is God, Jesus is God's son. Muslims believe that Jesus is not God's son. I cannot conceive of worshipping within a religious tradition that denies the deity of Christ. That kind of worship for Christians is completely lacking in integrity. Carry that thought forward into the PC(USA)'s action through its 2008 General Assembly.

At 9:30 AM , Blogger Pastor Lance said...

Great comments!!!

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