We Christians have much to do – much to tell – much to teach.
An article that appeared in our local newspaper last week (“One in Faith,” Reading Eagle, February 5, 2011, page D1. http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=284289 ) reports an example of tolerance run amok. A local group of varying faiths has coalesced around the following statement and question:
“We acknowledge that all you hold to be sacred is indeed sacred to us. Can you reciprocate and acknowledge that all we hold sacred is indeed sacred to you?”
Phbbbbt!!! (Insert groanings, shaking of head, and rubbing of eyes here.)
Astoundingly, the question was answered in the affirmative by representatives of the three faiths to
whom it was posed; Roman Catholic, Jewish, and Islamic. Do you believe a Muslim holds the Bible or the Torah sacred? Really?! Or a Jew finds the Koran sacred? Can you believe in God and Allah?
Or is it okay to answer the question in the affirmative because the other parties have already acknowledged that they believe what you believe?
By believing everything these folks believe nothing. They betray a lack of conviction about their beliefs but are just playing at religion. What else must we think when the rabbi is quoted as saying,
“We are not out to convince anybody of the truth of our faith, but rather about sharing our faith.”
…Or the president of the local Islamic Center says,
“We are entitled to our faith, but not to tell others they are wrong.”
… Or the Catholic lay leader who started the group
“…has always felt strongly about the goodness of people of all faiths.”
If two people disagree about something they might both be wrong, but they can’t both be right.
Should we tar and feather those whose beliefs are wrong? Of course not. But if I were to embrace their beliefs as sacred – worthy of worship – what would I be saying about my own faith? Would it not be a repudiation of my Lord and my Savior? Would it not be denying that such a thing as Truth exists?
These kinds of stories reinforce my commitment to the Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society and its promotion of the idea that all should live according to the word of God revealed in the Bible. For far too long we Christians have kept our heads down and our chins in, thinking that if we don’t make any waves maybe we’ll be left alone, thinking maybe the post-modernist-there-is-no-truth crowd will finally come to their senses.
Where has that gotten us? Nowhere. Worse than nowhere. By retreating from the battle, we’ve allowed the enemy opportunity to advance mightily on all fronts.
Instead of ducking the battle, let’s put our chins in the Bible, read what it says, and then dowhat it says. Let’s behave according to the scriptures as if our lives depended on it. After all, they do.
But let’s not stop there. We must exhort other believers to do the same. If Christians don’t live differently from truth-hating pagans, what good are we to the Kingdom of God? If we don’t hate the things that God hates, don’t we oppose God? If pagans notice no difference in us, are we salt? Light?
We must engage the battle. We must tell. We must teach.
~ John Bingaman