The current firestorm related to James White’s decision to facilitate an interfaith dialogue with Imam Yasir Qahdi is puzzling in the least and has become a stumbling block for many who do not understand how White cannot understand that he is “dancing with the devil” as the saying goes. Mr. White’s response to those critical of his decision has been the polar opposite of remorse and he has in fact dug his heels in and maintained that his actions were right and consistent with what Christians should be doing. Is that true? What bridges can be built to people who teach that Christians who do not submit or convert to Islam should be murdered? What madness is this that has gripped Christians today such that they believe the lie that building bridges to nowhere constitute evangelism? I won’t rehash all of Mr. White’s actions related to this in detail. You can read about that here – http://www.worldviewweekend.com/news/article/facts-reveal-james-white-islamic-dupe-clueless-evangelicals-are-desperate-save-his
What I wish to address is the support Mr. White has received. Surprisingly a couple of people with very different perspectives, one might say two people with theological beliefs very much at odds with one another, have stepped into the fray to defend Mr. White’s error. I am speaking of Phil Johnson and Michael Brown. This has added a layer of intrigue to the entire situation but has also served to obfuscate the truth of what critics of White’s decision to promote an interfaith dialogue have been saying. By engaging in what appear to be damage control activities on behalf of Mr. White, Johnson seems to have exposed himself as a hypocrite of the highest order. You can be the judge of whether or not that is true based on the information contained in this article. His previous statements seem to be completely contradictory to his stated position concerning James White’s ecumenicalism, or to use the new and improved phrase, interfaith dialogue.
In what can be described as another wildly misguided missive poorly aimed and good only for virtue signaling to a cadre of reality-oblivious followers, William Dwight McKissic, an African-American Texas pastor, drafted a resolution that was considered at the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix this week. What was misguided about his resolution? Simply this – McKissic sees in the so-called Alt Right, a source of unparalleled evil and hatred such that any rational individual would condemn it.
The Christian Post writer Michael Gryboski states in his write-up about the Resolution that, “The Alt Right is a political movement generally associated with white nationalism and known for launching intense attacks on ideological enemies on social media.” Oh the evil of such individuals who would oppose other people’s viewpoints along ideological lines! Note to Gryboski – this IS political discourse in America today. Social Media IS a political battlefield occupied by people of all ideologies including black supremacists, Hispanic and Latino supremacists, and every other ethnicity who has a grievance to advance.
The following story appeared in a recent edition of Leadership Journal.
“A traveler, between flights at an airport, went to a lounge and bought a small package of cookies and a newspaper. The woman found an empty seat in the gate area and sat down next to a man reading a magazine. After a couple of minutes she became aware of a rustling noise. From behind her paper she peeked to see the man sitting next to her helping himself to her cookies. After the initial shock she decided not to make a scene so she reached over and took a cookie for herself.
A minute or two passed and then came more rustling. The woman peeked from behind her paper and sure enough, the man was helping himself to another cookie. Again the woman decided not to make a scene and instead reached over and took two cookies for herself. This same process occurred several more times until there was one cookie left. The man broke the cookie in two pieces, ate half, and slid half over to the woman, got up and left.
The woman couldn’t believe the audacity of the man and was still fuming over the whole affair when she boarded her flight. After takeoff the woman needed something in her purse and when she opened it up the first thing she saw was her package of unopened cookies.”
Our assumptions can be misleading more often than we want to admit!
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Transforming Word Bible Institute
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Over the last several weeks we’ve been learning the difference between authentic Christianity as presented by our Lord Jesus and religious formalism demonstrated by the religious leaders of Jesus’ day and many who profess faith today.
The apostle Paul would refer to this latter group as people who held “a form of godliness although they have denied its power.” Paul’s exhortation concluded with the warning to “avoid such men as these.”
Jesus simply called them what they were – hypocrites.
As we look back at this great teaching that started in chapter 5, we come to understand more and more why Jesus says what He says. For example, “You have heard it said, but I say to you” can be seen as Jesus saying “Your religious formalism demanded (such and such) but authentic Christianity, true righteousness is demonstrated by (such and such).”