They Can’t All Be True

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A very common bumper sticker is making the rounds these days. This bumper sticker contains one word – COEXIST. Each letter of the word coexist utilizes a different religious symbol to spell out the word.  For example in some renditions the C is a crescent moon representing Islam and the T is a cross that represents Christianity. Other religions such as Hinduism, Judaism, and Taoism are also represented. The meaning is clear – all religions can and must coexist if there is to be world peace.

This idea is not new. There has been an ongoing effort for decades to find common ground among the world’s largest religious groups. What is new however is that the effort is now being publicly advocated by the United Nations as well as several so-called World Congresses that meet yearly or bi-annually to discuss strategies to unite the religions of the world into one homogeneous whole.

The first issue that I have with this thinking is that it is illogical and demonstrably false. The idea that all religious people must learn to coexist for peace to occur assumes that religious people are responsible for conditions other than peace. While it is a common refrain of the easily duped, the idea that religion has caused the most death and war is easily refuted.

Joseph Stalin of Russia and Mao Tse-tung of China are responsible for nearly 125 million deaths of their own citizens.* We don’t even need to take into consideration other despots, tyrants, and dictators throughout history that easily dwarf any deaths caused by religious fanatics.

A second issue that the COEXIST mentality overlooks is this – How do you convince people who believe in diametrically opposite religious principles to forsake those? The clear answer is by coercion. That means that if the current trend of COEXIST manipulation continues you can expect to see various attempts to pass laws that drastically curtail religious expression. We are seeing this strategy being employed today in America, aimed specifically at Christianity.

A third issue with the misguided COEXIST philosophy is that advocates believe that the creation of a religious utopia will result in a global political utopia. Again, the primary cause of wars, crime, and evil generally speaking is not religion. It is the unregenerate heart of sinful man that refuses to acknowledge the Creator.

Finally, the thinking that supports a COEXIST theology ignores the impossibility of the task.  In order for all religions to coexist peacefully, the primary points of difference will need to be removed completely. No other religious system teaches a personal God who came to earth and died for the sins of mankind. For Christians this means that the teaching that there is salvation in no other name but Jesus Christ will need to be denied. That is the definition of apostasy and will never happen for true believers.

Friends, do not buy into the dream of the religious Utopians. That path leads to death. Stand firm in the Lord Jesus Christ and continue to proclaim the good news of salvation in Him alone. That is a transforming truth.

*Mao is responsible for nearly 65 million murders of Chinese citizens click here for resource.

*Stalin is responsible for nearly 60 million murders of Russian citizens. Click here for resource.

Be Offensive In Love (Part 5)

Thus says the Lord of hosts,“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the Lord. “They keep saying to those who despise Me, ‘The Lord has said, “You will have peace”’; And as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, They say, ‘Calamity will not come upon you.’ Jeremiah 23:16-17

Friends, we have been discussing the changing cultural norms in America in this five-part series. We started this conversation by observing that tolerance has been redefined to exclude the original idea of freedom of expression to the now sacrosanct notion of celebrating every behavior as normal and right.  This new freedom does not include the freedom to disagree so it is really just freedom to walk in lock-step with the prevailing enlightened ideals of those opposed to historic, biblical Christianity. Clearly this is not freedom in any sane, logical, rational sense but merely Orwellian double-speak.

What does this mean for Christian evangelism?  It means that Christians need to sharpen their minds and focus on exactly what it is we are trying to speak to our neighbors and friends.  Old techniques of evangelism don’t work for the simple reason that people don’t see anything “good” about the Gospel.  For the most part all they hear are do’s and don’ts. This leaves us needing to rethink our approach.  In other words why is the gospel good news to those we want to speak to?

It is precisely at this point that the Gospel is most clearly seen as relevant to every culture, time, and place.  You see, the problems mankind has wrestled with and sought answers to – namely where is hope to be found, can I find acceptance for who I am, who will love me truly and intimately, and even where can I find tolerance for my views – are all wrapped up in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Hope is found in our new identity in Christ, an identity that He hand picks for each of us as His special creation. Acceptance is found in the unfathomable grace we experience as God accepts us in Christ and declares us holy and just in His eyes.  Intimacy is found in the midst of an ongoing love that lifts us up in every circumstance. Finally, even tolerance as the present world defines it is turned upside down as Jesus Christ shows us how to love those different from us and yet remain faithful to proclaim the truth that Christ alone saves.

Friends, don’t be dismayed by the current condition of the American culture. See instead great opportunity to share why the Gospel is great news for everyone.  It truly is a transforming truth.

Be Offensive In Love (Part 4)

Thus says the Lord of hosts,“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the Lord. “They keep saying to those who despise Me, ‘The Lord has said, “You will have peace”’; And as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, They say, ‘Calamity will not come upon you.’ Jeremiah 23:16-17

Some in the Church today have thrown in the towel and raised the white flag of surrender. They have decided that instead of standing firm on conviction and doctrine, it is far more expedient to agree with the latest cultural ideal of equitable treatment.  Unfortunately, those who have given up the biblical position concerning marriage have succumbed to the siren song of postmodernism and have become blind to the consequences of their misguided expressions of love.

Christians who continue to hold to the teaching of the Scriptures concerning homosexual behavior should not be surprised at the rapid turn of events being played out in America today.  The tares have certainly been growing among the wheat so that now in many denominations the tares have completely taken over and crowded out the wheat.

A recent “Relationships in America” survey supports this conclusion.  Respondents were asked to give their views concerning a wide range of sexual activity including viewing pornography, premarital cohabitation, abortion rights, open sexual relationships, and the need for marital fidelity.

The survey’s conclusion?  Those confessing Christians who support same-sex marriage hold the same views as the general population. For instance, on the question of viewing pornography, Christians who support same-sex marriage also support viewing pornography at a level slightly higher than the general population – 33% to 31%%. On the subject of abortion, Christians who support same-sex marriage also support abortion at a higher level 39% to 37%, than does the general population.  Similar results are demonstrated across the board. This is not holiness friends, this is philosophical assimilation in the least and frankly unrighteousness unmasked.

The point in all of this?  Christians who support same-sex marriage are not “cutting edge, compassionate, enlightened, right side of history” types. Rather, they are deceived and drinking the Kool-aide of the enemy who is stealing futures, killing congregations, and destroying their testimony of the God who forgives and saves from all sin.

Stay tuned for the conclusion to this series, “Be Offensive In Love – Part 5.”