Friday, July 11, 2008

4 Minute Devotions: Dogmatic Dinosaur

If we accept Christ and His teaching, can we adopt a world view that all religions are equal and bring us to God?

Podcast version here

Titus 1:9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Some people wonder why I get bent out of shape when it comes to teaching and preaching Christianity. Why can’t I just evolve like the rest of the world and accept different ideas from different cultures, giving other religions and faiths the respect they deserve? Why can’t I acknowledge that there are many ways to God and that Jesus is only one of them? Wouldn’t it be much easier on myself if I would just let go of my dinosauric doctrines and outdated teachings?

Like Paul, I am the chief amongst all sinners and cannot claim to be perfect in any way. So why do I ‘self-righteously’ insist upon the uniqueness and exclusivity of Christ? What makes me think that I have it all right and the rest of the religious world is totally wrong?

I struggle with this and wrestle with my doubts. At times, I would like to capitulate and be all things to all people, as Paul once suggested. But if I did that, it would be insincere and hypocritical. It wouldn’t be me, and if I cannot be true to myself, how on earth can I remain true to Christ?

Let me put it this way: if Christ is only one way to salvation, then He is a liar, a charlatan, and a cheat. He Himself states “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” If there are other ways, other doors, and other rooms to be eternally with God, then Jesus has lied across the centuries and Christianity is a false religion. So for me, it all boils down to this: Christ is who He insists that He is, or He is the biggest liar in the Universe.

My own experience of Jesus is this: His promises are true and He is true to His words, therefore I cannot accept that other religions can find salvation through their understanding of what God is. If that makes me a dogmatic dinosaur in the world’s eyes, then so be it. I stand alone in Christ, I can do no other.

If you’re having trouble with accepting this, please take time to read one of the Gospels. Each time you read Christ’s own words, ask yourself these questions: does Jesus mean what He says, and if He does, what does that mean for me?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, our world is so different from New Testament times. We have more information about other people and their religions. We have more access to other religious ideas and thoughts. Please show us the truth about God and help us, in this religiously diverse world, to know what You would have us accept, express, and do. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to pastor@erinpresbyterian.org.

1 comment:

Presbyterian Gal said...

Hi Stushie!!

I'm here through Quotidian Grace, who has given you an award.

I have a question for you on this post:

As long as idolatry is not part of the practice, would you find any exclusions in Jesus' and the Holy Spirit's ability and transforming power to meet and save people in their own other religions?

(Myself, I believe that there are many ways to Jesus. And Jesus is the only way to God)

(PS I love your stained glass work)