Who Is God? Part 3
Good Morning from the Bitterroot Valley
This series of devotionals has turned into quite an endeavor and as usual anytime you start teaching something you usually learn a whole lot more than the one that are following.
I have been doing a lot of reading of Islamic materials the last couple of days. Like most religions there are a variety of sects, divisions and offshoots that teach differing doctrines. In this series the question has been “who is God?” and ultimately that the question that has to be answered to decide whether they are on the right path.
Islam does not recognize the Trinity or three aspects of God. They do not accept that Christ is God but only a prophet. Many people say that the God of Islam is the God of the Jews and Christians. Where does that path lead?
I don’t want to appear to be singling out Pastor Rick Warren and the Saddleback Church as they are certainly not the only church or denomination that is going down this road; however they are definitely the most recent to make headlines in recent weeks.
And article in the Orange County Register was published on February 23 2012 and updated on the 27th has some interesting information that I would like to share.
The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest and one of America’s most influential Christian leaders, has embarked on an effort to heal divisions between evangelical Christians and Muslims by partnering with Southern California mosques and proposing a set of theological principles that includes acknowledging that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
I believe that this is a dangerous and unbiblical direction that not only Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California has chosen but many other denominations and churches. The article continues:
At the dinner, Abraham Meulenberg, a Saddleback pastor in charge of interfaith outreach, and Jihad Turk, director of religious affairs at a mosque in Los Angeles, introduced King’s Way as “a path to end the 1,400 years of misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians.”
The men presented a document they co-authored outlining points of agreement between Islam and Christianity. The document affirms that Christians and Muslims believe in “one God” and share two central commandments: “love of God” and “love of neighbor.” The document also commits both faiths to three goals: Making friends with one another, building peace and working on shared social service projects. The document quotes side-by-side verses from the Bible and the Koran to illustrate its claims.
“We agreed we wouldn’t try to evangelize each other,” said Turk. “We’d witness to each other but it would be out of ‘Love Thy Neighbor,’ not focused on conversion.”
Now let me ask you a question. What is the purpose, our mission that Christ has put us here for? Are we not to go into the world making disciples of all men? I will be the first to say that we need to love our neighbor, or all fellow men but the focus of that love is to bring them to eternal salvation which is only available through Jesus Christ. If we are not going to evangelize then what is our goal.
To be fair, Rick Warren has issued a statement denying that he supports Chrislam. In late 2011 he issued a statement flatly denying rumors that he promulgates what critics term “Chrislam,” a merging of Islam and Christianity.
The “rumor is 100 percent false,” Warren wrote at Pastors.com, a website he founded that provides practical advice to church leaders. “My life and ministry are built on the truth that Jesus is the only way, and our inerrant Bible is our only true authority.”
I find it hard to understand how this statement can be balanced against statements in the joint document that is discussed above. I would encourage anyone to form an individual friendship with a follower of Islam with the purpose of sharing the salvation message. Without personal contact and a true love for the lost they will never hear the message. On the other hand I don’t believe that organizations, church bodies, can draw up agreements with Islamic groups or mosques to work together on programs and agree not to evangelize. It is counter to everything that Christ taught.
I do not see a model for this anywhere in the Bible. Christ did not ask the disciples as a group to go to and work together with the pagan worshipers of the day and do community activities together, to do good works together in the hope that someday they would all get along together in peace and harmony.
1 John 2:22 NIV
Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist–he denies the Father and the Son.
Matthew 5: 10-16
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
We will be persecuted because of the message we carry. We will be insulted and people will say evil things about us just as the prophets of old.
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Any of you Regular Joes had a cut and been sweating heavily? How does all that salty sweat feel as it gets into that cut? Personally I find it irritating and burning. If we aren’t being salt to the earth then something is wrong.
Tomorrow I will finish up on this article and make a few other points. I encourage you to go out and irritate someone today! (Just make sure it is by spreading the Gospel of Christ, not just being irritating!)
- Rick Warren: Christians and Muslims Serve the Same God? (slaughteringthesheep.wordpress.com)
- Rick Warren and Allah (justificationbygrace.com)
- John Piper On Rick Warren’s Chrislam (airocross.com)
- Who is God? Part 1 (5gsandacupofjoe.net)
- Who Is God? Part 2 (5gsandacupofjoe.net)
Quote of the Day
If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it. — Tennessee Williams