Saturday, May 10, 2008

No Perfect People Allowed - Chapter 7

What about other religions? The tolerance litmus test - Q1

"For you were killed, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation." - Revelation 5:9

"Chapter 7 alone is worth twice the price of [this] book." - Brian McLaren

Here are some quotes from the chapter

As we have reached into the unchurched culture of our generation, this one question, phrased in many ways, gets asked more than any other: "How do you feel about other religions?" It has become the litmus-test question for our generation, and we must think carefully about how to remove this challenging barrier to the "good news" of Jesus.

[When many] hear Christians say that Jesus is the only way, and they immediately think we are saying, "We're right and everyone else is wrong because our way is always right." They see it as nothing but pride and arrogance - the same pride and arrogance that would cause Christians in the Middle Ages to slaughter Jews and Muslims... Anticipating and openly voicing this question-beneath-the-question often diffuses people's resistance to even listen. This allows them to relate to you and actually want to hear your answer. When you affirm where tolerance is needed - you can also show its natural limits... You can be tolerant and disagree.

Now if you attack me or my character or intelligence - then you're not motivated by love but by your need to be right... Do you always think you're right and everyone else is wrong? It has become a tolerance litmus test for arrogance. We must demonstrate a humility and willingness to learn - remembering all truth is God's truth, and truth has nothing to fear.

So what do the world's religions teach all of us? We're all royal screw-ups - myself included, Jews and Christians, Muslims and Buddhists! The world's a mess!... We need God's help! We cannot become who we know we are intended to be without God... So does the bible teach that all other religions are wholly wrong and Christians are right? No! It teaches that every single person is wrong and God is right, and our problem is we all tend to turn from God and go our own way rather than humbly seeking God and his will.

For many people, their real concern is that it doesn't sound fair to say Jesus is the only way. If the fairness question does not get addressed, seekers will often jump to the conclusion that Christians are just arrogant, and they will miss the truth that through Christ, God has been more than fair... So according to Jesus, everyone made right with God must pass through him. But we do not totally know how this works except that is by faith only.

I do know God cannot be unfair. God looks at the heart, as we've said all along, and God will not unfairly judge a person because of a lack of knowledge or cultural or religious conditioning. I'm confident God will not send anybody to hell for lack of knowledge or place of birth or ethnicity - it will only be because they truly did not want God's leadership and relationship - and in the end, I believe God will sadly say, "Okay, your will be done."

Jesus continually talked about how surprised people will be when it's all said and done (Matthew 7:21-23)

Jesus is the only provision God has made to justly forgive us for doing our will rather than God's will - so if God sees the heart of a person who never heard about Jesus but is seeking to be forgiven and made right with God by faith, and God somehow does for her what he did for Abraham, it is only through what Jesus did on the cross.

1 comment:

Keri Hercules said...

I guess this shows my newness of my journey and how much nothing stuck with me from my early years of church going. (Not saying I was an evil wretch, just that I don't know or remember all the stories or what I was taught.) I have always been interested in all kinds of religions and really accepting to whatever everyone needed for themselves and their lives or their journies. I kind of had summed it up that all the seperate religions are praying to a God - their God of their religion. In my "hope that everyone could get along mentality" I have always wondered if we were really all praying to the same God, just using different names and different stories that fit in that particular society. Again, I know squat about any of it and I wonder if I have been so hesitant for so long b/c I don't like the thought that only 1 select group of people is right. I would like to think that God, as mighty as he is, would accept into heaven anyone that is a good person that leads a true and good life. You know? I can't picture in my mind or grasp that the Dalai Lama will not make it to Heaven b/c he is a buddhist..........once again, I openly admit that I am new to this and really have no answers. I guess all I can do at this point is to carry on!