Interfaith Event–What’s the Concern?

Wednesday night in Eau Claire an interfaith event at UW-Eau Claire’s Ecumenical Religious Center drew an estimated 250 people. Seeking unity and peace, those in attendance prayed and sang together. What could be the harm in that?

We spent a whole hour talking about this Thursday on my “Front  Page” show on WWIB and WWIB.com. A variety of people called and e-mailed in their reactions. Personally, as an evangelical Christian, while I desire to show respect to people of all faiths and engage them in interfaith dialogue, I couldn’t in good conscience wholeheartedly participate in an event like the one held Wednesday night in Eau Claire. When Jesus Christ said in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No man shall come unto the Father except by me,” I believe him. As politically incorrect and exclusivist as it may sound, I believe Jesus is the ONLY way to God. So how could I and/or why would I go sing and pray with others who don’t believe that? Befriend them–yes! Dialogue with them–absolutely! But pray and sing together, it’s just not for me.

Pastor Mike Thompson of Faith Free Church in Stanley e-mailed in these thoughts:

“First, as a pastor, there are some causes that i could work alongside a diversity of groups to advance. For example I could work with Catholic, Muslim, Atheist or just about anyone to prevent or reduce the occurrence of the murder of the unborn.

In the essentials and related to core doctrine there must be exclusivity. in other words, if we are to worship or pray together we must understand that God Himself is invested in some core doctrines that can not be set aside. Why can we NOT set aside core things such as The Trinity, Salvation by Faith alone and other doctrines included in our statement of faith? Because we are here for the glory of God. And if we are rightly glorify God then we must approach the right God and we must approach Him in the way that He demands.

If there are some religions with whom I gather (Bahai & Hinuism) that are channeling spirits and the word of God demands that we do not channel spirits but instead seek the one true God….how could I possibly gather with those channeling spirits and remain faithful to God?

I would gather with them to protest against murder. I would not gather if it were in any way sending the signal that praying channeling spirits was acceptable to God or my faith. That would be the equivalent to denying my faith.

So, does this gather require me to set aside core doctrine. core is in clearly communicated in God’s word?
We should have dialogue with many different people. We should be serving people from all faiths. That is part of how we share the love of Jesus Christ. But in the post modern world there is a demand that I deny my core tenents and call all thigns equal even if my scriptures state otherwise.

Thank you for taking on this topic.”

After today’s show on WWIB had ended, I received the following very thoughtful e-mail from Dave Paukner in Chippewa Falls:

“Some hurried thoughts in no particular order.:

1. Interfaith events, by name imply, a setting aside of “faith” matters in order to assemble. If not true, we would just call the event a State Fair. That’s why this is troubling to me and always has been. It actually has a humanistic bent. Maybe that is what bothers you about it. It bothers me. It becomes an assembly of people who are proud that their faith does not interfere with loving other people.

Now, if you want to go to a football game, grocery store etc… where people of other faiths convene, by all means let them see how you live. Let your(His) light shine before all men, but do not put the light under a bushel as these events often require. If Jesus is not common ground, which he is not, how can one even entertain the efficacy of such an event? Even a missions minded person should not be deluded that Jesus would be OK with us asking him to stay home and not attend because we want them to know Him. Sounds silly to me.

2. In regard to the “question” from Medford, Jesus did in fact speak to denominations during his ministry, as there were different “schools” of Judaism at that time. There were Pharisees and Sadducees, along with Rabbinic schools of Shammai and Hillel (Spellings might be wrong). There were Hellenistic Jews and Samaritans too. When He engaged them, He never set aside the truth. He more often than not, upset them, as they had grievous errors in their beliefs about God and Torah. Jesus never convened a feel good assembly where peace was the focus. In fact, His primary purpose for coming was Truth! Something He tells Pilate, a non believer, but not at a peace rally.John 18:37

3. He corrected the Pharisees to the point of telling them their father was the Devil. John 8:44

4. Jesus in the Book of Revelation warns the Church in Ephesus that He saw the good works they were doing, but they had forgotten their first love, (Rev 2:4 KJV).

God first, everything else second. God is a jealous God. Relegating God to any position, other than number one runs the risk of turning into humanistic philosophy. In making disciples, we must first be a disciple. A process that our culture has completely watered down. It is a process of knowing and loving God first and foremost, which Jesus said is the first and greatest command. The second greatest command to love our neighbors as ourselves is second for a reason. Without the first commandment being first and obeyed (have no other gods before me), the second greatest command is pure humanism wrapped in religious sound bites and trimmings.

5. The Apostle Paul prayed for doors to be opened for the Gospel, not “Rodney King” style peace rallies. He illuminated the Old Testament (Tanakh) and showed Jesus and the Gospel in those writings.. Also, for the most part Paul spent his time in the Synagogues, teaching from the sacred text. How many times was he harassed and beaten for doing so? A lot! His message was offensive to some and foolish to others, yet he never set it aside.

6. Grace and peace are only multiplied when we, focus on the knowledge of God and our Lord Jesus,. 2 Peter 1:2-8″

So, in conclusion, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s befriend and dialogue with those from every faith under the sun, but let’s save our prayers and songs for the King of Kings and Lord or Lords, the crucified and risen Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.

 

Plenty of Bible Reading Plans to Consider for 2016

John Mac Arthur says “Bible study begins with Bible reading.”

Scripture itself says in Deuteronomy 8, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

The Word of God, the Bible, cries out to all who would listen, “I’m important! Read me!” In fact, Proverbs 23:23 could actually be interpreted as the Bible telling people to buy it, when it says, “Buy the truth and do not sell it. Get wisdom, discipline, and understanding.”

So as we embark on a new year, how is your Bible reading going? How did you fare at getting into God’s word in 2015? Would you like to do better in 2016?

There are plenty of plans to choose from, as described by Nathan Bingham in his article, “Bible Reading Plans for 2016.” Keith Ferrin, author of “How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible,” invites folks to join him in a Bible-read through during the first four months of the new year.

For many of us who have struggled to read through the entire Bible, R.C. Sproul has written a basic overview of the Bible that may help.

If it just doesn’t work for you to consistenly read through the Bible, how about listening to it? Heidi in Hayward called my show on WWIB on Wednesday and said she loves listening to Brian Hardin reading God’s Word at Dailyaudiobible.com.

So pick a plan, whether it’s joining with Keith Ferrin in reading the Bible 35-50 minutes a day for the first four months of the year, listening to someone else read it, or one of the many, many options put forth by Nathan Bingham, I pray all of us will spend more time taking in God’s word in 2016 and that that “living Word” will more fully manifest in each of our lives.

The Brick Bible

Until this morning, I’d never heard of TheBrickBible.com. Thanks to my guest, Professor of Old Testament, David T. Lamb, of Biblical Theological Seminary in Philadelphia for mentioning it on “Front Page” as we discussed his new book, “Prostitutes and Polygamists: A Look at Love, Old Testament Style.”

President’s Advisor, 34, Killed in Accident

Please join with me in asking the Lord to comfort our President, as he grieves the loss of his 34 year old technology policy advisor, Jake Brewer. Brewer was killed Saturday in a cycling accident, while taking part in a charity ride to raise money for cancer research.

Brewer is survived by his wife, journalist Mary Katherine Ham, their beautiful toddler, Georgia, and the child whom his Mary Katherine is due to deliver in a few weeks. An education fund has been set up in memory of Jake, and the initial post includes a note from Mary Katherine.

And Now for Something Completely Different

Like many people of faith I’m disappointed and disturbed by Friday’s SCOTUS decision legalizing same-sex marriage. I think the faith community has real and legitimate concerns about future implications for religious freedom and the tax-exempt status of non-profits, among other things.

However, what if we used this NOT as an opportunity to further dig in our heels in a real or imagined “culture war,” and instead viewed our nation first and foremost as a “mission field.” Michael Horton made this case very well in his 1994 book, “Beyond Culture Wars: Is America a Mission Field or a Battle Field?” And it seems to me that’s basically what David Brooks is getting at in his NYT column today, “The Next Culture War.”

How do we live this out practically? Scripture I find instructive is John 3:17, where Jesus says “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” As believers in Christ we need to evaluate ourselves honestly and ask ‘Am I condemning others MORE than I’m pointing them to the one who died for their sins and rose from the dead?’

Let’s heed the encouragement of Joseph Aldrich in his wonderful book, “Gentle Persausion: Creative Ways to Introduce Your Friends to Christ,” where he wrote “Love them until they ask you why.” I think this is very much in keeping with 1Peter 3:15,16, which says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have, but do this with GENTLENESS and RESPECT, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in  Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

#Parkinsong Challenge

Leader-Telegram reporter, Eric Lindquist, brought tears to my eyes Father’s Day morning with his very personal, front page column discussing his dad’s battle with Parkinson’s disease. In the column, Lindquist bravely kicked off an effort to raise funds for Parkinson’s research through the #Parkinsong Challenge. When I interviewed him about it Monday morning on WOGO-AM680 and WOGO.com, I pledged to accept the challenge. Will you? Listen to my interview with him, and learn more about this great effort kicking off in Eau Claire–and don’t miss Eric singing a slice of Don Mc Lean’s “American Pie.”

Mormonism Contrasted with Christianity

On the May 7th “Front Page,” Pastor Mike Thompson of Faith Free Church in Stanley helped us wrap up five straight Thursday broadcasts on “Cults,” focusing today on Mormonism. While Mike provided the historical background and a doctrinal comparison for folks to consider, Carla Wehe(Way) offered her perspective as someone fresh out of Mormonism after mor

 

A Comparison Between Christian Doctrine and Mormon Doctrine

by Matt Slick

“Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it and see if it will stand the test,” (Brigham Young, May 18, 1873, Journal of Discourses, vol. 16, p. 46).

What does Mormonism Teach?

1.God came from another planet

2.God is a man with a body of flesh and bones

3.There is a mother goddess

4.God and his goddess wife are married

5.You can become gods

Following is a Comparison between Christian Doctrine and Mormon Doctrine:

1)GOD

CHRISTIAN

There is only one God. (Isaiah 43:11;44:6, 8; 45:5)

“And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light: and there was light,” (Book of Abraham 4:3).

God has always been God. (Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 57:15)

MORMON

“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!!! . . . We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see,” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345).

CHRISTIAN

God is a spirit without flesh and bones. (John 4:24; Luke 24:39)

“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s,” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22; Compare with Alma 18:26-27; 22:9-10).

MORMON

“Therefore we know that both the Father and the Son are in form and stature perfect men; each of them possesses a tangible body . . . of flesh and bones,” (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 38).

2)TRINITY

CHRISTIAN

The Trinity is the doctrine that there is only one God in all the universe, and that He exists in three eternal, simultaneous persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

MORMON

The trinity is three separate Gods: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. “That these three are separate individuals, physically distinct from each other, is demonstrated by the accepted records of divine dealings with man,”(Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 35).

3)JESUS

CHRISTIAN

Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. (Isaiah 7:14; Matt. 1:23)

MORMON

“The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood–was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 115).

“Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers” (Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce McConkie, p. 547).

CHRISTIAN

Jesus is the eternal Son. He is second person of the Trinity. He has two natures.He is God in flesh and man (John 1:1, 14;Col. 2;9) and the creator of all things (Col. 1:15-17).

MORMON

Jesus is the literal spirit-brother of Lucifer, a creation (Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15).

4) THE HOLY SPIRIT

CHRISTIAN

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is not a force. He is a person. (Acts 5:3-4; 13:2)

MORMON

Mormonism distinguishes between the Holy Spirit (God’s presence via an essence) and the Holy Ghost (the third god in the Mormon doctrine of the trinity).

5)SALVATION

CHRISTIAN

Salvation is the forgiveness of sin and deliverance of the sinner from damnation. It is a free gift received by God’s grace (Eph. 2:8; Rom. 6:23) and cannot be earned. (Rom. 11:6)

MORMON

Salvation has a double meaning in Mormonism: universal resurrection and . . .”The first effect [of the atonement] is to secure to all mankind alike, exemption from the penalty of the fall, thus providing a plan of General Salvation. The second effect is to open a way for Individual Salvation whereby mankind may secure remission of personal sins,” (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 78-79).

CHRISTIAN

Salvation (forgiveness of sins) is not by works. (Eph. 2:8;Rom. 4:5; Gal. 2:21)

MORMON

“As these sins are the result of individual acts it is just that forgiveness for them should be conditioned on individual compliance with prescribed requirements–‘obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel,'” (Articles of Faith, p. 79).

6)BIBLE

CHRISTIAN

The inspired inerrant word of God (2 Tim. 3:16). It is authoritative in all subjects it addresses.

MORMON

“We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. . .” (8th Article of Faith of the Mormon Church)

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This is only a sample of many of the differences between Christianity and Mormonism. As you can see, they are quite different doctrines. God cannot be uncreated and created at the same time. There cannot be only one God and many gods at the same time. The Trinity cannot be one God in three persons and three gods in an office known as the Trinity, etc. These teachings are mutually exclusive.

This is important because faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed. Is the Mormon god the real one? Or, is the God of historic and Biblical Christianity the real one?

Mormonism is obviously not the Biblical version of Christianity. It is not Christian, and Mormons serve a different god from do the Christians–a god that does not exist. Paul talks about this in Gal. 4:8, “when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.” Only the God of the Bible exists. There are no others. Mormonism puts its faith in a non-existent god.