Not too long ago, I did a sermon series I called “COEXIST.” You have probably seen the bumperstickers. The idea, in my mind, is that there are a lot of different faith and belief systems or you might call them “world views.” And even though we differ in our views, we can and should learn how to co-exist. We can inhabit the same space without hatred, anger, deceit, mistrust, etc.
But, more and more, so many people I talk to are saying something similar to this: “There are all these different religions, but we all believe and worship the same God. They are just different ways to God.” Not much shocks me anymore, but I am completely shocked at the number of people who keep telling me this.
Anyway…one of my favorite pastors/leaders, Rick Warren, was accused of saying something similar to this. Click here to read his response. I totally agree with him. Here is the first question and answer in the interview:
QUESTION: Do people of other religions worship the same God as Christians?
WARREN: Of course not. Christians have a view of God that is unique. We believe Jesus is God! We believe God is a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Not 3 separate gods but one God. No other faith believes Jesus is God. My God is Jesus. The belief in God as a Trinity is the foundational difference between Christians and everyone else. There are 2.1 billion people who call themselves Christians… whether Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Pentecostal, or Evangelical…and they all have the doctrine of the Trinity in common.
I am certainly a visual learner – so I love this illustration. As with a lot of things, I can’t agree 100% with all the conclusions here, but the illustration is powerful. And, as with a lot of things, I think the truth is found somewhere in the “holy middle ground.”
Read this blog post on the power of asking “Why?” five times.
I am loving the new “C.S. Lewis Daily” at Bible Gateway. Sign up for a quick daily reading from Lewis here.
Here is today’s reading:
[The demon Screwtape writes:] [God, the “Enemy,” is] a hedonist at heart. All those fasts and vigils and stakes and crosses are only a facade. Or only like foam on the sea shore. Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it; at His right hand are “pleasures for evermore.” Ugh! Don’t think He has the least inkling of that high and austere mystery to which we rise in the Miserific Vision. He’s vulgar, Wormwood. He has a bourgeois mind. He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least—sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working. Everything has to be twisted before it’s any use to us. We fight under cruel disadvantages. Nothing is naturally on our side.
From The Screwtape Letters
Compiled in Words to Live By
This is one of my favorite sermons of all time. Otto Koning was a Dutch missionary in Papua New Guinea. I love his sense of humor, which I’d like to think is similar to mine. This is absolutely worth the hour to watch and listen. Carve out the time.
“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:33
My brother Matt and I got to face each other in “Sumo” wrestling at the Durham Bulls game on Sunday, August 4th. Enjoy!
“A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire;
He rages against all wise judgment.”
Proverbs 18:1 (NKJV)
So in the creation story in Genesis, God creates and then declares each day (accept the second day, I believe) that His creation is “good.” This happens days 1-5 of creation. Then on day six, man is created and God says, “…it was very good.” Man and woman were the crown of his creation – and every thing is good.
Then in chapter 2, we get a more intimate look into the creation of man, and then of woman. Adam is created first, God places him in the garden, and then God breaks the pattern and declares, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18, emphasis mine). Following this statement, God decides to create partner for Adam, and EVe is created.
What does this mean? At the very least, it tells us that man was created for relationship. God does not intend for us to act in isolation. We need relationship. We need to be around people. We need accountability. There is a time and place for solitude and times to withdraw to perhaps renew and recuperate, but isolation as a rule is not what we are made for.
All this to say, “Men, engage. Stop isolating. Open up. Let some other MEN in your life. Be honest. Be real. Come out of isolation. The world tells you to be independent. God says otherwise.”
“Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”
– Henri Nouwen