Christians Peddling Religious Inclusivism! The Proper Biblical Response.

There is a group page on Facebook entitled, Christians Tired of Being Misrepresented.  By this, they mean Christians like me!  They would say that I misrepresent Christianity by proclaiming the truth of Scripture, that salvation comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and that faith comes through hearing the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. 

The following is an image that they posted to their page with this description:

We are Christians who have found an approach to God through the life and teachings of Jesus, the Christ – but recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God’s realm. We acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us.”

Wrong Christianity
This is an image that Christians Tired of Being Misrepresented has posted to their Facebook page. To them, this image represents true Christianity. They can’t be further from the truth of the Bible!

When I shared this image and their quote to my Facebook page, Contradict – They Can’t All Be True, I only wrote the words, “Face Palm.”  That simple phrase indicated my frustration and utter dismay for their post.  I then received many comments in reply, from many thoughtful Christians quoting Scripture, or standing on the truth of Scripture.  Here are some of those excellent replies:

Brent Traylor gave a long list of verses that demonstrate the exclusive nature of the Christian message revealed in Scripture:

Acts 16:30-31, KJV …Sirs, what must I do to be saved? [31] And they said,Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Acts 4:12 [The apostle Peter said] Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”1

Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

John 3:18, 36 [18] Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son…. [36] Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.

John 6:66-68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

John 8:23-24 But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. [24] I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins.”

1 John 2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

1 John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. [12] He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

MIchael DiStefano pegged the origin of this nonsense:

Political correctness gone amok – I will NOT deny the blood Jesus shed for me!

Lisa Ann’s response was extreme, yet so spot on, in her description that I think I laughed out loud:

This is obscene! ! These people have never read The Holy Bible. There is only one God , the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Lisa Koska said:

“We will never lump the Creator in with many lessor gods. The characteristics are completely different. The ways that are true for them lead to hell so just can’t sit back and be silent on that one. “I am Yahweh. That is my name. I will not give my glory to another, nor my praise to engraved images.” (Isaiah 42:8)

Josh Moore absolutely gets the total impossibility of religious pluralism.  Great comment, Josh:

Even Taking Christianity out of the equation, the statement they made is a logical fallacy.

Ernest Sire Sr. recognized the role Contradict Movement plays in response to these so called Christians:

This is perhaps the most vivid example of my understanding of why you started your ministry.

Yes, Ernest, yes it is! 

God bless you all for commenting and posting, and for standing on the truth of God’s Word.  Let’s always remain on the rock of our salvation! 

Check out www.contradictmovement.org.  Order my book there and get some Contradict stickers and tracts too.

Religious Syncretism – German woman takes a stand against Chrislam!

A Muslim imam is scheduled to pray to Allah at a local Christian building of worship near you in an effort of peace between Muslims and Christians… what do you do? Do you attend? Do you allow Allah of the Qur’an to be invoked in the Christian sanctuary? One German lady said that if that happens, the building is no longer a church building; it is a mosque! She interrupted the prayer and shouted that “Jesus is Lord.” She proclaimed, “Here I stand I can do no other.”

 

Christians should not partake in religious syncretism, the blending of differing religious belief systems so as they are one.

Christians can certainly pray anywhere and at any time. I have visited a Muslim mosque before during Friday noon prayer, and as a guest I was well treated and given a tour of the mosque and given an explanation of what was to transpire when I showed up early. I was given a spot in the back to sit and I was not expected to pray, though I did pray to the Christian God (the Triune Lord) during the service. I just did not give any indication that I was praying, and I certainly didn’t pray in the same physical posturing associated with Islamic prayers, because I did not want to give any indication that I was praying to the same God as the Muslims.

When a building that is designated as a place of Christian worship, has prayers offered by a Muslim leader to Allah with the expectation that prayers offered by a Christian leader to the God of the Bible will follow, it is a clear form of syncretism. Chrislam is the term I have heard used for this type of blending.

I don’t understand why the prophet Muhammad would encourage Christians to pray in mosques in Medina, because Christians pray to a God that is not one person. We pray to a God that is three in person. In fact, I have had many Muslims tell me that I worship three gods, not one God (which I was told at UCI after speaking at the interfaith discussion you hosted).

Christians who are devote to the Bible’s revelation of God, must stand for Christ being Lord. He is not just a prophet. He is the second person of the Trinity revealed to us in human flesh. In Jesus, people have seen, heard, touched, and known God. He has revealed to us who God, the Father is, and he has sent to us the Holy Spirit (the third person in the Trinity). For Christians to pray openly along with Muslims, it gives the impression to both parties that we are praying to the same God, which is far from the truth.

In fact Israel, under the old covenant were always disciplined by God when they fell into religious syncretism.

John 14:6 is very clear. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

For more examples of Chrislam, check out the following video, featuring George Bush, Brian Houston (Hillsong Pastor), and the Pope:

For more details on why all religions can’t be true, order a copy of my book, Contradict – They Can’t All Be True.

The Blind Men and the Elephant – The Response!

The following is an excerpt from my book, Contradict – They Can’t All Be True (FYI – the spacing doesn’t always transfer correctly from my PDF file to the blog):

Drawing by my friend Danny Martinez.
Drawing by my friend Danny Martinez.

A popular analogy that depicts an “all religions lead to God” form of pluralism is the story of several blind men touching various parts of an elephant and being unable to agree on a single description of the creature they’re touching. This story has connections to Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and even Sufi Islam, a mystical branch of Islam. The story is found in the teachings of the Buddha within the Pali canon of Theravada Buddhism. One of the most popular versions comes from a nineteenth-century poet, John Godfrey Saxe, who rewrote the story in rhyme.

Though there are minor discrepancies among the versions, they all present the same basic scenario: since each blind man is touching a different part of the elephant, they disagree on what the elephant actually is. The one touching the tail might think the elephant is a broom; the one touching the side of the elephant might think the elephant is a wall; the one touching
the elephant’s trunk might think the elephant is a snake. Individually, they each know a part of the elephant accurately, but not the sum total of the animal. They fail to grasp what the elephant actually is because of their blindness. Their dispute is futile since they are all mistaken.

It is pretty clear how this story can be used within the framework of pluralistic relativism. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and the like are all touching the same sacred elephant, God. But because all of humanity is spiritually blind, we are incapable of knowing God as he actually is. Any fighting among religious faiths is thus futile.

On the flip side, the good news within pluralism is that every religion is true based on what its adherents have experienced of the sacred reality. Since all religions have touched the sacred elephant, all religions lead to the same divine truth. Religious pluralists argue that if humanity could only come to “see” this predicament, all religious fighting could stop. We could recognize what each religion has learned about God and, by compiling the parts of the whole, come to a better understanding of who or what the nature and personhood of the sacred reality is.

The view of the divine expressed by the sacred elephant analogy is plausible and worth considering. Before considering the accuracy of its assertions, I want to stress the pluralistic uses of the story. Far from saying all religions are true, the story of the blind men and the elephant takes all religions and throws them under the bus, where they are left broken in their false perceptions of ultimate truth. As hopeful as this story can appear, in reality it just drops the bomb on absolute truth, at least absolute truth concerning God. The blind men show us that truth concerning God is unobtainable due to our limited faculties.

Skepticism toward God doesn’t invalidate this brand of pluralism. The problem lies within itself. Nestled within the story of the blind men and the elephant is a self-contradiction that makes the entire claim crumble in on itself. The pluralists claim that God is unknowable; every religion is wrong about its perceived understanding of the divine. However, in making this claim, the pluralists also implicitly declare they have an inside track on who God is. If no one is capable of knowing God due to our lack of sight in the realm of the divine, then what prescription glasses have enabled the pluralists to know the nature of God with such certainty? Pluralists are rejecting all exclusive truths concerning God, but making one themselves.

End of excerpt from Contradict – They Can’t All Be True.

In my book, I intentionally wrote with a non-Christian voice for the first six  chapters.  I first present what religious pluralism is and why its so dominant in our culture and society right now.  I then demonstrate how religious pluralism doesn’t actually work logically.  Responding to the elephant analogy was near the end of that section of the discussion before moving into presenting an evaluation of religious truth-claims and ultimately landing on the trustworthy nature of the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth to save us from sin and death and reconcile us into a right relationship with God!  Since I wasn’t ready to let it out of the bag that I was a Christian yet in that stage of the book writing process, I didn’t  respond to the elephant analogy the way I typically would.  The following is a more complete Christian response to this popular analogy:

A critique of this parable would contain the following points:

  1. This parable is actually claiming that all religions are false.
  2. This parable makes all aspects of life subjective.  There is no absolute, objective reality that we can be certain we are experiencing correctly.  If absolutes don’t exist in a way that we can comprehend them, morals and ethics also become subjective.  There would no longer be such a thing as right and wrong.
  3. Any exclusive religion, such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are forced to give up their claims to exclusivity to fit into the inclusive, pluralism which this parable projects.
  4. With Christianity’s exclusive claim that Jesus is the only way to salvation, all other religions would have to be false if Christianity is true, or Christianity could be false and other religions true.  This does not fit with the elephant analogy at all.
  5. The original telling of this legend has a king who sees the blind men groping at the elephant arguing about what they are touching.  The king reveals to them in laughter that they are all foolish men that they are all touching the same reality, the elephant!  This is very interesting that the original legend has a word from above revealing the truth to the blind men.  This indicates that the truth is actually discernible – we might just need some help from someone up above.
  6. The original ending of this parable lends itself very well to Christianity.  Christianity teaches that help did come from above.  That God has revealed himself to mankind through what he has created as well as through special revelation from the Scriptures and in particular through the second person of the Trinity, Jesus, taking on flesh and walking amongst us, revealing the truth to us, healing the blind and helping them see.  This revelatory claim of Christianity isn’t even considered or introduced in pluralistic uses of this parable.

Conclusion: Declare truth where truth is found!

It seems clear that all religions cannot be fully and equally true.  There are direct contradictions within the teachings of the world’s religions, such as Jesus is God (Christianity) and Jesus is not God (Islam), which eliminate the possibility that all religions are true.

This however doesn’t mean that aspects of the truth cannot be found within various religions.  Christians would do good to point these truths out from time to time.  If Christ’s claim is true that he is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), then all truth would be God’s truth, no matter where it is found.  Where truth is found, declare it, use it, put it in its full context of which it is fully and directly revealed from God in the Bible.  The Apostle Paul did when he quoted the philosophers of the Athenians (Acts 17).  We can do it too!

True for You, But Not True for Me (Or is it?)

I have written two articles for Life In His Hands Christian Ministries Newspaper.  The paper is essentially run by one man, who has been out of work for a year.  This paper is his effort and making some income for his family.  The last issue is the first paper that wasn’t in the red!   You can read it here, and see my article on the first page, continued on page 7.  Or you can simply read the article in this blog post:

Truth is not opinion

When speaking with famous atheist, Richard Dawkins, on his Fox News program, The O’Reilley Factor, Bill O’Reilley told Dawkins, “I can’t prove to you that Jesus is God, so that truth is mine and mine alone. But you can’t prove to me that Jesus is not God, so you have to stay in your little belief system.” O’Reilley’s statement fits into a view of truth called relativism. It is common to hear relativistic expressions within and without the Christian community. Relativism holds that truth is relative to each person’s experiences, culture, and needs. Since such guideposts for truth are not universal, truth is subjected to individual determination.    Approaching all truth claims from a relativistic approach fails in three specific ways: failure to distinguish between subjective and objective claims, denies basic laws of logic, and is an inherently self-contradictory worldview.

First, relativism fails to distinguish between objective and subjective truth claims. Subjective truth claims are relative to each individual, because these claims deal in preference and personal opinion, often based on experience and feelings. For example, the best seats at a movie theater are the front rows. There are less people there to bother you, you don’t have anyone sitting in front of you to block your view, you always have a middle seat, and the screen encompasses the totality of your vision. I think the majority of the population would disagree with my claim, judging from my experiences of sitting by my lonesome in the front few rows of movie theaters. Others claim that the middle rows are the best. Others assert the back rows are superior. “The front rows are the best” is a true statement for me, but it might not be true for you, because determining the best row in a movie theater is based on subjective values.

Objective claims on the other hand lie outside of one’s individual partiality and experience for determining their truthfulness. They are unbiased claims that are determined to be true based on external realities that can be verified or tested.   Objective claims pertain to facts, not opinions. Sticking with movie examples, the Best Picture of 2013 according to the Academy Awards was 12 Years a Slave. That is an objective claim. It can be factually verified to be true or false. If it were simply stated that 12 Years a Slave was the best movie of 2013, it would be a subjective claim, because everyone has a different opinion on the matter, but the specific Oscar winner of the 2013 Best Picture award is not a matter of opinion. A movie either won or did not win the Oscars for Best Picture. Relativism fails to realize this distinction by handling objective claims as if they were subjective, which is what Bill O’Reilly failed to do, when saying that “Jesus is God” is his truth, but not Richard Dawkins’ truth.

A second failure of relativism is its denial of basic laws of logic. When relativists state that all religions are true, they reject the Law of Non-Contradiction. The Law of Non-Contradiction states that “A” cannot equal “Non-A”. This means a statement cannot be true and not true at the same time in the same respect. Plugging statements into this equation, “Jesus is God” (Christianity) cannot equal “Jesus is not God” (Judaism and Islam). Already, the Law of Non-Contradiction has disproven the notion that all religions can be true, however the Law of Excluded Middle and the Law of Identity further demonstrate relativism’s denial of reason. The Law of Excluded Middle states that “A” is either “A” or “Non-A”. This means an objective claim is either true or not true. Jesus is either God or he is Not-God. Finally, the Law of Identity dictates that “A” is “A”; a thing is what it is. Therefore, if “Jesus is God” is a true statement, Jesus must be God.

A third failure of relativism is that it is a self-contradictory worldview. Relativists declare, “All truth is relative.” Yet, in their rejection of the existence of absolute truth, relativists are making an absolute truth claim themselves. If a relativist says, “There are no absolutes,” ask him, “Are you absolutely certain?” If a relativist says, “All truth is relative,” ask him, “Is that relative?” Such simple questions in response to relativism reveal the self-contradictions within such a worldview.

To answer this question directly, objective truth is not a matter of opinion. Jesus is God or Jesus is not God. We cannot have it both ways.   The truthfulness of these two positions is not contingent upon our subjective experiences. This means that it is intolerant to claim that all religions are true, because it would require the erasure, or change, of all exclusive teachings within all of the world’s diverse religious faiths to make them one. If relativism is not intolerance in action, then it must be ignorance that fails to distinguish between subjective and objective claims, denies basic laws of logic, and embraces an inherently self-contradicting worldview.

Consider ordering my book Contradict – They Can’t All Be True! 

 

G220 Radio – Contradict: They Can’t All Be True

I was just on a padcast show called G220 Radio.  The name comes from Galatians 2:20.  You should look that verse up, here. The show is hosted by Ricky Gantz.  He has followed the Contradict – They Can’t All Be True Facebook page for quite awhile.  He recently launched this podcast and he has a lot of great topics that I think anyone who likes this blog would be interested in hearing discussed.  The show before the Contradict episode was on Jehovah’s Witnesses and the show that will be aired next week is on interracial relationships and marriages – you know from the Bible.  I hope they address the insane idea that dark skinned people came from the descendents of Ham, because Ham was cursed to have children born to slavery.  If you want to see where people get that idea, go to Genesis 9.

For the G220 Radio episode I was on as the guest, I love that Ricky focused on Chapter 2 of Contradict – They Can’t All Be True.  Chapter 2 teaches the basic history, beliefs, and practices of the world’s five major religions via 20 key terms for each.  So 100 terms in total.  Ricky went through each of the five religions and asked me to speak on some of those terms for each religion.  I like that he did this because I took it upon myself to compare and contrast the teachings with what the Bible teaches us.  I also was able to give some good points for where the Gospel could be interjected into the teachings of other religions – in other words points at which adherents of these other religions would find the Gospel to be truly Good News for them!

Ricky also got to share some experiences he has had using Contradict in evangelism.

Give it a listen and share it far and wide.  G220 Radio: Contradict They Can’t All Be True!

G220