God’s great indictment against Israel was that the Israelites willingly became “dialogue partners” and “collaborators” with the religions of the Canaanites and Phoenicians, the Egyptians and Assyrians, the Persians and Babylonians. Though God had told Israel, “You shall have no other gods before me,” the people repeatedly turned to idols and false religions--and that is why God sent them into exile in Babylon (see Exodus 20:3 and 2 Kings 17:7-23). Israel was punished and exiled for doing exactly what the leaders of the Emerging Church advocate today.
I’m not saying we should view Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, or atheists as enemies. We must love them with the love of Jesus Christ. But the only way to authentically love them is by sharing the Gospel with them. Collaborating with false teachers might win friendship with the world, but it would betray the one who declared, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Once you set your sights on friendship with the world, you place yourself in spiritual jeopardy. If the praise of unbelievers is what you want, it’s not hard to get. Simply compromise the Truth. Unbelievers will tell you, “We love your uncertainty, ambiguity, doubt, and tolerance of other religions. Just do away with your claim that Jesus is ‘the way, the truth, and the life,’ and let’s agree that all paths lead to God.”
But Jesus never said, “Tolerance for other religions will set you free.” He said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32, emphasis added). Truth comes from the teachings of Jesus, and only the Truth of Jesus will set us free.
Some would have us believe that the Christian faith contains some truths, other religions contain other truths, and if we put these truths together and all sing “Kumbaya,” we’ll have a more complete truth. That is twenty-first century idolatry.
The Israelites, before the Babylonian exile, practiced a similar approach to Truth. They believed God had delivered some truth through Moses, but they also wanted to sample the “truth” of the Canaanites and the other false religions around them. But God told Israel that there are not many paths to God; there is only one way.
And God’s message to us hasn’t changed. It remains the same: Do not tamper with the Truth of God. The fate of those who adulterate the Gospel is the same today as it was in ancient Israel: Exile.
Prayer: Father, help me to remember that the true way to love others is to lead them to Jesus, the only way to salvation and freedom. Forgive me for compromising Your Truth. Help me to trust in You for deliverance in Your timing. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).
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