If you are liberal Baptist Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, “a religious freedom organization that seeks to unite diverse faith voices against extremism,” then your answer is a resounding, “YES!” If you believe that the Bible is the infallible, “God-breathed” Word, then your answer would have to be a clear “NO!” Depending on how one answers the above question goes along way in determining whether one adheres to an orthodox, Biblical faith that is built upon the solid rock of Jesus Christ or whether one adheres to a non-Biblical faith that is built upon the sinking sand of post-modernity and relativism.
That the Interfaith Alliance (IA) has abandoned the true Gospel should surprise no one familiar with liberal Christianity (an oxymoron if their ever was one). That they are so brazen and clueless in their pursuit of some kind of interfaith spirituality — particularly with Muslims — is still dumbfounding, nonetheless. Leave it to the good folks at IA to organize Faith Shared, an event scheduled for Sunday, June 26.
When I first read about the goals of Faith Shared, I thought back to my childhood watching Sesame Street. I recall one of the games that they used to play every episode. When Mr. Hooper led the game, it went something like this:
“Now it’s time to play a game. Can you guess which group just doesn’t belong by the time I finish my song? One of these groups just doesn’t belong. Tell me did you guess which one? If you guessed that this group doesn’t belong here, you’re right! Now my song is done.”
Fast forward to June 26 and the first Faith Shared Sunday. On this day — known as the Lord’s Day by many Christians (and by Lord, I mean Jesus Christ) — the Interfaith Alliance is encouraging various faith traditions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — to come together in a spirit of unity and worship. I wish I could make this stuff up, but it takes a “different” kind of Christian to be able to formulate — with a straight face — that which is so far removed from Biblical Christianity, to wit:
Faith Shared asks houses of worship across the country to organize events involving clergy reading from each other’s sacred texts. An example would be a Christian Minister, Jewish Rabbi and Muslim Imam participating in a worship service or other event. Suggested readings will be provided from the Torah, the Gospels, and the Qur’an, but communities are encouraged to choose readings that will resonate with their congregations. Involvement of members from the Muslim community is key. (emphasis added) We will also provide suggestions on how to incorporate this program into your regular worship services. And we will assist local congregations in their media and communications efforts.
Haven’t you always wanted to attend a Christian worship service and hear a reading from the Old Testament, the Gospels, the General Epistles, and the Qur’an? It doesn’t take Mr. Hooper to tell us that the last one — the Qur’an — has no place in a Christian worship service, at least in a church where Jesus Christ — and Christ alone — is supposed to be exalted and worshipped.
I have no objection sitting down with a Jewish Rabbi or Muslim Imam and talking about deep issues of faith. However, I do not believe that interfaith worship — at least in any meaningful sense of the word — is even possible. Who would we be worshipping? Who would we be praying to? How many gods are there? To believe that true interfaith worship is possible is to seriously misunderstand what worship is and who we truly worship.
Can Islam and Christianity worship the same God? Not unless Islam recognizes that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh — the virgin-born, pre-existing second person of the Trinity — who died an atoning, sacrificial death on the cross for the sins of the world, was dead, buried, and rose again bodily the third day, ascended into heaven and one day (obviously not May 21) is coming again (bodily) in power and glory. Regardless of what they believe about Jesus, I simply do not believe that Muslims can affirm what the Bible says about who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for sinners.
But, when you view the Bible as just a book — on par with the Qur’an — then whatever that book says is no more authoritative than any other sacred book, including the Qur’an. And, when you begin to view the Bible as just a book, then you are one slip away from sliding all the way to the bottom of the hill known as apostacy.
I do not blame Muslims for believing the Qur’an or worshipping as they see fit. In America, we are blessed with the First Amendment which gives us the right to worship — or not to worship — as we are led. However, just because I will defend another’s right to freely worship does not mean that I have to invite them to stand behind the pulpit of my church to read from a text that I do not believe is sacred. Likewise, I think it is repugnant to mutilate, destroy or burn the sacred text of another religion — not sure it builds bridges to those we are trying to communicate the Good News with — but the alternative is not to allow that text’s reading in a Christian church. I would not expect that the Gospels would be read in a Muslim Mosque or a Jewish Synagogue. On its face, that is ridiculous.
When you do not understand the Christian faith anymore, then is must be easy to see all faith as shared faith. Faith Shared is really no faith at all. Or, at least it is not the faith that is found in the Bible. But, when you believe the Qur’an and the Bible are on equal footing, then you’ve probably built your faith on sinking sand anyway!