So, the question becomes, does this in any way shape or form apply to us as believers today? The main pastoral influence in my life right now is Erwin McManus of Mosaic Church. His Sunday gathering has entered into a study called "The Truth Between Us." They began the series on September 11, and started with the topic, Islam and Christianity. I must say that when I heard about the study part of me was cringing with fear and the other part was curious with excitement. I debated in my mind, whether the series was even worth listening to or if it was something that I should skip. But, as I mentioned in the beginning, the Holy Spirit has been priming me with questions completely separate of this series.
My initial fear, after hearing about the series, was that the Gospel and beauty of who Jesus Christ is would be watered down, overlooked, compromised and/or excused when looking at and comparing it to Islam. However, another way God has been teaching me and preparing me to listen to this series started in John 1 (I told you I love that passage right now):
The Light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overpowered it.
You see, Jesus is Light and darkness does not overpower Him! As Christians, we do NOT need to be afraid of entering into darkness. We carry the Light, and the Light of the Gospel has the power to change and overcome the darkness that it encounters. What I love about this series and what Erwin has done through it, is he has challenged us to encounter peoples of other religions to find bridges, in which we can bring the Gospel of who Jesus is to them.
It is so easy for me to look back 500 years ago in history and see how the Spanish blew it. That there were so many ways they could have used what the Mayans, Incans and Aztecs already believed to draw them to the beauty of who Jesus is. However, it is nearly impossible for me to think that anything Muslims, Buddhists, Atheist, etc believe or do has anything to do with God. The main thing that keeps me from even going there mentally is fear. I cannot do the talk justice, because it was beautifully laid out, but what I learned is that we do NOT need to be afraid to sit, discuss and listen to people's of other faiths. If we believe we have the TRUTH, the LIGHT of the world in us, then the truth that we bring and the light that we bring is more powerful than the darkness.
My challenge to myself as I listen to and through this series is to take God at His Word. First, God says He has created every human being with a longing for eternity (Ecclesiastes 3:11). If that is true, then every human being is finding a way to fill that hole. We also know that we have an enemy who masquerades himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). So we should not be surprised when other religions have enough truth to bring them to some sort of temporary satisfaction. Many of the things they do, desire to do and try to do are attempts to quiet the hole within their hearts. Instead of running from people of other religions and beliefs we need to take Jesus at His Word and GO into all the world and make disciples. Do I believe Him enough and believe the power of the Gospel enough that I can enter in discussion with people's of other faiths, listen to them respectfully and have confidence that God will reveal bridges that I can cross to show the beauty of who He is to them?
If this discussion in any way piques your curiosity then I would recommend that you take time to listen to Erwin's message: The Truth Between Us: Islam and Christianity.