In Sonlight, we are currently studying the section of American history where two worlds are converging. Reading about it, has been heartbreaking. Sonlight, does a good job of allowing you to see things from both sides (the Natives and the Europeans) and to show the many errors of man's ways in the events that took place. One of the books that we are reading is the The Incans, Mayans and Aztecs by John Holzmann. This book approaches the study of these cultures from a Christ-centered perspective. One of the interesting things I learned as we studied the Aztecs is that the history of them settling in Mexico had many parallels to the story of Abraham settling in Israel. As I read this, my heart broke for the inability of the Spanish people to bring the message of the Gospel to these people. I could see so many ways where they could have taken what the Aztecs were already doing religiously and point them to Jesus, how He fulfilled the law and that they no longer needed to make sacrifices to cover their sins. It would have been such a beautiful, freeing message for these people (especially for families who no longer wanted to sacrifice their relatives to satisfy god). Instead, all the Spaniards could see, besides gold, was the Aztecs ungodliness and they were hell-bent on destroying it. Instead of using the Aztecs search for God and their longing to be righteous, as inroads to bringing the Gospel, the Spanish, only saw their sin and they went about destroying it man's ways. The Incans even had a “god” that only a few worshiped that they said was the creator of all mankind and the world. However, they believed this god was unknowable. Oh, if only the Spanish could have been like Paul who walked the streets of Athens and told them that “the God of the unknown” they worshiped, has made Himself known to them through the person of Jesus Christ (Acts 17:16-34).

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):

John 1:5
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.

In Christ,


  1. Oh, my heart aches when I read that about the Incas too! Of course, our hindsight is twenty-twenty, so that makes me wonder how we're failing to share Christ's love poignantly with those around us... those who are turning to relationships, abnormal sexuality, weight loss, fame, as well as other religions to fill that "God shaped hole" in them. (I'm going to be taking this to God and asking him what I'm missing, how I can change.) 

     About the other part, I grew up in the Bible belt but was born up north, and I remember thinking my Christians friends were crazy for the most part. They'd been taught by their churches and parents to keep nonbelievers at bay unless you were specifically evangelizing at them... which mainly came out as preachy and judgy because they were kids and lacked maturity.  So by high school the lines were drawn. So many turned from Christ because they had been persecuted by their Christian classmates. Breaks my heart to think about it.

    So many of those Christian classmates grew into lovely and mature believers... and recognize their flaws as kids. But in many ways it was too late to prevent the damage. And most of that damage came because they didn't realize light trumps darkness. Because they were scared of secular or non-Christian religious mindsets, they alienated themselves from other kids who just wanted to be loved. I remember a friend of mine, a PK, who literally ran down the hallway at school to "flee" from lyrics from a secular song (with no sex or cursing it) I was trying to share with her.  She'd been taught by her parents to avoid it at all costs... and in doing so, was fleeing people.

    Anyway, just thought I'd share my experiences. Sorry to turn this comment into almost a blog post of its own! :)

  2. Thanks for sharing Pamela. I'm glad it sparked such a response in you:). I'm learning too to distinguish between our religious traditions and the reality of the message of Jesus. I think a correct understanding of grace deals with so many of the issues you discussed in your reply. I went to a Christian school, many of my fellow classmates too fell away. It is very sad.

  3. The Global Prayer Digest passage for today fell right in line with this topic. How cool! May we keep our eyes and ears open to the things those around us need so they can experience the love and redemption of Christ.

    The thing that struck me was the desire to eradicate sin and godlessness, rather than point the lost to God. That is a sobering reminder of how often I see something wrong and react with "righteous indignation" rather than a message of Christ's mercy and goodness that leads to repentance.



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