How would you feel if your pastor stood in the pulpit this past Sunday opened what you believed to be his Bible and then started to read passages completely unfamiliar to you. Then in the midst of the reading you hear him say Allah instead of God and you realize he is reading not from his Bible, but from the Quran.
How would you feel and what would you do?
If this didn’t happen to you yesterday, count yourself fortunate because it did happen to a number people sitting in Christian churches across America.
Social activists involved with Faith Shared, a program of Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First were trying to promote tolerance and respect of Islam and counter opposition to the Muslim faith. So starting with the National Cathedral in Washington DC, at least fifty other churches in twenty-six states joined in the effort to host readings from the Quran.
The effort is meant to counter what they refer to as ‘anti-Muslim bigotry and negative stereotypes’ that have been growing in the US. By getting prominent national and local churches to read from the Quran and teach their congregations about Islam, the Alliance believes it will help make Christians more knowledgeable and tolerant of Islam.
Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance said:
“The anti-Muslim rhetoric that has pervaded our national conversation recently has shocked and saddened me. Appreciation for pluralism and respect for religious freedom and other human rights are at the core of our democracy. We believe that demonstrating our commitment to those core American values will help counteract the intensified level of negative stereotypes and anti-Muslim bigotry in our recent public discourse.”
Tad Stahnke of Human Rights First said:
“With Faith Shared, congregations will send a clear message to the world that Americans respect religious differences and reject bigotry and the demonization of Islam or any other religion. This message about the fundamental importance of religious freedom around the world is especially timely as President Obama prepares to reaffirm the United States’ support for democracy in the Middle East starting with a speech later this week.”
Dean Sam Lloyd of the National Cathedral said:
“Few things are more important for the future of our world than to respect, to honor, and to commit ourselves to the well-being of every person—to embrace a sense of humility before the vast mystery of God. As Americans and as people of faith, we must use our great traditions to come together for mutual enrichment and understanding.”
Islam has no tolerance for other religions and if you think it does and want to argue the point, look at the Islamic nations in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq. They not only preach intolerance for other religions, especially Judaism and Christianity, but they preach the eradication of them. These Muslim nations have laws against the religious practices of other religions. In Egypt, the state police have been harassing Christians and arresting them and beating them.
Yep, that’s tolerance, isn’t it?
Jesus never taught tolerance for other religions, but he also didn’t teach his followers to use violence against them. Instead, Jesus taught his followers to share their faith with those who believe in other religions and to pray for them.
I don’t know about you, but if my pastor had read from the Quran this past Sunday, I would have gotten up in the middle of the service and left. I would also have serious doubts about returning to worship the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ at a church that reads from the Quran and teaches respect for a false religion.
I would make an appointment to meet with the pastor ask him to justify his actions and then I would read 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 to him, which says:
“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
‘"I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty."’
I would also ask my pastor if he believed Jesus in John 14:6 when He said:
“Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
And Matthew 7:15-16 when Jesus said:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits.”
And Matthew 24:10-12 when Jesus said:
“And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”
In view of these passages of Scripture, I would ask my pastor to explain why he would dare use the pulpit on the Lord’s Day to teach or promote the religion of a false prophet. My further attendance at his church would depend upon his answers to these questions.
I advise any of you who may have sat in one of these churches to follow the same course of action with your pastor and then make your own judgment on whether or not you want to consider attending that church in the future.