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In Theory:

Entering into interfaith dialogue

April 05, 2008

Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders have reacted positively to the Saudi Arabian king’s proposal for dialogue among different faiths. King Abdullah’s idea is to bring the faiths together under the idea that they all believe in the same God. Many say the dialogue can’t hurt, given the tension in the Middle East. What do you think?

I welcome the idea of interfaith meetings. But the particular context of the meeting proposed by King Abdullah is based on two fallacies that would make me personally hesitant to attend.

King Abdullah has proposed that we meet because “we all believe in the same God.” The truth is that we do not. Christians believe the Bible’s clear statements about God’s triune nature. He is one God who exists eternally in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. “In [Jesus] all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” says Colossians 2:9 (New American Standard Bible).

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Jesus Himself said that “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9, NASB). To Jews and Muslims these are blasphemous terms. When Jesus said, “I and the Father are one . . . the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.” (John 10:30-31).

King Abdullah referred to us as “brothers in faith.” The truth is that we are not. Paul addressed the “brethren” in Thessalonica “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:6).

Those who deny the lordship of Jesus Christ deny themselves a title as “brothers” of Christians.

Let us meet together as human beings of equal worth before God, or even as Abrahamic monotheists.

But Christians can never join under a banner of Christ-rejecting beliefs. We pursue peace with all men, we pray for those who persecute us, we make a defense before all for the hope that is in us, but we must destroy, and never compromise with “speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NASB).

PASTOR JON BARTA

Valley Baptist Church

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