Tag Archives: Redeemer

The Perils of Pluralistic Platitudes

PEOPLE CAN BE SO CLEVER

In 1908,  “Pop” Warner took his football team (Carlisle Institute) to play at Syracuse where he used a pretty clever trick to defeat Syracuse.  “He had patches of material sewn on his players’ jerseys that were the same color, size, and shape as a football. So, when his boys handed off the ball, nobody could tell who really had the ball, and who was running a fake pattern.

They won that game.

“Pop’s” next game was a week later at Harvard. But when Harvard’s coach (Percy Haughton) found out about patches – he complained to Pop and Pop’s response was: “It’s not against the rules. I can put anything I like on my players’ jerseys.”

The next day was the game and at game time, just before the kickoff, Coach Haughton met on the field with Coach “Pop” Warner and when coach Haughton dropped the game ball out of a bag onto the grass, it was painted brilliant red, (the exact color of Harvard’s jerseys.)

Of course, Pop Warner was angry, but Haughton said: “Hey, it’s not against the rules,,, where does it say a football has to be brown?”

“Pop’s” team lost 17-0.

MANKIND MAY BE CLEVER, BUT WE’RE NOTHING COMPARED TO SATAN’S DECEPTIONS

1.            He has covered the world with his lies  —  very successfully

a.      If you were born in the Middle-East, there is a strong possibility that you would be a practicing                  Muslim, Tibetan, Buddhist, or Hindi, and you may even be practicing some form of Voodoo

b.      But, we were born here…and we’re so blessed, but in America, we did not have to go looking for                  Christianity – It was all around us

c.      The down-side of all this is that we’ve probably never really thought out the reasons for being a                  Christian

SO, HERE’S SATAN’S 21st CENTURY PLOY–

“ONE RELIGION IS JUST AS GOOD AS ANOTHER”

Satan says there’s nothing special about Christianity and here is where a discussion on SPIRITUAL PLURALISM comes into focus

A.     DEFINITION OF PLURALISM: ANY ROAD WILL GET YOU TO GOD

Sadly, “Pluralism” says that there is not just one way, but many ways to God, but beyond that, it means that every religion is true – none is better than another. Through Pluralism, No one has the right to say that his way is better, or truer than any other. Ie.  To say Christianity is superior would be politically incorrect. Saying something like that is considered rude and unacceptable behavior, but if we say everything is true….or if we say that even contradictory things are true at the same time….That’s fine these days!!!

Pluralism isn’t totally new….

B. ANCIENT PLURALISM

1.      The apostle Paul came from a monotheistic background (Judaism).   So, when he went to Athens, he saw that there were images to many, many gods.

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.   17So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.   18A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him.   Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.   (Acts 17:16-18)

2.      Isn’t it interesting that everywhere Paul looked he saw that they were very tolerant of a wide variety of Gods – but they were very intolerant when he spoke about the one true God, who was the source of absolute truth.   They were the first “pluralists” – so they began to argue with him

3.      Two Reasons for this attitude of intolerance towards Christianity, even today:

a.      Because Satan has darkened the heart of man toward God. “Any god but the true God” could be Satan’s motto.

b.      Because Paul was proclaiming exclusivity.

1.      Paul’s God wasn’t “a god” –  He was “the God”

2.      Pluralist’s do not like the restrictions of just one God.  They want many gods

Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens!   I see that in every way you are very religious.   23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.   Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.      (Acts 17:22-23)

4.      Everywhere Paul looked, there was an idol to another god – including one to the unknown god – just in case they had missed one.

 

This is an altar, found in Rome. It was carved around 100 B.C. It’s inscription reads: “To the Unknown God.” Just like the altars at Athens

 

The Bible says that the people of Athens very philosophical,

and loved to discuss new ideas.   They were very religious,

but were totally ignorant about God.

MODERN PLURALISM

1.      Those philosophers at Athens were no different than the

Multiculturalists – or – Pluralists of America, today

2.      They believed that all gods are equally valid – that the

various lifestyles and beliefs all have worth

3.      The result of this philosophy is that there is no absolute

truth.   No absolute right or wrong

4.      The only real sin for them is criticizing someone else’s views, or choices they make

5.      So, we’re expected to agree with a wide variety of gods and religious philosophies

An English poet named Steve Turner wrote a multiculturalists’ creed: He says that multiculturalists believe that all religions are basically the same.   All religions believe in love and goodness. They only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.        (So, what’s left?)

He said:  “We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him.   We believe there is no absolute truth, except the truth that there is no absolute truth.”

At about the same speed…..

In the Peanuts Cartoon Strip,  Linus was defending his faith in the “Great Pumpkin” by saying:    “It doesn’t matter what you believe so long as  you are sincere.”

~~~ Turner doesn’t have anything over Linus!

6.      The modern pluralist’s view is that the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth – –

– – – And, the corollary to that is that:  Only bigots believe in absolute truth

7.      It is so vital that we are able to recognize this philosophy when it comes at us in the media, in education, in entertainment, and even in some of the churches out there.

THE DANGERS OF PLURALISM

ON THE SURFACE, IT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE A BAD IDEA

1.      We certainly don’t want to mock the cultures of other people throughout the world

2.      There are definitely good things in other cultures

Two brothers had a bungee-jumping business in California.   They were doing alright, but there were some competitors coming into their area, so they figured they would go south of the border into Mexico.   There weren’t any bungee-jumping businesses out there.   So they took their high crane and set it up for jumpers to jump off of…but the problem was that they couldn’t speak the language

So, they just figured they would show the Mexicans what they were offering.

One of the brothers, Steve, got up on top of that thing and jumped off, but when the cord pulled him up again, the other brother, Peter, noticed Steve had a bloody nose.   He dropped down again, and this time Steve’s forehead was bloody, too.   One more time, and he looked even worse; his chin was bleeding.

Finally Peter said:   “Steve, was the cord too long?”

Steve, still dangling from the cord:   “No, the cord is fine.   But, what in the world is a piñata?”

a.            Certainly, it pays to know the culture of other people.

b.            Christians who want to bring the Gospel to other nations are wise to become fully versed in their language, customs, culture, etc.

c.            In fact Americans can learn many things from other cultures, and that’s fine ….But none of this is religious pluralism.…

RELIGIOUS PLURALISM GENERATES TWO HAZARDS FOR TODAY’S CHRISTIAN

(Spiritual pluralism is accepting all religions as equally valid)

HAZARD #1: PLURALISM REJECTS THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE CHRISTIAN

FAITH

a.      It is a fundamental Christian doctrine that there is only one God and only one way to get to know Him.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,  (I Tim 2:5)

b.  Someone wrote to Dear Abby that they were frustrated that they couldn’t help

some family members who were part of a religious cult to see the errors in

their teaching.

Abby’s reply:    “In my view, the height of arrogance is to attempt to show others the errors of the religion of their choice.”

c.      Abby is simply reflecting the attitude of our culture today.

1.    That is, that it is wrong – rude – even bigoted to hold one religion above another

2.    After all, all religions are good – none is better than the other.

3.    The only real sin is trying to say one religion is better than another.

d.      This is how Satan enforces pluralism today:

1.    In our society, we are expected to be politically correct.

2.    If I claim to know the truth, I become rude, bigoted, narrow-minded, and exclusive because I’m saying you don’t know the truth….

3.    The only sin they know of is:    “The sin of religious certainty”

4.    The world considers the claims of Christ, and therefore the claims of His church to be                                            rude, because they claim to be the only God

a.   They’ve already decided:   all religious beliefs are equally valid, and fundamentally the                                            same

b.    One speaker was talking in a secular setting, but she was a believer and took an                                                       opportunity to mention her faith.    When she sat down, she said that the emcee got                                                 up, looked at her like she was a naughty kindergartner, and said:   “What our speaker was trying to say was that there are many wonderful spiritual paths, and all should be honored in the spirit of multiculturalism.”

– – – She thought to herself:  “Wow, I had no idea that was what I was trying to say!”

HAZARD #2:   RELIGIOUS PLURALISM UNDERMINES EVANGELISM

If pluralism is true – so is universal salvation, then, we should call back all the missionaries because everyone, even if they don’t know Christ, is saved! Right?

But the Bible says: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”   (Acts 4:12) This does come as a shock to many.

One of SATAN’S BIG LIES: CHRISTLESS SALVATION

– – – Satan has convinced us that we can be saved because we’re nice guys

– – – Convinced us that we can do it entirely without Jesus

Ask yourself:   “Am I a pluralist?”   Here are 3 symptoms of a pluralist:

#1 LOVABLE’ISM   Do you believe that someone’s glowing personality will save him?

a.  A friend of Jackie Gleason spoke up at Jackie’s funeral: “I believe that Jackie is in heaven because God has a sense of humor.   I’ll bet that Jackie is seated right next to God so he can put a smile on God’s face.” Now, that is just sentimental garbage…. I don’t know if Jackie Gleason was a Christian or not, but I can assure you that he won’t be in heaven if his only qualification is a great sense of humor.

This mentality of: “somebody loved him so he is saved” is seen in abundance at nearly every funeral.   Whether the deceased knew Christ or not, he’s always preached into heaven because the family loved him so.

#2 MORALISM   Our own goodness will save us

A lot of people expect to get into Glory because they are moral people. Of course I would not think of trying to demean their lives  …  They usually are good people, but if they aren’t Christians – they’re not saved.

Augustine called them Virtuous Pagans!

This is Satan’s myth.   Satan says that if you’re a nice guy – a good husband and father – you did your best –

then…you have nothing to worry about. This IS A LIE!

#3 POPULISM     We may not be great, but we’re no worse than anybody else

This is the theory that, everybody is doing pretty much the same things we’re doing, so,,, Certainly God’s not angry with the whole world… I think we’re pretty safe. But sometimes, when you’re in the majority,   all it means is that there are a whole lot of fools in one place! Think About It!

We need to stop this wishful thinking!

TWO HUGE 21ST CENTURY FABLES

A.            THERE ARE MANY GODS

1.             OUR CULTURE HAS RADICALLY CHANGED IN THE PAST DECADE

a.  Not long ago, the church was confronted by the ATHIEST, THE ATHIEST USED                                                      TO TEACH:  ALL RELIGIONS ARE FALSE – – – But, we don’t hear so much about                                                    atheists any more, do we?

b.  Today, the church is facing just the opposite,  the PLURALIST TODAY, THE                                                              PLURALIST TEACHES: “ALL RELIGIONS ARE TRUE ! ” I’m getting whiplash

2.             NOW, THESE PEOPLE BELIEVE THEMSELVES OPEN-MINDED, TOLERANT,                                                    PLURALISTIC…..BUT….

a.  They are seeking God on only their terms

b.  They have placed themselves in control, and pick whatever strikes their fancy God’s                                                thoughts on the subject are irrelevant, because they have already decided that this is                                                ok!

3.            BUT, GOD CLAIMS EXCLUSIVITY

So, what does God think?

We’ll start with the first of the 10 commandmentsExodus 20:3  “You shall have no other gods before me. He placed this at the front of the 10 commandments because it is the foundation of the other 9.

Now, the 10 commandments are the “ABC’s” of biblical understanding, we learn them in biblical kindergarten, yet, there are those who truly think of themselves as Christians who state with all confidence that all religions are the same, and they’ll all get you there.

I can Just hear God:  “excuse me….excuse me.   I said:  “You shall have no other gods before me”

Isa 44:6-8  “This is what the LORD says– Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. 7Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come– yes, let him foretell what will come.  8Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

Clearly God wants out of this “one god is as good as another” philosophy and he is not the least bit confused or undecided on this subject. God expects His people to acknowledge that He alone is the Lord, and there are no other gods, He told Israel to clean out the promised land because the people there worshipped strange gods….because of their religion.

Not only is He the only God, we must acknowledge that He alone is God

Throughout the O.T. and N.T., both the Father and the Son continually make claims of exclusivity

B. THE SECOND 21ST CENTURY FABLE: “MANY ROADS” THE MYTH THAT THERE ARE MANY ROADS, ALL GOING TO THE SAME PLACE

~ ~ Many people… even Many Christians…firmly believe that Christianity is just one of many religions that will ultimately lead us to eternal life

They say it like this: “ALL RELIGIONS ARE LIKE SPOKES ON A BICYCLE WHEEL, Jesus,  and Mohammed,  and Buddha  —  Each of them are spiritual leaders, who like the spokes on a bicycle wheel, all lead inevitably to the hub, which is god. Jesus is just one possible spoke….but you can get there just as well by any of the other religions of the world.

What’s interesting is that if that “Spokes of the wheel” thing is true, then, Christianity is the only religion that cannot be true because our God claims that HE ALONE is God! That then means that God is bigoted, and narrow-minded on the subject!

But, if “they” tell me that all roads lead ultimately to heaven, then it is just as likely that all roads lead nowhere.   For all I can tell, maybe no roads lead to heaven, and all roads lead straight to hell.

Who are these people who speak with such assurance….and by what authority do they speak? Especially since Jesus didn’t say anything like that!

The God of the Bible, Jehovah, YHWH, “I AM THAT I AM”  didn’t say anything like that, so who are these people who are so self-assured???

“TRUTH” IN THE 21ST CENTURY

From what I’ve said, you may be realizing that there is a whole new concept of truth out there these days, Today, there are many people who just, don’t believe in absolute truth any more, they believe in many truths, which may be true at the same time and may be conflicting at the same time…

In fact, their view is that the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth.

– – – The corollary to that is that: Only bigots believe in absolute truth

Here’s how it works:

a.            Everybody is the expert on his or her own life

b.            Therefore, the truth for them may be different than the truth for you

c.            My truth is what meets my needs, and you can’t stand in judgment on that even if my truth seems false to you

So, in today’s society, it is politically correct for me to say that “Jesus is the savior of me.” They don’t have any problem with that. In fact, they’re happy for you… But again, it is bigoted to say that Jesus is the only Savior for the entire world – Because:    that would impose your truth on them!

All of this goes directly against the teachings of Christ who said: “John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.   No one comes to the Father except through me.”

“The Way?”

Notice He doesn’t say He’s   “a way”    or   “one of many ways,” Instead, He clearly states that He is “THE way” –  – and he stands like a great mountain against the storm 21st century myth, which claims that there are many paths to God. That’s not “P.C.”  for our society….but that’s who He claims to be and, for that reason….Christianity’s claims of exclusivity….the church will be unacceptable to many, many people in the coming generations.

“THE truth?”

Jesus isn’t “A” truth… like one of the many “truths” that vie for man’s attention, He is ALL TRUTH, wrapped up into ONE!

“THE life”

Ie.  There is no life outside Christ.

CONCLUSION

Imagine you are on a ship that’s sinking rapidly – only minutes left and no lifeboats are coming along.   The freezing water will kill in minutes.

As on the Titanic, they try to patch the holes, but it’s fruitless.   As on the Titanic, the guy who designed the ship has inspected the holes and says the water will continue to come in and will sink the ship in a short time – there is no hope,

But, let’s imagine – in those last desperate moments, unlike the Titanic, a ship comes out of nowhere and throws a plank across to serve as a bridge between the boats.   The Captain of this timely ship invites you on board.

What would you say? Would you say:  “No thanks, I don’t like your boat.   I’m going to wait for another ship”?

The captain:   “No more ships are anywhere near here  —  Mine is your only hope.”

Would you then say: “How arrogant of you to say you’re the only one. I’m not going on your ship. I’m going to wait for another to come.”?

Wouldn’t you be a fool to reject this offer of salvation?

Wouldn’t you gratefully accept his offer of salvation and not resist for a moment of time

WE’RE ALL IN THE SAME BOAT – AND NO ONE CAN FIX THE LEAK.  CAPTAIN JESUS IS OUR ONLY HOPE.