I saw a short video on Facebook yesterday and followed it back to its originating website. At first, I could only find it in Italian, since the website was created by the Vatican, but eventually I found the English version. I thought the video was moving and beautiful—and very dangerous. I invite you to take a minute and a half to view the video and then consider what the Bible has to say about this topic.
In the first place, I would like to say that nothing in the teachings of Jesus or the New Testament writers is against inter-religious dialogue. We are commanded to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world, and to do that we have to be able to have respectful conversations with people who disagree with us about that gospel message. However, the purpose of our dialogue should be to “make disciples … teaching them to obey” everything Jesus commanded us (Matthew 28:19-20). It is not, as the Pope says, to “produce the fruits of peace and justice.”
Didn’t Jesus command us to pursue peace and justice?
The Bible tells us that a heart for justice is a characteristic of Jesus and his people (Matthew 12:18, 23:23; 2 Corinthians 7:11; Hebrews 1:8). Jesus also said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). And peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit by which all Christians should be known (Galatians 5:22-25).
So why then did Jesus say, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34)?
In another part of the New Testament the Bible is referred to as a sword. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
The word of God divides—the just from the unjust, the saved from the perishing, the children of God from the children of the world. And the gospel of Jesus Christ divides—those who have found true peace with God through faith in Jesus and those who still oppose God by trying to earn his favor in their own way.
Here is something else Jesus had to say: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
Don’t get caught on the broad road leading to destruction just because it sounds inviting and warm and comfortable. Only one road leads to heaven—the one that begins at the cross.
What is my mission as an author? The goal dearest to my heart is to help Christians think about what they really believe and then to act as if they believe it. It all begins with understanding what it means to be a Christian. Then we have to learn to live like a Christian.