Written by :   Zac Poonen Categories :   The Church Disciples
WFTW Body: 

We must be careful that we do not speak against other religions and their idols by name. We must not make fun of them either. Jesus never spoke about such matters. He spoke mostly about the hypocrisy of those who claimed to know the true God.

Consider the example of the apostle Paul: When he was in Ephesus and had preached the truth uncompromisingly, there was a big commotion in the city. Finally the mayor of the city called the people and told them, "This man has not defamed our great goddess Diana" ( Acts 19:37 ). Paul preached Christ. But he did not denounce the false gods that the people in Ephesus were worshipping. His message was a positive one - that Christ could save them from their sins. It was not a negative message, criticising their false gods and their idols. That was Divine wisdom. Once a person comes to Christ, the Lord Himself will do the job of delivering them from their idols.

This is the wisdom we also need to have. We must not criticise any religion, or its beliefs, or its practices. That is NOT our message. We preach Christ only - Jesus Christ crucified for our sins, risen from the dead, alive in heaven today, and returning soon to judge the world. That is our message - and we call everyone to turn from their sins and to receive Christ as their Lord and Saviour. But we do NOT force anyone to do that. This is what we must preach - even to the little children. We must invite them to accept Christ, not compel them. God gives freedom to everyone. We must give people freedom too. When people genuinely receive Christ into their lives, the other false things in their lives will all gradually drop away over a period of time, because the Holy Spirit will convict them of sin.

Our calling is to proclaim Christ as the only Saviour of the world. We must also speak against sin and judge ourselves and expose hypocrisy in our own midst first of all. Many zealous but unwise brothers and sisters at times name other religions in their words and their prayers unnecessarily. We must warn such people to be careful in what they say. It is better to speak of "non-Christians" than to use the name of any particular religion. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save it ( John 3:17 ). Our calling is to follow Jesus' example and so we must always seek to save others, not condemn them.