This weekend I was asked about what Jesus meant in Matthew 7:6 – Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. ”
My response included the tendency we have to continue to speak to people about Christ who have absolutely no interest in Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus actually warns that doing so can result in an attack on the person trying to reach the lost ones….
This morning I heard of at least two churches who wave started to invite muslim groups into their facilities – not to invite them to worship the Son of God, but to openly worship Islam.
Here’s what Christianity Today reported:
Meanwhile, some churches have modeled a much more welcoming approach. At Heartsong Church in Cordova, Tennessee, Steve Stone and his congregants put out a sign welcoming incoming neighbors at the Memphis Islamic Center. The church then allowed these Muslim neighbors to use their sanctuary as a makeshift mosque throughout Ramadan while the Islamic Center was under construction. Stone and Heartsong received extensive national media coverage for their efforts.
For Stone, allowing Muslims to worship on his church’s property was a matter of “What would Jesus do?”—a matter of his United Methodist congregation modeling the love of Jesus to strangers, just as Jesus had welcomed them.
Another United Methodist pastor 900 miles away came to a similar conclusion when a neighboring Islamic congregation asked to use his church’s space for five months of Friday prayers. Jason Micheli, pastor of Aldersgate Methodist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, shares part of his theological reasoning in a sermon published at Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed blog.
While Micheli uses more explicitly evangelical and exclusivist language than Heartsong and Steve Stone, he similarly defends his decision by appealing to Jesus and Christian love: “[W]hen we say that Jesus is the only way to the Father, we don’t just mean our belief in Jesus is the only way to the Father. We also mean Jesus’ way of life is the only way we manifest the Father’s love. That we would welcome Muslim strangers into our sacred space with no strings attached is not a reduction of what we believe about Jesus (or a betrayal); it is, I think, the fullest possible expression of what we believe about Jesus.”
I am almost speechless, but not surprised. Yes, Jesus does intend for His message to be shared with people who do not yet know Him, but His love was not extended to those who persisted in their unbelief. In the third chapter of John, Jesus responds to Nicodemus that those who fail to believe are condemned because of their own unbelief. Am I a bit narrow? Yep. So is Islam. This is a serious question. Islam teaches exclusivity of its beliefs. While it honors Jesus as a prophet, the Quaran denies His sacrifice for sin, His death on the cross and His resurrection.
Now for a bit of hyperbole – would a church be open its doors for groups that would like to use their facilities for worship of Satan? Or how about a group dedicated to pedophilia?
Should we really be inviting false worshipers into our churches to worship their false gods? Be careful. They may just trample your best intentions and turn on you.