On this LIVE edition Tony Marino and Pastors Brian Whiteside, Michael Duncan, and Jeff Klick discuss “Discipleship: Only One Way.” We team God’s Word with our latest book, “The Discipling Church.” Guest Panelists: Dr. Joe Miller, Jason Velotta, Michelle Hollomon, and Shawn & Caroline Savage.
Today’s program covered a wide range of important issues related to our Christian belief that there is only one way of salvation–Jesus Christ.
Not Responsible, but Accountable
I have read several articles in the past few weeks that make the claim that the reason more people are becoming Atheists, is because of bad experiences with Christians. So the question we discussed in today’s show is very relevant. Are “bad” Christians responsible for the people who reject God. My short answer is, No. Even when we fail to reflect Christ in our words and deeds, we are not responsible for the choices other people make. Every person is responsible for their own choices. However, we are accountable to God if our actions lead others to stumble. So brothers and sisters, we need to do a better job of being the hands, feet and voice of Jesus (Matthew 23:13-14).
Become an Incarnational Apologist
A good deal of the program was spent discussing “how” we can be more effective at procliaming Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life. My answer, every disciple of Jesus needs to be an Incarnational Apologist. What is that? Well, check out my FREE video series on YouTube and you will get a good idea.
Hi. My name is Dr. Joe Miller and in this series of the ten minute teacher I want to help you discern key facets for contemporary Apologetics and develop a solid foundation for a Christian Worldview in our post-modern age. In this episode, I will discuss the problem of secularization.
The Manhattan Declaration is a formal “call to arms” to all Christians asking us to engage in the major issues that are shaping our modern society. Following is the summary of this declaration.
Christians, when they have lived up to the highest ideals of their faith, have defended the weak and vulnerable and worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family.
We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are (1) the sanctity of human life, (2) the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife, and (3) the rights of conscience and religious liberty. Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
The lives of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly are ever more threatened. While public opinion has moved in a pro-life direction, powerful and determined forces are working to expand abortion, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide, and euthanasia. Although the protection of the weak and vulnerable is the first obligation of government, the power of government is today often enlisted in the cause of promoting what Pope John Paul II called “the culture of death.” We pledge to work unceasingly for the equal protection of every innocent human being at every stage of development and in every condition. We will refuse to permit ourselves or our institutions to be implicated in the taking of human life and we will support in every possible way those who, in conscience, take the same stand.
The institution of marriage, already wounded by promiscuity, infidelity and divorce, is at risk of being redefined and thus subverted. Marriage is the original and most important institution for sustaining the health, education, and welfare of all. Where marriage erodes, social pathologies rise. The impulse to redefine marriage is a symptom, rather than the cause, of the erosion of the marriage culture. It reflects a loss of understanding of the meaning of marriage as embodied in our civil law as well as our religious traditions. Yet it is critical that the impulse be resisted, for yielding to it would mean abandoning the possibility of restoring a sound understanding of marriage and, with it, the hope of rebuilding a healthy marriage culture. It would lock into place the false and destructive belief that marriage is all about romance and other adult satisfactions, and not, in any intrinsic way, about the unique character and value of acts and relationships whose meaning is shaped by their aptness for the generation, promotion and protection of life. Marriage is not a “social construction,” but is rather an objective reality—the covenantal union of husband and wife—that it is the duty of the law to recognize, honor, and protect.
Freedom of religion and the rights of conscience are gravely jeopardized. The threat to these fundamental principles of justice is evident in efforts to weaken or eliminate conscience protections for healthcare institutions and professionals, and in anti- discrimination statutes that are used as weapons to force religious institutions, charities, businesses, and service providers either to accept (and even facilitate) activities and relationships they judge to be immoral, or go out of business. Attacks on religious liberty are dire threats not only to individuals, but also to the institutions of civil society including families, charities, and religious communities. The health and well-being of such institutions provide an indispensable buffer against the overweening power of government and is essential to the flourishing of every other institution—including government itself—on which society depends.
As Christians, we believe in law and we respect the authority of earthly rulers. We count it as a special privilege to live in a democratic society where the moral claims of the law on us are even stronger in virtue of the rights of all citizens to participate in the political process. Yet even in a democratic regime, laws can be unjust. And from the beginning, our faith has taught that civil disobedience is required in the face of gravely unjust laws or laws that purport to require us to do what is unjust or otherwise immoral. Such laws lack the power to bind in conscience because they can claim no authority beyond that of sheer human will.
Therefore, let it be known that we will not comply with any edict that compels us or the institutions we lead to participate in or facilitate abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide, euthanasia, or any other act that violates the principle of the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every member of the human family.
Further, let it be known that we will not bend to any rule forcing us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality, marriage, and the family.
Further, let it be known that we will not be intimidated into silence or acquiescence or the violation of our consciences by any power on earth, be it cultural or political, regardless of the consequences to ourselves.
We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of signers to this Declaration, but below are a few names I recognized from the main list of supporters.
Randy Alcorn Founder and Director, Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM) (Sandy, OR) Kay Arthur
CEO and Co-founder, Precept Ministries International (Chattanooga, TN) Gary Bauer
President, American Values; Chairman, Campaign for Working Families (Washington D.C.) Ken Boa
President, Reflections Ministries (Atlanta, GA) Timothy Clinton
President, American Association of Christian Counselors (Forest, VA) Chuck Colson
Founder, the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview (Lansdowne, VA) Rev. Daniel Delgado
Board of Directors, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference & Pastor, Third Day Missions Church (Staten Island, NY) Dr. James Dobson
Founder, Focus on the Family (Colorado Springs, CO) Dinesh D’Souza
Writer & Speaker (Rancho Santa Fe, CA) Dr. Wayne Grudem
Research Professor of Theological and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary (Phoenix, AZ) Rev. Ken Hutcherson
Pastor, Antioch Bible Church (Kirkland, WA) Rev. Tim Keller
Senior Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church (New York, NY) Dr. Richard Land
President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC (Washington, DC) Josh McDowell
Founder, Josh McDowell Ministries (Plano, TX) Dr. Tom Oden
Theologian, United Methodist Minister and Professor, Drew University (Madison, NJ) Marvin Olasky
Editor-in-Chief, World Magazine and provost, The Kings College (New York City, NY) Dr. J.I. Packer
Board of GovernorsÕ Professor of Theology, Regent College (Canada) Dr. Ron Sider
Director, Evangelicals for Social Action (Wynnewood, PA) Joni Eareckson Tada
Founder and CEO, Joni and Friends International Disability Center (Agoura Hills, CA) Paul Young
COO & Executive VP, Christian Research Institute (Charlotte, NC) Ravi Zacharias
Founder and Chairman of the board, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (Norcross, GA)
Here are my questions:
What do you think of this declaration? Is it a genuine call to engage the Christian conscience or a compromise of our faith?
Hi. My name is Dr. Joe Miller and in this series of the ten minute teacher I want to help you discern key facets for contemporary Apologetics and develop a solid foundation for a Christian Worldview in our post-modern age. In this episode, I define four important words; Worldview, Marketplace, Culture and Incarnational Apologetics.
A recent article on the Huffington Post grabbed my attention with this headline, “My Religion Is the Truth — For Me” written by Mike Ghouse. Following are some of the key excerpts from his article.
I am intrigued by the blatant as well as the subtle claims that, “my religion is the only true religion,” by numerous religious leaders. Of course it would be a truthful statement, if they consider adding, “…to me, as others are true to others.”
Indeed, it is a common utterance and rarely gets questioned. However, those who have matured in interfaith dialogue have learned that the truth is a larger tent and seamlessly accommodates other versions of truth. The vainglorious security in “my faith is the only true faith” is a transparent veil to them.
As beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, religion is in the heart of the believer. Your faith is as dear to you as mine is to me, religion is like the mother, no matter what anyone says or tells, my mother remains dear to me, as your mother remains dear to you, she always has her back for you…
Your faith does not negate mine nor does mine negate yours. It should not bother you if I prostrate on the floor to be humble, similarly it should not bother me if you worship God in the form you are comfortable with. I should not be arrogant to tell you that you are wrong. Indeed, it would be wrong of me to believe that you are wrong, who am I?…
This is the most difficult thing we cope with. Faith is how you feel, it is not logic or mathematics or a fact, it is purely faith, and nothing but faith, and it is beautiful to have one…
By the way, God has not signed a deal with any religion behind other’s back…
Pluralism is not a religion; it is an attitude of respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of us. I will be happy to speak to your group at church, school, college or work place as well as political meetings. Pluralism is our future.
But just as important as this post, is the conversation that ensued.
Professor Ahmed: This opinion falls short on a number of grounds. There is a fine line between respecting a belief that is a fundamental matter of faith and allowing nonsense to persist in the name of pluralism. Am I to respect the person who believes he/she needs to kill thousands of innocent civilians to attain the love of God? What about the parents that refuse life saving medical treatment for their child? Lines need to be drawn, whether or not we like to admit.
Tesarra: yes, we should respect the belief for what it is and where the belief intersects action in the public space we should also expect the person(s) to abide by the public laws. the point is exactly that the arena for action where belief is concerned properly begins and ends with the person and property of the belief holder.
ME: Who’s “public” laws should we respect. The laws that in many countries say women have no rights to education or that societies that allow rape of women because the man has the right to decide? Are those the laws we should respect and uphold? After all, how could you possibly say their truth is not good?
Tesarra: I’m not sure I understand what you’re driving at. In my comment, I never said anything about respecting laws. I said we should respect the beliefs of other people while still expecting them to follow the public law. So, for instance, if someone believes that adultery is a sin punishable by stoning, we should respect their belief as a matter of faith but we should expect that if they live in the USA that they won’t go around stoning people who are caught in adultery because US law calls that murder no matter what their religion might call it.
ME: I understand, which is why I asked, whose “public law” is morally “right’? Is it just a matter of cultural opinion? If so, what right do you have to impose your cultural viewpoint and pressure other countries to accept your moral standard?
so, take your example, what IF the Public Law did accept stoning as a punishment for adultery, would that be okay with you since it was not a religious law, but a Public one? If it is not acceptable, why? Since you disparage religion as a valid source for determining “Public Law”, what is your foundation for imposing your Public Laws on others? What gives you the moral authority to use the UN as a way to coerce other cultures to accept your moral standards? And why do you even want to impose your views on others? These questions are not answered in what you write.
Tesarra: Matters of belief are deeply individual and personal and, as the blog post above asserts, there is no particular “right” or “wrong” way to believe. Matters of public policy, on the other hand, involve interactions between people, groups, societies, cultures and nations. As a result, public policy ends up being the arbiter where beliefs conflict within the scope of that policy. The big challenge, of course, is that we humans tend to set public policy based on beliefs about the “best” or “right” policies and since those beliefs are only valid within our own reference framework sometimes the policies of one nation or group will conflict with those of another nation or group and we have to figure out some way to create a reference frame for resolving that conflict. Sometimes that resolution framework has been war and sometimes it has been international negotiation.
Historically, the “moral authority” for one nation imposing it’s view of “right” law over that of another people or nation has been “might makes right”. The use of power has shifted somewhat from military power to money power, but it still largely comes to the application of power to achieve compromise. Whether this is the “best” or “moral” solution is the substance of large tomes of philosophical work and not suited for a short blog response here.
ME: I appreciate your candor in answering my questions. I appreciate your consistency in that you believe all “morality” is determined not, in your view, by an eternal Truth, but by each culture and the strongest culture determines what is “right”. Although, that is where readers will have to make an informed decision. I believe it is always wrong to rape a woman, but in your system it is only sometimes wrong and always dependent upon whose “laws” are backed by the strongest ruler.
I would also point out the one glaring falsehood in your post. You write, “You have a right to disagree with me, but you cannot build your faith by negating mine, as that would be a foundationless belief.”
My faith is built on the foundation that there is absolute truth found in the person of Jesus Christ and this truth is not determined by cultural standards or who has the strongest armies. Your belief, if true, DOES negate my faith OR mine negates yours. Both cannot be true at the same time because fundamentally they disagree. So despite your best hope, people must still chose between faiths and not all faiths are equal.
Again, thank you for your candor and patience in answering my questions and clarifying the fundamentals of your faith.
As you consider each side of this discussion, where do you stand? Is this kind of pluralization good or will it only lead to moral decay?