Mark 12:29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
Jeremiah 23:16-17 Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the LORD. “They keep saying to those who despise Me, ‘The LORD has said, “You will have peace”’; And as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, They say, ‘Calamity will not come upon you.’
Big Lie: freedom of religion means all religions lead to god, all religions are good, all religions are equally relevant, all religions teach truth, all religions are equal, and anyone who does not agree with these ideas is a religious bigot.
A number of years ago, I was talking to a business associate and I said, “We have to be careful we don’t fall for the big lies that the world would have us believe.” “What do you mean by big lies?” he asked. “Everything is okay in moderation” I replied. “Well, I believe that everything is okay in moderation” he said. An intense discussion followed and it soon became clear that he could not win. Knowing that carrying his logic to it’s end would stop him quickly … I said, “ okay, how about a little bit of cocaine” To my surprise he replied, “I know people who use cocaine in moderation and it doesn’t seem to hurt them” this led to more serious debate and I soon tired of his foolishness, I asked, “How about a little bit of child molestation?” Clearly defeated ... he finally said, “I see what you mean.”
I’m sorry to say that this same friend recently emailed me and asked me not to send him any posts with spiritual content. This saddens me, because he is one of the people that I was hoping would see the truth in my posts. But, I can assure you that the reason he doesn’t want my posts is not because he doesn’t think that they are true … but rather because he doesn’t want truthful input that contradicts what he wants to be true. He's basically saying don't confuse me with the truth. This may be hard to understand, but I respect my agnostic friend for being honest with me, more than some others who say what they think I want to hear.
Now twenty five years later, this same friend told me that he likes Mitt Romney for the next president and asked me, “Would you vote for Romney?” I said, “I can’t say for sure, but I think he might make a good candidate.” “But, what about the fact that he is a Mormon, wouldn’t that stop you?” Are Mormons, Christians? Some of the best people I know are Mormons, he said.” I explained to him that a person’s religion was not the deciding factor in who I would vote for in an election. I pointed out Carter and Obama as examples of Christians that I did not vote for. Knowing this was a safe discussion for him, my friend pressed on. But Bob, You didn’t answer my question, “Are Mormons Christians? Knowing my friend, I asked, “Do you want the long or the short answer?” The short one.” he said. First, I explained that it is not for me to decide who is or is not a Christian … only God knows that for sure. Next, I pointed out that Mormonism is a polytheistic religion (many gods) and Christianity is monotheistic (one and only one God). Christianity teaches that all gods other than the God of the Bible are false gods. From a Biblical Christian’s viewpoint, some Mormon positions are false beliefs. Many religions falsely claim to be Christian, or lead followers to live Christian principles, but on key Biblical teachings, they are not Christian. The Bible identifies their teachings as heresy. These religions often lead people that are sincerely trying to have a relationship with god in the wrong direction. A person could have been led astray by one of these religions, but still have trusted their life to Christ and rejected these false teachings. While at the same time remained tied to the church by family or for other reasons. For these religions to call themselves Christian is miss-leading and fraudulent. Mormons are Mormons and many are great people but the religion is not Christian any more than Muslims are Christians. Unfortunately, being “some of the best people I know” does not mean we are Christians.
On fox News Sunday,Chris Wallace interviewed Joel Osteen, Pastor of Lakewood Church on the same subject. Here is how the conversation went:
Chris Wallace: “ And what about Mitt Romney? And I've got to ask you the question, because it is a question whether it should be or not in this campaign, is a Mormon a true Christian?”
Joel Osteen: “Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that's what I believe, so, you know, I'm not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are. And so, you know, Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me, and I don't think he would -- anything would stop me from voting for him if that's what I felt like”
Do you see the difference between our answers? Osteen may be politically correct. He also makes it clear in the interview that his calling is to encourage people, but isn’t the primary role of a pastor to help Christians understand the truth, and also the difference between the truth and words that just make us feel good about ourselves? A better answer for Osteen would have been, “I am not an expert on Mormonism, so I will let Mormons speak for themselves”. Instead he confused the Mormon religion with the individual followers and Christianity as well. His final words about voting explain his views on choosing a candidate (character and integrity) are fine.
The Big Lie is that freedom of religion means all religions lead to god, all religions are equally relevant, all religions are good, all religions teach truth, all religions are equal, and anyone who does not agree with these ideas is a religious bigot. We can disagree about the validity of various religious views and still have tolerances for each others right to freedom of religion. I am not a bigot for pointing out evil teachings of radical Islam. That doesn't mean: I hate all Muslims. The religion and the individual follower are not one and the same. Christians like Joel Osteen may be great motivational teachers who inspire and encourage millions, but when they take on the title of Christian Pastor, they have a responsibility to teach the truth and to hold their teachings accountable to the Bible. If not, Osteen should just become a motivational speaker. Otherwise, his witness becomes contrary to the role the church has given him. People are likely to follow him rather than Christ.
This type of debate seems to be everywhere in our politically correct world. A pastor of a church of thousands once said to me. I have eight thousands following me Bob, who are you to question my teachings” My response, “here is what the bible says, you are miss-guiding those eight thousand. Fortunately, a few years later, he stepped down.
On a Fox News panel discussing Tiger Woods, Brit Hume said: "The extent to which he can recover, it seems to me, depends on his faith. He is said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So, my message to Tiger would be, 'Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."
The politically correct media went into a feeding frenzy. Hume had "dissed about half a billion Buddhists on the planet." Said one critic. Another invoked the non-existent "separation of church and television" clause, bitterly complaining that Hume had brought up Christianity "out-of-the-blue" on "a political talk show." Like Christianity was somehow taboo unless the media makes jokes about it. The list goes on and on. I’m surprised they weren’t calling for Hume’s resignation. more on this one
It appears to me that everything Hume said was correct. According to Buddhist journalist Barbara Hoetsu O'Brien, Hume is correct about Buddhism. That faith does not offer forgiveness and redemption the way Christianity does. That's because Buddhism has no concept of sin. Also, Buddhists don't believe in God, but try to become their own gods.
Three cheers for Britt Hume! He reached out to Tiger Woods with hope and truth which is what we are called to do as Christians. He told the truth and pointed out the false teachings of a major religion. It’s too bad we can’t get more people of influence exposing these teachings that lead millions away from God every day.
God bless you … Bob
Where to Find Answers
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