Another Attempt at Ecumenical Unity

Muslims, Jews, and Christians are slated to “share sacred texts” in congregations throughout the United States on Sunday, June 26, 2011, as part of an ecumenical effort intended to “counter anti-Muslim bigotry and negative stereo-types of Islam” (Associated Baptist Press, 5-17-11). Welton Gaddy, the president of the Interfaith Alliance (a religious freedom organization that seeks to “unite diverse faith voices against extremeism”) and an ordained Baptist minister at Northminster Church in Monroe, LA, announced the event, and his own congregation is one of 50 in 26 states that have signed on to participate thus far. The ABP report noted, “By coming together to read from and hear each other’s sacred texts, organizers believe Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy will model respect and cooperation in ways that create concrete opportunities to build and strengthen working ties between their faiths.” To hatefully denigrate anyone for his or her beliefs or unbelief is sinful and should not be acceptable to anyone who truly knows and loves the Lord Jesus Christ. As much as is humanly possible, we as Christians are to be respectful and peaceful toward all people (Rom. 12:18; Heb. 12:14). However, the unification of diverse “religions” in this ecumenical endeavor is not the way to obey the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-2), which is God’s way of peace toward all men as they are reconciled to Him through faith in His Son’s finished work on the cross (2 Cor. 5:14-21). In reality, this is another publicity stunt intended to build bridges that are, in reality, impossible to construct between people of widely divergent beliefs in an effort to bring them together on some illusionary “common ground.” As Christians, our mandate and message is extremely limited—it is not to unite all faiths by finding commonalities, but to proclaim the truth of the “unsearchable riches of Christ,” (Eph. 3:8) in the gospel of the grace and mercy of the infinite God of glory by proclaiming “the word” (2 Tim. 4:2)—“all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). — Gary Freel