“IS DIALOGUE IMPORTANT?”
Pastor’s Perspectives – September 2016
Some time ago I received a packet containing communications from various United Methodist agencies. The General Commission on Christian Unity and lnterreligious Concerns sent a brochure entitled, Guidelines for Interfaith Dialogue. It began with this paragraph, “Why is dialogue important? Understanding that we are all children of God, good creations, it is important for us to understand and to value the diverse perspectives in our global community. Dialogue helps us build relationships with all God’s people around the world. Dialogue is not debate. Know your goals. Seek not to change one another, but to learn from one another.”
At this point I was questioning the direction of the article. It is true that people cannot be changed if they do not want to be changed, but when we know they are caught up in cults, false religions, or other biblical error we should care enough to convince them of the
If people are living by beliefs that are untrue, then they are or will be suffering because of those beliefs. They will also be hurting others by passing on their errors, convincing some through conversation and some by example. The worst error would be reliance on some falsehood about eternal destinations. Therefore, if we truly care about them we want to help them accept the truth. And the most important truth of all is “that Christ Jesus came to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15 KJV).
God does not want us to dialogue with someone to gain better understanding of their religion so we can all get along. God wants to save them from their sin. Do we have the truth or not? Does Holy Scripture contain the truth about eternity or not? Did Jesus have to die on that Cross or not? Are others headed for Hell or not?
Further along, this was stated in that brochure, “If you view your dialogue partner as inferior or discredit their beliefs as false, dialogue cannot occur.” Just because I have read the Scripture and met the Savior, I am not superior to those who have not. In fact, it is because I am not superior that I am compelled to share the Good News with them.
There are groups of people in the larger church who are not convinced that we can know the truth about salvation, which is, Jesus Christ is the only “name under heaven given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 KJV). There are still heretics in the church.
God has not called us to dialogue with those of other faiths. He has commissioned us to witness to His saving grace through Jesus Christ. We can be confident we have truth when “His Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children”
(Romans 8:16 NLT).
Brothers and sisters, keep trying to convince others that Jesus is the only way. Some of them will be eternally grateful.