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When Religions Collide Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Cross Radio
June 22, 2022 1:00 am

When Religions Collide Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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June 22, 2022 1:00 am

Christians are living in a pluralistic world filled with conflict. Different religions, different ideologies, different philosophies abound. In this message, we journey through history to understand where Christians came from in the first century to contemporary America. Will we respect the opinions of others while we courageously show them the exclusive Way to God?

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Looking to Jesus as the founder and professor in America has been called a melting pot for the lives of varying religions don't know together very well. Despite our Judeo-Christian roots. The 10 Commandments are now censored, even when they hang over courtroom benches today story of conflict and how to handle it from the Moody Church in Chicago. This is running to win with Dr. Erwin listserv was clear teaching make it across the finish line. Master Luther tell us about the series begins on today's program what you know Dave, the kind of challenges we have in America today are not we say to ourselves. There are many different religions here among us, and there are, but that's what the early church also confronted Christianity was a minority religion. So the question is how did believers live in the midst of other religions and of course that's exactly what we face today. Not only that, but we face political issues. I don't need to tell you that we are living at a time of great polarization accusation finger-pointing.

How do we as Christians manage in the midst of a world that seems to be in conflict. Let's listen carefully well the agenda today can be simply stated, how do we live as authentic Christians in a pluralistic society.

A society of many different religions. That question was brought home to me this past week I spent a few hours in Harrisburg Pennsylvania this past week there Monday morning and came back Monday afternoon Monday evening spoke to some pastors in a hotel and then we went over to the capital, the state capital.

Surely one of the most beautiful in all of America. I was told that some weeks ago there was a prayer meeting that was planned by evangelicals, evangelical Christians went to the powers that be and said can we have a Commonwealth prayer meeting and the answer was yes and so they had a prayer meeting, but a Buddhist wanted to pray and was denied that made front page news in Harrisburg.

These intolerant Christians who are they who do they think they are by excluding others. Why are they so incredibly intolerant.

There was a rabbi who actually wrote a letter to the newspaper in response to the controversy. He says that we have many different faith traditions here in Pennsylvania in the interfaith alliance, a national network of people from 70 different faith groups we met with Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Mennonites, brethren, and many other committed Protestant Christians we've encountered Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Baha'i sheiks, Unitarians, Wiccans, atheists, first I read that I thought now why are atheists in the community of faith. Come to think of it, they have more faith than any of the other groups listed here because they believe that nothing times. Nobody equals everything, and I think that takes a lot of faith that they belong here. God bless them. We've encountered Jane Zoroastrians Buddhist and others right here in Central Pennsylvania and they are not guests. They are Pennsylvanians part of that rich cultural fabric certainly are legislators must understand how insulting it is to have such a large part of their constituency unrepresented will that would be an interesting permitting that all of those 70 groups represented. Now there was another way that I began to realize the kind of changes that we have in America. I went into the supreme court room in Harrisburg.

There you have seven chairs and the justices sit beneath a picture of Moses and very clearly spelled out the 10 Commandments, so that is there. That's not been touched.

That's been there 100 years or more, but when they hand out the Supreme Court booklet for tourists is very interesting and I know that you can see this that far away. And if you're listening by radio. You can even see less.

I'm sure what you'll notice that here in this panel. There are seven justices and above them are the 10 Commandments but they are censored out, they are actually out of focus and they cannot be read now to be fair in the rest of the book there is a picture of the 10 Commandments. Along with that the other kinds of law.

The law of Justinian and the law of the Greeks, and so forth.

So the 10 Commandments is mentioned there and it is pictured but not above the justices, even though that's what hangs above them, even as they deliberate, why is it that they censored out the 10 Commandments while I can understand that. Probably there was opposition they said you cannot privilege Christianity.

You cannot privilege the Judeo-Christian heritage we must be favorable to all religions and therefore the 10 Commandments have no place in hanging above the justices as they do their work.

Did you know that there are those who want to rewrite the textbooks in America and they want to rewrite these books and take out references to God and the pilgrims in their Bible, and I've actually read the reason they say is because it privileges one religion, namely Christianity above the others and you're not supposed to privilege one religion above another sin. Basically no longer exists in America, but there are still two sins left one is eating chocolate and the other is privileging Christianity above other religions.

So the question is how do we live now. That's the agenda for the next 20 or 25 minutes and by the time I'm finished, you're going to have your answer. But before I turn to the Scriptures.

This is going to be a different kind of a message if you're visiting here at the Moody church. I want you to understand that normally the pastor does not give a lesson in history, but we're going to look at history because history is then going to illuminate the text of Scripture and will understand its importance and its relevance, particularly for those of us who are Americans. Now the history in the early days of the Christian church in Rome in the first century, it was absolutely on thinkable to the Romans that one could be a good Roman citizen and at the same time be a Christian. It's not because they objected to people worshiping Jesus all kinds of dogs were worshiped that if you wanted to worship Jesus, you would have that freedom. The trouble that the Roman authorities had was that there were Christians were worshiping Jesus and claiming that he was Lord over all the other religions that he was King of King and Lord of lords, and they said that cannot be tolerated because if you believe that you cannot be a part of our Commonwealth. You can't be a good citizen, we have to understand that the glue that holds us together is our Roman religion, with all of its diversity and polytheism, you must fall into that to be a good citizen when the Christian said no they were thrown to the lions. Later on, after the time of Constantine. He crosses the Tiber River in 312 and Christianity gained a lot of power and a lot of adherence now Constantine and subsequent generations.

They said, let us Christianize the Empire. At last the Christians were in charge and now the Christians had the ability to persecute the heretics. At first the sword belong to the pagans. Now the sword belong to the Christians and so they made everybody become a Christian, forced conversions, 3000 pagans being converted to Christianity in one meeting. At times and everybody had to profess faith in the Christian God, mind you, the pagans didn't like it very well and some of them brought their own ideas into the church.

For example, the Romans had a God if you are going to buy something a.if you're going to sell something of God.

If you are going to go on a journey and those gods couldn't be brought into the church but those assignments were given to saints within the church and so what you had.

Now is the people who were in charge of the Christians Christians in charge there was no freedom of religion. You look at the history of medieval theology in the history of the church and you find martyrdom you could deny the Trinity and be burned at the stake. No such thing as freedom of conscience, because just like the pagans believe that you had to be of the same religion to be a good citizen. The belief was now that you had to be a Christian in order to belong to Christendom and to be a good citizen within what was called the holy Roman empire, Christendom now demanded that you be a Christian and infant baptism was proof that you are a Christian. That's why when Charles the great said that all those who are not baptized as infants.

Those parents must be thrown in jail or put to death.

It's not that he was interested in theology, but similar religion. You see, held the Roman Empire together.

Now let's go to the time of Luther's 1517 he nailed his 95 theses on the castle door in Wittenberg.

Four years later, he is asked to go to forums.

The pulpit said that he was to be condemned and put to death but the emperor Charles V did not want to put them to death unless at least Luther was able to be granted a hearing so Luther comes before the diet of forms and by the way, this is nothing to do with losing weight or anything like that. Actually, you know the word diet means like a scented and in German, the word worms is boredom's W is pronounced like it. Luther goes there a hero is was said that 90% of the people in Borum's were shouting that they were in favor of Luther and the other 10% were shouting deaf to the pulp so he comes. There is a hero. He's asked will you recant your writings, he said I need to think about it and they said will give you till tomorrow because I may not have another opportunity. I want to read parts of the prayer that he prayed that night because he knew that he would not recant any also knew that if the law were followed, he would be put to death if not instantly. Within a few days, so he knows that this is his death warrant and that 90 appraisal Almighty and everlasting God, how terrible is this world beholden open up its mouth to swallow me up and I have so little trust in the how weak is the flesh and the Satan how strong it is only in the strength of this world that I must put my trust all is over. My last hours, my condemnation has been pronounced all God, my God, help, help me against the wisdom of this world. I have nothing to do here nothing to contend for with these great ones of the world.

I should desire to see my days flow on peacefully and happy, but the cause is divine and it is a righteous and eternal because all Lord help faithful and unchangeable God in man. I do not place my trust it would be vain. All that is of man is uncertain. All that, from man is uncertain.

Oho God, where art thou, thou canst not die thou only height as thyself thou has chosen me for this work and then he continues to pray and I must for lack of time skip until the end. I will never separate myself from the neither now or throughout eternity. And though the world should be filled with devils though my body which is still the work of thy hands should be slain or stretched out upon the pavement be cut in pieces reduced to ashes. My soul is thine, and thy word is my assurance of it.

My soul belongs to the it shall abide forever with the amen oh help me God. The next day there were more people at the meeting than the previous one, including the Emperor's Luther before Charles V. Before all of the German princes and he is asked by Eck to recount Luther then says those famous words. My conscience is taken captive by the word of God. I cannot and I will not recant to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. So help me God.

Amen. There was a hush in the hall. He was escorted out. Charles V wrote a document condemning him to death, but through some friends he Luther was able to go to Wartburg Castle and escape, and he lived a normal life and died at the age of 62. But here's the point. The idea that one could stand up and say that my conscience trumps church and state was on thinkable at that time, let's go. Eight years later.

The diet of spire takes place. Charles has to call the Lutherans because he needs their support in a war against the Turks. So he has this diet, and he says basically this that in the Catholic territories only Catholic services can be held not Lutheran, but in Lutheran territories. There were at least 14 cities that had Lutheran princes in Lutheran territories. Lutheran services can be held, but no Catholic services can be held when you can understand that the Lutherans protested that's where we get the word Protestant whenever you think of the word Protestant. The diet of spire 1529. So what the diet said was the Protestant said in matters of conscience, the majority has no power, good line, but the darker side is this, they still condemned the Anabaptists, that is the rebaptize are those who were baptized as adults. Upon profession of faith.

The diet of spire, the Lutherans agree that these people should be a put to death if necessary to stamp out this heresy. You see, a few years before this died a man by the name of Felix months was a student of swing play the great reformer in Zrich and Felix months was drowned because he was baptized as an adult you couldn't do that in those days because the whole medieval order of the unity of Christendom was going to be broken up. That was the argument so they took him and they bound his hands. They put them in a little boat near the rock house in Zrich is a friend of mine who's here today who grew up in Zrich and knows exactly where this place is and they pushed him out and they let them drowned in the deep dark waters of the Lamont River and his good friend Swingle. He says well if he wishes to go under the water will indeed let him go under if he wants to be baptized will baptize him good and proper. Let him I'll be getting them Anabaptists and began to spread so many Anabaptists were massacred whole villages of women and children massacred.

Why because they believe that the church should be distinct from Christendom. They believe that one should be baptized upon profession of faith rather than as an infant, but Felix months was the first Protestant to be forcibly drowned by Protestants of all thing now there was no freedom of religion in Europe until the peace of Westphalia in 1648, which brings us to America, later on the Puritans, and they have a European understanding of freedom of religion they wanted freedom of religion for themselves but not for others. That's why Roger Williams was run out of town because he was a Baptist, but you have the Constitution of the United States of America. The idea that a nation could be unified under a constitution, rather than a similar religion was a whole brand-new experiment this at the grand scale of America had never been tried before, that we could have one nation under God and we could say you can belong to whatever religion you like or believe in no religion.

And you also are a valid citizen of the great country. This was an experiment that in history had been beyond thought nobody believed it could be done.

And here we are in America today believing that it's possible to be a good American belong to any faith or no faith at all. Now how do we relate in a pluralistic world you see in Europe and America. Christianity has always been privileged to go to Washington and you find verses of Scripture on virtually every government building. I was given a book all the verses of Scripture is in the Pennsylvania State house and it's quite a booklet but those days are no more.

The question is how do we live in a pluralistic world where the government may or may not anymore favor Jeana T.

There are three or four possible reactions. One would be to say that we accommodate our faith that we say give up the distinctiveness of the Christian I was asked to pray at a political rally years ago and I prayed in the name of Jesus and one person was very very incensed and says why don't you pray in ecumenical prayer. In other words, don't mention Jesus.

I smiled very kindly nice that I'm really sorry but I said you know I don't know how to pray in any other way because Jesus is the one who brings us to the father. What we could do is we could just water it all down and say you know what Christianity can blend nicely with any other religion.

We just simply water it down and say that it is nothing a list of moral duties. The other possibility is to privatize our faith to say it belongs only to me and I will go through our rituals, but were not a witness to anybody in this pluralistic world the other day somebody told me about a pastor of a large church, not in Illinois but in some other state who went to get a manicure now just lay aside that for a moment put that on the shelf I can use a fingernail clipper and do pretty well in about a minute and I have anyway and then he was there and there was a Christian woman present who recognized him.

She knew when he left one of the women who worked there said to the other. You know he's the pastor of such and such a church, and the other woman said no, that's not possible because he's been coming here for three years. If he were the pastor of that church. Surely that's something I would know about him. Shame on him in a place like that for three years, never telling people explaining them the good news of the gospel just living in your little gado you know we go to church on Sunday, but we don't share Jesus Christ. And when we get a haircut or when we work with the person next to us at work on no no no that's another possibility. The other possibility is militarism to become very fighting and angry and to say where all these people doing with our freedoms and with our country and we can get more angry than we are repentant. That's another possibility. The other is to engage the culture to say God is given us unique opportunities to prove to prove ourselves in a different kind of environment and welcome the opportunity welcome the opportunity to live for Christ authentically in a pluralistic culture will my friend, that's exactly where we are today, isn't it.

In the midst of a pluralistic culture God has given us the opportunity of representing Christ, we must do so with courage but also humility with a repentant heart dimension to men and women that we actually have a Savior, not just a Guru or a teacher, but as Savior who can save us from our sins. I'm so glad for the many of you who support the ministry of running to win because of you.

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You can go to RTW offer.com that's RTW offer.com when you're there you click on the endurance partner button or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 I hold in my hands a letter from someone who says your sermons are hard-hitting in my sanctification, and daily growth. I found them to be a needed addition to our family discussions about faith throughout the week while testimonies like that blessed me, but they are also a testament to you who support this ministry. Consider becoming an endurance partner go to RTW offer.com when you're there, click on the endurance partner button or you can pick up the phone right now and call you can call 1-888-218-9337.

Of course, the amount that you give is entirely within your discretion, pick up the phone right now and call 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us at running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 running to win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. The Bible gives clear direction on how Christians should respond to an antagonistic culture. It also tells us how not respond next time more from first Peter three on how to react to people who reject the Christian message. Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin lutes are this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the church