Are Interfaith ministries appropriate?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
In a time of limited resources, many churches and Christian organizations seek ways to make an impact by working with other organizations on a wide array of issues such as disaster relief, poverty ...

July 01 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Phillip Ramirez Actor-Musician-Bible Student
Well, what is the Bible's view of interfaith? Jesus said “Happy are the peacemakers." (Matthew 5:9)

Jesus practiced what he preached by promoting nonviolence and taking a message of peace to people of diverse religious backgrounds. (Matthew 26:52) Those who responded were drawn into an unbreakable bond of love. (Colossians 3:14) But was Jesus’ objective merely to build bridges among people of various backgrounds so that they could get along in peace? Did he join with others in their religious practices?

The religious leaders of the sects of the Pharisees and the Sadducees viciously opposed Jesus—even sought to kill him. How did he react? Jesus instructed his disciples: “Let them be. Blind guides is what they are.” (Matthew 15:14) Jesus refused to acknowledge spiritual brotherhood with such individuals.

Some time later, a Christian congregation was formed in Corinth, Greece—a city renowned for its pluralistic, multireligious culture. How were the Christians there to act in that environment? The apostle Paul wrote them: “Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers.” Why not? Paul reasoned: “What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer share in common with an unbeliever?” Then he gave this counsel: “Therefore, get out from among them, and separate yourselves.”—2 Corinthians 6:14, 15, 17.

So then, clearly, the Bible speaks against the practice of interfaith.

The problem comes down to faith. The International Space Station—a technological wonder orbiting the earth—is the result of the united efforts of some 15 nations. Could you imagine this project being accomplished if the participating nations did not agree on what blueprint to use?

That, essentially, is the situation with the modern-day interfaith movement. Although cooperation and respect are touted, there is no agreed-upon blueprint for building faith. As a result, moral and doctrinal issues remain as divisive as ever.

The Bible contains God’s standards, which are like a blueprint. We can build our lives on what the Bible says. Those who have embraced it have overcome racial and religious prejudices and have learned to work together in peace and unity. Foretelling this, God said: “I will change the language of the peoples to a pure language, so that all of them may call on the name of Jehovah, to serve him shoulder to shoulder.” Unity results from the “pure language,” God’s standard of worship.—Zephaniah 3:9; Isaiah 2:2-4.

February 13 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Christa5wat  sm Christa Upton Homemaker, Writer, Taylor University graduate
My husband and I believe that NO interfaith ministries are appropriate. 

We love people dearly, and think that we do them a disservice if we try to "help" them while joining with people of other faiths. This is because even helping with physical needs needs to be done in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Acts 6:1-8: "In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, 'It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.' This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith." 

Note that even the men chosen to "wait tables" were men "full of the Spirit and wisdom"!

As dear and generous as people of other faiths may be, they have not submitted to the Holy Spirit and do not represent the love, grace, and mercy offered by the true God. 

If a recipient of the charity were to ask the non-believer, "Why are you doing this?" the recipient will not know to glorify the TRUE God in this matter. In fact, they might be tempted to turn to Buddha or Mohammed or whatever because that is who is represented in the non-believer.

December 10 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Closeup Jennifer Rothnie Supporter Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious
The word "interfaith" means between two faiths. However, the modern use of the term "Interfaith" goes far beyond that. It is not speaking of two groups, such as Jews and Christians, working together in a charity effort or simply sitting down to talk. Rather, it is a term of religious pluralism, and is used of groups that embrace any and every faith in order to advance liberal social causes. 'Interfaith' is sometimes called 'Interpath', since secular humanistic thought is given equal placement with religion. 

No "Interfaith" ministry is appropriate for Christians to be involved in. While Christians certainly have interfaith interactions with people of other beliefs, we are not to be yoked with members of other faiths, nor accord respect to the beliefs themselves. (II Cor 6:14-17) 

The Interfaith movement is far from benign, and attacks Christianity at several key areas:

 Attacking the innerancy of scripture  While scripture holds itself up to a standard of complete inerrancy (II Tim 3:16), Interfaith groups treat the Holy Bible as merely one of many religious texts. Most Interfaith groups will pull from the Bible, the Koran, the Book of Mormon, Bhuddist sayings, Hinduism, and any other religion as suits their needs and goals. They also pull from secular humanist thought. Christians who join such groups are encouraged to read from other texts. The goal of this is to get members to treat every text as fundamentally equal and for members to treat truth as relative. No one can have a concrete belief that something is wrong if it might offend someone else's closely held belief, etc. Without the foundation of the truth of scripture, many individuals and church groups have slid away into errant belief.

 Promoting religious pluralism  Close on the heels of attacking scripture comes attacking God. In the guise of promoting dialogue between faiths and tolerance, Christians who join interfaith groups are slowly brought into the idea that all religions are a path to 'god'. Interfaith groups advocate for a pluralistic society. This has led more than a few church groups to eventually stop preaching Christ alone, and even start teaching that 'god' is a goddess or univeral force.

"Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

 Prioritizing earthly 'social justice' while denigrating righteousness and God's justice  The vast majority of Interfaith groups get involved with politics, advocating for very liberal social causes. Raising the minimum wage, homosexual activism, 'going green', etc., are the true goals of the groups. The Interfaith movement tries to lure Christians in with benign concepts such as helping the community, inclusiveness, charity, and open dialogue. What starts out as a request for dialogue leads inevitably to a call for progressive social action. The Interfaith movement views faith as simply a part of life, something to make one a better citizen and neighbor, rather than as superseding life. Christians are enticed into the prospect of being attractive to the world and being thought of as tolerant.

"If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." John 15:19

Christians are to remember that our citizenship is in heaven, not on Earth, so our goals and actions should always be with eternity in view. 

 Fellowship with the World  Christians are to have close fellowship within the church, for the building up of the church. We are not to invite unbelievers in, they can only come into the church through Christ. Nor should we join the world, but rather share the ministry of reconciling the world to God through Christ alone.

For further reading, here is an example of how some churches traded the gospel for the world: http://tasket.blogspot.com/

May 20 2016 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Ni Jay Researcher into human reasoning
The simple advice is to participate in all such activities that are for common good but the guide is to remember always that 'Collaborate does never mean Compromise'. 

When human beings come together for collective or common good or when they interact with one another, a huge range & diversity of views can come into play. For individuals whose actions are not guided by strong spiritual values it is very easy for them to interact, deceive, lie and compromise on their values, promises and commitments. But for those with strong values, there can be huge conflict, first at the mind level (internally troubled and unsettled), then at a verbal level (trying to articulate those ideas, ending up with arguments), next at an emotional level (losing the cool, losing self-control, expressing anger, swearing or even being abusive) and finally at a physical level (fighting, physically attacking or even killing and murdering). 

Jesus's message to us is about 'love' including loving our enemy and not conflicts but conflicts can and do arise when we try to translate Christian messages in those situations. See the inter-faith examples of conflicts illustrated by Michael where such conflicts can arise.

Whilst as Christians we cannot even be angry with others we must nevertheless not compromise on our God given message. This can be an immense challenge. The actions we can take are to be

- always open about our views but refrain from imposing them on others 
- never insult or undermine others by our verbalisation and actions
- apologise for the personal difficulty but never compromise
- leave at the first opportunity
- avoid those embarrassing occasions in the future. "When you are persecuted in one place flee to another (Matthew 10:23)". Being asked to compromise on core Christian values is persecution.

However, if we are forced to face those occasions then we must never consider human relationships with fellow beings as being more important than our relationship with our creator. Remember, Jesus knows every thought and sacrifices. The rewards for our sacrifices are in the next world and not in this world. He saw these conflicts coming and the situations we will face and that is why He said "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22)".

September 22 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Billy P Eldred
My guideline might be: If the other organizations would allow me to wear a sign that said "Jesus is the Way, The Truth and The Life. There is no other way!" Then I would consider the joint effort.

June 02 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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