Rick Warren told the Islamic Society of North America last week that he is not interested in interfaith dialogue; he's only interested in interfaith projects.
I agree with Rick Warren.
So let's get started. I have a project to suggest. It's very simple. It's very straightforward. I think it's a great starting point for Christian-Muslim action.
Let's get Muslims to stop killing and oppressing Christians and Jews around the world.
That would be the speech I would deliver to a group such as the Islamic Society of North America, a front group for the extremist Muslim Brotherhood, which has incubated and supported terrorist organizations such as al-Qaida and Hamas.
But, then again, it's unlikely ISNA is ever going to invite me to address its national convention. And that's just fine with me.
Nevertheless, I'm serious about my proposition. I really do agree with Rick Warren that "interfaith dialogue" is a waste of time. There are only four kinds of relationship Christians should have with unbelievers, according to the Bible:
- We should pray for them; (Matthew 5:44)
- We should evangelize them so that they can know the true nature of God and begin a real relationship with Him and have a chance for eternal life; (Mark 16:15)
- Failing that, we should separate ourselves from them for our own protection; (1 Kings 8:53)
- We should rescue believers who fall captive and are forced to live under their yoke of oppression and the threat of death as Abraham did with his nephew Lot; (Genesis 14)
Am I missing anything? Maybe so. But I can't find a single biblical reference that suggests believers should develop public works projects with non-believers. It may sound good. It may tickle the ears. It may seem like it makes sense from a worldly perspective. His Word does not suggest we should, as Rick Warren suggests, attempt to "team tackle" the world's problems with non-believers.
There's simply no biblical precedent for any of this.
For instance, Rick Warren thinks we should work with Muslims to address certain issues. This is what his so-called PEACE plan is about. The issues on which we are supposed to work together are the following:
- spiritual emptiness: How are Christian believers supposed to work with Muslims on spiritual emptiness without getting them to understand repentance and grace? That is the only way spiritual emptiness can be addressed from a biblical perspective. That means evangelism.
- corrupt leadership: The definition of corrupt leadership from a biblical perspective is leadership not adhering to God's Word. How are believers to form a new definition that will be palatable to non-believers and still true to the Bible?
- extreme poverty: Jesus does tell believers to minister to the poor, but I fail to see where he suggests we should do this in conjunction with government programs, non-believers or in the name of other gods.
- pandemic diseases: Is the God we serve not big enough to address problems? Do we need the help of other gods? Is that a biblical principle?
- illiteracy and education: And what are we to teach people? Should we help Muslim nations and Muslim groups to teach their children the Quran? Or do we expect Muslim nations and Muslim groups to permit us to teach their people to read the Bible?
All these ideas sound nice. They sound humane. They sound reasonable. They sound like areas for "common ground."
But, as far as I can see, they have nothing to do with what Jesus taught.
Yes, we are to deal with spiritual emptiness – in the name of Jesus.
Yes, we are to deal with corrupt leadership – in the name of Jesus.
Yes, we are to help the poor – in the name of Jesus.
Yes, we are to cure the sick – in the name of Jesus.
Yes, we are to educate – in the name of Jesus.
As we are told in 2 Corinthians 6:14: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"