“Dr. Davis,” the young woman collegian said impatiently. “I just don’t think it is right for you to be criticizing other people’s religions. They have a right to believe as they please. You have your beliefs and they have theirs. I believe we should just live and let live.”
For the last 30 years or so I have been involved in interfaith witness research and training. Sometimes I have encountered people like this woman who question the need for what Dr. Freddy Davis and I and many others do in the field of worldview witnessing. For many of them it is a matter of not believing it is necessary since they assume all religions are essentially the same and equally valid. Others don’t think it matters since all religions are equally wrong and invalid. Even some Christians argue that we should not worry about what others believe but that we only need to preach the Gospel and let God work it out.
I agree that people have legal right to believe as their consciences tell them. However, my conviction is that it is unbiblical to ignore those who are committed to false teachings, whether they be atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, Muslims, Mormons, or followers of any of the myriad competitors to Christianity that exist today in America. From the beginning to the end of the Bible, the prophets, apostles, and Jesus Himself warned of false teachers who would lead God’s people astray and the responsibility they have to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ to all people. Thus, there are several good reasons why we do apologetics and interfaith ministry today.
One reason is that we are surrounded in modern society with people holding all kinds of worldviews and religious perspectives. My wife and I reside in the small the community of Suwanee, Georgia. On any day of the week, we commonly encounter people of diverse nationalities and religions in neighborhoods, stores, schools, doctors’ offices, restaurants, or in the gym. Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Roman Catholics, Jews, and many others live and work in our town. We are no longer the exception to the rule. This diversity is true today in nearly every city in America. Therefore, as Christians and fellow citizens we need basic understanding of who these people are and what their worldviews are so we can develop good relationships with them.
Another reason we need interfaith witnessing is that some of these religions aggressively seek to proselytize Christians to their counterfeit faiths. How many times have you been confronted at your door by Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormon missionaries? Muslims also actively seek converts in this country to Islam, particularly among certain people groups and in prisons. We must educate Christians as to the unbiblical natures of these belief systems so they will not be deceived and so they can adequately counter the false claims of cults and world religions.
The final, and most important reason we need to do interfaith and worldview witnessing is that Jesus commanded his disciples to carry the Gospel to all peoples. Salvation is found in no other name but that of Jesus. We would be remiss to ignore the needs of those in the darkness of false faiths. We are compelled by God’s love to reach out and demonstrate His care to others. In many cases, we need to be aware of the presuppositions and ideas that may hinder their acceptance of the truth and be able to present reasonable answers why Christ is supreme.
It does matter what people believe. It also matters that if they are without Christ they are lost. Jesus is the truth and our goal is find effective ways to share His love with all those around us. I am excited to be joining with Dr. Freddy Davis in Marketfaith Ministries as we work together to equip Christians in this task.
© 2011 Tal Davis