The Church’s conflict with non-Christian religions is to be expected. Israel’s monotheistic faith was in direct confrontation with the many gods of Babylon and Egypt. Christians were confronted with the many altars to the gods of the Greco-Roman Empire. Interfaith was not on the cards. This situation clearly reflected the fundamental differences between the many forms of Oneist paganism in which everything is God, and Twoist biblical faith, in which God is the separate Creator and everything else is creation. In one case everything is one and the same; in the other, God and creation are radically different. There is, of course, a certain confusion with the so-called Abrahamic religions, but on closer examination, the gods of heretical Islam and Rabbinic Judaism are ultimately impersonal because they are singular, not Trinitarian. For God to be personal, Islam and Judaism must see God as obliged to create human persons, but in that case, God becomes dependent on the creation and true biblical transcendence is therefore impossible.
There are two reasons why the Islamic Friday prayers at the Episcopal National Cathedral on November 14, 2014, was strictly a form of religious non-sense. First, there is nothing in common between Allah and the Christian God-Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Islam rejects Christianity as polytheistic, and so refuses to recognize the true nature of the one who gives Christianity its name, namely Jesus Christ. Appropriately, with permission from their “Christian” hosts, Muslims on their prayer mats in the cathedral had their backs to a large Cross in the center of the church, graphically denying the central truth of the Gospel. Second, though its organizers called the event “a powerful symbolic gesture of religious tolerance,” the symbolism of the National Cathedral momentarily turned into a mosque is not lost on those eager for a global caliphate. The Islamic doctrine of wakf teaches that once a territory is Islamic, it is considered forever Islamic. These issues are of no concern to the event’s hosts in Washington, whose true commitments are clearer by the day.
The National Cathedral Dean, Rev. Gary Hall, characterized the biblical views of God and Jesus as “extremist Christianity.” He felt so at home with the traditions of his Moslems guests that he announced ahead of time: “we will not to try to convert one another,” openly admitting: “I have much more in common with progressive Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists than I do with certain people in my own tradition, with fundamentalist Christians.” This astonishing admission reveals how paganism has taken over the heart of the nation’s shrine, dressed up as “Christian” tolerance,” but quite willing to vilify and sideline biblical Christianity as the real enemy.
In the same week a different but comparable event occurred across the pond, as UK Anglicans mirrored the actions of their Episcopalian cousins. Christian Concern, an evangelical Anglican ministry that often uses truthXchange to help train some of the best young minds in Britain in worldview and cultural engagement, was effectively sidelined by mainline liberalism. The next event of CC’s Wilberforce Academy was to take place in January in rented facilities at King’s College, London, a prestigious university with connections to the Anglican Church. Last week King’s College is “reconsidering” its rental agreement, for the following outrageous reason: “We don’t think you as a Christian organization fit with us as a Church of England establishment.” This deliberate refusal even to rent public space to another Anglican expression of the “Christian tradition” has the intention to banish biblical orthodoxy as an outcast to the ecclesiastical and social wasteland.
In these two events, we see an intensification of the historic division within Christianity itself. “Liberal” and “biblical” Christianity can no longer be seen as mere theological options in an internal church conversation about the Gospel. In the US clear thinking about Christianity and paganism is dismissed as “extremist,” while hospitality is warmly extended to non-Christian apostasy. In the UK, hospitality is denied to fellow Anglican Christians committed to cultural engagement and the biblical teaching on sexuality, and is haughtily dismissed as unworthy of the slightest public association.
The future struggle for religious truth will involve not only the historic confrontation between Gospel truth and the pagan lie but will increasingly divide Christendom, pitting “Christians” who have abandoned the Gospel and have joined with God-denying paganism, against Christians who defend biblical truth.
When B. B. Warfield was asked ‘What is Christianity?’ he replied, “unembarrassed supernaturalism.” In our current confusing situation, we Christians must renew our commitment to a clear, courageous and unembarrassed statement of the Truth, “standing” in the power of the Lord, “having fastened on the belt of truth” (Eph. 6:14), doing nothing against the truth, but only for the truth (2 Cor 13:8). How are you being called to stand today?