“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

Rick Warren builds bridge to Muslims | muslims, warren, saddleback – Life – The Orange County Register*

Let me say up front that I love Muslims. Jesus called us to love all people (see Matthew 5:38-48) but also called us to be discerning and speak the truth. Love and truth are connected in Scripture. We see this in the person of Christ Himself (John 1:17) and in Paul’s admonition to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). And speaking and doing the truth is one of our greatest acts of love. With that in mind, let me make a few comments on this article (link above).

First, on a positive note:

  • We call called to pursue peace with all men (Psalm 34:14).
  • We are called to treat others with respect and dignity (Matthew 7:12).
  • We are to be reconcilers in the name of a reconciling God (2 Corinthians 5:18).
  • We are called to befriend and aid even our enemies (Luke 10:25-37).
  • We should avoid being adversarial and antagonistic in sharing Jesus (Colossians 4:5-6).

Second, a critique:

  • Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God (Exodus 20:3-5).
  • Only the Bible (not the Koran) is the inerrant, inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16).
  • We are mandated to teach all people and make disciples/evangelize (Matthew 28:18-20).
  • Telling people the truth of the Gospel, because we believe it is their only hope, is the most loving thing we can do for them (2 Corinthians 5:20).
  • Jesus’ boldly confronted those whose religion was false with the truth of God (Matthew 23:13-36).

Am I contradicting myself? I don’t think so. Loving means showing respect and caring for others, even those who hold divergent views on religion and faith. We are also commanded to love them so much that we tell them that God is love and has ultimately demonstrated this in Jesus Christ, our sacrifice and our Savior; “the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world.” He is our hope and the only hope for all, including our Muslim friends.

And I believe this is what our focal text is telling us. Reconciliation is not just cooperation, finding commonalities, and getting along (although, in and of themselves, these are not bad things). Our ministry of reconciliation has, first and foremost, reconciliation to God as its foundation and platform. Reconciliation to God can’t happen apart from Jesus Christ (John 14:6). If we want true, biblical reconciliation we have no choice but to lovingly and graciously tell them of them about our God of love and grace. The only true God, the One who will reconcile to Himself all those that put their trust in Jesus and surrender to His Lordship.

Anything less, in my opinion, is compromise. So…what do you think?

*Please note that I didn’t say Rick Warren was necessarily in error here – these were just my comments on the article above as I read it. To be even-handed, I must add this link to Rick Warren’s rebuttal (we actually may be in total agreement…who knows) – Rick Warren: Report ‘flat out wrong’ (OneNewsNow.com).