First century Corinth had many gods, many religions, and many philosophies about life…many ways to god. You could choose your favorite god, worship at your favorite temple…some offered pretty exotic celebrations. You could get together with other thinkers like you in the town square and argue your favorite philosophy…quoting Plato and Aristotle.
It was acceptable to be broad minded…to keep an open mind on all subjects. It was unsophisticated to be narrow in your thinking, or to be perceived as being intolerant in your lifestyle, or preachy with your morality.
Any of this sound familiar?
It is the challenge facing the Christian Church and Christian schools and universities in North America right now.
A friend of mine just told me about a book he is reading in which a non-Christian sociologist examines the beliefs and practices of people attending ‘growing churches’ in America. He interviewed a young woman who has just joined a lively, growing Pentecostal church in one of our major cities. When asked why she chose this church, she replied that “she enjoyed the worship and feeling God’s presence and that it blended well with her Yoga and Buddhism.”
There is a whole lot of blending going on…and the reason is that too many pulpits have abandoned the basics and has gone to tickling the ears of its audience with what it wants to hear.
The role of the pastor is to confront the people with the living God and His unchanging Word…the Truth!
I have confidence that the people can handle the Truth and want the Truth.
True Christianity has always had a rough time of it in a society that puts a premium on tolerance…especially when that tolerance does not extend to the Truth claims of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
You see, there is only ONE Gospel.
Now, if you or I had been the ones to say that, we might be guilty of pride, being judgmental or intolerant. But it is not you or me saying that there is only ONE Gospel…that is what the Bible says.
In Acts 4, the Jewish Sanhedrin was upset because people in Jerusalem were being healed and saved by the thousands…and turning from Judaism to Jesus. And they imprisoned Peter and John and beat them…and when they questioned Peter and John about the authority they had to be doing and saying what they were…and Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit said, concerning the Gospel and Jesus,
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Paul wrote to the believers in Ephesus and said,
“There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to one hope when you were called–5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)
There is only ONE Gospel, only ONE way to God, only ONE way to be saved…and that is through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, and a life spent following and obeying Him.