Many Christians believe that we shouldn't challenge the faith and teachings of other religions but, instead, just live out our own faith.
While living in accordance with our Christian faith is commendable, our faith ALSO requires us to be vigilant against false teachings, teachers, and religions. The Israelites were repeatedly warned against these:
· “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.” (Deuteronomy 13:1-4)
Such warnings are no less prevalent in the New Testament. While Jesus never warned His disciples about their physical health, He often warned them about their spiritual health and their intake of spiritual food:
· “And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”” (Mark 8:15)
Our loving Jesus often used harsh words to correct His opposition:
· ““But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in...Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.” (Matthew 23:13, 15)
In fact, Paul cited the ability to refute false claims as one of the qualifications for eldership (Titus 1:7-11). In the "Book of Revelation," Jesus castigated several churches for not challenging false teachings (Rev. 2:14-16; 20), while He commended the church at Ephesus for challenging false teaching (2:2).
Paul also warned against false religions:
· “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ...Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind...These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” (Colossians 2:8, 18, 23)
Such examples are so numerous that they hardly need emphasizing, but they are so important that they can't be ignored. Life depended upon recognizing their threat:
· “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” (1 Timothy 4:1-3)
All of these warnings indicate that the way to the soul is through the mind - what we believe. We are liberated (John 8:31) and enslaved (2 Tim. 2:24-26) by what we believe. Consequently, this is where the battle rages:
· “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
We are surrounded by worldviews that must be challenged for the sake of the Gospel. One common meme holds that Christianity is no different from Islam. Should this lie be exposed? If we don't, then we, the church, are guilty of failing to rescue others from deception. Therefore, I just replied to someone who claimed that Christianity is just as violent as Islam:
· "There is nothing about the Christian faith that encourages violence. Meanwhile, there are hundreds of Surah and Hadiths that instruct violence. Consequently, Islam has been termed 'The Ultimate Killing Machine.' Where are Christians beheading or raping? Which Christians are teaching to take over the world? Instead, our hope is focused on the next life."
We are required to expose the darkness by the light:
· “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)
No one wants to be exposed, but expose, we must.