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The Icon Of Tolerance Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
April 29, 2021 1:00 am

The Icon Of Tolerance Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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April 29, 2021 1:00 am

There is only one way to reach God, and that’s through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. If this sounds too exclusive, you may have fallen victim to the icon of tolerance. In the name of tolerance, many people are intolerant of the claims of Jesus to be the only way to the Father. So how does Jesus compare to other religious figures? And why should we accept His claims?

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One reason for us. Jesus phone number for runners no need to know these are only given to winners.

She drags it's the same with God there's only one way to reach you and that is through his son Jesus Christ. If this sounds too exclusive church in Chicago this with Dr. Sir teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Tell us about the series that begins today. You know Dave frequently. We as pastors like to emphasize series of messages that we believe are very important. What I need to tell you that today we begin a series that is very important.

It's entitled Christ, among other gods, a defense of Christ in an age of tolerance is no doubt you will discover I attended the Parliament of world religions here in Chicago way back in 1993. It was a different world back then but 5000 delegates were here from all over the world hoping to blend together the religions of the world will in the midst of this in my dialogues I defended Christ and my dear friend today.

If there's ever been a time when we need to defend Jesus over against all other religious options it is today.

That's why this series of messages is so critical you listen carefully as we defend Christ in an age of tolerance for his death, famous historian towing. They said that the governments of the world will unite says either by force or Federation but he said they will never be successful unless there is a universal religion. The Parliament of world religions that met here in the city of Chicago is a giant step toward that direction.

5000 religious leaders meeting from all over the world to discuss religious unity and the possibility of harmonizing the religions of the world so that we will have unity and solve all the problems of hunger and 90 to make it very clear that nobody was suggesting that Hindus should no longer be Hindus or Christians should no longer be Christians or Buddha should no longer be Buddhas.

Nobody suggested that but there were three very important presuppositions in the Parliament of world religions.

The first was that no one religion should claim that it holds truth because if we say that it holds truth then of course the problem of compromise becomes very difficult but we simply say that the various religions are traditions wide traditions have flexibility and nobody claims the traditions have any kind of absolute value. Some of the greatest applause was reserved when the idea that there might be one way to come to God was ridiculed was a second presupposition that was operating and that of course is obvious, namely that no one religion is superior to another.

As a matter fact there were seminars held on how to get over the idea of superiority because it is superiority that stands in the way of unit say all religions must be studied and understood for their diversity and for their richness without any thought that one might have more truth than the other and of course the other third presupposition is very evident, namely that proselytizing is a dirty word yet just don't go out to get converts because that is based on the assumption that you think that your religion actually has something that other religions don't have mind you there was proselytizing going on. For example, the witches had a hospitality suite with lots of food where they invited people to comment to eat and then to learn about witchcraft and to learn about all of the deep things of their religion. The various Eastern religions were handing out leaflets and advertising and giving out information and there was a lot of proselytizing going on, but strictly speaking, nobody was supposed to be converting anybody to anything out because after all, all the religions of the world are equal.

In fact, one evening, a man illustrated it this way.

He said I want you to think of a wheel when he said, let us suppose that this wheel the outer rim represents the various doctrines that people hold to and then he says all folks are the individual religion is that you can have as many scopes as you want, he says, but when you begin to leave them. Rim means that the point of the rim. You look at other people's rim.

Other people's doctrine and you say to yourself, how could anyone ever believe that any says as you begin to leave those doctrines and you move toward the middle. Find out that all the religions of the world eventually lead to the same place, which he defined as the clear blue sky you were living in a day of tolerance, aren't we now, of course, if you mean by tolerance. The fact that we should have respect for other people and other religions, and that we should live peaceably all of us are in favor of tolerance but there's another kind of tolerance that is found in society today that is the new icon of tolerance were even the most absurd, contradictory ideas. All are looked at as if they are so special and so unique and so rich even know if I may humbly say it, even though they may be just so stupid and so that's a new kind of tolerance where people are actually saying things like this. Of all things. We met people who said you know I'm a Christian, Buddhist, have you understood what Christianity is and if you understood what Buddhism is. You know that that's an absurdity. It's like saying you know we went hunting one day and we came across a foresighted triangle is absurd. That's the kind of talking you have today. In a world in which there is tolerance for tolerance, but if you say that you have found some truth.

Suddenly there is a lot of intolerance friend of mine and I went from booth to booth were all of the displays were all the occultists that the office of this the witches. The Eastern religions and we asked all of them to tell us what they essentially believe this led to some very interesting discussions. As you might imagine, one of the things that elicited a lot of hostility with the idea that Christianity may have some truth and maybe some truth even that cannot be blended with anything out. Let me ask you a question. How did America get like that. How is it possible in the Phil Donahue show for somebody disciple you know I'm into Buddhism and your into Christianity and we all have to be into what works for us. How could that have happened. What I'd like to do in the next few moments is to explain to you and mega shift, so I want you to listen carefully so that you understand what is happening. First of all I want you to notice that this shift involves God a centeredness commands centeredness. Some of us have had the privilege of being in Weimar in Deutschland in Germany and we been in the house of the guests.

The great enlightenment scholar and there he has artifacts from Greece and from Rome and from the various countries of the world from Japan and China. This is now of course during the 17th century and he has these artifacts there not because he's interested in are two though he is but that's not the point he was making a theological point, namely, that even non-Christian cultures have a lot of art and have a lot of high degree in civilization. Therefore, Christianity should not be thought of as special or unique, but all the religions of the world must be understood for their richness because they are essentially on the same par, and so you have during the period of enlightenment to shift taking place since all the different religions of the world are now equal. It is no longer important for us to be interested in the glory of God as it now is in the happiness of man and his own potential and so you have the shift taking place from God's centeredness to man centeredness. There's another aspect of the shift and that is objectivity.

Relativism. Relativism says that there is no objective truth there is no standard by which anything may be judged morally or in the realm of religion and therefore the best that we can do is to accept the shifting sands of the times. Now there's a reason for that and there's a reason why shift number one leads to shift number two and that is that if we have no word from God from outside the universe.

If it is true that God is not given us some kind of revelation to help us then we are like ants on the canvas of a Rembrandt painting, we see the roughness beneath us, we see the change of color, but we cannot make sense of it all in the human mind is very brilliant when you stop to think that we have put men on the moon.

We make pocket calculators.

All of these gadgets involve a lot of knowledge and a lot of wisdom when it comes to religion and morality we don't have the building blocks we don't see the whole picture and if God has not spoken. Why indeed all we can do is grope around and we have to be relativists because then it is true that no one no opinion is really better than any other opinion I think that you will agree with me that in America today.

We have made a tremendous shift as shift from the idea that everybody has a right to his own opinion which we would agree to to the ups heard idea that every old opinion is equally right and that's where we have come to. There's 1/3 shift and that is from objectivity to pragmatism that word pragmatism means an emphasis on whether or not something works. William James wrote a book on pragmatism, in which he said that the religions of the world cannot yet be evaluated all of the evidence isn't in because he says the best religion is the one that works the best. And we have to withhold judgment because we have not yet had enough time to know which one works best.

Which one gives you the biggest bang for your buck.

You spoke of it as the cash value of a religious belief. And so, wherein the middle you today were in a context in which everybody is into self-help programs. Everybody is saying.

How does it work and how does it work for me and Christianity has to compete with. Let me ask you something very candidly. Does Christianity work depends what you mean.

Ask the Nader family this morning.

Whether or not Christianity works didn't heal Barb from her fight with cancer doesn't seem to work. Ask some of the martyrs that died for their faith. They were thrown to the lions and they cried to God for deliverance and there was no deliverance, and that they beasts cane and ripped them to shreds and there were others were drowned and there were those were killed with the sword and there was no deliverance, this Christianity work my dear friend, we have to ask the question, does it work for what, for how long and for what ultimate purpose.

Now, of course, if you're talking about eternity you're talking about rectifying our broken relationship with God. Why indeed then Christianity does work if you look at it from the standpoint of eternity. It works very well because we believe that Jesus has the credentials to take those who believe in him directly to heaven at death, whether they go by cancer or by wild beast. It works very well. Can't you understand modern man whose into it and saying well I want to know whether or not it works right now and I want to see how it works. So that's the context in which we find ourselves in America.

Superficial observations regarding working forth, there's the move from reason to feeling obviously this is also necessary. Shift given the ones that preceded it, know the Puritans and the Bible would certainly emphasize the mind of man and the unity of the mind and the heart so that we are thinking beings and so that we hold a certain truth, is very dear to us. That's not where we are today in our culture people are willing to embrace all sorts of absurd ideas because we have been told don't think feel just like the Garden of Eden where Satan said to the woman that you may eat of the fruit of the tree and then the Bible says when she saw that it was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes and a tree to be desired to make one wise.

Then she took all of the fruit of the tree because it looked so good and it felt so good to see the great problem was civilization today is people don't see it as a problem with sin. The big problem is sadness, you're not supposed to be sad you're supposed to be at half pay and if not, find something that works until you become happy you know that we as delegates were told of the Parliament of world religions. Here you have an audience of 5000 people and somebody stands up and says now we want you to hang onto your chairs. Hang on your chairs with such tenseness with such tightness that did you think that if you let go. You're gonna go right through the roof. So hang on and also hang onto your most cherished beliefs just that way. Hang on. Now, folks hang on, go, go, didn't go through the roof. Did you and you know what you can give up your most cherished belief and you won't go through the roof either.

Just give in, so we live in a day and age in which people say were not interested in the outer rim.

All that we are interested in is the inner circle. And we wonder whether or not it feels good, so obviously there's 1/5 shift and that is we have moved now from convictions to opinions.

That's where we are. Everybody has an opinion.

Nobody has any convictions. There was a recent poll that showed that very few Americans will ever die for anything anymore. The history of the church. There've always been those who have been willing to die for their faith because they actually thought that they had found something so valuable that they were willing to give their life for it. People today say I'm not going to give my life for my religion and not to give my life for my country. I can't find anything worth dying for, anymore and so that's where we are. We are a nation largely without convictions billions of opinions, but we don't feel anything in terms of our intellectual beliefs very deeply. Ernst run-on who left Christianity said we are living on the perfume of an empty vase. The perfume of an empty vase, my dear friend today unless America feels that vase we are in deep trouble. So now I've explained why it is that people can say what you know I'm going to bring my own going to church like somebody of the Parliament of world religions suggest that everybody should bring his own got you take a little pinch of yoga you at a little bit of karma Western karma not Easter and that's that's it's too depressing you out a little bit of Western karma and then you sprinkle it with all kinds of verses of Scripture from the lips of Jesus use spirit and it's a religion just you. It's a personalized faith that document did Vincent you're into that and we all have to do what is just right for me.

That's where we are, what as many of you know this is the first in the series of eight messages entitled Christ, among other gods.

Let me give you two objectives that I hope to accomplish. First of all I want to show you why the credentials of Jesus Christ are so overwhelming that in his presence. All other teachers fade into oblivion.

Indeed, some day, all the other teachers of the world will bow down and confess them to be Lord to the glory of God the father. That's what I want to show and then second, when I would like to do is to instill in you a desire not to be ashamed of the gospel is a sometimes you're eating lunch with somebody and they bring up an objection to Christianity and you say to yourself, you know, I'm just so scared. I don't know what is good is like what if he tells me he's into Buddhism and I'm into Christianity and we all have to be into what's right for us.

What am I gonna say how to help you. I don't need to say now that all of your gonna run out with your little arguments and convert the world because there is something obnoxious about Christians who are self righteous who think they have an answer for everything. But what I would like to be able to do is to give you such a sense of confidence as to why you have believed in Jesus and give you the ability to answer. The reason for the hope that is within you, with meekness and fear so that when these kinds of questions are asked. You will not become tongue-tied as one man told me. Did you imagine this man sitting in a barber chair. The barber says to him, or what you believe about God and religion on the guises I just became tongue-tied and I couldn't say a thing for Jesus and your friends when God opens the door. We had better walk through it. Now I'd like to do is to ask you to take your Bibles and to turn to them because Jesus had a different view of truth, and we been talking about in turn to the eighth chapter of the Gospel of John. John chapter 8 where Jesus makes some astounding statements regarding truth.

John chapter 8 and we pick it up in verse 31.

Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed in him. If you abide in my word, then you are truly my disciples and you shall know the truth and the truth will make you free for very explosive observations about truth. First of all truth is universal. It's universal. You see Jesus not only spoke the truth, but he said that he was the truth. Therefore, it would've been absolutely absurd for him to say I am the truth, but I'm only the truth for the western part of the world like we were told of the Parliament of world religions, Christianity is the Western religion but pantheism is the religion of the East. So Jesus is saying is just good for half the world's foolishness.

He not only said that God loved the world, i.e. the whole world, but he says if I lifted up I will draw all men know it's interesting when Pilate put that sign above Jesus in those days when you were crucified. The reason that you were crucified your crime was written on top of the cross and it said the King of the Jews in the Scripture says that Pilate put it in Hebrew, the religion, the language I should say religion in Hebrew. He put it in Greek, which is the language of culture and then he put it in the Latin which is the language of government so that all the different people that were there at the city of Jerusalem could walk by and they could read this is the king of the Jews. Now they wanted Pilate to change it and to say that he said he was king of the Jews, but Pilate said what I have written. I have a written and he left that sign stay up at the top of the cross. But even here though Pilate didn't know what he was emphasizing the universality of Jesus that if Jesus is the truth. He is the truth for everybody and if he is not a truce for everybody that he's not the truth for me either. My friend, this is Pastor Sir it's so important for us to understand why Jesus alone is the way to the father you know today if you tell somebody that you love Jesus.

They can accept that, and then they will tell you whom they love may be some other God but what we need to do as believers is to defend Christ and show why he has the credentials that no other teacher. No other Guru has if you know anything about my ministry. It has been that throughout the years, I've always had this great desire to help all of us to understand much better the defense of the faith in the defense of Christ. Perhaps you have college students in your life.

Perhaps as children or grandchildren or you may be a college student.

These messages are very important so that you might be able to defend Christ in an age of tolerance and by the way, that's the sermon series. It's entitled Christ, among other gods, a defense of Christ in an age of tolerance. Now these messages can be yours for a gift of any amount, let me give you the info go to RTW that's RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

Remember that for a gift of any amount you can listen to this series again and again. Share it with your friends shared with unbelievers and I pray that it will help all of us to understand how we can defend Christ in the midst of a nation and a world that is lost its way. Jesus is not just another one among others.

He is King of Kings and Lord of lords. You want the sermon series permanently. Here's what you do go to RTW that's RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337 and let me tell you, once again how much we appreciate your prayers and your gifts because together the gospel of Jesus Christ is going forth because you're holding our hands are praying for us.

Your ministering to us and we are deeply grateful. The series is Christ, among other gods defense of Christ in an age of tolerance.

You can write to us running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life no man comes to the father except through me. Next time I'm going to win more on absolute truth and why Jesus embodies that truth is one way to the father.

Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin loser this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church

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