Summary: It is imperative for Christians to clearly understand Biblical Christianity as well as have a basic understanding of other religions so we can communicate Christianity clearly and to do so within a Biblical framework of thinking.
Faithology - Biblical Christianity
Good morning, I am glad that you are here this morning.
Today we are starting a new series called Faithology.
If you have never heard that word before, it is because it is just made up, but it does have real meaning.
I have combined the word “Faith” - a term that refers to a confident belief in a transcendent reality… or a Supreme Being.
Wikipedia – accessed 3/30/2010 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faith
with -ology – from the Greek word meaning “the study of”
To come up with Faithology – the study of belief’s that people have in regard to a transcendent reality or a Supreme Being.
Now, I preached a series like this about 6 years ago, but after some recent events and conversations, I thought it is important to readdress some of these topics.
I believe it is necessary that we, I am speaking to the Christians out here today, that we not only have a deep understanding of our own faith, but that we have some basic knowledge of other faiths as well.
I believe this is important for us to understand because our society is becoming increasingly pluralistic. Now whether you think that is good or bad is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that it is, and it is going to become increasingly more so in the coming years.
And so we have to understand the differences so we can better communicate the gospel to those of differing faiths, because if we don’t understand these differences ourselves, it could lead to some serious misunderstandings and could have eternal consequences.
Professor at Wheaton
Recently there was a professor at Wheaton College who was suspended, and this week the college was moving forward in terminating her employment, for some views she had expressed. There had been some misrepresentations and confusion in the media initially for the reason why she was suspended.
You see during Advent she had started wearing a hijab – a head scarf common for those of the Muslim faith.
She was wearing it as USA Today reported, as “part of her personal effort to show solidarity with Muslims, who have faced backlash in the aftermath of recent mass shootings in San Bernardino, Calif. and Paris. ”(http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/12/16/professor-suspended-after-saying-christians-muslims-have-same-god/77418168/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=usatoday-newstopstories)
Now, whether you agree with her stance or not, it is not a bad thing to stand with those who are oppressed or facing difficulties for who they are or for being associated with others and wearing a headscarf is not the reason the college suspended her and is moving to terminate her employment.
The reason she was suspended from teaching at Wheaton, a private and distinctively Christian college, was what she said in a post on her Facebook page. She posted on December 10th 2015, why she was wearing a headscarf and she said,
“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.” (https://www.facebook.com/larycia)
Wheaton suspended her from teaching there for this coming semester and is moving forward with her dismissal for stating that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, a statement that is in conflict with Christian teaching and with the belief statement that all faculty must sign at the beginning of each year.
Anyways, as this story was circulating in Christian circles and there were people misinformed on the reason of her initial suspension and others who knew of the real reason, but didn’t find anything wrong with her statement, I thought to comment on this myself by sharing an article about this and posting a comment sharing the importance of knowing and teaching truth on my own Facebook page saying,
It is imperative that we as Christians understand not only Christianity, but the basics of other faith systems as well, so we do not believe falsely that different faiths worship the same God. I applaud Wheaton College for their decision to suspend a professor teaching at their college that clearly has a confused understanding of Christianity and/or Islam to believe these faiths worship the same God. They have every right, and in fact a duty, being a private and distinctively Christian college, to make sure their professors believe and are teaching in accord with sound biblical theology. (Dec 17, 2015 - https://www.facebook.com/scottkircher66)
Because of that post and some of the comments and some subsequent conversations with a few people, it indicated to me that there are quite a few people that believe that many faiths – especially, Islam, Christianity and Judaism which can all trace the historical roots of their faith back to Abraham - all worship the same God and just call Him a different name.
In fact, in an opinion piece in the Huffington Post by Kelly James Clark, a Senior Research Fellow at the Kaufman Interfaith Institute at Grand Valley State University