Friday, June 3, 2011

What is the Pulpit for? A Response to Uniting in Prayer and Understanding

Until this past year, I have been called to well established parishes to serve as a pastor. So I have been the latest in a long line of preachers to serve a particular church. In more than one pulpit, some caring priest typed a portion of John 12:21 on a piece of paper, cut it down to size and taped it to the top of the pulpit. It reads, "Sir, we wish to Jesus." This statement was said by gentile God-fearers who desired a firsthand knowledge of the Messiah. The priest who placed it on the pulpit desired a reminder for himself and those who would follow, that in our preaching, we must show Jesus to the crowd!  When people walk into a church, they should be looking for Jesus.

This month, June 2011, churches are being encouraged to share their pulpit with Muslims and Jews to help increase our understanding of the three abrahamic faiths. Unfortunately, too many Christians do not understand Jesus let alone another religion! The website, has recommended passages from the Koran to be read from a Christian pulpit. This one from Surah 5 is not on the list:

5:72-75 “They do blaspheme who say: ‘Allah is Christ the son of Mary.’ But said Christ: ‘O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.’ Whoever joins other gods with Allah, Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help. They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except one Allah. If they desist not from their word of blasphemy, verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them.”

Yes, Islam denies the divinity of Jesus and the Trinity. Islam considers Christians blasphemers. So I have taken it upon myself to show Jesus. What I want to do is talk about who Jesus is! I want Muslims, and everyone else for that matter, to know who Jesus is, to see HIM! There are many Christians who worship the institution, not the Christ. I have posted a video love letter. What love is it to allow someone to drive off a cliff without any warnings of the danger? The pulpit is to share the  Good News of Jesus Christ. That is what the pulpit is for!

 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, "He told me all that I ever did." So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word.They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world." (John 4:39-42, see John 4:1-45 for the entire context