In an effort to reclaim the Church, a highly respected pastor and author says the centrality of the gospel – not tolerance and inclusivity – should flow through the Church.
Dr. Erwin Lutzer, pastor emeritus of Chicago’s Moody Church, tells OneNewsNow he does not aspire to reclaim the culture, per se, but aspires to play a part in reclaiming the Church. His primary concern is that the Church is being shamed into silence for a number of reasons.
In one example of many, the evangelical pastor says the fear of being called names like “racist” or “bigot” for speaking against interfaith dialogue with Muslims within the Church is a reason why the Church has continued to retreat into silence. A recent study indicates that 42% of evangelicals believe “God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.”
Lutzer warns that because the Church “believes it should be loving and inclusive, [and] avoid putting up barriers to the gospel,” it is being carried along by the culture. “Most Christians won’t be talked out of their faith,” he adds, “but they’ll be mocked out of their faith.”
The 79-year-old pastor encourages believers to “take the heat and be the Church, [while] at the same time, ministering, obviously, to a broken culture.” Christians, he argues, must learn to speak to the issues of culture and, at the same time, maintain a strong Christian witness, he asserts.
“Christians must not be co-opted by the political right or the left,” Lutzer elaborates, “but they must be prepared to speak to the issues of the world and do so with a sense of knowledge and confidence.”
Rather than being shamed into silence, the pastor contends believers “must be willing to say this is where the Bible stands – and like Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms, be able to say, ‘here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.'”
At a time when more than 50 Muslim candidates have been elected to different levels of government, Lutzer acknowledges how “the Left has lined itself up with Islam in an attempt to destroy Christianity and capitalism.” Similarly, the pastor warns the Church about having interfaith dialogue with Muslims to promote Islam.
“A debate is one thing, where you can contradict one another and so forth,” he offers, “but there are naïve, unthinking evangelicals who enter into dialogue with Muslims in their churches and the Muslim is allowed to say whatever he wants and … is not contradicted.”
Even though Christians involved in such dialogues may get to say their peace, it is rarely a compelling stance for the exclusivity of Christ in the gospel, Lutzer warns: “There’s so much naïveté out there, all under the guise of being loving.” And pastors, he adds, have the responsibility of teaching their congregation and should be aware of these types of things: “Speak lovingly, but do speak the truth,” he emphasizes.
“It’s time that people understood the uniqueness of Christianity, and specifically, the uniqueness of Christ – and why he alone has the credentials to actually forgive us and to reconcile us to God,” Lutzer urges.
After the Church embraces this truth, it is then – according to Lutzer – that the Church will begin to transform society, along with its Muslim community.
Editor’s note: Dr. Lutzer addresses this topic and many others in his new book “We Will Not Be Silenced: Responding to Our Culture’s Assault on Christianity.”