January 18
Jesus, Yes - Church, No
For reading & meditation: 2 Corinthians 5:11-21
"We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." (v. 20)

Now that we have looked at the aspects of our faith which make it unique among all world religions, we must face some other important issues before finally drawing to a close. Being Christians does not mean we therefore have to believe that all other religions are completely wrong. As C. S. Lewis pointed out: "If you are an atheist you have to believe that the main point in all religions is simply one huge mistake. But if you are a Christian you are free to think that all religions, even the queerest of them, contain at least some hint of truth. Being a Christian, however, does mean thinking that where Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong. As in arithmetic there is only one right answer to a sum and all other answers are wrong. But some wrong answers are much nearer to being right than others." While never budging from what we believe, we must show a loving disposition toward those of other faiths. A group of adherents to the Muslim faith gathered outside a church in one of Britain's northern cities shouting: "Jesus, Yes; the Church, No." Their complaint was based on the fact that the minister and people of that particular church had pushed thousands of leaflets through local mailboxes stating: "Islam is a devilish religion; only the Christian religion is of God." We can be passionate in our faith without being discourteous to people. We may disagree with what someone believes, but we must disagree agreeably. As one old preacher quaintly put it: "To win some we must be winsome."
Father, I see from the text before me today that You want me to implore people to come to You, not intimidate them. Make me a firm but loving witness - one who can disagree without being disagreeable. In Christ's Name I ask it. Amen.
For further study:
1. What was Paul's approach to people?
2. What approach were the disciples to take?