"Both of the pastors allowing Muslim worship on their property appeal to the love required of Christians..."

“At Heartsong Church in Cordova, Tennessee, Steve Stone and his congregants put out a sign welcoming incoming neighbors at the Memphis Islamic Center. The church then allowed these Muslim neighbors to use their sanctuary as a makeshift mosque throughout Ramadan…”
“For Stone, allowing Muslims to worship on his church’s property was a matter of ‘What would Jesus do?’”
Muslims in Evangelical Churches

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Dan Burrell's picture

Since when are United Methodists considered "evangelical". I've always considered them to be "mainstream denominational protestants" of the most liberal kind. I've known very few UMC pastors that could explain the gospel to me.

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

A. Carpenter's picture

Ted Bigelow wrote:
What would Jesus do?

He would say to a Muslim, "You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews"

He would say, "I who speak to you am He"

Hmmm...

In that context, Jesus might also ask what His church was doing with a building. And if it were found that His church possessed a building for reasons of cultural comfort, He might not say anything about their willingness to share this comfort with their neighbors. After all, if one is worshiping what one does not know, it doesn't really matter if they do it in Jerusalem or Mt. Seir, does it?

Faith is obeying when you can't even imagine how things might turn out right.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

A. Carpenter,

Are you really saying you think Jesus would aid - in ANY way - false worship?

I can imagine having this discussion if one evangelical church is offering space to another after, say, a fire. I can imagine opening a church building to a secular group for secular reasons, say, neighborhood watch meetings. I cannot imagine true Christians considering shared worship space with non-believers.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

MarkClements's picture

I'm not sure about a building being "cultural comfort" but even in that scenario the Scripture is clear on whether or not we are to encourage false teachers and those who "abide not in the doctrine of Christ."

I think 2 John 10-11 pretty much sums up the response that should have been given...
10-If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed
11-For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds

Now, I don't mean that they should refuse to help them in a rude or unChristlike fashion. However, I can't imagine anyone claiming Christ in any way thinking that helping the Muslim cause could be anything but displeasing to God.

A. Carpenter's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:
A. Carpenter,

Are you really saying you think Jesus would aid - in ANY way - false worship?

I can imagine having this discussion if one evangelical church is offering space to another after, say, a fire. I can imagine opening a church building to a secular group for secular reasons, say, neighborhood watch meetings. I cannot imagine true Christians considering shared worship space with non-believers.

No, of course I'm not saying that Jesus would assist false worship, but the concept of "shared worship space" could perhaps stand some scrutiny. (By the way, I am not against church buildings, per se.) Were the situation reversed, would you feel the same way? I mean, what if it were the church that needed a place to gather and an Islamic center were opened to them? Should they decline? What if it were the Jewish Temple? Or a synagogue?

I guess I was intrigued by the quotes from John 4, where Jesus is emphatically denying the sacredness of spaces...or perhaps asserting the sacredness of all spaces where He is present. If we are worshiping what we know, namely Jesus, then we know that a building is irrelevant to our worship.

On the other hand, I think 2 John is applicable here, and we should ask to what degree we would be supporting this false religion. I'm going to have to think some on this one. Is "making false worship possible" the same as "encouraging false worship" or "assisting false worship?" Is letting someone use our building temporarily the same thing as welcoming someone into our home? Would my Muslim neighbors' kids not be allowed to swim in my pool? How far does this go? I think that the Muslims' explicit purpose of worship puts this instance beyond question, but I don't know that the answer to these kinds of questions is always that simple.

Faith is obeying when you can't even imagine how things might turn out right.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

A. Carpenter wrote:
Chip Van Emmerik wrote:
A. Carpenter,

Are you really saying you think Jesus would aid - in ANY way - false worship?

I can imagine having this discussion if one evangelical church is offering space to another after, say, a fire. I can imagine opening a church building to a secular group for secular reasons, say, neighborhood watch meetings. I cannot imagine true Christians considering shared worship space with non-believers.

No, of course I'm not saying that Jesus would assist false worship, but the concept of "shared worship space" could perhaps stand some scrutiny. (By the way, I am not against church buildings, per se.) Were the situation reversed, would you feel the same way? I mean, what if it were the church that needed a place to gather and an Islamic center were opened to them? Should they decline? What if it were the Jewish Temple? Or a synagogue?

I guess I was intrigued by the quotes from John 4, where Jesus is emphatically denying the sacredness of spaces...or perhaps asserting the sacredness of all spaces where He is present. If we are worshiping what we know, namely Jesus, then we know that a building is irrelevant to our worship.

On the other hand, I think 2 John is applicable here, and we should ask to what degree we would be supporting this false religion. I'm going to have to think some on this one. Is "making false worship possible" the same as "encouraging false worship" or "assisting false worship?" Is letting someone use our building temporarily the same thing as welcoming someone into our home? Would my Muslim neighbors' kids not be allowed to swim in my pool? How far does this go? I think that the Muslims' explicit purpose of worship puts this instance beyond question, but I don't know that the answer to these kinds of questions is always that simple.

I think the key here is the religion to religion tie. Muslim neighbors swimming in your pool is a different realm. Even an individual renting an empty commercial space they own (or control) to a group of Muslims for a religious meeting place would be a different realm: commercial to religious. But a church offering its worship center to a false religion for worship is far beyond the pale in my estimation.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Ted Bigelow's picture

A. Carpenter wrote:
I guess I was intrigued by the quotes from John 4, where Jesus is emphatically denying the sacredness of spaces...or perhaps asserting the sacredness of all spaces where He is present. If we are worshiping what we know, namely Jesus, then we know that a building is irrelevant to our worship.

Where is Jesus denying the sacredness of spaces in the verses I quoted? Where is He even doing this in John 4?

This is what I wrote:

Quote:
What would Jesus do?

He would say to a Muslim, "You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews"

He would say, "I who speak to you am He"

The Christ of Scripture confronts people about their idolatry through His Word, and is offended by it, whether it be Islam or Wiccanism, or all kinds of things in the pale of Christendom. Why would He offer help to do that by which He is offended, and violates the first commandment?

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Ted Bigelow wrote:
The Christ of Scripture confronts people about their idolatry through His Word, and is offended by it, whether it be Islam or Wiccanism, or all kinds of things in the pale of Christendom. Why would He offer help to do that by which He is offended, and violates the first commandment?

I would think donating space to false teachers for the perpetuation of their false teaching would also be a violation of 2 John 1:10-11.

A. Carpenter's picture

Ted, I was referring to the two verses on either side of the one you referenced:

John 4:21-23, "Jesus saith unto her, 'Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him."

Like I said, this means either that no space is intrinsically linked to worship, or they all are, as long as the Father is being worshipped through the Son. The Church is the Temple because we are indwelt by God Himself. The fact that we own a building in which to gather for the purpose of corporate worship seems to be beside the point, useful and lawful though it may be.

You're right, though. Your use of John 4 really had nothing to do with this; you only spurred my thinking on to the essence of a church building. Of course Jesus confronts people in their idolatry and false worship, and He may very well have said those things to the Muslims that requested the use of the church building. On this point, do we know whether the pastors of the two churches said something to this effect? Were they clear that they were not endorsing the Islamic faith? Would anyone imagine that a church was abandoning the exclusivity of the Gospel by simply allowing a Muslim group to use their facilities temporarily? (Forget, for the moment, that they are UMC.)

But where exactly would you draw the line for "offering help to do that by which Christ is offended?" Would you refuse to help a Muslim neighbor change his oil if he would be using his car to drive his family to the mosque? Given the all-encompassing nature of the Muslim faith (their religion is essential to all of life, and vice versa), would you aid a Muslim in anything? Like I said to Chip, I think the explicit and direct nature of this particular instance makes the answer pretty clear, but I don't imagine that this is always the case.

Faith is obeying when you can't even imagine how things might turn out right.

Dan Burrell's picture

So I wonder where all the SI posters who are constantly harping over separating from people over music style, Bible versions, college support and whether or not Rick Holland can speak in chapel are now that there is a legitimate case for Biblical separation being discussed on an article? If you want to know where I stand on separation -- I would fellowship with neither the Muslims, nor the liberal UMC pastors who are giving them a place to spread their heresy. Perhaps the Muslims are using conservative music though.....

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

MarkClements's picture

Well, if their music is conservative like mine, maybe we could make an exception...

I'm with Dan here. I'm just guessing everyone figures this is a no-brainer so it doesn't need comment.

Ted Bigelow's picture

A. Carpenter wrote:

But where exactly would you draw the line for "offering help to do that by which Christ is offended?" Would you refuse to help a Muslim neighbor change his oil if he would be using his car to drive his family to the mosque? Given the all-encompassing nature of the Muslim faith (their religion is essential to all of life, and vice versa), would you aid a Muslim in anything? Like I said to Chip, I think the explicit and direct nature of this particular instance makes the answer pretty clear, but I don't imagine that this is always the case.

That's an easy one. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 are instructions to not be yoked with unbelievers in any co-religious activity whatsoever.