Living The Love Of Christ Among People Of Other Faiths

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

'Love Your Neighbour as Yourself' Includes People of Other Faiths


Opening Prayer: 


Dear Lord Jesus, we respond, in prayer, to our high calling as your disciples to see people of other faiths as our neighbours in the biblical sense. They are human beings created in God’s image, whom you love and for whose sins you died. We strive not only to see them as neighbours, but to obey your teaching by being neighbours to them. You call us to be gentle, but not naïve; to be discerning and not gullible; to be alert to whatever threats we may face, but not ruled by fear. Amen.


Reflection:


We are called to share good news in evangelism, but not to engage in unworthy proselytizing. Evangelism, which includes persuasive rational argument following the example of the Apostle Paul, is ‘to make an honest and open statement of the gospel which leaves the hearers entirely free to make up their own minds about it. We wish to be sensitive to those of other faiths, and we reject any approach that seeks to force conversion on them.’[1] Proselytizing, by contrast, is the attempt to compel others to become ‘one of us’, to ‘accept our religion’, or indeed to ‘join our denomination’. 


We commit ourselves to be scrupulously ethical in all our evangelism. Our witness is to be marked by ‘gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience.’ We therefore reject any form of witness that is coercive unethical, deceptive, or disrespectful. 


We affirm the proper place for dialogue with people of other faiths, just as Paul engaged in debate with Jews and Gentiles in the synagogue and public arenas. As a legitimate part of our Christian mission, such dialogue combines confidence in the uniqueness of Christ and in the truth of the gospel with respectful listening to others. 


Closing Prayer: 


In your name, we repent of our failure to seek friendships with people of Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and other religious backgrounds. Instead, through your Spirit, Jesus, we will take initiatives to show love, goodwill, and hospitality to them. In your name, we refuse both to promote lies and caricatures about other faiths, and denounce and resist the racist prejudice, hatred, and fear incited in popular media and political rhetoric. In your name, we reject the path of violence and revenge in all our dealings with people of other faiths, even when violently attacked. Amen.


Ask God to pour out his Spirit to stir us with a vision of an evangelical church for every people.


 [1] The Manila Manifesto, Paragraph 12