catapult magazine

catapult magazine


How would you handle this?


Aug 20 2007
06:21 pm

Well, Taylor, it seems like you’ve taken the right approach so far. This sounds like a tricky situation.

Out of curiousity, and desire for some context, what kind of theology does your church and pastor tend towards? Do they believe that the Bible is authoritative and that Jesus is the only way to the Father? If they do, then your pastor is probably confident that this challenge will only help you grow, as you have a strong foundation.

Let me throw a small wrench into this topic. Technically, when it comes down to it, Christianity is an Eastern religion. It has roots historically in the Middle East, and much of it was written from an Eastern mindset (some of the New Testement somewhat less so, as they have some Greek influence in the language and time of writing). Since the time of Jesus, the much of influence of Christianity expanded west, into Rome and (at the reformation) Northern Europe. From there, it expanded to the Americas, so that the faith we know from our background has been long perceived as a Western faith, or even worse for efforts of American missionaries, a faith for white, rich Americans. And though we can’t deny the influence of Christianity on Western culture (or even the influence, to a degree, of Western Culture on American Christianity), Christianity’s roots are in the East. So, getting some insight into the Eastern mindset can be very helpful in studying scripture (especially the Old Testament).

However, I’m not saying that all Eastern faiths are just as valid and true and valuable as what we know is Truth in YHWH as revealed through Jesus Christ! While all that is true ultimately comes from God (and needs no excuses, regardless of where we see it – i.e. "all truth is God’s truth"), we know that the final standard for truth must be the revealed Word of God. If this man starts contradicting scripture, then gently and lovingly correct him from scripture. If he seems more enamored with other religions than the person of Jesus Christ, then he may have some growing to do himself.

Here’s some questions you could perhaps ask him:
-What’s your background?
-How do you know so much about these Eastern religions?
-How did you become a Christian? (This assumes that he is one, of course.)
-How do you see Christianity compared to (X religion)?

It may be that he comes to Christianity from a background of Eastern religions, and may have some good insights into christianity from that Eastern mindet. Alternately, he might still have some ties to those religions that are obstacles to him, keeping him from fully grasping the grace of God. As far as his influence on the group, it could be simply his personality (especially if he’s a very extroverted and opinionated) or he could be purposely siderailing the study with an agenda.

Finally, don’t discount the supernatural side of the situation. A Bible study should be a time where the Holy Spirit is supernaturally revealing God to you through his Word. However, satan would also like to keep you and your church from being effective. I’m not one to favor witch hunts or looking for satan’s forces under every stone and shadow, but it is a reality that we have an enemy. Continue praying about this situation, that God would give you and your group wisdom and discernment, that you would see where the Spirit is at work, and whether or not the enemy is also at work. If you’re asking God for wisdom, he’s promised to give it to you.

All apologies for the long post,