I have seen more and more of the COEXIST bumper stickers out there lately and I have a lot of skepticism about what that exactly means. There is a cynical side of me that believes it to be a liberal effort to suppress the Christian message and advance the new age view that there are many gods and that they are all relevant and have their place in one cosmic realm. Actually, that is not my cynical side, it is what I believe with all my heart. This is exactly the message that the coexist movement is proposing. When you get specific with the people that are pushing for unity among the religions of the world the only religion that is asked to make concessions in the basic tenants of it’s faith is the Christian faith. No other religion has to change any part of their beliefs because the beliefs of other religions are not a threat to the method of interaction with the particular god of their religion except Christianity.

All other religions of the world have one common thread and they are able to unite in that similarity. The common thread is that they all have devised a manner by which the human can control his destiny and therefore control his god. Christianity is the only religion with a contrary view. Our God, the one true God, has done all the work for our redemption, sanctification and assurance of our eternal destiny. Humans only participate in this process in that we accept the free gift that God has made available to us. And even in that, He draws us to Himself. All other religions of the world do not have to compromise anything to coexist because they unite under the banner of tolerance because they have common ground under the premise that they are all striving for the same goal and they are just choosing separate paths to get there.

Christianity has to compromise every basic belief it has to coexist with the other religions by the definition of coexisting that they have established. So with that in mind, what do we do with the concept of coexist? On the surface, coexisting doesn’t sound like an evil concept, but it is indicative of what is going on in the world culture and this movement to blur the lines as much as possible in respect to religion and ultimately undermine and minimize the Christian message. Slowly but surely the edge is being taken off the gospel message and the problem is that the undermining is being done from within the Christian faith as the church strives to be more relevant and modern. I believe that we have to coexist in that the Bible tells us to be in the world, but I think that we have to draw the line at anything that makes us of the world. This may be a hard thing to do but we must not allow the primary beliefs of our faith to be eroded in an attempt to unite. Coexist an alluring message and one similar to the one God stopped when he confused language as a result of the tower of Babel.

Christianity is the only religion that is described as exclusive and intolerant by it’s detractors. All of the other religions and their views are accepted as just that, their views. Only Christianity and the gospel message are seen as some form of threat to the lives of people of the world. People are martyred all over the world for religion every day, but only one faith is attacked so vehemently and that is Christianity. It scares people like no other faith and the liberal message has always been that Christians need to couch their message and not be so exclusive and intolerant. I think that Christians can coexist in this world as long as the message is communicated that there will not be coexisting going on in the afterlife. A side and a destiny must be chosen and it is determined by our allegiance in this world. Every knee will someday bow, but only the knee that bows now will be recognized at the judgement seat. I think that we have to communicate a clear message that we will all coexist for eternity somewhere and we have to choose now where that will be..

Christians are sometimes not seen as the most kind, loving and compassionate people by non Christians. I know that some of that is inherent as Jesus told us that the world would hate us because they hated Him. The origin of the hate that Jesus talked about comes from a clash of world views and the natural bent of Satan to protect the realm that he was given dominion over. I don’t think that people are necessarily evil in their approach to this hatred as much as it just develops from a clash of perspectives that I touched on in my last post before this one. I also think there is a natural inclination to develop animosity towards views that are different than our own. I don’t think that our human sin nature lends itself to want to be accepting and tolerant.

With that being said, I think, as Christians, we are supposed to be different. We are not supposed to do what our emotions lead us to do and we are to be spirit led. I think that sometimes Christians think that they are being Christlike when they criticize unbelievers and an unbelieving world. It is difficult because Jesus told us to be in the world but not of it. Sometimes, it is very difficult to maintain that boundary of being in the world enough to make a difference and maintain separation from the ideals that drive it. Often, a way that we do that is to come out against lifestyle and habit that is contradictory to a Christian world view. with that we maintain that separation, but then we also loose any connection and opportunity to reach a lost world.

The problem is that it’s easy to reject the message that we are trying to share when we are not connected because it’s easy for non believers to poke holes in our character and then just label us as hypocrites. Truth be told the only difference between non Christians and Christians in many cases is destiny and while as a Christian I understand that a non believing world just sees it as off putting and exclusive. Jesus was inclusive. It is what got Him in trouble. When you break it down Jesus was crucified for challenging the beliefs of the religious leaders of the day and a main belief that he constantly challenged was that all people matter especially those that are struggling.

I believe that we can be much more effective in ministering to a lost world by not focusing on their negative behaviors, but to focus on the positive attributes of a loving God. It’s an attitude that I like to call for not against. As Christians, we spend a lot of time bringing to light the negative qualities of the world and the people that live in it. I don’t think that this is at all necessary. Everybody knows that the world is a messed up place and becoming more depraved on a daily basis. Jesus said this would happen in the end times and I believe that we are quickly approaching the end. He also said that there would be a greater gulf between ideologies in this world and I believe if the church is to remain relevant then we will have to not let that gap widen and even close it.

I think that it is hard enough to reach a lost world without alienating them and proving to them what they already think that they know. Christians are often seen as just self righteous people that don’t know how to relate to those that are struggling with sin. By the way we all struggle with sin. Some of us just have a better future as it relates to it. The issue, in my opinion, is humility and a proper understanding of grace. If we truly have a grasp on the fact that we are so undeserving of God’s favor and that He yet still loves us and has provided a way for us to be saved then we will not be condemning, but we will be compassionate to those that are condemned as we once were. We need to be for God’s love not against sinners.