I recently and reluctantly attended a talk by The God Squad at a local theater. I was one of the guests of the sponsor, which is the local newspaper for which I write religion columns, so I felt obligated to go.
The God Squad is the internationally known team of a rabbi and a Catholic priest, whose message is that “we know enough about how we are different and not enough about how we are the same.” They use their friendship to show the world that if only we could love those who are different from us, we could save the world. Sadly, they also send the foggy message that all religions are fine, yet we can’t know what’s really true. They like to say that they are not in management, but in sales. The problem is that they don’t know anything about their product but have a lot of customers.
As a Christian, I was saddened by the lack of reference to the bible or Jesus Christ, except in jest. The God Squad is more of a spiritual Dear Abby than a source for deep answers. When it came to issues of death and beyond, the best they could offer was their best guesses.
I left the lecture more heartbroken than angry. Hundreds of people paid a lot of money to have their ears tickled and went away laughing. But I knew that they also went away without any real hope. Human platitudes can only buoy us up so long when the floods of life and death engulf us.
In this age of Hallmark Card theology, we need to return to Holy Canon theocracy. The bible has all the answers we need to the questions we have about origins, purpose, and destiny. In it, God tells us where we came from and where we will go. He lets us peek behind the curtains that hide the past and the future. He Himself is our hope. “Through (Christ) you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:21).
One of the more faith-destroying comments the rabbi made was that we shouldn’t know much about heaven because it would then not be faith. This implies what the culture has lately been stating regarding the faith-science debate: faith is based on, well, faith, while science is based on fact. This is contrary and insulting to what the bible says about faith. The word for faith most used in the bible means “to believe or rely on truth.” It is not blind faith. “Abraham believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). Throughout scripture, God asks man to believe what He says, not take a blind leap into the darkness of man’s imagination. Faith is not what we wish or hope or would like things to be; it is trust in, and obedience to, what God has revealed. And, God has revealed enough in creation and history and science and archaeology and genetics and the heart of man to make Him believable.
The problem with The God Squad is that they don’t trust in and obey what God has revealed. They quoted philosophers and religious leaders while the beguiled audience murmured and nodded their heads in agreement.
The student of the bible needs no man to teach him. If the musings of philosophers, poets, scientists, politicians, friends, family, clergy, bestsellers, filmmakers, newscasters, etc., don’t line up with scripture, then they don’t line up with the Creator and Lord of the universe, the Judge of all mankind, and must be rejected. “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn” (Isaiah 8:20).
We do well to heed the admonition of Peter in 2 Peter 2:19–21: “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it . . . no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation . . . men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
If you want to learn from the real God Squad, study the prophets and apostles!
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