A Plea to Stop Visiting Temples/Mosques, Pt. 2: Answering Five Objections
I have dialogued at length about this issue with some in the FGBC including one of the main leaders of these temple trips. We have had fervent exchanges and good discussion but my concerns have been dismissed as reactionary and not based in any kind of real justifiable vantage point. These activities will continue unless others begin to speak out I am sure but I feel it necessary to answer a few counterpoints that have been raised to my concerns. Most of these were actually raised and some are anticipated but there are more than what I answer here. Let these “Top 10” suffice with this part being the first five. I feature the objection followed by my response. I let you the reader decide what is valid and worthy of your time and attention here.
Objection 1: “This is an example of what Paul did by “being all things to all men” and reminiscent of his visit to the Areopagus in Acts 17”.
Paul visited synagogues and was taken to Mars Hill where he clearly preached the gospel to those who were there. He even told the Areopagites of God’s requirement that all men everywhere needed to repent ( Acts ). Everywhere Paul went he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ which directly opposed the false worship that was going on in these places. Participants in these temple visits, to my knowledge, are going to “learn about the Hindu or Muslim faith” and in the initial ventures from Momentum 2007, they were told specifically not to witness but to be observers only which is not the same intent Paul had for being found in those places. Paul also did not capitulate or compromise by participating in any form of pagan practice in order to gain entry to these places. Shoe removal and hijabs are a form of participation or at least send a message of mutual acknowledgment to some validity of the “faiths” being learned from.
Objection 2: “This practice is a “fast-track” that is worth weeks of classroom lectures to help people “see the soil” of the lost world and “get a heart” for those enslaved to foolish false religion.”
This sounds noble and pragmatically practical. How could anyone argue with the impact something like a temple visit has on Christians who see this, especially for the first time? My response is this: Is there any other way someone can receive a burden to pray for and evangelize Hindus and Muslims other than actually having to go visit their temples? YES. Is this temple/mosque visitation the only way someone can really “get a heart” for these lost souls? NO. There are other better safer ways for this to happen that don’t involve any sort of compromise or reverence to a false faith. Yes, one can learn about tenets of these religions in a classroom and it can be a tool that God uses to impart holy concern for these folks. A personal visit is an “in your face” activity but not necessarily the best one and I would caution even becoming too familiar with foreign religions in any case. You don’t have to actually do what they do. You don’t have to be familiar with the tenets of Hinduism or Islam to pray for and witness to people in those religions. Here’s the best way to get a heart for Hindus and Muslims: Pray this way: “Father, please give me a burden for those lost and on their way to hell who are trapped in any form of false worship.” Watch what He’ll do. I became a missionary to
Objection 3: “Steve, there is no such thing as an actual pagan place or anywhere that’s forbidden ground for a Christian to go in. The geography of what is found inside or outside the temple belongs to the Lord and we need not be afraid of “evil places’ or temple grounds.”
While this is technically correct, the practice of removing our shoes or donning a hijab or any custom we have to do to enter these places sends the message to these adherents that we do indeed consider their temple or mosque “sacred space”. We are showing respect for what they do there which is worship a false god or goddess who is really a demonic spirit. Why would we do this? God does not have mutual respect for any other “faith” and doesn’t want His people displaying any form of veneration or acknowledgment to any other false beliefs.
Objection 4: “We need to extend the right to all people to worship as they please.”
Yes we do but we shouldn’t do anything that compromises or encourages what they are doing by acknowledging their practices as sacred or valid in any way.
Objection 5: “This practice of temple/mosque visitation was first suggested by an Indian believer.”
This may be true but there are a lot of unbiblical and unwise things suggested by leaders of any background. There are many more Indian believers who would object to what’s going on with these visits if made aware of this practice. Just because the idea is Indian in origin means nothing and a lot of what has been suggested and implemented in the name of contextualization and evangelism is unbiblical and borders on erroneous activity that is actually syncretistic in practice. There is no real weight to this argument.
There’s five objections to my objection to the practice of temple/mosque visitation. I leave them for your consideration and ask you to stay tuned for the conclusion of this series of posts where I will present five final objections and my responses.
Read and share as the Lord leads.