Sep 28 2013
1 Kings 11:1-12 Solomon’s wives were attached to other religions
The powerful kingdom established by David and expanded by Solomon was ripped in two when Solomon opened the door to numerous religions as he went about marrying foreign woman. Different religions in the palace – is that a problem? Well, you’ve probably seen it in other homes before; the husband believes one thing, the wife another, so what will their children believe? There are two common reactions: they accept both religions as equal, or reject both as being false. So what were the chances that a child of Solomon would continue to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as the one true God when his mother worshipped Molech the god of the Ammonites? How was Israel’s worship going to remain dedicated and pure? This is why the God of Abraham stopped Israel marrying foreigners. But Solomon compromised, the religions of the world flooded in and God’s judgement fell on Israel. The great kingdom of David and Solomon never recovered.
♦ This raises an important question; what does the God of the Bible think of other religions today, and is it okay for Christians to marry people of other religions?
It’s popular now days to beat the drum of religious tolerance. Tolerance is good, but it should not be confused with conformity. If we respect people’s freedom to follow other religions we have tolerance, if we buy into the popular notion that all religions are true then we have conformity. And conformity involves compromise, no matter what religion you follow. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6). Christians are not supposed to water that down. We either believe what Jesus says or we don’t.
Lets be blunt; there is no way to get the God of the Bible to embrace other religions. The first commandment is “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). ‘Other gods’ in Israelite understanding meant other religions. The reason God pronounced Gentile foods, cups and plates as unclean was to stop Israel interacting with people of other religions. In the New Testament these bans were lifted, but only so the message of Christ could be taken to all nations. And in Paul’s day taking Christ to all nations meant preaching to people of all religions, not atheists. Paul and the other apostles assumed that people of other religions needed to hear the truth. Indeed, if other religions were a legitimate way to God, then the cross of Christ wasn’t needed.
But not everyone accepts Jesus, Paul and the Bible, so let’s put that aside for a moment and look at pure logic.
It’s popular now days to say ‘All religions are ultimately worshipping the same God.’ But if you are informed, this statement makes no sense. Classical Buddhism doesn’t even believe in a God. And if we look at the rest of the major religions we find they disagree on the most essential issues like: What is God? Is there one God? What is man’s status with God? What is salvation? To be in support of all religions God would have to contradict Himself. No, either all religions are dead wrong or one is right, but they cannot all be right!
Having said that, there is some logic as to why one religion out there could be true. If there are five types of fake Nike shoe in circulation, you can be sure there is an authentic one. The fakes only exist because the authentic exists. Similarly we can expect that if there are many religions in circulation, the authentic one must exist too. When Jesus said he was the way, he was claiming to be the Authentic One. That’s why he said “No one comes to the Father but through me.”
Now if you’re reading this and you are disagreeing, that’s fine. But you are disagreeing with Jesus, and you need to be clear about that.
Now God’s judgement on Solomon and Israel raises the question; can Christians marry people of other religions? In a number of places the apostle Paul says we should not. In 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 he says “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?” I think we all understand what a yoke is; it holds two animals together so they can pull a cart. If one is a donkey and the other a cow, there will always be tension because they walk differently. If you are a zealous Christian who wants to fulfil the great commission by telling everyone about Christ you will find it very hard while married to someone of another religion. In fact the chances of you watering you beliefs down to accommodate your partner’s beliefs are high. Your home needs to be a place that is supportive and free of contradicting ideologies. Of course you cannot make this choice if you are already married, but you can and should if you are yet to be married.
This issue does not affect you alone; it also affects your children. As stated above; there are two common reactions among children raised with duel religions in the home: either they accept all religions as equal (pluralism), or they reject all religions as false (atheism). Jesus taught against both. In a nutshell, the Bible teaches the following: Christians should marry Christians, Christians should respect everyone’s freedom to choose another religion, Christians should not compromise their beliefs to conform to others, and Christians are to engage in sharing the message of Christ with all people, especially those of other religions.
Other Illustrations used: Wanting to marry a Messianic Jew | Experiences of two friends – marrying a Muslim and a Hindu.
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