Interfaith dialogue (IFD) has been a huge topic within certain Christian circles over the last couple of months. It has mainly resulted from the James White-Yasir Qadhi dialogue which occurred in January 2017 in Memphis (discussed previously). A question that has been asked is, “Is interfaith dialogue a spiritual threat to the Church?” How one defines terms will determine how one answers that question.
Is IFD a spiritual threat to the Church such that it will destroy it? No, Jesus said He will build His Church, and the gates of hell would not prevail against it.  Is IFD a threat to the eternal security of Believers? No, Jesus said again, “I give unto them [My sheep] eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”  So a truly born again Christian will not convert to a false religion through IFD. So there’s no danger there. Christian advocates of IFD think that because it is not a spiritual threat to the existence of the Church or to the eternal security of Believers, we are therefore free to engage in it. But just because we can answer both of these questions in the negative, doesn’t mean IFD poses no spiritual threat to the Church.
By saying that Islam, or any other false religion, is dangerous to the Church, I mean that it threatens the Church’s spiritual health. Think about it on a personal level. Are all my sins forgiven by faith in Christ’s blood? Yes (praise God!). Am I secure in Christ? Yes (again, praise God!). Is my eternal future with Him secure forever? Yes! Since that’s the case, then why not let my guard down and begin to expose myself to all kinds of worldliness and sin? You may recognize this reasoning from Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” I am dead to sin, so why should I think that I am free to expose myself to it? Instead, I am to guard my heart , as Scripture commands, and hide God’s Word in my heart so I won’t sin against Him . I am to always be on guard against the Christian’s three great enemies: the world , the flesh  and the devil ; who, roams about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour . Why would God give all these Scriptural admonitions if these stumbling blocks are not a threat to me? It is because they can negatively impact my relationship with God and my fruitfulness for Christ.
Now, applying that to the Church, if false religions aren’t a threat to the health of the Church, then why does God command us to guard sound doctrine?  Why do we have to contend earnestly for the faith?  Why does God appoint elders to guard the flock?  Why does Jesus warn about false teachers as wolves in sheep’s clothing?  Again, I contend that it is because they are a threat, not to the existence of the Church, but to the fruitfulness, witness and overall health of the Church. This is illustrated in John 10:12. Because the hireling neglected his duty, there were dire results for the sheep; they were caught by the wolf and scattered. Sounds like wolves are a threat. And wolves in sheep’s clothing are that much more of a threat.
So what are some of these dangers? Continue reading