Bumper Sticker Frustration: Four Reasons I am not a “COEXIST”er
I got this question from a preacher friend the other day:
Brother, I was talking to someone at church last night about the coexist bumper sticker. I was planning to use it as a sermon illustration about how we are constantly pounded with the idea to compromise. He warned me that I needed to be careful not to judge other people’s religion.
Honestly I have this bumper sticker. I was also told that we should be tolerant of others religions. I am having conflicts as I obviously do not plan evil against others who have a different religion. However I am tired of being told that the Christian is too over bearing when it comes to other religions.
What is your thought about this bumper sticker? Have you seen it?
As I thought about this question, I knew exactly what he was talking about. I have seen these COEXIST bumper stickers on a lot of cars around town. Every time I have seen one, it has always bothered me, but I have never given it much of an intensive thought. In our culture today of glib bumper sticker theology, I can see where a lot of unlearned Christians might be swayed to hold a middle of the road, non-offensive, politically correct, position that the COEXIST sticker suggests. But like bumper stickers themselves, COEXIST may say a lot, but its thinking is pretty thin. Four reasons I’m not a “COEXIST”er
1. Things that are different are not the same
First of all, the person that my friend was talking to needs to give chapter and verse for their view-point of a non-judgmental attitude toward other religions. Where does it say that I am not to judge other religions? If I remember correctly, Jesus said of false prophets (false Messiah’s) Ye shall know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:16). That is a judgmental statement if I’ve ever heard one. The New Testament epistles of Second Peter and Jude were written for the express purpose of refuting false teaching and adamantly condemning apostasy. Whether that false teaching is a subtle doctrinal slithering into the church or the blatant false claims of pagan religions. The fruit of false religion is works based righteousness. A meritorious achievement based on the works of men. It’s not the same as Christianity. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his (God’s) sight…” (Romans 3:20) Christianity is acceptance before God “…by grace through faith…” (Ephesians 2:8). Things that are different are not the same!
2. False Impression
I do not like the bumper sticker at all, because it gives a false impression. It suggests that all religions are equal. Equal in truth claim; equal in world-view; equal in destiny. It wreaks of universal-ism. A belief that all roads lead to one destiny. That one road is just as good as another. This is not true. Jesus said there was a broad road and a narrow road. A road that leads to destruction. A road that leads to everlasting life. Christianity can not abide with a coexist mentality because it’s foundational claim is that next to Jesus, there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.
3. We are to compel not coerce
So am I condoning a crusader mentality, to violently dismantle the presence of other religions from our society? Am I recommending a state religion with the authority to stamp out opposing religions from our borders? No. The commission from our Lord is to preach, to proclaim, to gossip the gospel in the ears of all that will listen. We are to compel them to come in, not to coerce. We are to present the world view of the gospel; that there is a certain judgment of sin that is coming; that every human being stands condemned; that God’s son, Jesus, died, was buried and rose again on the third day for our sins; and that the only refuge from the coming wrath of God is to seek refuge in Jesus by believing on, trusting in, and following Him.
4. We are very much like Daniel
Jesus made it clear, that His Kingdom is not of this world, else his disciples would fight. We are a pilgrims and strangers in this world whose hearts are occupied by a Kingdom to come. We live out that kingdom now as salt and light in the society around us. Living out, in the world around us, the character of the Kingdom within us. We do this in anticipation of the arrival of the Kingdom of God, when Jesus Christ returns to this earth. We are very much like Daniel. He lived in a pagan world as he loved and followed the true God. He influenced kings and nations. He lived and worked in integrity and excellence. He gave glory to God in all that he did. He unflinchingly stood for God, when culture ran in opposition to his personal faith in God. He did not lead a rebellion to over throw the king and establish a new Hebrew state. He riot and protest in the streets, condemning their pagan ways. He was a lamb led to the slaughter, not bowing to the pressures of the world around him, but living out his faith and leaving his destiny to his God.
So what’s your thoughts on the COEXIST sticker?
Can a Christian legitimately live with an attitude that says, “You believe what you believe and I believe what I believe. And never the two shall cross.” What are your thoughts?