Intolerance, Sheep Stealing, & the Good Shepherd
- Monday, April 23, 2007
A ministry called “Concerned Christians,” comprised mostly of former Mormons, distributed 18,000 copies of a DVD to homes across the state of Arizona last week in an effort to reach Mormons for Christ. AZCentral.com reports that Mormon leaders are outraged. “I'm disappointed. We need tolerance in our community, and religious tolerance is one of those things we need to do,” noted Dave Udall, a Mesa attorney and former church spokesman. Don Evans, LDS spokesman for Arizona stated, “The attitude of the church is there is freedom of religion. Our church would not go after another religion.”
However, Jim Robertson, a former Mormon and founder of “Concerned Christians” (over 35 years ago), said “the DVD was produced in response to aggressive Mormon missionary work. ‘They’re stealing sheep’ from other religions. ‘I don't like the fact that they lie to people to get them into the church. They're not telling people what the church is all about until after they have them hook, line and sinker.’” “The DVD contrasts the teachings of Jesus Christ with those of Joseph Smith.”
The reality is that sheep stealing has been an issue since the New Testament time period and the Lord Jesus Christ actually contrasts Himself with all other would be shepherds. In John 10 for example, Christ emphatically states that He is the good shepherd as opposed to the Pharisees who are implicit false shepherds (and attempted sheep stealers). In the face of an increasingly pluralistic culture, we must not be confused with empty rhetoric concerning tolerance and religious freedom, particularly from attempted sheep stealers. Those things have their proper definitions but the sad reality is that few understand them any longer. We must cling to Christ as superior to all other would be shepherds now more than ever.
First, Christ is superior to all other would be shepherds because those other shepherds do not enter by the door. Christ Himself declared, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” In context, the sheepfold is national Israel, Christ is the door, and the Pharisees are referred to as thieves and robbers.
By way of application, the thief, whether it be a Pharisee, Joseph Smith, or any other false shepherd, tries to enter the sheepfold by a way other than the door. The reality is that false shepherds try to enter or teach others to enter life by means other than Christ. Some teach that eternal life is obtained by good works or law keeping. The problem is that we have already sinned and could never make ourselves perfectly righteous before a perfectly righteous God.
Others teach that life is obtained through one or more philosophical constructs. The problem with that thinking is that philosophy is, among other dynamics, speculative and man-centered. One cannot reason or observe his way to eternal life. In other words, one cannot reason or observe that which can only be revealed.
Others point us to science as having the answers to ultimate questions. Even scientists recognize that science has no such answers. The problem with science is that it doesn’t explain everything. It doesn’t explain metaphysical laws of logic, the existence or concepts of good and evil or ethics and morality. For all of the propaganda to the contrary, science cannot explain our origin or our destination. These things are beyond the observable, natural world and require a different kind of knowledge or experience to be ascertained.
Legion are those today who would point us to relativism as the answer to the individual’s search for meaning. The primary problem with relativism is that it is irrational and violates laws of logic including those of identity, non-contradiction, the excluded middle, and rational inference. It makes no allowance for objective truth and as such cannot explain the world in which we live or the universal reality we experience.
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