March 12, 2010
Worship with Muslims and Jews?
Bob Roberts calls for more interfaith dialogue without minimizing our Christian beliefs.
The pastor who coined the word “glocal” to describe his church’s approach to missions has led his Texas congregation to visit new territories: the synagogue and mosque down the street. In January, NorthWood Church in Keller, Texas, worshipped with Temple Shalom of Dallas and the Islamic Center of Irving in three services that highlighted the differences and similarities among the religions.
“The basis of coming together is not to minimize our beliefs but to hold onto our beliefs and make clear our beliefs,” Pastor Bob Roberts said. “But also it’s to say that the best of our beliefs calls us to get along with one another.”
After members of the three groups each visited the others’ worship services, Roberts and the leaders of the Jewish and Muslim congregations answered questions about their faiths.
Roberts, whose church has been described as “sort of Baptist,” expected criticism for the interfaith dialogue.
“The old conversation of interfaith basically said if we all agree on everything, then we can get along. So what we need to do is minimize our differences and only talk about what we do agree upon,” Roberts said. “But there’s a problem with that. If I’m going to be a committed Muslim, I can’t pick and choose which parts of the Quran I believe. Or a Jew, for the Torah. Because truth is truth. Truth is not relative. Multifaith says ‘we have differences.’ It says ‘I don’t want to try to be politically correct; I want to be honest about what I believe; I want to hold true to my faith. I want to build relationship on honesty.’”
Do you agree with Roberts? And should more churches be seeking alliances with neighboring congregations of other faiths while holding on to their doctrinal differences?