Do all religions worship the same god but in different ways?
This is a common view expressed today which on the surface can be very appealing. It is appealing because if it is right then we don’t have to decide which way to worship God.
However the underlying this thinking is the thought that all religions worship the same god. This is completely false and has no basis in fact. You can check it out for yourself by comparing the gods worshipped by various religions with the God that we Christians worship or you can read a book like “So What is the Difference” written by Fritz Ridenour where these comparisons have already been done for you.
Another book you might consider reading on this topic and other topics listed under FAQ’s s is “The Reason for God – Belief in an Age of Skepticism” by Timothy Keller.
If you do this comparison you will quickly see that the character, the nature and purposes of each the god worshipped in this world is completely different from those of the one and true God that Christians worship.
Consider this: If we are all worshipping the same God then how do you explain the variation and contradiction that exists between religions as to who Gos is and what he expects of us? The one true God would not and does not reveal himself in different and contradictory ways.
This is not what we find when we compare the gods of various religions with the God that Christians worship. There is so much variation that there is no way that all religions are worhipping the same god let alone worshipping the God that we Chrisitians worship.
The basic question that needs to be answered is how does God communicate with us? After all the best person to tell us about God is himself.
God has communicated with us and revealed himself to us so that we do not have to use our imaginations to conceive what God is like.
In Hebrews 1:1-3 God reveals that: “1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
God ensured that these encounters were recorded and compiled so that the people of every age might have access to his communications with mankind. The Bible is this record and we commonly refer to it as God’s word.
The Bible is God’s communication with us and in it he reveals himself to us. In the Bible we are shown his nature, his character and his plan to save us. He also reveals to us how we should worship him.
If we attribute a nature and character to God that does not match who he is we are offending God and being disrespectful. Similarly if we decide to worship God in any other way than he has revealed himself we are again giving offence and showing disrespect.
How can you believe in God when there is so much suffering in the world?
God is not immune to suffering. God too has suffered for our sake. This is clearly seen in the account of suffering that God the Son and God the Father endured when Jesus died on the cross for us. The eternal closest of all relationships was shattered when Jesus was on the cross as we can see when Jesus cries out to God “My God, my God why have you forsaken me.”
Jesus not only suffered this broken relationship with his Father, he was accused of all manner of things that he was innocent of, he was left alone to face his death when his disciples deserted him, he was rejected by many people, he was beaten, he was crucified and then he died. If that was not enough he suffered God’s holy and perfect anger in our place.
No wonder the Bible says of Jesus in Isaiah 53:2-3 “2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
Why did God endure such suffering? He did so in order to save us and give us eternal life.
He died so that we could live.
He suffered a broken relationship so our broken relationship with God could be restored.
He became sin for us so that we could be declared sinless by God.
He was bound by sin so that we could be set free from sin.
He was banished from God in order that we could come into his presence and be one with him.
He experienced all of God’s anger so that we could experience all of God’s love.
He suffered his Father’s rejection so that we could know the Father’s acceptance.
It is not fair or accurate to say that God is indifferent to our suffering because he has endured the worst of all suffering to ensure that we don’t have to.
God turns the table on suffering and uses it to bless rather than destroy. The Bible tells us in Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Because Jesus has experienced the worst possible suffering imagineable he is able to help us in our suffering.
The suffering that is in the world is not a reason to disbelieve the existence of God because God himself has suffered in our place so that we might be freed from the worst possible suffering imagineable. God does deal with suffering in the world in such a way that there are eternal benefits for those that are his.
Why is church membership important?
Let us begin by saying that Church membership will not save you only Jesus Christ can do that. Mark Dever in his book “9 Marks of a Healthy Church” gives the following 5 reasons why a Christian should join a church that preaches the Gospel and models Christian Living:
- To assure ourselves that we are saved by joining with others to obey God and support each other to do that.
- To evangelise the world – together we can better the Gospel at home and abroad.
- To expose false gospel by showing the world what Christianity really is.
- To edify the church i.e. to build up and encourage other believers.
- To glorify God by letting our light shone before all men so that they may praise God.
What is involved in becoming a member of our church?
You can attend our worship services without becoming a member of our church. If however after attending our church for a while you feel that you would like to become a member of our church then contact our Minister or one of the elders.
Why do I need to go to Church?
Behind this question there is often the thought “I am as good as the people in the churches”
That may well be true but we don’t go to Church because we are good and we don’t go to Church because we think we are better than those people that do not.
We go to Church to worship God. It is one way that we give thanks to God for sending his one and only Son to save us by dying in our place, paying the price for our sins, so that we might be restored to God and live forever
Whilst we recognise that we could worship God by ourselves, we recognise that God would like us to join together with other Christians to worship him. In this way we recognise and remind ourselves that we are part of God’s family. As part of God’s family we support and uphold one another and we combine the gifts that God has given to each of us to enhance our worship of God and to provide for the needs of others.
God has modelled his Church on the dynamic relationship that exists within the godhead. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit exist in a perfect eternal relationship. God enjoys and exists in a perfect relationship and He wants us to particpate in that relationship.
God wants us to be one with each other and with Him. We come closer to this perfection when we meet together in fellowship to worship God.
In this way we experience the love of God through experiencing the love of our brothers and sisters in Christ. In this way we experience the encouragement of God when we receive encouragement from our brothers and sisters in Christ. We could go on looking at each of the attributes of God and see how God manifests these in our brothers and sisters in Christ.
There are many blessings by joining fellow Christians in worshipping God.
Why do I need to be saved?
Everyone has offended God and turned their back on him and refused to acknowedge God’s right, as our creator, to our total obedience and loyalty. This is sin. It is not as if we just sinned once against God but that it is part of who we are and is reflected in all our decisions and actions.
God has determined that such offence and rebellion is punishable by death. In other words we all have a death sentence hanging over our heads and we will all face God’s judgment if our sin is not dealt with.
That is why we all need to saved from the consequences of our rebellion against God. We cannot save ourselves but God himself provided the only way that we can be saved. He did this by sending his one and only Son to save us.
That is good news for us!
What must I do to be saved?
In Mark 1:15 we read the answer to this question “Repent and believe the good news!”
We need to ask God to forgive our sins and then turn away from our old lifestyle instead of living for ourselves we now live for God.
We have God’s promise that if we do this he will save us because of what His son has done for us on the cross as we see in Romans 10:9 “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”