July 17, 2008

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The Arrogance of Pluralism Whenever the subject of Christianity comes up, at some point, some angry bloke will eventually say, "Man, Christians are so arrogant. I mean, how can you believe that there is only one way to God or heaven? How can you be so sure that you guys are right? That is so arrogant and judgmental." The Christian, ruffled by the sudden demise of his popularity, bites his tongue and goes home discouraged. Left to his own thoughts, he ponders some potential contradictions: Didn't Jesus say "Judge not lest you be judged"? Aren't Christians supposed to be loving and humble? Maybe I don't have any right to say that Jesus is the ONLY way. For anyone who has ever wrestled with such thoughts or suffered through such accusations, here are two simple things to consider: No Major Religion in the World Would Claim that All Religions Are Equally Valid Growing up in a Malaysia, I was surrounded by friends who believed differently than I did. My classmates were Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims-- and a handful of Christians. In my younger years, there were precious few conversations that remotely resembled a discourse in comparative religions. But when friends had to miss a party to burn incense at an ancestor's grave, or skip food because it was Ramadan, or come to school with white, ashy powder on their foreheads, we all understood. We had different beliefs. Moreover, these beliefs were deeply held, and a significant part of our heritage. As I got older, I found the courage to occasionally try to witness to a cab driver. I remember one occasion when a Buddhist man argued that his religion was far older than mine and therefore more superior. These conversations were friendly-- for the most part-- and all ended the same way: each leaving the...
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10 Books You Should Read Every now and then I revisit my mental list of my ten favorite books of all time. Sometimes, I kick a book out from that list because I no longer feel it deserves that place, indicating that in my life it obviously did not stand the test of time. Other times, something I've recently read has made such an impression on me that I simply have to include it in the list regardless of what other book gets pushed out as a result. All to say, this list changes as I change. So, here is the latest permutation of the 10 Books (I Think) You Should Read (If You Haven't Already). 1. The Bible I know this one sounds trite, but it is remarkable how many Christians don't actually read their Bibles. I understand. The Bible can be hard to understand. I recommend getting a great study Bible in a readable translation so you can take advantage of introductory notes to each book, maps, timelines, and notes that help you see principles and application. My favorite is the Life Application Study Bible in the New Living Translation. 2. Mere Christianity This might be a little weighty for those accustomed to reading Joel Osteen, but, friends, this is a classic. I can't tell you the number of books that refer back to this one or try to write new versions of it. It is well worth the effort. Read it slowly, have a pen in your hand, and maybe an Oxford dictionary nearby. 3. The Pursuit of God Another classic. It's a little book jammed with insight into life with God. It will make you uncomfortable with your walk with God as it currently is. And that's a good thing. 4. The Jesus I Never Knew Maybe the best book on...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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