Rev. David Benke was suspended by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod for participating in an interfaith service at Yankee Stadium last fall.
The service was for the families of those killed in the Sept. 11 attacks.
Benke is the pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in the Cypress Hills section of Brooklyn. Benke also holds a position that is the Lutheran equivalent of a bishop.
On Sept. 23, he shared the stage with a Muslim imam, a rabbi, Cardinal Edward M. Egan, and Sikh and Hindu holy men. Pastor Benke has appealed the ruling. If he loses his appeal, he will be ousted from ministry.
In explaining the suspension, Rev. Wallace Schulz said, “To participate with pagans in an interfaith service and, additionally, to give the impression that there might be more than one God, is an extremely serious offense.”
Rev. Schulz will take a beating in the mainstream press without a doubt. Look for him to be portrayed as divisive, reactionary and backward, when not being portrayed as a religious crackpot.
I harbor no ill will for Rev. Benke. But guess what? Christianity, of which the Lutheran Church is a part, says there is only one God.
And if there is only one God, He can’t be Allah, Buddha and a whole bunch of different Indian gods all at once.
The God of the Bible cannot be the god of Islam. The God of the Bible is Yaweh, Jehovah, I AM, The Lord. He is not Allah. Allah says the Jews are unbelievers who “act extravagantly in the land.”
The Koran says that the Jews changed their Scriptures to steal the Abrahamic Covenant so that the blessing would flow through Isaac, rather than Ishmael.
For that, Jews are deserving of disgrace in this world and they should be “murdered or crucified or their hands or their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned” unless they repent and submit to Allah. [Surah 5.32-34]
The God of the Bible is a very different sort of Person. Although an exasperated Allah would break the covenant he says he made with the Jews [Surah 2.83] the equally exasperated God of the Bible says, “I am Jehovah, I change not. Because of this, you sons of Jacob are not destroyed.” (Malachi 3:6)
Just in case there are those who say, “But that is part of the Old Testament, which the Jews perverted,” Jesus also said, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matthew 22:32)
Since Allah is different than God, and God does not change, Allah and God are not the same. There will be people who will e-mail me to complain that taking such a theological position is “exclusionary” or “unfair” or even “arrogant.”
OK. I’m not defining your god. I’m defining mine. And my God isn’t the same as your god. You can make your god the same as anyone else’s god you choose. Just don’t require me to worship it or say it’s the same as mine.
Today’s political correctness demands I adjust my God to someone else’s theology and worship their god as if it were equal to mine. Yet I remember that Jesus Christ was crucified for being “politically incorrect” in His day.
Similar demands were made of Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Rather than “participate with pagans,” they chose death by fire, according to the prophet Daniel (Daniel 3:12-26).
From the perspective of Christianity, taking part in a service that worships any other god than the revealed God of the Bible is, by definition, “participating with pagans.”
The true God will never be politically correct in the view of today’s “One Worldism” philosophy. But He, Himself, is the Source of all that is correct, whether it is recognized or not. “Things that are fundamentally different are not the same.” That would be a correct statement, wouldn’t it?
So He cannot be the source of Islam. Or Hinduism. Or Buddhism. As I’ve observed the administration’s post 9-11 love-fest with Allah, and heard our leaders proclaim Allah is God, I am reminded of Daniel’s words to Belshazzar as he interpreted the handwriting on the wall that signaled the fall of Babylon:
… but you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which do not see, hear or understand. But the God in whose hand are your life-breath and your ways, you have not glorified.
Daniel 5:23, NASB
If we are in the prophetic era I believe we are in, those who stand for the Truth of God will soon face extreme persecution.