Should We Read the Holy Books of Other Religions?
The following is a transcript of the audio.
A few years ago Pastor John was asked a question about reading the Koran and other such religious books. If I want people in other religions to consider reading the Bible, should I then be willing to return the favor and read their holy book? Here’s what Pastor John said.
I think it depends on how serious they are and serious you are, and the kind of person you are. Not everybody is gifted or called to be an analyzer of other people’s religious literature. And it could be dangerous, I think, especially if they are just provoking you. But if you have got a serious conversation with an intellectual person, say a professor Islam or just a thoughtful work colleague who takes their holy book very seriously and you want them to consider listening to the Bible or reading it and they say: Well, could we trade, you know? Talk about mine one week and yours one week? I think that would be good. If you are wired to be involved with that kind of person at that level and they are wired that way, yes. Yes. I just want to avoid saying in order to be a credible Christian you have got to read the Koran or you have got to read the Hindu holy books or you have got to read the book of Mormon.
I don’t think so because most people, number one, don’t have time, don’t have the inclinations and the intellectual wherewithal to read all the things in the world and if you said: The only way to have a credible faith in Jesus is to have read all the options and discovered all the reasons for why those options don’t suffice, you would spend your whole life—or at least a big hunk of it—reading all this stuff. There has to be a way to read the Bible and see enough self-evidencing and validating truth there. Jesus shining forth from the Scriptures, winning our trust that we know this is true and don’t have to be threatened by other holy books even though we haven’t read them.
It is like you have tasted true things and that is honey. And somebody says: But I have got another brown thing over here that is honey. You say: But this is honey. I can tell this is honey. I have tasted this. And you don’t need to experiment with every brown viscous thing that is brought to you in order to be sure this is honey.
That was Pastor John a few years ago. Recently he traveled to the Middle East and when he re-turned he had some fresh thoughts on Christianity and Islam to share on the podcast. You may remember that on back-to-back episodes #233 and #234. Those episodes are titled, “Lessons from the Middle East” (Episode 233) and “Muslims vs. Christians on the Sovereignty of God” (Episode 234). You can find those episodes and over 300 others most easily in the Ask Pastor John apps for the iPhone and Android — both are free for you, thanks to our faithful financial donors. We will return tomorrow with a question about entertainment, specifically: How can I break my ad-diction to it? I’m your host, Tony Reinke, see you tomorrow.
© Desiring God Foundation. Distribution Guidelines
Share the Joy! You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in physical form, in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For posting online, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page. For videos, please embed from the original source. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org