A few years ago, Pastor John was asked a question about reading the Qur’an and other such religious books: If I want people in other religions to consider reading the Bible, then should I be willing to return the favor and read their holy books? Here’s what Pastor John said.
Case by Case
It depends on how serious they are, how 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, especially if they are just provoking you.
But perhaps you have got a serious conversation with an intellectual person, like a professor of Islam or just a thoughtful 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? Could we 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, then yes. I just want to avoid saying that in order to be a credible Christian you have got to read the Qur’an or you have got to read the Hindu holy books or you have got to read the Book of Mormon.
You Needn’t Try Everything
I don’t think so because most people don’t have time. Most don’t have the inclinations and the intellectual wherewithal to read all the things in the world. 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 shines forth from the Scriptures and wins our trust so that we know this is true. We don’t have to be threatened by other holy books even though we haven’t read them.
It is like the true things you have tasted are honey. 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.” You don’t need to experiment with every brown viscous thing that is brought to you in order to be sure this is honey.