The Gospel Under Fire
When the Religion Newswriters Association took their annual poll of last year’s most important news stories, among the top ten choices was the story about the final release of Christian relief workers jailed by the Taliban for “trying to convert Muslims.”
Around the globe Christians who have cited the claims of Jesus, such as “No one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6), have met with open opposition. Even North American culture appears to be growing less tolerant of the distinctives of Christianity. Consider these 2001 news stories:
In an article titled “Bound to Provoke,” ABC News reported that the president of the Southern Baptist Convention asked members to pray and fast that God would miraculously reveal Himself through Jesus Christ to Muslims at the end of Ramadan.
USA Today reported that “the Rev. Franklin Graham, a strict evangelical Christian, gave an invocation at President George W. Bush’s inauguration ‘in Jesus’ name,’ and he still tows a sectarian line on the hot topic of Islam.”
According to USA Today some newspapers refused to run the Easter Sunday edition of the caveman comic strip “B.C.” because of fears it might offend Jews. Since 1989 cartoonist Johnny Hart has at times drawn Christian messages in the comic strip, which is seen by an estimated 100 million readers. This year’s Easter “B.C.” featured the final sayings of Jesus Christ as He was being crucified.
ABC reported that the Dalai Lama joined Hindu leaders in condemning the Muslim and Christian practice of proselytizing.
An article in USA Today raised the question, “Can a deeply religious person be attorney general?” The writer noted, “These are not merely abstract concerns. In recent days constituencies as diverse as casino operators, family-planning counselors, and gays and lesbians have voiced concerns.”
A New York Times article titled “What's Taught, Learned about Who Killed Christ,” discussed “the anti-Semitic belief on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the religious pluralism in the United States.” The Wall Street Journal ran a similar article.
According to NBC News an emergency medical technician alleged that his former employer forced him to quit his job because he quoted Scriptures and discussed Jesus with patients.
Surprisingly, an article that ran in a New Age journal called into the question the practice of lumping all religions together as “all worshiping the same God.” The author made a case for keeping the distinctives of each religion lest the real message of each be lost in the process.