Question #9: What about the other holy books from other world religions?
Answer: As youth pastors, we can take this question in multiple directions because this question attacks the claims of Jesus and the reliability and trustworthiness of Scripture.
1. Encourage all your students to “test everything” including the Bible. 1 Thess. 5.21 states: Test everything. Hold on to the good. 1 John 4:1-10 warns us not to believe in every spirit, but test every spirit to see if it is from God. We know that every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ is true and good. When inviting students to read the other holy books, make sure you clearly state the Bible is authoritative and God’s word. As youth pastors we can trust that the Holy Spirit will guide every student to the truth, if they honestly and earnestly seek it. The youth pastor population should not fear that we may lose kids to other religions when reading other holy books. The Bible is the living word of God and no other holy book speaks to the human realities Jesus speaks to. I am so confident the Bible is true, that if any authentic student begins to test everything, he/she will, at point, come back to the Bible and Jesus.
2. Only a few major religions have holy books that claim to be “God’s word”– Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Mormonism, and Muslim. The goal is to read each of these holy books and judge them based off of their claims. I strongly do not believe that these other holy books compete with the Bible. The church has had many great thinkers, scholars, and defenders throughout history that strongly backed up the claims of Christianity. Jesus is God and offers salvation and grace. No one cannot compete with that. Also it is important to know why you (the youth pastor) believe in Christ. This personal testimony is way more powerful than a list of facts. Although it is helpful if you can provide both. These holy books do have some great human wisdom and advice, however their claims does not assert authority like the Bible does.
3. Our students need to be more respectful and open to other people’s religions. It is so easy telling others why they are wrong before even listening to why they believe what they believe. I think it is essential to the students Christian faith development, when students learn and study other religions. Other world religions help expand our student’s worldview. We live in a very pluralistic society. A Catholic writer, Hans Kung, states people fit into four “religion” categories: 1. No religion is true. 2. Only one religion is true. 3. Every religion is true. 4. One religion is the true one in whose truth all religions participate. Some Christian statistician claim that Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion. Bottom line our students are bombarded with other philosophies, religions, and wisdom literature that are un-Jesus.
Resources to help our youth groups lessons address other holy books:
Body, Greg. Letters to a Skeptic. In this post I used pages 150-152.
Kimball, Dan. They Like Jesus But Not the Church. In this post I used page 184.
Keller, Tim. Reasons For God.
Tim Keller sermon on Exclusivity: How can there be just one true religion?
Also tomorrow I will be leading Tim Schmoyer’s LIVE YM Talk tomorrow. We will have discussion about, “Christianity and youth ministry in a religiously diverse world.”
** If you want read all 10 of the Top Ten Theological Questions Teens Ask click here