Other Faiths or Other Faith Families?

This post is a result of an exchange of posts over at John Dobb’s blog and at John’s urging. He posted about visiting churches of “other faiths”- meaning not affiliated with Churches of Christ. I noted that the churches he had visited professed the same Lord as did John and the Churches of Christ and therefore were not “other faiths.”

I see “other faiths” as being Islam, Buddism, Judaism or Hindu. Believers who practice these religions do not recognize Jesus Christ as Lord. Their faith rests elsewhere.

I view the churches John mentioned as “other faith families”. They do differ in practice and doctrine from Churches of Christ in some ways, but still hold firm to the core of Christianity- that is- Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, came to earth to redeem us, dying on a cross, buried in a tomb, and was raised three days later.

Even back in my college days I was never comfortable referring to those in the Christian community who worship differently than us and who view doctrine differently than us as being “other faiths”.

This just could be a semantic deal or it could just be no big deal at all.

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12 Responses to Other Faiths or Other Faith Families?

  1. Donna says:

    I like what Dallas Willard says. Churches are just outpost of the Kingdom among us. When we can truly look at each other that way things will begin to change.

    I love that my eyes have been opened to this.

  2. gkirkendall says:

    Utlimately it always comes down to doctrinal issues. We have all seen this played out in our “faith family”, whatever that may be. The SBC, UMC, Anglicans, etc., all get in the fray. In today’s USA Today there is a forum entitled, “Having Faith in Women”. It takes on the gender gap in religion. Issues like this, homosexuality, inspiration of the Bible, existance and work of the Holy Spirit, etc. will never go away.

    About 20 years ago, I joined an association of ministers in Coppell, TX. We wanted to create a document that would state our purpose and make it clear that we were a “Christian Ministerial Association.” I guess someone feared a Muslim would want to join. We soon found that it was impossible. Some did not believe in the miracles, others (Assembly of God, I think), did not want any mention of the Trinity, still others could not accept the term “inspiration” unless it meant the same kind great poets, playwrites, and other artists experience. Then there was the homosexual issues. This went on for six months. In the end, we just hoped that no people of faith outside of Christianity ever wanted to join.

    It is impossible to define religious fellowship without making doctrinal distinctions of some kind. In the end we all have our line drawn in the sand somewhere; and we draw it where we think God has drawn his.

  3. dannydodd says:

    I like that Dallas Willard quote too, Donna. Thanks for sharing it.

    Thanks for your input too Gary. No doubt there are grest difficulties in bringing unity to the Christian church which for years has unfortunately not enjoyed it.

  4. Danny, I think it is a huge deal. Most that use that kind of terminology may not mean much by it, but to call others of a different faith is…I think offensive. Maybe insensitive would be better.

    Churches of Christ have had members (and still do) that have spent so much time and effort proclaiming everyone else’s damnation that when those little phrases come out that might be phrases we don’t even think about, they sound worse than we realize. And often I think they tell of a heart belief. The head may say, “oh I don’t believe that” but the heart thinks otherwise.

    Interesting. Oh and I want to say, that I don’t question John’s heart AT ALL.

  5. Royce says:

    Danny,

    Thanks for your comments on my blogs.

    “Other faiths” says a lot about what one believes, but a more common, and more exclusive catch term is “The Lord’s church”. To my knowledge, when used by a Restoration Movement brother it ALWAYS means church of Christ, or perhaps Christian church. Recently, in an email this biblical term was used for the same distinction, “Those of like precious faith”.

    The Bible makes no such distinctions based on what we believe and practice about baptism, the Lords Supper frequency, music, orphans support, missions, etc, etc. I am to consider anyone my spiritual brother who by his life and lips has put his or her faith in Jesus Christ and is depending on Him alone for salvation.

    Unity based on conformity is wrong, unbiblical, and should be avoided. We don’t make unity. We are commanded to “maintain the unity of the faith”. Our unity is found only in our common belief and practice related to Jesus Christ the Lord. You and I can be wrong on many issues, but we had better be right on Jesus.

    Grace to you,
    Royce Ogle

  6. Matt Dabbs says:

    I will have to have another look at John’s blog to catch up on those comments.

    Are Orthodox Jews a different faith than Conservative Jews?

    Are Shia Muslims a different faith than Sunni Muslims?

    People within Islam may say they are different faiths. People outside, like us, would probably say that they are the same faith. They would look at Church of Christ vs. Baptist vs Methodist and label us of the same faith. Yet many within would want to say we are different faiths.

    Faith is defined as “belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion.” People who would want to label different denominations as different faiths would probably say that they don’t all hold to all the traditional doctrines of Christianity (baptism, etc).

    It would seem to me that the faith is in Jesus Christ and not in the Church of Christ or the Baptist church. We have faith in the same God and same Lord. That seems to me to be the focus of faith and not denomination.

  7. johndobbs says:

    Great thoughts Danny, and everyone else. I stand corrected, friend! We do need to pay attention to what we say … and especially to what we mean by it. I like the term ‘faith families’ and have used that many times as well. I like your post much…it deserves more attention.

  8. dannydodd says:

    Thanks for the input everyone.

    There is no doubt that the Churches of Christ or the entire Christian community for that matter, does not have a monopoly on dividing and subdividing.

    I like Royce’s point on getting Jesus right.

  9. Trey Morgan says:

    Danny,

    Great thoughts. You were simple and straight to the point. I like that. And I liked Royce’s comments. He said what I’d like to say, but he did it much better. Blessings

  10. Darin says:

    If faith is a bunch of facts we will always disagree. If faith is trusting God through Jesus Christ in that we can all agree.

    When faith shifts from God to us bad things always happen.

  11. dannydodd says:

    Thanks Trey. I appreciate you kind words.

    And speaking of to the point, Darin got there too.

  12. Bobby Cohoon says:

    Good thoughts Danny. Keep up the good work!

    Bobby

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