If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
~ Romans 12:18
I was given the opportunity to review the book “Bold as Love” by Bob Roberts, Jr. There were so many wonderful things that I read in this book. Moving beyond the ‘love God, love others’ Great Commandment of the New Testament, “Bold as Love” teaches you how to put it into practice.
“When we love people and build relationships with them, all kinds of good things happen that were not previously possible.”
Bob Roberts, Jr. tells how he steps out in faith to get to know and build relationships with leaders in the local Jewish and Muslim communities. He puts is so well, “I am convinced that few will respond to our gospel message if we are combative and attacking, [but] many may be interested if we humbly share the truth of the Gospel in love, within the context of relationship.”
“How can we view any religion or people group negatively when we’ve been called to love them all and share the good news of Jesus with them?”
Bob challenges everyone to start getting to know people to work for a comment good for the community. He tells a story of an multifaith gathering at the church that he pastors and the Muslims visiting started to sign up for projects that his church was leading. This experience lead to people working side-by-side and getting to know each other. We forget that before we can convert people, they need to see our faith put into practice. We need to give them a reason why they should want to be a Christian.
“The greatest threat we have is the little dictator that lives inside all our hearts.”
What really touched me was Bob’s definitions of interfaith and multifaith. Interfaith, in Bob’s words, “it’s the nebulous, fuzzy-feeling; it’s a we’re-all-going-to-the-same-place-just-different-roads religion, a kind of Kumbaya experience”. Multifaith is “the idea that we all had unique faiths that we wouldn’t compromise, but that we could still get together and get along”. It’s more than tolerance; an indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own. It’s meeting someone different than us and making friends and working with someone to do good for the community. It’s not about seeing people as a target for evangelism, but focusing on how you can change the world around you.
“Multifaith not only respects but encourages religious people to say exactly what they believe, no matter how stark the differences. But it encourages them to do so in the spirit of peace.”
I love what he said to a group of Muslim imams, “Because I have rejected Mohammed as a divine prophet, I cannot go to heaven. Any imam and most Muslims would tell you that. But it doesn’t mean they’re bigoted or evil. It means that they value the truth of their Qur’an. In the same way, I cannot reject my Bible and what it teaches.” This level of honesty allows open conversation and the ability to learn about one another because we are speaking the truth and not trying to convert one another. It also forces us to put aside offense so that we can truly learn about one another.
“I learned many years ago that when you love boldly the religious establishment get very nervous. There are categories of people without Jesus we love to hate and fear, and categories of people who don’t know Jesus whom we want to reach. Jesus has only one category – he loves all people and wants them to come to know him.”
Christians have forgotten that we were called to make disciples and we’re failing to be Jesus to those whom we have the greatest contact with. Because of this, we are actually failing in our major task because of fear, political correctness, and fear of offense. We seem to forget that we all proverbially put on our pants the same way. Their woman bear the children, their men are the leaders of the household, and we are all families. Just just have a different religious belief.
“We must also be the first to say,
“Forgive us for not loving you like Jesus loves you.””
I highly recommend this book to any Christian who wants to live their faith boldly and live it as Jesus called us to live it. If you want to learn how to be friends with people of different faiths and live your faith out loud, then you should read this book. Being a Christian isn’t just a Sunday morning life style. It’s an everyday, 24/7, 365 habit, practice, behavior, conduct. Choose to treat your faith that way. And, if God loves the whole world, then shouldn’t we?
God so loved the WORLD that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. – John 3:16
Be bold, my friends and love EVERYONE boldly. I leave you with with Bob’s own words:
“But I now believe the greatest thing I can do is connect people not just religiously but civilly, humanly, and socially. I want to connect the world and people of faith to serve the greater sphere of humanity, to sweat together as we work for the common good, and to talk to one another about our faiths. And as God wills, I want to be a doorway for them to meet Jesus.”