I’m going to try, as Pres. Matt Harrison asked, not to mention the main actors or the events which have been boiling among members of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod this past week, as well as, unfortunately, in the national press. Perhaps the whole saga, taken up as a “for/against,” “conservative/liberal” rallying cry by the usual suspects, can become an opportunity for discernment and a fuller searching of the Scriptures on what it means to bear witness in an age that is, by nature, syncretistic.
I’m not holding my breath.
On the other hand, I’ve noticed that those who want to defend events where many people are praying and/or worshiping, each from his or her “faith tradition” (gah, that phrase makes me want to break something), often do use Scriptural accounts to bolster their cases. (That is in contradistinction to those unbelievers or crypto-unbelievers who use half-formed, quasi-scriptural, emotivistic opinions to advance their case one way or the other.)
The problem with the Scriptural accounts that are chosen to encourage a given situation of praying/worshiping is that they often seem to move in the opposite direction from how the person seems to want it to be used. Take Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal, and the 400 prophets of Asherah. I suppose Elijah prays in their presence (not quite sure he’s praying “with” them), but while they are praying, he mocks them, even suggesting that Baal might be taking a bathroom break. And then he proceeds to make sure not a single one of them escapes with his life. Do the people who use this passage want to appear biblically illiterate, or were they all, like, “Elijah prayed and there were people from other religions there…what happened after that? TLDR“? I don’t really know. I admit, mocking false prophets, calling down fire from heaven, telling the people to worship only the true God–all pretty cool. Just not sure that’s what the people who use this verse mean when they use it.
I want to know if there is an actual, real place where Jesus, His Prophets or His Apostles, or any Christian until the Enlightenment, actually worshiped (or even prayed, for that matter) with unbelievers or believers in another god? Not where they preached to unbelievers, not where they ate with unbelievers, not where they served or helped unbelievers. Is that too much to ask? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?