As Christians, we are called to share the gospel and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). However, we must do so with grace, wisdom, and care. Criticizing other religions can often do more harm than good if not handled appropriately.
In this post, we will explore what the Bible teaches about how we should view and interact with people of other faiths. We will look at principles and examples that can guide us to share Christ’s love and truth while still treating others with respect and dignity.
- We are called to share the gospel, not just criticize false teachings.
- There is only one true God – the God of the Bible.
- Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation.
- We must avoid self-righteousness and harsh condemnation.
- Our speech should be gracious, not argumentative.
- The Holy Spirit can change hearts – not just our arguments.
- We can respect persons of other faiths as human beings without affirming false teachings.
Sharing the Gospel is Central, Not Just Critiquing False Ideas
As Christians, our central mission is to share the gospel and make disciples, not just find flaws in other religions. Jesus commands us in Matthew 28:19-20:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (NKJV)
We need to share the truth in love, not just attack what we believe is false. Ephesians 4:15 teaches:
“…speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.” (NKJV)
The goal is to lead people to salvation in Jesus Christ, not just win arguments. As 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 warns, we can be spiritually empty if we have all knowledge to critique other faiths but lack love.
There is Only One True God
The Bible makes clear there is only one true God – the God revealed in Scripture. When evangelizing and critiquing other faiths, we must emphasize that faith in any other god is misplaced.
Isaiah 46:9 states of God:
“Remember the former things of old,For I am God, and there is no other;I am God, and there is none like Me.” (NKJV)
1 Timothy 2:5 affirms there is only one God:
“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” (NKJV)
We can respect the sincerity of people in other religions, but we must make it clear that only the biblical God is real. All other gods and conceptions of God are false.
Jesus is the Only Way to Salvation
The Bible teaches that faith in Christ is the only way to salvation. Passages like John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 make this clear. When critiquing other religions, we must emphasize that Jesus alone is “the way, the truth, and the life.”
John 14:6 records Jesus’ words:
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (NKJV)
Salvation is found in no one else but Jesus, as Acts 4:12 states:
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (NKJV)
While being respectful of others, we must make it clear that only through Jesus can one be reconciled to God and receive eternal life. Faith in other gods or spiritual leaders cannot lead to salvation.
Avoid Self-Righteousness and Harsh Condemnation
While sharing the exclusivity of the gospel, we must avoid self-righteous and condemning attitudes. We are all saved by God’s grace. The Bible warns against prideful criticism of others.
Romans 2:1 cautions:
“Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” (NKJV)
A self-righteous tone will not lead people to Christ. We must critique other beliefs with humility and civility. Our own salvation is purely by God’s mercy.
1 Peter 3:15 gives this principle:
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” (NKJV)
We should avoid a harsh, condemning tone and instead point to Christ’s salvation with gentleness and reverence.
Speech Must Be Gracious, Not Argumentative
When critiquing foreign religions, our words must be gracious and humble, not argumentative and harsh. We must speak the truth but with love.
1 Peter 3:15-16 declares:
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.” (NKJV)
Our conduct must be honoring to Christ. Arguments or insults will not open hearts to the gospel. We must aim for gracious speech seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6).
Proverbs 15:1 reminds us:
“A soft answer turns away wrath,But a harsh word stirs up anger.” (NKJV)
Critiquing false beliefs can be done tactfully, gently pointing people to the grace found in Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit Changes Hearts
We must remember that it is ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit, not our arguments, that changes hearts. Our role is to share the gospel and biblical truth. It is God’s role to save.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7 warns against relying on our own evangelism methods:
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” (NKJV)
While we defend the exclusivity of Christ, we must pray for the Spirit to open eyes to see His truth. Salvation comes from God’s grace.
1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 affirms:
“But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness.” (NKJV)
It is God who saves people, not our well-crafted arguments. We must humbly point people to the gospel while letting the Spirit work.
Respect Persons While Critiquing Beliefs
When engaging with people of other faiths, we must make a distinction between respecting human dignity and critiquing false beliefs. We can respect a person as an image-bearer of God yet still say their religion is incorrect.
Romans 12:18 gives a principle of civility:
“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (NKJV)
We can have peaceful relationships with unbelievers even while firmly rejecting their belief system.
Matthew 5:44 also teaches:
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (NKJV)
We must sincerely love others and seek their good, all while calling them to the exclusivity of Christ for salvation.
In summary, we must share the exclusive claims of Christ with grace and truth. Our words must be compassionate and humble because we too were once lost in the darkness of false religion. As 1 Peter 2:9-10 reminds us, we are called to proclaim the excellencies of Christ as those who have received mercy ourselves. When interacting with people of other faiths, we must speak with both conviction and love, sharing the gospel while treating all people with dignity as image-bearers of God.