Today I received a letter inviting me and members of our church to participate in an interfaith prayer meeting in October that will be presided over by the Dali Lama. Here is my letter of response:
I am writing to inform you that I will respectfully decline your invitation to be a part of the Interfaith Prayer Service with the Dalai Lama, for the glory of my utterly unique Savior Jesus. To accept this invitation would compromise the uniqueness of Jesus and communicate to others participating and attending that Jesus is a peer with Allah and Vishnu, when in fact he is sui generis – in a class by himself. Such is the Biblical teaching that “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, ESV), and that Jesus is “the only Son from the Father” (John 1:14, ESV).
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is to me too precious to risk tarnishing in this manner, and to intentionally or unintentionally communicate that Jesus is not entirely unique is to tarnish his glory and his gospel. To unite with others as though we worshipped and prayed to the same God is an offense to this gospel and to the God who offers his “one and only Son” for the forgiveness of sins and for life. Moreover, I believe participation in this event would confuse those seeking after God by communicating that any of the religions participating are equally valid paths to salvation and God. Again, the offer of the Gospel is life in Christ, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12).
In addition to declining, I am pleading with you as a proclaimed follower of Jesus Christ to reconsider your involvement in this Interfaith Prayer Service. I understand the desire to peacefully coexist with people of other religious persuasions. However, to cooperate in such a way compromises the Gospel and the Glory of Jesus Christ. To participate in such a service is always an act of syncretism, and a violation of the first commandment. Such was the opinion and ruling of the Council of Laodicea in 364AD. The ecumenical council condemned this practice, saying, “No one shall join in prayer with heretics or schismatics” (Canon 33).
I do hope this letter is received as a kind word from someone who desires to be a brother, but who also desires to preserve the beautiful uniqueness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Rev. Daniel L. Waugh Jr.